2007 Cadillac Escalade
Choosing the East and West Coast capitals of cool to unveil its all-new flagship, Cadillac had separate unveiling parties in Beverly Hills and Miami Beach to introduce the 2007 Escalade to the stars in attendance. Although based on the all-new GMT900 full-size truck platform, the vehicle is instantly recognizable as a Cadillac and most importantly, as an Escalade. The smoother styling and more steeply raked windshield results in an extremely slippery (for an SUV) 0.363 coefficient of drag. The narrower vertical headlamps closely resemble those on Cadillac's midsize SRX SUV and incorporate HID beams and an optional IntelliBeam directional headlamp system that follows the steering trajectory. For the first time on a GM vehicle, 22-inch wheels are offered as a factory option, a tacit concession to the Escalade's enduring popularity with the bling set.

Though it appears trimmer than its predecessor, it is in fact larger in nearly every dimension. Overall length is up by approximately three inches, and interior volume has increased in several key areas. Increased front seat travel provides the segment's leading legroom for front-seat passengers. Second-row seat legroom and knee room and third-row seat headroom are increased over the previous models. The second- and third-row seats also have more shoulder room, a feat accomplished while also offering standard roof-mounted head curtain side air bags. Cargo room has increased by 4.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 2.3 cubic behind the third row. The third-row seats fold flat and are easily tumbled forward or removed for maximum cargo area. Even the glove box offers 25 percent more storage space than the previous model.

Of course, the audio, entertainment, and convenience gadgets were not neglected. One-upping the Navigator's power folding third-row seat, the new Escalade features a new industry-exclusive power fold-and-tumble second-row seat feature that eases access to the third-row seat, as well as an obligatory power-assisted rear liftgate that opens and closes with the touch of a button. The remote starting feature is standard and is integrated with the tri-zone automatic climate control system, allowing the interior to be heated or cooled when the vehicle is remotely started.

For the style-savvy but directionally-challenged set, an available 8-inch touchscreen navigation system helps guide the way, and a DVD system with large 8-inch flip-down screen will keep passengers from noticing that you're lost. A segment-first Bose 5.1 Digital Surround Sound system is integrated into the new family of radios that play DVD audio, DVD video, CD audio, CD videos, MP3s, and XM Satellite Radio.

But fear not that all these new goodies are going to slow down the king of bling. The engine is an all-new, all-aluminum 6.2L V-8 bellowing out a substantial 403hp and 417lb-ft. of torque, an increase of 58hp and 37lb-ft. over its predecessor. This all-aluminum engine uses variable valve timing (VVT) to optimize camshaft timing to improve low-rpm torque and high-rpm horsepower. This represents the industry's first application of VVT on a mass-produced V-8 overhead-valve engine. A new Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission is matched with the 6.2L engine, finally matching its cross-town rival in the gear count competition.

Replacing the previous model's floppy torsion bar front suspension and loose recirculating-ball steering is an all-new coil-over-shock design that delivers a linear, solid ride and a rack-and-pinion steering system that provides precise and responsive control and superior on-center feel, according to Cadillac.