Thursday, June 22, 2017

Primo Escalade lives up to super-lux reputation

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Here’s the thing about driving a primo Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicle wearing dark-colored paint: You get out of it and people are surprised that you’re not wearing a bullet-resistant FBI vest or opening the rear door for the governor or some other high-ranking public official.

Yeah, stereotypes.  Gotta love ’em.

But frankly, the Escalade has earned those stripes in every way over the years.  It is the quintessential big brute luxury transporter, and if you have to travel in big style, this is your ride.

In my case, the 2017 Cadillac Escalade 4WD Premium Luxury tester wore a sticker with a bottom line of $94,130.  Yes, I’m serious.

That’s about a thousand bucks short of what I paid for my home when I moved to California in 1984.

To be fair, you get a lot.  Fuel mileage is not on that list, however, coming in at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway (premium fuel is recommended, but not required).

Beyond that, the perks are nothing short of astounding.

There’s the 16-speaker Bose Surround-Sound audio system. There are 12-way power-adjustable seats. Heating and cooling are to be had in the front bucket leather seats. Seats can be folded via power (folding everything gives you a cavernous 121 cubic feet of cargo space). There’s a rear-seat entertainment system, of course.  Climate can be controlled in three zones.  The power tilt/sliding sunroof is easy to use; ditto the hands-free power liftgate.  Automatic park assist is there for nervous parallel parkers.

I could go on and on, but you’d be reading all night.  For the record, the list of safety and driving-enhancement features is just as long as the list of comfort/convenience highlights.

This is a big vehicle, riding on 22-inch wheels.  I had to make a plan to climb up into the driver’s seat.  Smaller folks might need your help vaulting into the passenger leather bucket seats.

From the cockpit, I felt like I was sitting in an elevated command center, yards higher than the surrounding traffic.

The tester was so big that I had to take care driving it.  I allowed plenty of space between my Escalade and the vehicle ahead of me in stop-and-go freeway commutes.  It’s not that the tester’s four-wheel disc brakes lacked grip – they were exceptional, actually – but you can feel every ounce of the Escalade’s nearly 6,000-pound curb weight when you’re on the move.

The 6.2-liter V-8 engine rated at 420 horsepower doesn’t have any trouble getting that weight going mind you.  It does that quite well, which is why you need to be careful.  The big vehicle can be going 70 miles per hour before you know it, and the smooth ride makes it feel like 50 mph.

So, there you have it: Luxury, performance and head-turning presence in a single package.  For those who can afford the ride, I salute you.

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