5 reasons to buy and not to buy Cadillac Escalade III


Origins and Technology

The first manufacturer to successfully launch a large luxury SUV on the market was Lexus with its LX back in 1995. Its two arch-rivals, Ford and General Motors, fired almost a duplicate. Ford rolled out Lincoln Navigator, built on the base of full-size SUV Expedition. GM responded with the first generation of Cadillac Escalade. Telling the truth, haste has forced the designers to go in an absolutely easy way. In fact, the novelty became a result of badge-engineering. They just took full-size SUV GMC Yukon Denali and changed nameplates…

It was obviously not enough and the first Escalade remained on the conveyor only for two years. That much time was needed to develop the second generation of the model, which became the first “real Escalade”. The car, built on a frame platform GMT800, was kept on the conveyor from January 2001 to 2006. Assembly of the car was set up at three plants: in Arlington, Texas, in Mexican Silao and … in Russian Kaliningrad, at the factory Avtotor! For all its luxury features, the Escalade remained a classic American full-size SUV with powerful V8 Vortec engines and a reduction gear in the transfer case (although rear-wheel drive versions were also available).

In 2007, it was time to upgrade: GM moved to a new universal frame platform GMT900, which became the basis for a whole bouquet of models under the brands of Chevrolet, GMC, and, of course, Cadillac. Exactly Cadillac Escalade of the third generation will become the hero of our today’s story. Car got almost no alternative petrol 6,2-liter Vortec V8 6200 (409 hp), a new six-speed hydromechanical gearbox 6L80, a control system of shock absorber stiffness Magnetic Ride, and a body with significantly improved (compared to the previous generation) aerodynamics and two length options – standard and extended ESV.

Cadillac Escalade ‘2001–06

The transfer box did not have a reduction gear, but could provide a smooth transfer of torque between the axles, from a 50/50 ratio to a full power transfer to the rear axle. However, there were also purely rear-wheel drive versions. It is also worth noting that there was a hybrid version, but in Russia it is almost never seen. The car was equipped with three rows of seats (and the second row could be in the form of a three-seat sofa, and two separate “captain’s” chairs), three-zone climate control, a media system with a changer for 6 disks and the power of everything that can be equipped with them, including automatically retractable footrest. It was also assembled at three plants: Arlington, Silao and Kaliningrad. During its lifecycle, the model received only one significant update: since 2010, cars began to be equipped with AFM (Active Fuel Management), which turns off half of the running cylinders when possible and under low load, as well as a USB input that allowed to control the media system via iPhone.

In 2015, there was a generational change. By this point, GM began to wind down its operations in Russia, the Escalade model assembly was moved to Belarus, but the Cadillac brand remained on the market, represented exclusively by crossovers and SUVs. Well, the “Eski” third generation has moved to the aftermarket, where they can be purchased at a price of 850,000 rubles (and sometimes cheaper) to 1,800,000-2,000,000 rubles. All this means that within the same budget you can buy a Hyundai Creta or such a huge car of premium brand. But is it worth doing? We told you a year ago about what technical problems a person who decided to buy a Cadillac Escalade III may encounter. Well now let’s see what advantages he will get and what owners of such cars think about all this, many of which, by the way, have already bought them at the secondary market.

Hate #5: Cost of operation (consumption, price of parts, tax)

So, let’s assume that a person is determined to buy a big premium SUV for a reasonable price. Well, in this case, God forbid him to look at the side of American models, well Escalade will definitely not be the worst choice. In many reviews, the owners claim that today on the market of used cars of the same age there are not so many competitors on the price/quality ratio at “Escalade”. And there are not too many offers that fit in the available budget. But it is not so easy to find a suitable car…

The matter is that Cadillac Escalade, according to its owners, the automobile as a whole is “strong”, “enduring”, “liveable” and “not broken”. On the one hand, it forgives a lot and for a long time enough tolerates the lack of attention. On the other hand, many former owners have purchased it because of its brutal appearance and status, they have driven it, played with it, have understood that it is not mine and put it for sale, leaving the solution of the accumulated technical problems to the new owners.

Thus, all together strongly recommend to necessarily take the potential purchase for diagnostics in car-care center, but not in any, but the one where they know this car. In one of his reviews, the author writes that before buying, he looked through at least a dozen of variants, and spent more than 30 thousand rubles only for diagnostics.

But now a suitable variant has been found… Anyway, they will have to invest in it, and these investments will definitely exceed the usual equivalent of 1000 evergreen trifles. On the Internet, the owners write that they have spent from 150,000 up to 350,000 roubles to bring the used Escalade in condition.

At last, the car is completely ready for operation… Will a person with average income, say, 60-70 thousand a month pay for it? It is a big question. In principle Escalade maintenance is not too expensive and, as a rule, costs 10-15 thousand rubles. But according to the regulations it is necessary to have it done after 7-8 thousand kilometers and if a person drives a lot, then one maintenance checkup a year won’t do. Under the hood Escalade – V8 409 hp, and it means that in the regions of central Russia vehicle tax will be 61,350. But it is not all!

