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First look: Caddy renews SUV flagship

Cadillac’s 2007 Escalade is powered by a 301kW 6.2-litre V8.

Cadillac presents an all-new 2007 Escalade luxury SUV - complete with 301kW 6.2 V8

14 Nov 2005

GENERAL Motors has revealed a renewed version of its flagship off-roader, which may become part of the Cadillac range its Australian subsidiary Holden is evaluating for release here.

Bigger, heavier and more powerful than its predecessor, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade goes on sale in the US early next year.

The redesigned iteration of Cadillac’s top-shelf luxury 4WD is based on GM’s new full-size SUV platform and features new chassis, safety and interior systems, plus surprisingly subtle styling revisions.

However, the new Escalade’s major drawcard is the employment of a 301kW/565Nm 6.2-litre version of GM’s All-alloy Vortec High-Output V8.

Employing variable valve timing, the larger-displacement engine replaces the current Escalade’s 257kW/515Nm 6.0-litre Vortec HO V8.

The 6.2 V8 is claimed to be both the most powerful and fuel-efficient in its class and, for now, is exclusive to Escalade.

Holden executives have indicated the smaller SRX is likely to be one of four Cadillac models the brand will eventually be launched with here (also including the Commodore-size CTS sedan, the XLR coupe and the Saab 9-3-based BLS sedan launched in Geneva this year).

Priced at $US54,725 ($A74,660) in the US, the 2006 Escalade - which can seat up to eight occupants - is positioned above the seven-seat SRX, which is currently priced from $US39,995 ($A54,555).

The 2006 SRX is available in the US with either a 190kW 3.6-litre VVT V6 or a 238kW Northstar 4.6-litre VVT V8 - both mated to a five-speed sequential-shift auto – and could become Holden’s answer to luxury SUVs like Volkswagen’s Touareg, the Volvo XC90 and Mercedes M-class Long before either Cadillac SUV becomes available in Australia, however, Holden will next year release a mid-sized AWD wagon based on Daewoo’s S3X concept, as a direct rival for Ford’s class-leading Territory.

While Escalade’s Australian future is far from certain, Holden’s Korean-sourced, SX3-based medium SUV is likely to be sold alongside its own V6 and V8-powered Commodore-based Adventra crossover – at around half the Escalade’s projected price.

163 center imageLike Territory, Escalade is available in the US in both standard rear-drive and optional all-wheel drive specifications – both fitted with GM’s new Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the current Escalade’s familiar 4L60 Hydra-Matic four-speed.

Riding on the same 2946mm wheelbase as its forebear, the 2007 Escalade grows 90mm in length to measure a Ford Explorer-dwarfing 5143mm long.

While Escalade’s overall height and width remain much the same, the adoption of 18-inch wheel as standard (wheel sizes up to 22-inch are available) helps the front wheel track grow more than 100mm to 1732mm.

Similarly, the basic Escalade grows in kerb weight from 2437 to 2522kg, while the all-wheel drive variant of the new model moves from 2529 to 2611kg.

But that’s not all, with extended-wheelbase Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT models to be introduced later next year.

Believe it or not, the 2007 Escalade features all-new sheetmetal and a “faster” 57-degree windscreen angle, plus wraparound fascias, mirrors and side steps – which help it achieve the 0.363 aerodynamic drag coefficient that Cadillac claims is the best in its segment.

Also new are High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, the option of IntelliBeam automatic headlight beam control and LED tail-lights, while Escalade’s interior is claimed to be larger and more luxurious.

Finally, a stronger frame and chassis supports are said to improve ride/handling and NVH, while larger brakes (with Bosch 8.0 ABS), new rack-and-pinion steering and new coil-over-shock front suspension joins Escalade’s five-link rear suspension.

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