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11 Best Old-School SUVs

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2015 Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV
Base-price range: $72,690 – $78,290

The luxury SUV that essentially defined “Bling-Bling” gets a clean-sheet redesign for 2015. Escalade borrows much of its design from the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon, but it has greater differentiation from its mainstream siblings than the Lincoln Navigator does from the Ford Expedition. The Cadillac’s sole drivetrain pairs a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 engine with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear- and all-wheel drive are available. Maximum towing capacity is 8,300 pounds. It comes in two lengths: standard and extended ESV. For the most part, Escalade shares its siblings’ positive (smooth drivetrain, quiet interior, good infotainment features) and negative (less third-row seat and cargo space than other large SUVs) attributes. It sets itself apart from the Tahoe and Yukon by offering some ultra-high-end appointments, including Nappa-brand leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped instrument panel, sueded microfiber headliner, and 18-way power front seats with massage. All this luxury comes at a cost, though, as a loaded AWD Escalade will set you back close to $100,000. For that money, Escalade is nice, but it doesn’t have the performance potential of a Porsche Cayenne or the panache of a Land Rover Range Rover. Less costly trim levels are still plenty luxurious but won’t hit your bank account quite as hard.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]