The Cadillac Escalade debuted in the 1999 model year and -- just a few years later -- General Motors saw the need to expand its luxury SUV lineup. With this expansion came the 2002 debut of the Cadillac Escalade EXT, a full size luxury SUV with a truck bed based on the Chevrolet Avalanche.
Coming into the 2013 model year, the Escalade EXT is unchanged from 2012. It gives customers three trim-level choices, which include Base, Luxury and Premium. All three trims come standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, and delivers power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. This setup nets the Escalade EXT a seven-second sprint to 60 mph and ratings of 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.
In Base trim, the Cadillac Escalade EXT offers more features that your typical base-model SUV. Standard equipment includes: 18-inch wheels; black assist steps with chrome accents; an eight-speaker Bose audio system; Bluetooth connectivity; and leather upholstery.
The Luxury trim level adds 22-inch chrome wheels; headlights that automatically switch between high- and low-beams; Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control Suspension; a moonroof; and a heated steering wheel.
At the Premium level, an Escalade EXT includes: power retractable assist steps; a rear-seat entertainment system with an in-dash DVD player, LED backlighting, CD-R/CD-RW/MP3/DVD compatibility, and a pair of wireless headphones.
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Equally luxurious Platinum trim level and low base price, but no standard all-wheel drive and not as powerful.
Feature-packed Denali trim and very low base price, but lacks a luxury pedigree and is just a pickup truck.
Premium features in the Laramie model and better mpg, but slightly underpowered.
LTZ model is well-equipped, good mpg and much cheaper, but not as luxurious and less powerful.