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Cars Worth Noting: 2005 Cadillac Escalade

2005 Cadillac Escalade

I won’t attempt urban lingo except to say that most players, pimps and rappers around town are “ridin’ Escalades” these days. Or so I hear.

Back before the stealth-fighter CTS, SRX crossover and XLR roadster started moving Cadillac back onto suburban radar screens, Caddy’s Tahoe-based Escalade SUV — GM’s belated answer to Lincoln’s hulking Navigator — was winning converts in urban and country cultures alike. When they redesigned and separated it more from its Chevy and GMC brethren, then added the longer Suburban-based ESV model, the ’Slade quickly earned its rep as the way-cool ride for rappers, rockers and athletes all over town.

Now comes the ultimate $70K Platinum Edition for those to whom silver and gold just don’t get it done. This leather-lined beauty rolls relatively softly on 20-in. multi-spoke chrome wheels and boasts a list of upper-end features that includes tri-zone auto climate control, heated and cooled 14-way power front seats, Bose premium audio, dual-screen rear DVD video, DVD navigation, heated power-fold outside mirrors, ultrasonic rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring, automatic rear leveling and even heated and cooled console cupholders.

The weekend of January 21 was a good time to be testin’ the ’Slade, since it snowed and blowed up a storm Friday night and most of Saturday, and our streets weren’t plowed when I dug it out of the drift in our drive to make a market run. The big tires, all-wheeldrive and tall ground clearance make deep drifts and ruts magically disappear, and GM’s excellent Stabilitrak permits a measure of throttle-steer fun before reeling in the rear.

Billed as the world’s most powerful full-size SUV, the 345-hp Platinum ’Slade delivers 8.6-sec. 0-60 scoot and 13 mpg city, 17 highway EPA economy. But who cares about mpgs when ridin’ Escaladers makes you look and feel so righteous?

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