The whole 6,2 liters of working volume and a herd of 409 wild American horses needs to be fed, and their appetite is excellent! It is not occasional that the permissible fuel consumption is a favorite topic of discussion in any community of Escalade owners. Some with a foam at the mouth to argue that the fuel consumption is 30-35 liters in Moscow and 20-25 outside the city, depending on driving style, and it does not matter, you go at a speed of 40 or 140 km / h. And the mythical 21 liters per hundred in the city you can get unless driving on the Moscow Ring Road, and that on weekends and in the summer.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

And now take your average mileage for the year, multiply by the average consumption, the resulting amount – by the price of 92-rd gasoline (by the way, in many reviews, the authors note that the consumption when using the 95th is somewhat lower), and get the total amount, to which we add the planned costs of maintenance and tax. Let’s add a certain sum for possible unscheduled repairs…

As it follows from the vast majority of reviews, with proper care Escalade is not inclined to turn into a financial black hole. Thus, in several reviews the authors note, that their second cars of premium German brands of approximately the same age and also with powerful motors demanded twice bigger investments for a year, than Escalade for three years, but nevertheless it is necessary to lay in some expenses.

Most likely, at you the figure will leave about 250-350 thousand rubles, and the salary at you, I remind, is 60-70 thousand. And now decide for yourself whether it is necessary to buy Escalade “on last million” and whether you are ready to spend a few monthly salaries for maintenance of the car… But if the tax doesn’t frighten you (you can think about not going to a restaurant with the company a couple times), Your salary allows you to feed on 18-20 liters per hundred kilometers, burn monthly liters of 300 gasoline, and is able to spend about 100,000 rubles a year to maintain the car in decent condition, then Escalade can bring you a lot of joy.

Love #5: Emotionality

The Escalade, without a doubt, belongs to the number of cars that one buys “on emotion”. It is quite a strange and ambiguous car, but it draws in and attracts, you either love it, or categorically do not accept it. The choice is made more often not by a head, but only by heart.

First, the appearance… Yes, not everyone likes the image of “glamorous tank”, but… Ah, these head optics the size of a pair of house chandeliers! And this huge chromed radiator grill! And those shiny 22 rims! And the interior, this American beige interior with a lot of electrics, wood and quality leather! And the sound, the sound of the exhaust of a real American V8, deep, low, powerful, similar to the roaring of a mountain lion in the Sierra Nevada, the sound that sends shivers down your skin and makes your hair stand on end!

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

The authors of many reviews on the Internet begin with this, with a description of their emotions: “It is pleasant to approach the car, the appearance pleases the eye, it is pleasant to start it, both remotely and from the key, it is pleasant to be inside, although here, of course, the important role is played by the Platinum package. And this after several years of ownership!”, “Damn, but Americans know a lot about style! Rollers the size of Daewoo Matiz organically fit into huge wheel arches, where the budget of a small town can fit, and footsteps, which, as if by magic, descend to the lordly feet of the owner every time you open the door, complete the look of the car in its pathos”, “I love the sounds that it makes – when it starts up, when it accelerates. I’m not one of those who likes to put a “growler” that makes passersby’s ears prick up and my own head start to explode after 20 minutes. But here the standard exhaust, in my opinion, is made properly. It pleasantly murmurs at idle and low revs and murmurs bassily if revs over 2.5 thousand (which is not a little, in a city when driving smoothly enough to twist this engine to 2 thousand).

“This is a car with charisma and character. It is chosen not by reason, but by heart and soul. It was a conscious choice, and every time I drive this monster, a smile never leaves my face. In fact, you sit at the helm like in an expensive yacht, lounging and putting one hand on the armrest (a full armrest, not its substitute) and the other on the console between the seats, in the cabin of a three-room apartment in a “khrushchevka” and naturally, without efforts you direct the icebreaker in the right direction.

This car is always noticeable in the stream and attracts looks. Some write that sometimes it is even boring. Someone mentioned, that after the release of the new song about Cadillac by Morgenstern, the young people go crazy, and when they see the car, they start dancing. Frankly speaking, sometimes you would like to avoid attention to yourself, but you can’t.

The relations with other traffic participants are also formed differently. In some reviews the authors tell about general respect and even a little bit of apprehension: “The dimensions and appearance make the car non-conflictive on the road. No one cuts off, no one aligns in the rear bumper, no one blinks the headlights (even the trash license plates and incomprehensible cars with blinkers, I checked). A kind of empty space is created around the car, and you’re the only one who decides how you drive.” “On an Escalade, you turn on the turn signal and they let you through. On the highway, you catch up with a car in the left lane and they give way. You get blunt at the traffic lights and everyone keeps quiet until you notice it. In other cars, you have to climb, fight, blink the light, and if you do not start moving at a traffic light a millisecond after the green light turned on, you’ll be blown to bits.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

Others admit that attitudes vary widely, and are very similar to those of any premium car. “You can come across as polite and accommodating to owners of other luxury cars, as well as the principled hatred of owners of more budget brands. Drive slowly and politely, even in traffic, that is the happiness of owning this car. I can definitely say that Escalade will undoubtedly cause some caution, respect and appreciation of attendants, who see what you have driven up to this or that establishment.

Finally, as in the case of other ambiguous and charismatic models, Escalade owners have formed a friendly Internet community. There are forums and chats in WhatsAp, where you can always find advice and directions and simply have a pleasant conversation. There are club service stations where the real high class experts work who know all the issues and problems of these cars and are ready to solve them without multiplying the price by three, and this circumstance can be referred to serious pluses.

