The Road Traveled: Cadillac Escalade

The Road Traveled: Cadillac Escalade
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Generation Three, 2003 – 2014

The third generation is where things get interesting. The Escalade has finally matured, earning more grown-up styling and a sophisticated interior in the process. Can vehicles go through puberty? Apparently they can.

Arguably this is the first iteration of the Escalade that feels truly luxurious, with tasteful design and quality materials. As for performance a new 6.2-liter Vortec V8 was standard across the lineup, delivering 403 hp. Breaking with tradition it was saddled to an advanced six-speed automatic transmission that should have boosted both performance and fuel economy.

A hybrid model was also available for the first time, bowing as a 2009 model. It featured a smaller 6.0-liter two-by-four under the hood and more electronics than a Google server farm. The result was significantly improved economy; they returned up to 23 mpg highway, though they were discontinued in 2013.