The term “luxury utility vehicle” seems almost counterintuitive, about as counterintuitive as integrating a Midgate and a flat bed into the back of one of the most luxurious vehicles on the planet. But with ample power, unparalleled spaciousness and exceptional versatility, the 2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT simply makes sense.
The 2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT (starting MSRP $63,060) starts out with the uncompromising luxury DNA of an Escalade, and includes the flexible, functional bed of a pickup for good measure.
In Base, Luxury and Premium trims, there’s no ignoring the superior refinement of the EXT: The oversized grille and emblem, the polished chrome accents and intelligent headlamps and the available 22-inch chrome alloy wheels. Everything that’s made the Escalade the most iconic luxury SUV on the planet appears on the versatile Escalade EXT.
Where the EXT differs is in its incorporation of an innovative Midgate, a folding panel behind the rear seats that immediately and easily transforms the EXT from a full-size sport utility vehicle with a short bed to a two-seat luxury pickup with a massive eight-foot rear cargo area. With additional top box and lockable underfloor storage, a removable rear window and a lockable tonneau cover, the flexible rear section of the Escalade EXT sports up to 101 cubic feet of secure, covered cargo space.
The Cadillac enhances its rugged versatility with a powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine (with a suitably distinct and commanding exhaust note). Paired with a heavy-duty Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic (with a Tow/Haul Mode), the EXT V8 generates 403 hp and 417 lb/ft of torque and has a trailering capacity of 7,600 pounds when equipped properly. The V8 also sees modern efficiency advancements in the form of Variable Valve Timing, E85 FlexFuel capability and an Active Fuel Management system that conserves fuel by shutting down four cylinders when they’re deemed unnecessary.
Advanced StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control system comes standard, and an innovative, computer-controlled road-sensing suspension setup delivers an exceptionally smooth, precise and comfortable ride. The available All-Wheel Drive system gets fixed torque bias and a locking rear differential while an automatic electronic rear-level control system helps keep the EXT level when hauling or full of cargo.
The immensely spacious five-passenger EXT is as refined and innovative in the cabin as it is beneath the hood. Leather seats, complemented by brushed aluminum, polished chrome and burled wood accents, are heated, cooled and power adjustable, cupholders are heated and cooled and even the steering wheel gets available heating on Luxury and Platinum trims. Cabin temperature settings can differ a full 30 degrees between the driver and passenger.
A BoseÒ 5.1 surround-sound system comes standard on every Escalade EXT, as do SiriusXM Radio, BluetoothÒ connectivity, navigation and the OnStar system (with Directions & Connections plan). Luxury trims get a power sunroof while Premium trims feature a rear-seat entertainment system and power retractable assist steps.
To create a world-class luxury truck like the 2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT, you don’t start with the pickup and slap on luxury features, you start with the world’s most refined and sophisticated sport utility vehicle. Anything else just doesn’t measure up.