Hate #4: Chrome parts, paintwork, VIN, door handles.

In principle, the Escalade body is sufficiently corrosion resistant, and you will never see signs of corrosion or peeling varnish on the factory body parts with native paintwork. And a frame is a frame. Its metal, of course, also corrodes, but in order for decay to lead to failure of mechanical strength, it takes not 5-10 years, but somewhat more.

But there are a number of unpleasant things. First, metal corrosion on the section of the frame where the VIN is applied can make it unreadable, which in turn leads to inevitable and very serious problems when registering the car. So be sure to carefully inspect the condition of the number, which is stamped on the frame on the right side, near the front passenger door, and after buying (if you do not intend to own the car until he himself to pieces, it is advisable to remove all the old mastic, grind the number, and then cover this place with a layer of lithol.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

The Japanese have a ceremony of admiring cherry blossoms… But the Escalade owners have a sad tradition of admiring blossoming of chrome parts in spring. It is a real sore that is mentioned in one way or another by authors of almost all reviews: “In large cities with salt and reagents in winter, during two seasons, chrome completely loses its marketable appearance, and then begins to fray, giving even a very beautiful car a horrible look. And there is nothing you can do about it. Yes, it is possible to wash more often, and it can delay death a little, but not considerably. Further, it is either to change parts for new ones, which cost as an airplane wing, or to paint, from what the car sharply loses in appearance.

The windshield wiper mechanism also suffers from corrosion, that is why the complaint “wiper blades seize up, I have been to service twice for a year” is quite typical.

One more problem is connected with a quality of lacquer covering and the sad fact, that the car has not been equipped with mudguards from the beginning. As a result, the mud constantly flies with small stones from under front wheels, and the result of such sand-blasting becomes the bottom part of doors, covered with numerous chips. It is treated by installation of regular mudguards, but this pleasure is not cheap – about 10 000 rubles for a set.

In general, the owners rate the paintwork as quite delicate: “I drove through the woods once and the paint is already scratched, although after the winter I painted 5 or 6 elements, almost the perimeter of the car”, “Two months after purchase the paint on the rear wing came off, I had to paint at my expense”, “Almost from the first day the paint from the side mirrors flew off”. The authors of reviews consider appearance of chips on a hood as chronic and prolonged disease. It does not influence on speed, as they say, but it irritates terribly.

Well, the unexpected problem appeared to be connected with mechanical strength of door handles: “The next day after the passing of TO, I tried to open the car and I was extremely surprised, having found a handle in hands, without any violence. According to the dealer, it is a disease in Escalades”, “Weak exterior door handles. The door was frozen, I pulled it a little harder and voila! – The handle came off”, “The door handles are weak, two have already been torn out”. The author of one of the reviews said that the handle was torn off by a five-year-old child!

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

Owners also complain about problems with keeping the car clean: “They wash and blow the car at the car wash, but it still leaks for about an hour from all the cracks, moldings, spoilers and linings. I have even more problems in winter. The button to open the trunk door freezes, the side windows are completely frozen, no matter how you blow and dry them at the car wash before you leave the car. In general, it is very uneasy to keep clean…

Love #4: Maneuverability.

At a sight at a monumental faceted carcass of Cadillac Escalade it can seem that using this car in the city will be sheer torment, and the dimensions – a real disaster. However, the car owners assure that it is not so: “Certainly, Escalade itself is a freeway, but I would not call it a clumsy behemoth in the Moscow traffic jams. Super comfort, pleasure from the way you move from point A to point B. No stress!”. “For the city the car certainly looks big, but there were no special problems when parking or driving in narrow yards.” “Despite its overall size, the Cadillac Escalade is very easy and comfortable to drive even in the narrow streets of Moscow and tight parking lots.”

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

Escalade has excellent maneuverability and an excellent turning radius, it allows turning around literally on a patch, and huge side mirror hoods and rear view camera solve the problem of parking in tight places: “I have no problems with parking in Moscow, both in the center and outside the city, I drive it as in a car. “In 1.5 years I have become fully accustomed to the dimensions and squeeze in wherever the Oka will stand”. “Thanks to the mirrors, even a blonde will be able to park and maneuver the car. “Rear parking sensors and rear view camera solve the problem of dimensions when parking.”

Hate #3: Ergonomic oddities

What do people buy a car like this for? Certainly, for the sake of excellent comfort in the interior, and as a whole Escalade does not deceive their expectations. But we should remember that this comfort is American and transoceanic ideas about what is good and what is bad can seriously differ from European and Asian. Let’s start with the ergonomics of the driver’s workplace.

Many people mark a paradoxical situation: it is very comfortable to sit in the seat, but in turns you literally fly from side to side because of almost total absence of lateral support. Mutual arrangement of a seat, a steering wheel and a pedal unit can be adjusted so that everything would be convenient for a driver of any height. The only thing is that the servo drive, which moves the steering tube, works too quickly, so it is difficult to catch the right position: “it’s just some attraction, because the speed of movement is jet, it would be better if the gearbox would switch so quickly”.

For some reason there is no place to rest the left leg in the automobile. This problem is solved differently. Some people suggest to screw a plastic brake “shoe”.

