- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

With every automaker getting in on the sport utility bandwagon, you might expect that the Cadillac Escalade AWD would be just another General Motors clone, but it isn't.

Granted it comes off the same truckish platform, but add in an aggressive front-end treatment, put in the most comfortable seats around and give it some luxury touches, and the second-generation Escalade is a winner at a base price of $51,235.

On the power side, the AWD's 6.0-liter V-8 engine puts out 345 horsepower, and it feels like it. Mind you, Cadillac also offers race car driver Billy Boat's customized special for about $82,000. The package includes a 6.0-liter engine producing 525 horsepower, a throaty exhaust sound that leaves you grinning, larger tires and video screens in every headrest.

The Escalade AWD weighs 5,554 pounds and stretches to 198.9 inches. So, it will never be called compact, but it handles like a Cadillac, not like a truck. It's 79 inches wide, which means the powered fold-up side mirrors are almost a necessity in tight parking spots.

It has 10.6 inches of ground clearance, which puts it in the go-anywhere class if you really, really had to venture off-road.

Rear visibility is somewhat limited, but there is an ultrasonic rear parking assist that beeps at you when you are getting too close to something behind you.

The four-speed automatic gives you 12 miles to a gallon in the city and 16 on the highway, but my overall mixed city and highway driving resulted in almost 18 miles to a gallon.


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