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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Cadillac Escalade EXT Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Cadillac Escalade EXT Overview

What the Rich Use to Help Move Their Friends

Remember when the only guy you knew with a pickup truck was everyone's best bud come moving time? And how after about a year of giving up his weekends hauling amours and king size bed sets, he traded that same truck in on a small two-seater sports car? We can't help but wonder if the same fate does not befall owners of the Cadillac EXT. Maybe you've observed a few, early on a Saturday morning, carrying a grandfather clock or a Steinway Baby Grand into some brand-spanking new luxury home complex; if so, our theory about pick up trucks may also apply to luxury utility vehicles. Oh well, what are friends for anyway!

The EXT is not exactly a pickup truck, but is something completely foreign to most Cadillac buyers. The EXT provides all the luxury and ability of the full-sized Escalade inside, but adds the versatility of a reconfigurable bed. Based on the same design philosophy as the Chevrolet Avalanche, the EXT employs what Cadillac calls a folding Midgate that trades rear seat passenger space for increased cargo carrying capacity. The system is easy to operate: first you flip and fold the rear seats away from the back wall, then you release two latches that allow the rear bulkhead to fold flat. You can leave the rear window in place or remove it and store it on the backside of the folding bulkhead. The cool thing is that with both the window and the rear cargo cover plates in place, you can load up your EXT with whatever it is you're carrying and not worry about the outside elements coming in along with it.

With the EXT configured to carry four passengers, the rear bed measures 63-inches in length; combined with its high 25-inch bed walls and 50-inch wide floor, the EXT makes a formidable cargo carrier. Folding the Midgate increases the bed length to nearly 98-inches, more than enough space for carrying long wood planks or two dirt bikes. You'll find that even when the EXT's bed is full there is still additional storage in the form of clever bins along the inside of the bed liner.

Now that you've been introduced to the versatile side of the EXT, let us show you its softer side. Slip inside the sumptuous cabin and you're instantly smothered by the smell of new leather and freshly pressed plastic; it's the coveted "new car smell" in all its glory. The inviting seats beckon you to come sit, to feel their absolute lushesness, complete with heating elements to warm your backside and electric lumbar support to ease your aching back. After 18 holes of golf, you'll have to agree that the only place more relaxing than inside the EXT would be on a massage table.

If you're lucky enough to be a passenger, you can close your eyes and drift off to sleep, comforted by the automatic climate control and serenaded by the symphonic masterpiece that is the Bose audio system. Even if the driver fails to avoid a few potholes, you probably won't be jarred from your restful slumber as the EXT's excellent suspension seems to soak up road imperfections like a dry sponge in water. Motoring was meant to be like this for Cadillac owners, but for pickup lovers moving up to something better, this will be a whole new experience.

As the driver, you too will be pampered and watched over, but not in the same way as your passengers. The EXT is loaded with hardware whose sole mission in life is to make you a better driver. If you encounter inclement weather, the EXT's full-time all-wheel-drive system ensures that power will always be diverted to the wheels that have the best grip. This is achieved by a transfer case that permanently splits the engine's torque—60% to the rear, 40% front—and three open differentials that allow each wheel to operate independently of the other three. Further assist is rendered by the StabiliTrak system that can detect when the EXT is sliding out of your control and uses a combination of braking and throttle reduction to help bring the vehicle back under control.

Though all of the EXT's safety and luxury features are impressive, from the driver's point of view they all take a back seat to what's under the hood, for here lies the heart of the EXT: a 6.0-liter V8 engine that spews out 345 horsepower. Not to dabble in too much hyperbole, but this engine in the EXT makes the Bat Mobile look like a Model T! Power is underfoot at all times and can be applied with equal zeal to towing or mild off roading.

The EXT offers those who like the styling and look of the Escalade a bit more flexibility to get both themselves and their Cadillac a bit more dirty without having to worry about ruining their interior. Good job Cadillac.

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