A lot of reviewers are complaining about too thin steering wheel and solve this problem with a braid. The owners get used to the traditional for American cars automatic selector in the form of “poker” on the steering wheel quickly, and some even conclude that this selector is much more convenient than the usual lever on the transmission tunnel, but it takes much longer to get used to the overloaded functions of the only understeer switch, and to understand how to turn on with it without reading the manual can not work.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

Absence of anti-pinch function and “semi-automatic” mode of operation of front windows is bewildering: the window is lowered with one push, but to raise it, it is necessary to hold the button in pressed position.

Or such ergonomic puncture. Probably you have faced a situation: you have passed a Cadillac Escalade merging into the stream, but its driver has not blinked his car alarm. But do not blame him in lack of politeness and consider him an ungrateful brute: the button of switch on emergency starter is located at the top of a steering tube, and it is almost unreal to press it while driving, and it is even dangerous.

There are also questions to the distribution of interior volumes. The author of one of reviews describes this situation so: “In “Esca” they tried to make the “full-fledged” third row, having moved the second one forward. What for? I have taken a child on the third row once during the year, and someone always rides the second row. Same LX has the third row “for last resort”, there is a full-fledged second row, on which four people could be put easily, and the car became eight-seater. The Esca with big external dimensions is six-seater. It is a paradox. I experienced it, however, only once, when, having gone to the country with friends (me, wife, two children, and friends – husband and wife), I had to ask friends to go by their car, as one back place in the third row was occupied by a baby carriage and luggage. By the way, with the third row unfolded, you can put in the trunk only an umbrella or a bat – whatever you need.

There are a lot of claims to the quality of interior materials, first of all – to plastics: “Interior of Platinum favourably differs from the standard, I think, all the owners will agree with it. The trim of the dashboard, seats and doors – five points, no questions. Good stitching, materials, performance – everything is excellent, though the bottom part of a fore-board also could be covered with vinyl, how, for example, the bottom of doors, but alas… But all the rest of interior is woefully finished. Props and a ceiling are covered with strange beige cloth on foam rubber which leaves tightenings, as on pantyhose if someone will catch it with something carelessly at a car wash or children will catch it. Combined with the lack of cabin filter and dust and soot flying into the cabin, it’s a misfortune. Everything is peeling and wrinkling on the visors. The fit of details of struts and ceiling is disgusting, there are cracks everywhere. The speakers in the front struts are also with gaps. The sill trim is just a nightmare. Made in the form of a flat plastic lining, which is all crooked and miserable. The armrest between front seats dangles and squeaks. When purchasing this topic the dealer told me “it is prescribed by the manufacturer”. I now also say so to everyone, so as not to laugh.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

Indeed, the light beige interior looks extremely spectacular, but with practicality – a complete disaster: “I have done the beige interior – the car is working, I drive a lot of things, including staff. Just cleaning at the car wash is no longer sufficient, I’ll soon rush to the dry-cleaner. “The annoyance over the time I’ve been using it is the light-colored interior. What a pain in the ass! And the seats, sides, etc. – everything is fine, just wipe occasionally with a napkin and be neat. But the floor is everything! I have a small child, and of course he’s not going to take his shoes off when he gets in the car. Despite the rubber carpets, the floor is still very dirty. Well, the absence of cabin filter (with the space intended for its installation) is perceived by Russian owners as some form of mockery.

There is also a number of little complaints – for example, the absence of places for water bottles in doors is mentioned quite often; the fact that the hatch is contraindicated to tall people, because it eats up 3 cm of interior height, and it is impossible to seat comfortably in a workplace with any adjustments. The owners of cars manufactured before 2011 can only dream about USB, bluetooth and hands-free system, and all are perplexed why the onboard computer provides information only in English, though the car is assembled in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Love #3: Interior equipment and comfort

Of course, there are plenty of complaints about the interior of the Escalade on the Internet. But “American comfort” is absolutely objective and Cadillac is the brand which knows how to embody it almost in full. And people appreciate it…

Here are just some of the statements of the owners of “Eski”: “When you get into this car, you feel why it costs so much, it is comfortable, it has an excellent finish, a lot of features that help the driver, to describe each of them I do not see the point, otherwise the review would be like a book. Separately, I would like to say about fans to say about the “damn poker shift”: whatever you say, I still do not understand why all the manufacturers do not do so, because it is incredibly convenient!” “There’s a heated saddle. There’s a separate back warmer. There’s ventilation for the saddle. There is a heated steering wheel, to cut a long story short, there is a lot. I like the interior very much. It is rich, somewhere they write about the cheapness of the plastic – I didn’t see it. To me, it is harmonious. The seats are comfortable, except that the steering wheel is a little thin. The back of the sofa is heated, both manually and electrically foldable. The third row is quite spacious. Music sounds as it should. The trunk lid opens and closes automatically from the key fob. You can also open the window separately with the key fob.”

