ABS standard. Side air bags standard from 2010. ESC standard from 2003. Head protection air bags standard from 2007.
A 2002 redesign brought an edgy new look and significant mechanical improvements to Cadillac's once-forgettable luxury SUV. Now based on the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon platform that debuted for 2000, the Escalade exhibits braking, handling, and ride characteristics that are much improved over those of its antiquated predecessor. Rear-drive models use GM's ubiquitous 5.3-liter, 285-hp V8, while Escalades equipped with the available all-wheel-drive system get a 345-hp, 6.0-liter version. A standard removable split third-row seat brings passenger capacity to eight. AWD Escalades are equipped with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, as well as a "road-sensing" suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers. GM's OnStar driver-assistance system is also included.