The 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT is evidence that GM plans to continue its lineup of crossover pickup trucks. GM entered the segment six years ago with the 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, a full-size sport utility vehicle chopped off in back to look like something between a crew-cab pickup truck and a 1968 El Camino. The first-generation Cadillac Escalade EXT, Hummer H2 SUT and Lincoln Mark LT followed. The Escalade EXT was redesigned for 2007, keeping changes for 2008 to a minimum.
The EXT is closer in length to the extended-wheelbase Escalade ESV than it is to the standard Escalade. It features an open pickup bed in place of the ESV's third-row seat and covered cargo area. A feature lifted from previous crossover pickups is the extendable bed, which expands into the passenger cab via a moveable partition behind the second-row seats.
The 2008 Escalade EXT is 222 inches long, nearly 20 inches longer than the Escalade. The rear cargo bed has 45.5 cubic feet of volume — about the same as a compact, short-box crew-cab pickup truck. The cab's midgate flips inward, as do the second-row seats, extending the pickup box to 101 cubic feet of cargo volume.
The EXT retains the triangular C-pillar extensions of GM's first-generation crossover pickups. Cadillac's art-and-science design theme, which debuted with the 2002 Escalade's rectangular headlights, is in full swing on the 2008 Escalade. Updated elements include a more angular face that closely mimics the rest of Cadillac's lineup.
Buyers can choose standard 18-inch or optional 22-inch alloy wheels.
Two rows of seats accommodate five occupants. Second-row seats fold forward to allow 54.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Folding the midgate creates an expanded, continuous load floor for the bed, but there is no additional partition between front-seat occupants and their cargo — or the weather, for that matter.
The Escalade EXT offers the same standard luxury equipment as other 2007 Escalades: leather, power front seats, automatic climate control and the like. Options include a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and air-conditioned seats.
Under the Hood
A 6.2-liter V-8 generates 403 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet of torque. It works through a six-speed automatic transmission.
All-wheel drive, which is optional on the regular Escalade, is standard on the Escalade EXT. When properly equipped, the EXT can tow up to 7,600 pounds.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard. A standard electronic stability system uses rollover mitigation technology that senses impending rollovers and attempts to avert them by applying individual brakes.
Side curtain airbags are standard. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are not available.