“Liked the heating and cooling feature of the cup holders between the seats, didn’t test the cooling, but warming a can of coffee was effective. The heated steering wheel is also a needed option, especially for our climate zone. Remote engine start eliminates the need for an alarm system. Moving out steps – a separate respect to the manufacturers, it is very convenient. Inside the cabin you have the feeling that you are in an expensive exclusive car: dashboard, clock, wooden inset, opening with a pleasant clang niche for cup holders, ashtray and glove compartment between the seats – everything disposes to a pleasant and comfortable ride. The only dissonance, in my opinion, is a block of climate and audio – it looks a bit simple. But it is nothing. In principle, in many reviews Escalade is associated with a luxury yacht: both in movement the car is similar to it, and the combination of wood, aluminum and leather upholstery evokes some similar images.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

Many good words have been written about driver comfort. It starts with ease of access: “Notice how the driver’s door opens! It’s a gate! Big men will understand me!”. We have already mentioned about uncommonly comfortable seating and huge range of adjustments, we can only add that a pedal unit adjustable by flight distance plays big role in it. Well, retractable footrests are very helpful for passengers, especially for children and elderly people.

Almost in all reviews at least a couple of lines of praise are devoted to BOSE sound system: excellent quality of sounding in combination with quite good sound insulation allows enjoying listening to music even to a very picky audiophile. Noise isolation in the car is really on a level, in reviews the owners write that when you close the windows and doors, all external noise is literally “turned off. Since 2010, the system allows you to connect any smartphone, Android devices are connected via AUX-connector, and management is possible only from the phone screen, and the iPhone is connected via USB, and everything is controlled by the touch screen head unit. Communication via bluetooth, of course, not enough, but the wired connection is quite possible to get used to. Family people are very pleased with the fact that on a long road it is possible to listen to the radio, while the passengers in the second row enjoy watching movies on the regular overhead monitor or listen to something of their own through the regular wireless headphones.

So many Escalade owners originally wanted to buy a car with three rows of seats. Here writes the owner of a chain of small eateries and restaurants, “Sometimes it is necessary to quickly move the staff to another restaurant, whether it’s a banquet, cooks/waiters, or an audit of the accounting department. You need a couple of sacks of malt or some utensils, in a word, you need a big car, no matter how you look at it.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

People with large families are guided by about the same considerations: “I wanted to buy a car for the whole family (I have four children), so the whole family can go on vacation. We live in the Far North, so we have to travel long distances and lots of time to visit our relatives in Anapa, and therefore safety and size are a priority”.

And here, strangely enough, they do not like six-seat variant with two separate “captain’s” seats in the second row: “Sometimes we have to load the whole family in the car, and as the second row of seats consists of two captain’s chairs, there is not enough space. But it turned out that the third row of seats flush to the second row, and my hockey bag easily fits. There is, however, a disadvantage: the seats of the third row don’t fold down unless the headrests are removed, and there are no niches where they could be stuffed.

But as a whole nobody tries to question the highest level of comfort, which is provided by captain’s chairs for two passengers of the second row, especially as they have a possibility to control their own microclimate.

People really like the way the control of saloon transformation and access to the luggage compartment is organized: “It will not surprise anybody any more with electric adjustments of everything, but I liked the way one could open/close the luggage compartment door of the train by pushing the button on the ceiling console and also folding the second row of seats. The only pity is that you can’t unfold it.” At the same time the electric trunk door operates from the key fob, as well as from the car (the button is located next to the keys to control the sunroof and folding 2nd row of seats). The power tailgate means your hands stay clean in all weathers, and you don’t have to fully open-close the trunk. You have the option of opening only the glass in the trunk door (from the key fob). It is also convenient that during stops, not only the driver can open or close the doors, but also the front passenger.

As for the luggage compartment itself, if to fold the third row of seats, four sets of hunting equipment can be freely placed in the cargo area, and there is still space, and with the folded second row in the cabin it turns into a good sleeping place for two people.

Hate #2: problems with suspension and electrics

Every car has characteristic “sore spots,” and the Escalade is no exception. Basically they concern a suspension and various problems connected with electrics and electronics. Let’s begin with a suspension… For example, rear pneumatic struts. Somebody has them for 200 thousand, and somebody has air suspension that starts blowing after 20 thousand, and it is not clear how it correlates with driving style and maintenance. One dead shock-absorber drags along the second one, and then the compressor. The failed compressor jams up shock absorbers’ pads, and the cost of repair of all turns out not so pleasant.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

The Escalade’s front suspension is equipped with Magnetic Ride Control, and, according to the owners, it’s “a cool thing”. The system analyzes the quality of the road surface, clamps the suspension on a flat surface and unclamps it on a bumpy one. But the American designers have not foreseen that on smooth and even TTK or the Garden ring can be manholes, and directly in the middle of a strip, or that one can run into a pit in asphalt on the highway after several tens of kilometers of quite decent asphalt. In such situations the clamped suspension gives you a firm kick…

Also, the system Magnetic Ride Control does not like strong frosts, which can reduce life time of shock absorbers. The problem is solved by several methods. Somebody just changes to new original shock absorbers, installs front shock absorbers from Tahoe (you just need to take care of onboard computer cheat), somebody prefers to install Billstein 5100.

The last methods also give decent economy: “The serious expenses are for front shock absorbers, they can’t stand our winters… First set was changed at 30,000 km, the second set – at 58,000 km. First time I bought the original for 47,500 (2 pcs.), and the second time I saved money and replaced them with a TAHO set for 25,000”. By the way, the rear air struts are mainly responsible for body alignment at big load, so many people prefer to change all standard shock absorbers for Billstein around. This is also more economical: “I decided to try to refuse from the rear shock absorbers in favor of Billstein round shock absorbers. They promised me that the car would be more restrained on the road, and excessive rolliness would disappear. I figured that the original will cost me 75 000 rubles, and Bilstein around – 35 000 (with job, stubs on air balloons and bumpers). Thought if I do not like it, then put the original. И?! Never regretted it. Everything is just as they say. The car is much more pleasant to drive!

