GMI Drives 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum

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GMI Drives: 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum

GMI Drives: 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum

$3.00 per gallon gas aside, the Platinum is ironically good.

December 16, 2010

By: Nick Saporito

It isn t often that a vehicle review be filled with as much irony as a short fiction novel, but this one may be. As of today the national average fuel price in the United States rests at $2.984, creeping ever so close to the infamous $3.00 per gallon threshold. So naturally, GMInsideNews put one of General Motors biggest, most extravagant models to the test: the Escalade ESV Platinum.

With its negative connotations and stereotypes, we assumed the ESV Platinum to be an over-the-top, extravagant vehicle that is simply out of touch with modern luxury products. You know, luxury products like Cadillac s own SRX crossover. And while we were largely correct in our assertion, we were surprised at just how well the Escalade performs in its given purpose.


Add in the Platinum s uncanny panache and it s difficult not to like this excessive beast.

If there is one clear message we took away from our time with the Platinum, it is that the Escalade is designed for a specific breed of mankind. Those that wish to blend in or never rock the boat of life need not apply for Escalade ownership. Escalade, and more specifically the Platinum, is about status.

Our Infrared tester was riding on 22-inch chrome wheels — a wheel design unique to the Platinum model. Naturally the remainder of the exterior wore occasional dredges of chrome trim, from the power running boards to the luggage rack. Altogether, while the exterior package is perhaps over the top for most luxury products, it rests perfectly at the tasteful level for the Escalade.

Up front the Platinum variant of the Escalade wears a unique grille and headlamp set. Departing from the regular Escalade s rather modest grille setup, the Platinum s grille is a full insert with far more bling than the standard model. Actually, the grille has a striking resemblance to the grille of Cadillac s Sixteen concept car from several years ago.

We much prefer our tester s grille versus the run of the mill Escalade.

The Platinum was the first production application of LED headlamps. This very new technology gives the Platinum unique looking headlamps, due to the fact that they are devoid of traditional bezels. The high-tech daytime look aside, the functionality of the lamps is questionable.

We didn t find them to perform any better than more typical high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. We d also like to see GM swap out the incandescent fog lamp bulbs in favor of LED s for a cohesive nighttime look.

Stepping inside the Platinum evokes a more traditional luxury experience. Opening the door permits the power-deployable running boards that extract from the side to greet the passenger. Once situated inside, passengers are hit with the strong scent of leather, which is very soft and of nice quality.

Visually the interior features two species of real wood trim; burled walnut and olive ash. The olive ash portion is connected to the walnut via inlets, which woodworking aficionados claim is a fairly impressive trait. We can attest that it certainly looks at home in an $88,000 vehicle.

Surrounding the forest of wood trim are massive amounts of real aluminum trim. In appearance the aluminum trim looks great, but a quick touch reveals a ribbed texture that is a bit odd. When piloting the Platinum in cold weather the ice cold aluminum trim on the steering wheel is butted against the heated leather rim making for a nice sensory experience.

The rich experience is not just reserved for front seat passengers. Second row passengers have heated captain seats, their own HVAC controls and, of course, three LCD screens for entertainment. Why do two people need three TV screens?

Because this is an Escalade.

Third class passengers don t fair quite as well as the rest. The leather seating surfaces are slightly downgraded from the first two rows and there are no climate controls for the air or seats. The third row which seats three has to make do with only one seven-inch LCD screen.

Overall the Escalade Platinum interior wears the correct materials for its price point, though the design and some of the switchgear which is the standard fare in most of GM s full size SUV s are not quite to the level of an $88,000 vehicle. Then again, it can be debated as to if interior details are even relevant. This is an Escalade.

Cadillac Escalade Electric Cars

Driving the Platinum is remarkably pleasing. GM s 6.2-liter Small Block V-8 is the perfect mill for this luxury barge and the colorful sensory experience it provides could not be more appropriate for the Escalade.

The exhaust note is deep and loud, to the point that onlookers often turned their heads as the Platinum drove by- even when cruising at low speeds. While onlookers hear the rumbling exhaust note, onboard passengers listen to a full V-8 melody from the Small Block that is close to the perfect V-8 noise. And therein lays more irony: how many mainstream luxury products are so vocally provocative?

That V-8 s provocative soundtrack is not unfounded. The Escalade Platinum moves with brisk authority. It s certainly no performance vehicle, but its 403 horsepower is more than enough for this application.

Coupled with GM s smooth 6L80 six-speed automatic, it s a terrific drive considering its mass.

Smooth also explains the ride quality, mostly thanks to GM s magnetic

suspension that is standard on Escalade Platinum and keeps those 22-inch wheels in check. The high-tech shocks read the road thousands of times every second and adjust accordingly, giving the truck-based SUV a fairly smooth ride.

In all, the Escalade ESV Platinum is the quintessential Cadillac. It s brash, big, provocative and expensive- not unlike Cadillac s of yesteryear. The Escalade may now be considered a product of a former trend in the luxury vehicle market, but it is still the king.

Although it isn t perfect, it performs its given purpose so well that it s tough not to like this big rig. Now if only Cadillac could mirror the Escalade Platinum s bravado with the rest of their lineup, the wreath and crest brand could end up as the Standard of the World

once again.

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2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum

Cadillac Escalade Electric Cars
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Cadillac Escalade Platinum Electric Cars
Cadillac Escalade Platinum Electric Cars
Cadillac Escalade Platinum Electric Cars
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