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2012 Cadillac Escalade Review


An icon among luxury SUVs, the Cadillac Escalade continues to offer the most complete lineup in its segment, with three distinct body styles and the Platinum models. The model range includes the Escalade, the extended-length Escalade ESV and the reconfigurable Escalade EXT.
2012 Cadillac Escalade photo -2012 Cadillac Escalade 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.
2012 Cadillac Escalade photo2012 Cadillac Escalade 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.
2012 Cadillac Escalade photo2012 Cadillac Escalade 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 2012, two new exterior colors will be offered later in the model year: Radiant Silver Metallic and Crystal Red Tintcoat (not available on Escalade EXT). The interior has a new console lid design and the Platinum Edition is offered with new Ebony with Ebony accents trim. Also, the navigation system is updated with guiding lines for the rearview camera system, low-fuel warning, point-of-interest franchise search, SiriusXM Weather Forecast and SiriusXM Tune Select features.
2012 Cadillac Escalade photo2012 Cadillac Escalade 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.
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.
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.
2012 Cadillac Escalade photo2012 Cadillac Escalade 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.
LED taillamps are standard on all models.
Power retractable assist steps are standard on Premium and Platinum Collections.
Power-assisted liftgate is standard on all models.
Roof-mounted luggage rack with chrome accents 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 color choices include: Black Raven, Xenon Blue Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, Black Ice Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat, Radiant Silver Metallic and Mocha Steel Metallic.
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 and Platinum Collections 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.
Auto-dimming inside mirror with OnStar controls is standard on all models.
Power-adjustable pedals are standard on all models.
Remote vehicle starter system standard on all models.
Power-operated sunroof is standard on Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections.
Interior color and trim choices include: 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.
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.
Continuously variable valve timing allows linear delivery of torque, with near-peak levels over a broad rpm range, and high specific output (horsepower per liter of displacement). It also helps reduce exhaust emissions. Because it manages valve overlap at optimum levels, it eliminates the need for an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
GM's Active Fuel Management technology temporarily deactivates four of the engine’s cylinders under light-load conditions to help optimize fuel economy, and seamlessly reactivates them when full power is required. The transition takes less than 20 milliseconds and is virtually indiscernible.
A heavy-duty timing chain delivers quiet operation and long life. It is validated for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) of operation.
E85 is a clean-burning, domestically produced alternative fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol alcohol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is renewable and produces fewer greenhouse gases during the combustion process.
The fuel-saving Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission is paired with the 6.2L engine in all models.
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 highlights 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.
Open differential transfer case is standard on AWD models.
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
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.
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 can detect certain stationary objects in the rearward path of the vehicle and send an audible warning sound.
Rearview camera system is designed to provide the driver with a view of people or objects in the rearward path of the vehicle.
Side blind zone alert is standard on Luxury, Premium and Platinum Collections
Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS features smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system, which is included in two second-row seating positions.
Tire pressure monitoring system, standard on all models.
Standard remote keyless entry (RKE) system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can use it to locate their cars without sounding the panic alarm.
Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
OnStar details
OnStar is standard on all Escalade models. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
One year of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance on all Escalade models. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop.
Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.
myCadillac and OnStar myLink mobile apps offer vehicle information and OnStar services via the customer’s smartphone.
To thwart thefts, Escalade has a sophisticated cryptographic immobilizer system, PASS Key 3+. Since 2010, Escalade has included a steering column lock system to help prevent other theft conditions, including push-away theft.
2012 Cadillac Escalade photo2012 Cadillac Escalade photo
New for 2012, the Escalade includes:
A new and more robust steering column lock system that makes it nearly impossible to maneuver the Escalade onto a flatbed tow 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.
An available shock sensor intended to reduce content theft and push away theft by sounding the alarm when the vehicle is “shocked” such as breaking the glass.
A new wheel lock system is available to help prevent the theft of Escalade’s wheels and tires.
OnStar has the capability to locate stolen vehicles, immobilize them to prevent the thief from restarting the vehicle and slow the stolen vehicle once police are on the scene, which can help prevent high-speed chases.

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