Bearing a hub rarely survive 100 000 km and replaced with a hub and ABS sensor. The price ranges from 6000 rubles. (China) up to 25 000 (original). Naturally, the silent blocks, ball bearing mounts, cross strut stabilizer racks regularly fail on such a heavy automobile… In general, the collective mind of Escalade owners has come to a conclusion that suspension is very weak, and its resource makes up to 50-60 thousand km. And it is simply useless to change one lever or a ball bearing, as they say, you won’t get out of service until you replace all levers and shock absorbers.

The second group of complaints refers to the breakdown of the most various electrics. More often the owners complain about blown headlight bulbs: “Twice or three times a year I have to change the bulbs of dipped beam (they are bi). Fortunately, it’s not xenon. And it is a disease of all Escalades, not only my car. The fact is that when you start the engine, the voltage spikes greatly, and the bulbs fly. And I forget to set the lights to “Off” before starting. So, only one in five cars drives with both lights on. One bulb costs from 300 to 1500 rubles, and their durability does not depend on the price – have tried everything in this price range. Already wanted to put a 5 thousand apiece, but the master said he would still come to them in six months. But I can’t replace them myself. I am too lazy to remove the bumper, it is easier to pay 2 thousand for replacement at service”. Often the owners notice that the light flickers slightly at idle. It is a diode bridge. Alas, it is not sold separately, only together with an alternator. A new alternator is available from 9 grand (for a Chinese analog) to 25 grand for the original.

Another sore point is the falling off contacts of the heated rear window. Here you need to look for service man with hands that can simply solder a wire, otherwise you will have to change the window for a new one, and the original costs 30 ths.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

A very common problem is the failure of the retractable footrest motors: “Winter, reagents and dirt. These are the three nasty components that ruin an Escalade’s electric footrests. You can add the lack of service (read: cleaning, lubrication, and maintenance of the footrests and electric motors). All of these evil things may well lead you to the point where the electric footrest “gets tired” and won’t want to slide into place. You can tell this by the hum it makes when the car starts moving, trying to hide in its fighting place. I have been able to do it 3 or 4 times. If you do not like the look, when you are outside trying to close the car, and the step is not in place, you can and should help it with a foot or other object at the moment of lifting, so to say “finish”, but without a swing, otherwise there will be traces on the step. I pondered the price of replacement: bad guys at official service drew almost 45-50 thousand for one motor, in another place said – 25 thousand, dedicated forum limited to the figure of 10 thousand for one electric motor (all the rest – the iron, and there is nothing to break there in principle).

Many owners are irritated by inscrutable algorithm of rain sensor functioning: “Sometimes the window is all in water and wipers are silent – you have to switch on manually, and sometimes on the contrary – on a sunny day you forget to set zero and they start to grind the window. They overdid it evidently”. And very often the failure of some end-device (airbag error, no air temperature reading, check engine lighted up, blinker failure) is imaginary: the sensor itself (either airbag sensor or parking sensor) is fine, but its pins are ruined by corrosion. The first thing you will be offered at the service station is replacement of sensors (which costs 10-30 thousand rubles), while a good electrician will solve the problem for about 500 rubles.

Love #2: Maneuverability, Passability, Reliability, Safety

Many people initially expect that on a road Escalade will represent a typical American Humpty Dumpty, a couch on soft pads, wobbly, with a light but absolutely empty steering wheel and no steerability. To their surprise, the reality turns out to be absolutely different, to be exact, only expectation of easy and empty steering wheel is justified.

Many people call the suspension too rigid: “Rigid suspension! It does not break through, but also does not swallow bumps. There, where my wife’s Tiguan comfortably enough swallows bumps and pits, Eska shakes with all its might. Probably, 20 disks are to blame. In fact, owners of versions on 18 disks note that they provide much more smooth running and ride comfort: “Very rigid suspension on R22! “The normal masters say that this car is designed only for 18 wheels, but the Americans, as usual do not think too much, have stuck 22 wheels to improve sales without changing the suspension”. But the drivability of the car suddenly appears on the top! Here again, not to be unfounded, we should let the owners speak out: “What impressed me is the drivability, especially in winter. All systems work perfectly. After LX, which is like a cow on ice, the Esca steers simply perfectly.” “The handling of such a considerable car is excellent. The suspension handles turns, shifts, and maneuvers on the highway at speeds of 120+ just fine, the car is like sticking to the road. The rolls are small. The wheels on 22” disks and 45-section tires are evidently of great help here. At first it is strained by the full absence of “zero” on the steering wheel and the force which does not change at any speed, but, having got used to it, you start to feel discomfort in the cars which have all that. Suspension is comfortable enough, but you can’t call it soft. Fans of BMW will consider it soft, but after the “Cruzac” it is like “sports”.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

“Went to Tuapse. In case anyone doesn’t know, a significant part of the road goes through mountain passes, some of the turns are almost 180 degrees. There, for the sake of interest, I followed a Range Sport with a supercharger engine and 20 rollers, which was dashing through the corners. Surprisingly, the Caddy was not an inch behind, though much bigger and heavier. We made some sharp turns at the speed of 70-80 km/h, which is not bad for SUVs. Cadila holds the road tenaciously, there is no hint of stern drift. The only serious disadvantage: you have to constantly cling to the steering wheel, because the back bends back and forth on the seat. In short, I was surprised and satisfied with the auto behavior on the serpentines.

