By: Steve Masters
Okay, letís see if I can even write this. IÖ..uhÖ.IÖ..likedÖ.it. Whew, one more time. IÖ..liked it!
This isnít easy to write. But, it is true. After two years of pure disappointment, Iím happy to report that the 2002 Cadillac Escalade is finally an SUV thatís more fitting of the Cadillac nameplate, not to mention itís sizeable price tag.
Iíve been a critic of the Escalade since its introduction.
While I was looking forward to seeing how Cadillac approached the SUV market, I was very disappointed with the initial product. In my mind they rushed to the market in developing their SUV in less than one year. It showed. Overall, it was like a 1970ís Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck converted to an SUV. The highlight of my time in the 1999 Escalade was the On-Star communications and navigation system. That should tell you something.
However, I regress. Letís get back to the 2002 model.
Cadillac calls this the "most" powerful SUV since itís powered by a 6.0 liter V-8 with a whopping 345 horse power. No question about it, when I stepped on the accelerator, I was off and running. The gasoline consumption was equally aggressive. But, anybody spending upwards of $ 52,000 for a vehicle probably isnít too concerned about gasoline mileage.
The 2002 Cadillac Escalade has lots of standard equipment that you would expect, ranging from 10-way power seats to a Bose premium audio system. The Escalade also has a 4-year/50,000 mile limited warranty.
However, sometimes itís the small things that really catch your attention. In the case of the 2002 Escalade, one of those small things was a single button I could push that would automatically fold-in the larger outside side-mirrors. What a great idea. Thatís perfect for squeezing through the tighter openings where the amount of space the outside side-mirrors require, can make the difference between getting through an opening or not. I showed this to everyone and the reaction was the sameÖ.."great idea."
While the Escalade has a third row of seating, bringing the passenger total to seven persons, it does allow "some" cargo space in the back. However, that space is limited to about five or six larger grocery bags.
If you need more room, you are able to fold down the seats without any extra tugging, pulling, or back strain. Once the seats are down, cargo room is very large.
Visibility is another feature that stood out. The Escalade had lots of windows and I never felt like I had unmanageable blind spots. This is a good feeling when youíre driving an SUV this large in heavy traffic.
The steering was a little sloppy for my taste resulting in over correcting at times. However, once I adjusted it wasnít a big issue.
One irritant noticed by one of my passengers was the intermittent windshield wipers. They did make a noticeable "whining" sound. However, I told my passenger that it just demonstrated out how quiet the interior was. It was very quiet and the ride very smooth and car like. My solution to the wipers?
Turn the radio up slightly louder or only take out passengers who have good hearing on non-rainy days.
So, despite the fact that Cadillac dropped the ball when it came to the introduction of the Escalade, two-model years later, they have made a long, overdue correction.
Every time I passed an older Escalade I felt bad for the owners. If they only had waited. If you own an older model you may want to trade in early.
So, on a scale of four tires being the ultimate vehicle, I give the 2002 Cadillac Escalade a 3-tire rating.
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