2013 Cadillac Escalade (ESV, EXT) Premium review, specs, photos, features

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The new 2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium full-size luxury SUV

An icon in the world of luxury SUVs, Cadillac Escalade is synonymous with style, technology, comfort and performance. For 2013, it continues to offer the most complete lineup in its segment, with three distinct body styles and the Platinum models.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo

The model range includes the Escalade, the extended-length Escalade ESV and the reconfigurable Escalade EXT.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo

The Escalade and Escalade ESV are available in AWD and RWD configurations. The Escalade EXT sport-utility truck features standard, full-time AWD. All models are powered by a 6.2L V-8 with efficiency-enhancing continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management technology.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo

Escalade Platinum is the highest expression of the brand’s dramatic design, luxury and technology. With features including segment-first LED headlamps and Magnetic Ride Control, the world’s fastest-acting suspension, it’s one of the most technically advanced vehicles in the segment. Platinum models are available on Escalade and Escalade ESV.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo

Also available is the Escalade Hybrid, which delivers 50-percent greater city fuel economy without sacrificing the luxury features that define all Escalade models. Please see the separate Escalade Hybrid release for complete details.

For 2013, there are revisions to the grade braking performance, as well as a few new exterior colors. Escalade EXT will offer Xenon Blue and Midnight Green Metallic (late availability), while Escalade and Escalade ESV add Silver Coast Metallic, Midnight Plum Metallic (late availability) and Sapphire Blue Metallic (late availability).

2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Premium photo

Escalade ESV

The Cadillac Escalade ESV is the largest member of the Escalade family, offering maximum passenger accommodations and cargo capacity. It is 21 inches (53.4 cm) longer than Escalade and offers up to 137.4 cubic feet (3,891 L) of cargo space behind the first row, with the second folded and third row removed. It features all the same elements and features as the standard Escalade, but adds an additional eight-inch flip-down screen for third-row passengers.

2013 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium photo

Escalade EXT

The EXT model is a unique Sport Utility Truck (SUT) body style, giving it a part-SUV, part-pickup profile. With the industry-exclusive Midgate panel, owners can easily convert the EXT from a five-passenger SUV into a two-passenger pickup with eight feet of protected and secured storage. The Midgate, located behind the rear seat, can be folded into the cabin, enabling the cargo area to expand from five feet to eight feet, for a total of 101 cubic feet in secured volume. A lockable, standard tonneau cover protects items in the cargo bed, or can be removed entirely for added space.

2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Premium photo

Escalade Platinum

The Platinum edition – offered on Escalade and Escalade ESV – includes a blend of technical innovations and aesthetic enhancements, including unique 22-inch, multi-spoke wheels and exclusive Platinum exterior badges. Magnetic Ride Control technology (available on all Escalade models with 22-inch wheels) and full-function light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps highlight the Platinum’s technology.

The LED headlamps emulate the characteristics of natural daylight much more closely than traditional auto lighting. LEDs are environmentally friendly, lasting 10 times longer than traditional halogen bulbs.

Inside the Escalade Platinum, the instrument panel, center storage console and door trim are leather wrapped and feature decorative French seams. Additional Platinum cues include Olive Ash and Walnut Burl woods with unique wood inlays, warm aluminum trim, full TEHAMA™ aniline leather-trimmed first- and second-row seats, full Nuance leather seating trim on the third-row seat – all embroidered with Cadillac wreath and crest insignias.

Additional standard interior features include Platinum-specific door sills and floor mats; a heated steering wheel; heated and cooled cupholders and a power liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button. In addition to the roof-mounted rear seat entertainment system, the Platinum Edition also includes dual DVD screens integrated in the rear of the front headrests. Each has its own player and controls, and they can be operated independently or in tandem.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo

Escalade design details

Standard and available exterior features include:

High-intensity discharge headlamps with Twilight Sentinel feature and fog lamps are standard on the Base, Luxury and Premium Collections
IntelliBeam headlamp feature is standard on the Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections
LED headlamps are standard on Escalade Platinum Collection and available on the Premium Collection
LED taillamps are standard on all models
Power retractable assist steps are standard on Premium Collection and Platinum Edition
Power-assisted liftgate is standard on all models
Eighteen-inch, seven-spoke aluminum wheels are standard on Base models
Twenty-two-inch, seven-spoke chrome aluminum wheels are standard on the Luxury Collection and Escalade EXT Premium
Twenty-two-inch, polished and painted aluminum wheels are standard on the Premium Collection (except Escalade EXT)
Twenty-two-inch, multi-spoke chrome aluminum wheels are standard on the Platinum Collection
Exterior colors:Black Raven, White Diamond Tricoat, Radiant Silver Metallic, Black Ice Metallic (Escalade / Escalade ESV), Crystal Red Tintcoat (Escalade / Escalade ESV), Mocha Steel Metallic (Escalade / Escalade ESV), Silver Coast Metallic (Escalade / Escalade ESV), Midnight Plum Metallic (Escalade / Escalade ESV – late availability), Sapphire Blue Metallic (Escalade / Escalade ESV – late availability), Xenon Blue Metallic (Escalade EXT) and Midnight Green Metallic (Escalade EXT – late availability).

