Morgan Pritchett
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History of the Cadillac Escalade ESV

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The Cadillac Escalade was first introduced in 1999 as an entry into the large SUV market. Just two years later, Cadillac decided to offer an even bigger version of this vehicle: the Cadillac Escalade ESV.


Related: Escalade ranks high in J.D. Power Multimedia Satisfaction Study


Early history

The Escalade entered its second generation in 2001 as a 2002 model year and received a big makeover. (The front end was more angular and sharp.) And while the Escalade was already one of the largest vehicles on the market, Cadillac saw the opportunity to offer an extended version of the SUV: the Escalade ESV. ESV stands for Escalade Stretch Vehicle and it did indeed stretch out the popular model — and buyers’ wallets. The starting price for the Escalade ESV Platinum edition model in 2004 was $71,025. This elevated version of the vehicle had 20-inch chrome wheels, a lowered suspension, heated and cooled seats in the front and back, heated and cooled cup holders, a moonroof, monitors in the second and third rows, and premium materials throughout.

By the Escalade’s third generation in 2007, the ESV inspired Cadillac to produced the EXT pickup version of the model. However, history will show that the ESV was much more popular and outlasted the truck-like Escalade. In 2013, LED daytime running lights were added to the Escalade ESV before it entered its fourth generation in 2015. By this time, the Escalade ESV lost a small amount of cargo space to allow for more headroom, which was a popular demand from taller drivers. From 2016-2020, the Escalade and Escalade ESV received a wide variety of technology, design, safety, and comfort updates.

2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
Photo: Cadillac

Current generation

The Cadillac Escalade ESV entered its fifth, and current, generation in 2021. It debuted online due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Cadillac 3D visualizer helped fans get excited about its updates. The sleek lines and upscale amenities were a lot to enjoy, but the SUV’s total 142.8 cubic feet of cargo space is ideal for anyone hauling a boatload of luggage, sports equipment, and more. The latest iteration of the Escalade ESV starts at $80,840 for the Luxury trim while the Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum trims with Duramax® turbo diesel engines will cost you a pretty penny at $108,840.