The Cadillac division of General Motors has been known to produce vehicles that spell traditional and classical in all aspects. The brand and its products have never taken the risk of adapting a more youthful and flamboyant image. That is until the much-anticipated debut of the Cadillac Escalade. It is Cadillac’s bold response to the challenge posted by Ford when they introduced the Lincoln Navigator in 1998. It is also the brand’s first major venture into the SUV industry, and fortunately, the Cadillac Escalade did not disappoint.
The unexpected hit
The Escalade’s conception and production was swiftly executed by Cadillac. Less than a year after its approval, the production of the original Escalade began in the company’s plant in Arlington, Texas. The vehicle was built guided by the idea of combining strength and style in one SUV. Although it was practically a rushed project, the Cadillac Escalade received a warm welcome from SUV patrons and Cadillac supporters. This vehicle spawned three generations of durable and stylish SUVs.
Basically rebadged: first generation (1999-2000)
The original Cadillac Escalade borrowed considerably from the GMC Yukon Denali. Although it was obviously smaller than its major competitor, the first batch of Escalades had a five-person capacity. Apart from its under-structure, the Escalade and the Yukon Denali shared the same 5.7-liter Vortec 5700 V8 engine with 255 horsepower. The first generation models also bore the selectable 4 x 4 feature called the Autotrac. The vehicle’s exterior is very similar to the Yukon Denali, but the GMC emblem was replaced with Cadillac’s crest logo. Its interior, on the other hand, was equipped with an amazing set of Bose surround system and elegant-looking leather seats. The first generation lasted from 1999 to 2000.
The Cadillac makeover: second generation (2001-2006)
The second generation of Cadillac Escalade skipped the 2001 model year and jumped directly to the release of the 2002 model in January of 2001. The Escalade featured an eight-person capacity and a new exterior, which matched the more sophisticated and youthful appearance theme of Cadillac. The second batch of Escalades also received some brand-new engine options like the all-wheel drive 5.3-liter V8 engine and the 6.0-liter V8 high-output Vortec engine. 2003 brought the new four-wheel version of the stability control system known as the StabiliTrack. When 2004 came, the Escalade family received a new member with the release of the luxurious Platinum edition. The Platinum version was equipped with dazzling 20-inch chrome wheels, heated and cooled seats, and a top-of-the-line dash board and upholstery.
The Super Bowl XL vehicle: third generation (2006-2013)
2007 was a big year for the Escalade. Aside from releasing the third generation with the new GMT900 platform, the Cadillac Escalade was declared the official vehicle of Super Bowl XL. The exterior design was refurbished, and the new 6.2-liter Vortec V8 engine was entirely made of aluminum. The more expensive, all-wheel-drive version was produced first. It was then followed by the rear-wheel drive version, the ESV, and the EXT pick-up truck. Remote engine start, 14-way power front seats, and power lift-gate were some of the third generation Escalade’s standard features. The Platinum version, on the other hand, received brand-new features like the power-retractable running boards, an efficient navigation system, a useful rear-view camera, and many others.
To the future and beyond: fourth generation (2015- )
Considered to be part of the third generation line of Escalades, the Hybrid version of Cadillac’s premier SUV was released in 2008. The Escalade Hybrid is powered by a 6.0-liter V8 engine, which is capable of producing 332 horsepower. The Escalade is bound to continue Cadillac’s revitalized image with its fourth generation model, which is set to be released on 2014 as the 2015 model.