The ESV is an extended wheelbase version of the popular Escalade full size luxury SUV for those hip-hop moguls who simply need more space. Riding on a 14-inch longer wheelbase than the standard Escalade, the ESV is roughly 22 inches longer in length for a total of 221.4 inches; all of the increased space is passed on to the cargo compartment and third row, which is transformed into a livable space for adults.
Like the normal Escalade, the ESV shares its platform with GM's other full-size SUVs from Chevrolet and GMC, and differentiates itself from its lesser siblings with unique exterior styling, a more sumptuous interior, and a more potent engine.
As with normal Escalade and the pickup-like Escalade EXT, the ESV is motivated by a 6.2 Liter Vortec V8 that has the distinction of being the first mass produced non-overhead valve engine to feature variable valve timing, a feature which contributes to the engine's substantial power output of 403 horsepower and 417 lb.-feet of torque. Transmitting power is a 6-speed Hyrda-Matic automatic transmission with driver shift control and a towing mode.
The ESV can be ordered with either rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive; the former yields 14/18 mpg while the latter is rated at 13/18 mpg. Those looking for a more fuel-efficient full-size luxury 'ute should check out the Escalade Hybrid.
The ESV's standard features include a full leather interior with wood trim, a road sensing suspension with real time computer controlled damping, and Bose 5.1 surround sound system with ten speakers and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. An Ultra Luxury package can be ordered and includes extras such as a DVD touch screen navigation system, a rearview camera, heated and cooled seats, power folding second row seats, and gargantuan 22" seven spoke aluminum wheels. A rear seat entertainment package is also available, featuring two eight inch fold down screens, headless headsets and the requisite auxiliary jacks.
The ESV is packed with passive safety features intended to minimize chances of a crash, including electronic traction control and a StabiliTrak stability control system with rollover mitigation. A standard ultrasonic rear parking assist system beeps to alert the driver when the vehicle is approaching an object from behind. In the event of a collision, the ESV features dual front air bags as well as side curtain airbags with rollover protection for the first, second and third rows.
The Escalade ESV and its one comparable rival, the Lincoln Navigator L, are by far the largest full-size luxury 'utes on the market, offering far more third-row space and cargo room than any of their competitors. The only other options in this class are smaller vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, the Infiniti QX56 and the Audi Q7.