Almost in each review you can find the stories that the car goes smoothly on a freeway, “as an iron”, “as a steam locomotive on rails”. “It maneuvers excellently, it changes lanes easily, doesn’t wobble or lurch. Of course, you can’t turn a steering wheel 90 degrees at one hundred and sixty, but Porsche can’t do it either. It goes 120, 140, 160 – no problems. It adjusts to 140-160 better than Lexus. In general, I began to catch myself thinking that I drive the Cadillac like a sports sedan”, “The ride is very much like a sports sedan, because the suspension is quite rigid, and inside the cabin you can feel every little bump. It rolls into a turn not at all worse than a sedan C-class, thus body roll is minimal, and at some moment an idea about impunity comes”.

As regards the cross-country ability, it is more than sufficient to overcome “the proverbial” “last kilometer” to a summer residence or to force its way through deep freshly fallen snow, having traction at low levels of Vortec V8 engine is really steam locomotive, Or to park in a snowdrift, or on the contrary to get out from covered with a night snowfall parking… Well, Escalade is not intended for serious off-roading – the skirt of a front bumper hangs too low, its weight is too great, and there is no reduction gear in transmission. Therefore those who in spite of the frame construction call the automobile a “crossover” are absolutely right.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

But the presence of the frame gives the owners a special confidence in terms of safety: “Having driven a lot on our highways and having seen crazy drivers flying into the head, I realized that at least some safety is provided by a large car. I’ve seen several accidents, where big cars and hatchbacks converged in frontal collision. As a rule, in case of frame cars there were only fractures and bruises, and sometimes the drivers got away with it. In smaller cars, things are usually much sadder. I’ve seen sprats cut out of warped cars a few times. And I have four children who are waiting for their daddy. Here’s another story: “The decision to buy was influenced by the story of a friend’s accident in an old-body Cadillac. I must say that his Cadillac could not be restored (although he found out about the attempt to pass it a year later in a trade-in at one of the dealers in St. Petersburg), but he came out of the accident with a small bruise. Besides the fact that a weirdo, who unexpectedly made a U-turn through a solid lane, got his engine compartment torn off, and he got a heavy concussion. In general, Escalade is a strong car: “There was a case: a jerk drove out on VAZ-2107, and I slowly drove into his fender. Front fender to be replaced, headlight to be replaced, driver’s door to be repaired. That’s it for him. Mine had a scratch on the front bumper.

But the owners consider reliability to be the main plus of Cadillac Escalade: “The car has it’s little thing and a little problem, but, on my experience and on communication with other owners, nobody ever doubts, that he will reach his destination, even if it is several thousands kilometers away”.

The Vortec 6200 engine is absolutely reliable. May be it is not a “millionaire”, but it is possible to count on 400-500 thousands of trouble-free run, and in general the service life of the car is much higher than of many other models. True, people who think that if they change oil once in 15 thousand, do not regularly flush the injector, change spark plugs, clean the throttle, and will tear this car every time from a traffic light, their engine will live forever are deluded. The gearbox and transfer gearbox are as reliable as the engine; the only thing that it is necessary to do with them is to change oil every 40thousandth year. Thus, the owners write: “I can state: I have never had more reliable car. I only had a hub replacement (16k rubles + work), oil change and a light bulb. But I have driven almost 100k km for a year.

Hate #1: Work of transmission and brakes.

Probably, the most serious complaints of owners are addressed to the brake system and a gearbox. Let’s begin with the box. The complaints are about unreliability of this unit: with proper maintenance (changing oil every 40-60 thousand km) and proper usage (do not jump at every traffic light with smoke from under the wheels and do not pull trucks out of ditches) there will be no problems with the box. It is very reliable unit – as well as the whole system of permanent full drive. By the way, the transmission is intended for towing a trailer with weight up to 5 tons, for what there is a special button at the end of “poker”. But the algorithm of its work obviously does not please many people.

“The automatic transmission is adjusted for pensioners. It does not allow the engine to work normally, switching over at too low revolutions, and if it is necessary to accelerate sharply, it starts to shuffle down one gear instead of dropping two at once. All this can be cured by adjusting the box, which only one wizard from Irkutsk can do. “Annoyingly stupidity of the box around 40-60 km/h (as I read later, it’s a delay in shifting from 2 to 3 gears). The thing is that GM puts on the Europeans base settings, which stifles the car, and to get the full output from your 409 horsepower is a task like go there, I do not know where.” “I don’t like the incomprehensible operation of the automatic transmission. They say, that it is adaptive to the driver, but if not to press the “button in the floor” all the time, it blunts very often. Happens mostly after normal driving or standing in a traffic jam, if you want to overtake someone or when shifting somewhere from 40-60 km/h. Acceleration can be about nothing, smooth, but no kickdown, but sometimes it does kick down.”

