In the old days nothing said big money like a Cadillac. Well, those days are back by the truckload. A Cadillac Escalade can often be seen around big money. Indeed, from its intimidating size to its sharp, chiseled styling to its massive grille, it makes a strong statement. And it backs that statement up with the Cadillac traditions of big horsepower and the very latest GM technology. The Escalade nameplate includes three dramatically different though distinctly similar models: The standard Escalade is a full-size sport utility, the same size as the Chevy Tahoe. The Escalade ESV is a Suburban-sized model. The Escalade EXT is Cadillac's interpretation of the Chevy Avalanche, a brilliantly executed sport utility truck that quickly converts from a pickup with an eight-foot bed to a five-passenger luxury vehicle. All three feature a high-performance 6.0-liter V8 and all-wheel drive. Built on GM's superb full-size truck platform, the Escalade, ESV, and EXT are fine trucks and make excellent tow vehicles. At the same time, they're roomy, luxuriously appointed vehicles that can haul family or friends or business associates in comfort. The 6.0-liter V8 supplies serious power for quick acceleration when needed along with strong torque for towing. On the road, all three Escalades are smooth and stable, nicer in ride than a Tahoe or Suburban but taut and well-controlled by full-size SUV standards for surprisingly good handling. For 2005, Escalade features even richer interior appointments and a redesigned satellite-navigation option; while new dual electric cooling fans and an upgraded (to 160 amps) alternator promise better air-conditioner performance.