The base price is $70,735. Loaded with just one option, the total for my hybrid tester was $72,780. That lone option was a retractable assist running board that set the tone for my entire test-drive.
The 2009 Escalade Hybrid has a wide, dominant stance grounded on eye-catching 22-inch chrome wheels with jewel-like headlamps. It also has numerous chrome accents, which gives this big machine a lot of eye-appeal. Its overall length is 202 inches, the wheelbase is 116 inches and its curb weight comes in at 5,727 pounds. The Escalade Hybrid 2WD has a towing capacity of 5,800 pounds.
EPA mileage for my 2WD test model is rated at 20 city and 21 highway. Without the 2-Mode Hybrid feature, the mileage rating would likely be 12/19. The 2-Mode hybrid system works uniquely with the 6.0-liter V8 engine, which features Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and runs on regular gasoline. Pulling power is rated at 367 pound-feet of torque. Its horsepower is 332.
As I approached this uncompromising beauty, I wondered how difficult it would be to climb up into the driver’s seat, as the interior sits high off the ground with a height measurement of 74 inches - nearly 20 inches higher than everyday cars. (The ground clearance on the Escalade is 9 inches). But when I opened the door, a power retractable step slid out, making it very easy to climb up the ladder of luxury.
Beautiful leather seats are throughout the spacious cabin, and the 14-way power front seats can be heated or cooled, including the backrest. In front of me was an easy-to-read instrument panel, trimmed in burl walnut. When I shifted into reverse, the backup camera appeared on the navigational system’s screen to show me what was behind. With an SUV this big, the camera is essential for safety.
During my test-drive, I switched out of the six-speed automatic mode into manual shifter. I was surprised at how easily this big 2WD Escalade SUV could maneuver through sharp turns and maintain great traction. By the way, the vehicle is offered in 4WD, too.
The Cadillac people told me this has the large truck segment-first application of Magnetic Ride Control technology, which gives the Escalade precise body motion control. It also has real-time dampening system that replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a synthetic fluid.
The side-view mirrors include two features that have worthwhile merits: they can be heated - with the vehicle’s 79-inch width - they also fold inward to prevent being bumped out of position.
Obviously, a quality vehicle like this has all the latest in safety features. That fact is evident in the government safety ratings. The Escalade has received the highest five-star ratings for frontal crash for both the driver and front seat passenger; plus five-stars for side crash testing. If you can afford the very best in an SUV, check out your Cadillac dealer. All Photos In 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid GalleryCadillac Escalade Rentals in New York - Cadillac Escalade Rentals in New Jersey - Cadillac Escalade Rentals in Miami Florida - Cadillac Escalade Rentals in Orlando - Cadillac Escalade Rentals in Connecticut - Cadillac Escalade Rentals in Washington DC
Base price: $70,735 (as tested: $72,780)
Engine type: V8 OHV 16-valve with SFI
Displacement: 6.2 liter
Horsepower: 332 at 5100 rpm
Torque: 367 pound-feet at 4100 rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 116 inches
Track: (front/rear) 68/67 inches
Overall length: 202 inches
Overall width: 79 inches
Height: 74 inches
Turning circle: (curb-to-curb) 39 feet
Curb weight: 5,727 pounds
Fuel capacity: 31 gallons
EPA mileage rating: 20 mpg city, 21 mpg highway