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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Cadillac Escalade ESV Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Cadillac Escalade ESV Overview

When Big Isnt Big Enough

The Escalade is a big SUV, there is no arguing that. But for all its mass, it does suffer one shortcoming; with the third-row seat in place, there is not much room remaining for luggage or gear. Enter the ESV, the Escalades 22-inch longer big brother. The ESVs additional length translates into an extra 20 inches behind the rear seat, more than enough to fit in that extra subwoofer or 17th century antique desk.

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 countryside. 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 headliner 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, XM satellite radio, trailer package, tire pressure monitor, 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.)

New for 2004 is the Platinum Edition, the most opulent Escalade to date. The Platinum Edition includes an ebony and shale dash with shale leather seating, pleated door panels, walnut burl wood on the steering wheel, door pulls, console and dash and a premium headliner with cloth-wrapped pillars. Both the first and second-row seats can be heated or cooled electronically as can the cup holders. Outside, 20-inch chrome wheels, a chrome grille and platinum lettering across the lift-gate mark the Platinum Editions upgrades.

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