Escalade interior

Escalade and Escalade ESV models seat up to eight, with generous cargo room available when the third-row seat is removed. Escalade EXT seats five. A unique instrument panel is a defining attribute of the interiors of all models. It includes gauges with white needles and blue light inlays with continuously lit, white-LED backlighting. Leather seating surfaces are standard, along with an array of power-assisted and high-technology features, including an enhanced navigation system with more features for 2012.

Escalade and Escalade ESV offer the industry-exclusive power fold-and-tumble second-row seat feature that eases access to the third-row seat, and a power-assisted rear liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button.

Standard and available interior features include:

Three rows of seating are standard on Escalade and Escalade ESV models. The second row is offered as two bucket seats or a three-passenger bench, with a 60/40 split, and the third row features a 50/50-split design and is removable
Escalade EXT includes a second-row bench seat
Leather-trimmed, heated and cooled front bucket seats with 14-way seat adjusters are standard on all models
Tri-zone automatic climate control is standard on all Escalade and Escalade ESV models; dual-zone climate control is standard on Escalade EXT
Navigation radio with touch-screen operation is standard on all models and includes MP3/CD/DVD video/audio changer, voice recognition and USB Port
SiriusXM Satellite Radio with three-month trial is standard on all models
Rear-seat entertainment system is standard on Premium Collection and Platinum Edition and available on the Luxury Collection. Content includes DVD player with remote control, overhead display, two sets of wireless infrared headphones, auxiliary audio/video jacks, remote game plug-in and mute button in overhead console. Escalade ESV includes two overhead displays
Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard on all models
Heated and cooled cupholders are standard on Platinum
Power-adjustable pedals are standard on all models
Remote vehicle starter system standard on all models
Power-operated sunroof is standard on Luxury and Premium Collection and Platinum Edition
Interior color and trim choices: Ebony with Ebony accents, Cashmere with Cocoa Accents and Cocoa/Light Linen
Platinum Edition interior contents include: Cut-and-sewn leather-wrapped instrument panel top pad and upper door panels, embroidered Cadillac insignias on all seats, Olive Ash Burl and Walnut Burl woods with wood inlays and warm aluminum on the instrument panel and console, heated and cooled cupholders, chrome trim around the climate vents and door handles, full TEHAMA™ aniline leather trim on the first- and second-row seats, full Nuance leather-trimmed third-row seat and DVD screens located on the backs of the front-seat headrests.

2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium photo

Escalade powertrains

All Escalade models are equipped with a 6.2L V-8 rated at 403 horsepower (301 kW) and 417 lb.-ft. of torque (565 Nm). It features variable valve timing, Active Fuel Management technology and E85 capability.

The fuel-saving Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission is paired with the 6.2L engine in all models and an intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is available on Escalade and Escalade ESV. AWD is standard on Escalade EXT.

Escalade chassis and suspension

All Escalade models are built on GM’s full-size SUV platform, incorporating a fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension, five-link/coil-spring rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.

Magnetic Ride Control is standard on Escalade Hybrid and the Platinum Edition. It is a real-time damping system that delivers more precise body motion control – “reading” the road every millisecond and changing damping in just five milliseconds. It replaces conventional mechanical-valve shocks with electronically controlled shocks filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles. Under the presence of magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly.

Additional chassis and suspension features include:

Wide front and rear tracks – 68.2 inches (1,732 mm) front/67 inches (1,702 mm) rear – enhance handling and vehicle stability for a more confident road feel
A stiff frame reduces vibrations transmitted to the passenger cabin, while the strength and accuracy of the fully boxed frame also enable precise mounting and tuning of chassis and suspension components
External heavy-duty oil and transmission coolers are standard on all models
A 3.42 axle ratio is standard on all models
A locking rear differential is standard on all models.

Escalade safety and crash-avoidance features

Escalade features standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for all seating rows. The roof-mounted head curtain air bags include design features that provide increased rollover protection and occupant containment. These head curtain side air bags stay inflated longer than air bags developed only for side impacts, since rollover incidents can last longer. The deployment duration and other design features of the air bags combine to provide increased occupant protection and the ability to help keep occupants inside the vehicle.

Additional features include:

Standard seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger provide thorax and pelvic protection
StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation technology helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both
Ultrasonic rear parking assist
Rearview camera system
Side blind zone alert is standard on Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections
Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS
Safety belt pretensioners minimize forward movement
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system
Tire pressure monitoring system
Standard remote keyless entry.

To thwart thefts, Escalade has a sophisticated cryptographic immobilizer system, PASS Key 3+. Additional theft-deterrent features include:

A robust steering column lock system that makes it very difficult to push away a stolen vehicle
An available inclination sensor that sets off an alarm when the system senses a change of the angle of the vehicle, such that would occur with towing, flatbedding or jacking up the vehicle
A wheel lock system is available to help prevent the theft of Escalade’s wheels and tires.

Escalade and OnStar

One year of OnStar Directions and Connections service is standard on all Escalade models. OnStar is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology.

OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App allows smartphone users to control vehicle functions, access vehicle information and send directions directly to the vehicle. A new, opt-in service called FamilyLink allows subscribers to stay connected to loved ones by checking the location of their vehicle online or by signing up for vehicle location alerts.

Escalade features new OnStar button icons. Drivers will notice an updated look for the Hands-Free Calling button, blue OnStar button and red Emergency button.

New 2013 Cadillac Escalade Premium specifications, photos and images courtesy of Cadillac.

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