In the forums there are many threads discussing how and where you can flash the electronic brains of the automatic, so its work corresponded to the herd under the hood: “In the city, in the bundle of motor with a box all is not so rosy. Though the box is modern, but the settings are so disgusting…. Stupidity just pisses me off sometimes. No, if you drive half-brakes, then it’s quite tolerable, but on such a car this style of driving is ridiculous and dangerous. And if you drive calmly, the settings, once again, are just annoying. And if the question is about a used automobile, the previous owner of which did not pay enough attention to service of the box, then various problems are possible. For example, such as the one the author writes about in one of his reviews: “The problem with gear shifting, I can’t switch it on at once. I start the engine, press the pedal a few times – and, lo and behold, the gear is engaged.

The brakes are also in trouble. “The braking system is terrible! It’s just not designed for this car. The brakes overheat instantly, and if you keep straining them, the cuffs on the pistons burn out, and the main brake cylinder is squeezed”, “The native brakes are total crap. If you try to stop the car 4 times at 70 km/h, pressing the brake pedal to the floor, then the 5th time it just will not stop. Brakes “float” oh-so-very quickly, then you have to wait to cool down. The authors of reviews are literally competing in who will express their opinion about the braking system as ironically as possible: “It is necessary to tie it with a rigid coupling behind the Ferrari. Why hard hitch? Because once you accelerate it, you’ll never stop it. On the normal brakes, two brakes and then there’s no reaction to the brake pedal. Apparently, that’s why they put leather interiors in them – easy to wash… The brake pedal is sluggish and incomprehensible – one should press it very early. Therefore, all acceleration up to a hundred is good in deserts of Mexico, where there is nobody. Everything in the car works separately – engine, gearbox, brakes. It’s especially funny in a traffic jam. The car in front has already left and stopped. At this moment the Cadillac only reacts to the pressed gas pedal (one, two, three, four – go), and quite briskly. But it is already necessary not to go, but to brake… For sure, it looks especially funny from aside and causes thoughts about mental inferiority of the driver. Escalade can “make” many people, but it is very embarrassing to overtake GL 500 from a traffic light and drive past its turn, because it refused to brake before the turn.

Understandably, not everyone reacts so keenly. A part of authors believes, that braking dynamics could be better, but still it is quite adequate and corresponds to the weight of the car: “You have sat behind the wheel of almost 3 ton automobile. Do you want it to brake as Lamborghini? Yes, it would not brake instantly, yes, you could put bigger brakes, but the price would be different. I think you need to understand that you drive a tank, and that it will not brake like a Kia Rio.

Also in comparison with popular schoolmates, for example, with Land Cruiser 200, Escalade brakes not so bad. Nevertheless, in many responses it is mentioned that the problem of brakes is solved only by full replacement of the brake system for Brembo, and this event, as you understand, does not refer to the number of budget ones.

“Factory brakes, of course, are able to cope with the task of stopping this car comfortably and confidently. But. You will immediately buy yourself a Brembo or something similar after the first emergency braking (if you have the sum of $10,000 for a complete set). It’s definitely an expensive tuning, but if your budget allows it, you’re better off doing it right away. By the way, I was advised to remove these brakes for the winter because the special composition of the brake disc can cause premature wear from dirt that gets clogged in the disc holes and smeared by the brake pads during braking. I still haven’t convinced you to change your brakes? Then compare their size on the Cadillac Escalade and the Cadillac SRX. The latter has a much larger diameter.”

Love #1: Dynamics

But the main joy of owning a Cadillac Escalade is the car’s ability to go very fast. No matter how many people you put in it and how much you load the luggage carrier (with anything, even with cast-iron weights), the car still has a diesel traction. Escalade swiftly makes any tight overtaking and, it seems, is ready to speed up to infinity. At the same time, as the owners write, you don’t feel the speed at all: “When you go 100 km per hour, it feels like you’re sawing at 70.

Cadillac Escalade 2007–14

В целом автомобиль с его подвеской и особенностями управления не провоцирует на сверхактивную езду, но тяги хватает всегда и везде. А какой при этом звук движка! На каждом обгоне ты слышишь приятнейший рокот мотора. О да, звук – просто супер, но и динамика вполне соответствует звуку. «Динамика, ребята, просто непередаваемая. Идешь 120 км/ч, выходишь на обгон, давишь на гашетку и получаешь под зад такой пинок, что, сделав это первый раз, я аж испугался»…

Есть, конечно критиканы, которые уверяют, что стоковые Escalade не разгоняются до сотни ни за 6,5, ни за 6,8 секунды, которые указаны в проспектах, а все эти цифры приводятся, дабы впарить автомобиль: «Ситуация тут плачевная, на автомобилях 07-08 года прошивка позволяла ехать в районе 7 секунд до сотни, а прошивка остальных годов еще более зажала автомобиль… 7,5 секунд – этот результат еще не совсем плохой, ближе к реальности 8-9 секунд». Не будем спорить, возможно, так оно все и есть. Но то, что с точки зрения субъективного восприятия Escalade разгоняется, как дьявол, можно считать неоспоримым фактом, и главная заслуга в этом принадлежит 6,2-литровому двигателю. «No replacement for displacement (рабочий объем ничто не заменит – ред.)» – говорят консервативно настроенные американцы. «Просто люблю бензиновые атмосферные V8 и с большим объёмом, так как двухлитровым, дорогие товарищи, бывает только сок!» – вторит им автор одного из отзывов. И у него есть на это определенные основания.


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