The EXT is a five passenger pickup truck version of the Cadillac Escalade that offers a modest amount of utility to go along with its ample allotment of luxury.
Like the conceptually similar Chevrolet Avalanche, the EXT's ace in the hole is a folding partition between the pickup bed and interior called the "Midgate," that, with the rear seats folded, can be opened to extend the length of the pickup bed. Another useful feature of the EXT is a three piece hard plastic cover that, when in place, effectively turns the 63.3 by 50 inch bed into a lockable trunk. These features, along with a removable rear window, create a vast range of different cargo hauling possibilities.
The EXT shares critical dimensions such as wheelbase and overall length with the jumbo size ESV Escalade variant. The EXT features a 6.2 Liter Vortec V8 with variable valve timing that produces 403 horsepower and 417 lb.-feet of torque, allowing the three ton behemoth to reach 60 miles per hour in around seven seconds and tow 6,000 pounds. A 6-speed Hydra-Matic transmission serves up smooth shifts and features a manumatic mode with driver selectable shifting.
Standard features on the EXT include a full leather interior (better not be carrying anything muddy when the midgate is folded), wood trim, a Bose 5.1 surround sound system with ten speakers and an in-dash six-disc CD changer, and a road sensing suspension with real time computer controlled damping. Options include an Ultra Luxury package that is composed of a DVD touch screen navigation system, a rearview camera, heated and cooled seats, a sunroof, and prodigious 22-inch seven spoke aluminum wheels.
Unlike other Escalades, the EXT comes standard with all-wheel drive, a configuration that nets fuel economy of 13 mpg in they city and 18 mpg on the highway. A rear seat entertainment package can be ordered; it features two eight inch fold down screens, headless headsets and the requisite auxiliary jacks.
Safety features on the EXT are composed of dual front air bags as well as side curtain airbags with rollover protection for the first and second rows. Electronic traction control and a StabiliTrak stability control system team up to attempt to prevent crashes before they occur.
A standard ultrasonic rear parking assist system beeps to alert the driver when the vehicle is approaching an object from behind.
As a premium pickup/SUV, the Escalade EXT truly plays in a class of one. Those considering the big Cadillac for its pickup bed should also research fully loaded versions of true pickups like the Ford F-150 and GMC Sierra 1500 Denali, though the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Audi Q7 warrant a look if carrying many passengers in comfort is a priority.