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Patient shopping is key for this Caddy

A pioneering icon of the Luxury SUV scene, Cadillac’s Escalade launched in its second generation for the 2002 model year.

A pioneering icon of the Luxury SUV scene, Cadillac’s Escalade launched in its second generation for the 2002 model year.

Featuring GM truck-frame construction, massive size and enough chrome bling to deck out a rap group, this humongous, comfortable and stylish rig was a hit with shoppers from various walks.

Of course, Escalade isn’t the cheapest way to get you and yours around, new or used — so for many, something a little more modest may make a lot more sense.

If you’re interested in a hauler with maximum visibility to passersby, standard V8 power, all the goodies, and plenty of pop-culture relevance, the Escalade has few rivals.

Look for a standard six-litre V8 engine with 345 horsepower and a decision-free All Wheel Drive (AWD) system. A four-speed automatic was standard, and goodies included a sunroof, dual-zone climate control and a full leather interior.

Where bells and whistles are concerned, the Escalade won’t disappoint.

Neither will selection. Escalade was available in standard, extended-length ESV and pickup-based EXT variants.

What Owners Like

Head-turning looks, power output, interior styling and space, versatility, all-weather confidence, comfort and even highway fuel mileage were all highly rated by Escalade owners taking to the internet to share their experiences.

Some even say that relative to its size, the Escalade is easy to park.

What Owners Hate

Some owners wish for less road and wind noise, a more powerful audio system, smaller blind spots and an easier time boarding and exiting the vehicle.

Common Issues

Be sure to have any Escalade you’re considering from this generation inspected by a mechanic on a hoist for signs of oil leakage from the axles, differential, AWD transfer case and engine. If there’s any leakage present, bad seals may be to blame.

Double check for proper operation of any and all interior features, including all windows, locks, the sunroof, the ONStar system, navigation and audio systems, and the climate control. Repairing or replacing any of these systems will be expensive — so be sure they’re all working properly. Also, ensure the steering wheel returns to centre after making a turn. If it doesn’t, service to the steering system may be required.

Due to the complexity of the Escalade’s various systems, shoppers are advised to purchase from a certified used Cadillac dealer and have a pre-purchase inspection carried out for extra peace of mind.

The Verdict

Where luxury and styling are concerned, the Escalade hits the mark as a used SUV buy. Shop patiently, have an inspection, and opt for any extra warranty coverage that might be available — just to be safe.

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