Big luxury SUVs aren’t nearly as popular as they were a few years ago, but for those who still want to ride large and in charge, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV remains a great choice.
The Escalade ESV is longer than a normal Escalade, so it has extra interior room, but it has the same power and luxury.
The Escalade comes with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that makes 403 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is standard but all-wheel drive is available and was featured on the tester, a Platinum trim model.
If you get the AWD, you’ll get 7,800 pounds of towing capacity – plenty strong enough to pull a boat or camper.
But feeding this beast isn’t easy, as you might have guessed. Its fuel economy ratings are 13 mpg city, 18 highway. It can run on E85 FlexFuel, but if you use traditional blend gasoline, premium fuel is recommended.
In addition to the Platinum trim, which is the highest grade, there is base, Luxury and Premium.
The ESV shares a chassis with the Chevrolet Suburban.
Standard features on the exterior include jeweled headlamps, daytime running lights, fog lights, heated/power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, luggage rack, front tow hooks, a power liftgate and 18-inch wheels.
Nifty options include a power sunroof, 20-inch wheels, LED headlamps, IntelliBeam headlamps and power retractable running boards.
So the downside to the huge size is the fuel economy, as noted above, but one of the upsides is the incredible roominess in the interior, including in the second and third rows of seating. Plus, for hauling stuff, you get an amazing 45.8 cubic feet of cargo space after the third row of seats. Plus, if you are doing serious hauling, you can fold the second row and remove the third row, yielding a cavernous 137.4 cubic feet of utility space.
The interior’s list of standard features includes leather upholstery, automatic climate control, power-operated front seats, a navigation system, front and rear bucket seats, heated driver and front passenger seats, Bluetooth connectivity and auxiliary input jacks for an iPod.
Options include a rear-seat entertainment system with DVD player and two roof-mounted flip-down eight-inch screens, with heated and cooled cup holders.
Cadillac threw in a number of safety features, such as four-wheel-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system with rollover mitigation technology, side curtain airbags for all three rows, OnStar safety technologies and a rear backup camera.
Escalades start at around $67,000, but the ESV Platinum, as tested, is priced at $86,045.
Luxury and comfort abound in the Escalade ESV, and for those who are seeking to drive a big rig with lots of bling, this is a great choice.