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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV Overview

Stretching Luxury to the Limit

There is an old saying that too much of a good thing is not a good thing. While prudent, this puritanical self-denial has no place in the halls of Cadillac, where too much of a good thing is known collectively as an Escalade ESV. What the Escalade SUV is to the Chevy Tahoe in size, the Escalade ESV is to the larger Suburban which not only makes the ESV one of the largest vehicles on the road, it also makes it one of the most luxurious.

A bigger Escalade means a bigger engine, so the Escalade ESV comes with Cadillac's most powerful V8: the Vortec 6000. Rated at an unbelievable 345 horsepower and with enough torque to tow a small village, the ESV is the perfect vehicle for large families that spend their summers towing a boat to the shore or horses to the country side. The Escalade ESV is also a vehicle for all seasons, with standard AWD (all-wheel-drive), StabiliTrak traction control, automatic-leveling rear shocks and a Road Sensing suspension that uses computers to monitor and adjust the suspension according to prevailing road conditions. These four systems work cooperatively together and transform the ESV's immense bulk into a manageable, even somewhat agile machine; mind you, we're not saying that the ESV can perform like a Corvette, but it does exhibit extraordinarily good road manners for a vehicle of its size and height.

Piloting the ESV around town is nowhere near as much fun as being a passenger. You'll find the big Caddy is not very amiable to compact-size parking spaces, bumper-to-bumper lane changes or narrow one-way streets; then again, not many drivers will be foolish enough to challenge you for that last remaining parking spot, so perhaps the advantage here goes to the ESV. From the driver's seat, you'll find that you have a commanding view of the road ahead, sitting up high above most traffic. Rearward visibility is not as good due to the rear seat headrest and the large plastic side pillar coverings. To assist you in guiding your Escalade ESV, Cadillac has equipped it with HID headlights for better vision ahead and an Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist around back to keep you from bumping into objects that may elude the rear-view mirror.

As with the standard size Escalade, the ESV's interior is designed to cater to your every desire, only now you can cater to the desires of seven other people and still have room for all of their gear behind the third-row seat-a feat the base Escalade can't lay claim to. You'll find the front seats are extremely comfy, with a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat complete with power lumbar and heated seat backs; the front seats also feature built-in shoulder belts that eliminate the possibility of the seatbelt rubbing against your neck. The second and third row have bench seating with individual head restraints and folding center armrests; you can opt for dual captain's chairs in the second row, giving your passengers the same king-size seating as you enjoy. Some of our taller testers did note that in the second row seats, the side of their heads would sometimes bump up against the molded head liner that has been lowered to provide room for the rear A/C ducting.

Standard features on the ESV include power windows and door locks, dual-zone automatic climate controls, 9-speaker Bose audio system, cruise control, tilt wheel, side-mirror puddle lights, a leather and wood steering wheel, seven-spoke alloy wheels and a 1 year subscription to the OnStar roadside assistance program. Some of the more desirable options for the ESV include a flip-down DVD-based entertainment system that can route the audio portion of the movie through the Bose speakers, creating your own little mini movie theatre on wheels (sorry, Cadillac has no plans to offer a popcorn maker and soda dispenser...well, not yet at least.) And since there are only a few more check boxes, you might as well check them off too, which will net you the chrome wheels, the XM satellite radio and the onboard navigation system.

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