1999-2018 Cadillac Escalade
As truck sales heated up in the 1990s Cadillac contemplated getting into the truck market. Being the luxury car division of GM, they never built a truck in their over 100 year history. When Lincoln debuted their Navigator in 1998, Cadillac jumped into the truck market with the debut of the 1999 Escalade. This first Cadillac truck was based on a revised GMC Yukon, which was GMC’s top-of-the-line SUV. This explains why it only took Cadillac 10 months to develop.
Cadillac applied their passenger car-style grille and luxurious interiors that included leather and real wood trim. It was powered by a 255hp 5.7-Liter V8/four-speed automatic combo. Auto Trac four-wheel drive, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, and GM’s On-Star information and emergency-assistance system were all standard equipment. 23,897 Escalades were produced in 1999, with 5,192 having already been produced in 1998.
Though both Chevy and GMC had switched to the all-new GMT820 light-duty truck platform for the 2000 model year, Cadillac continued with the older platform for the Escalade until February 2001 when the all-new version debuted as a 2002 model. The new Escalade was developed more thoroughly than the first Escalade. Cadillac’s “Art and Science” design aesthetic was applied with its vertical lighting and razor sharp details. Power was from the 5.3-Liter V8 or 6.0-Liter Vortec V8. Cadillac also launched variations of the Chevy Suburban called ESV, and the Chevy Avalanche which Cadillac named EXT. All-wheel drive was standard equipment on ESV and EXT Escalades.
In 2004 the “Platinum” edition ESV was introduced, which came with 20-inch wheels, lower suspension, heated and cooled seats, moon roof, chrome grille, ebony/shale leather interior, and 6.0-Liter V8. Running changes to the Escalade around this time included the addition of Sirius/XM satellite radio, second-row bucket seats, and tire pressure monitoring system.
Escalade was on the new GMT900 truck platform in 2007, with the ESV and EXT pickup on a stretched version of the new platform. Escalades were powered by the 6.2-Liter Vortec V8 with variable valve timing. A hybrid version of the Escalade became available as a 2009 model, powered by a 6.0-Liter V8 combined with two 60-kilowatt electric motors.
Throughout this period the Escalade and its variants remained relatively unchanged except for annual color and interior revisions. The hybrid version of the Escalade and EXT truck would be discontinued after 2013—only 1,972 EXTs were sold in 2013.
Available beginning in April 2014, the all-new 2015 Escalade had 17-percent better gas mileage from the previous version, at 21mpg highway; with 0-60mph in less than six seconds. The towing rating was now 8,300-pounds. A new “Radiant” package was added in 2017, while the front grille and headlights were redesigned.
A new 10-speed transmission replaced the eight-speed automatic in 2018. The center console was completely redesigned along with a new seat memory system.
2019 was the last year for the fourth generation Escalade. To help spice up the outgoing platform a new “Sport” package was added to the existing Luxury, Premium and Platinum models.
As consumers continue to replace their cars with light trucks and SUVs, Cadillac will be expanding on the Escalade and its variants into the future.