The first-generation Cadillac Escalade was a breathtaking statement of contempt for the American automobile buyer, differing from the GMC Yukon Denali in only the most minor, British-Leyland-style details, but in the years that followed General Motors has worked steadily to distance this Chevrolet Silverado 1500 derivative from all its other Chevrolet Silverado 1500 derivatives. This new-generation ‘Slade, therefore, is much like the Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman that stole my heart a few years ago. It’s the Maximum Cadillac, the only vehicle in the lineup with enough brand equity to escape the latest round of alphabet-souping. As with the Talisman, the MSRP is as obscene as the GWVR, and you just know that some percentage of the markup from the current Denali is just so your neighbors understand you have the ability to spend nearly a hundred grand on a truck, the same way the Talisman’s additional features in no way justified the extra money.
I’m on record as being a genuine fan of the Seventies GM sleds from Grand Ville to de Ville, so I approached this monstrous Cadillac in the Hertz lot with unfeigned enthusiasm and cheerfully paid well over a hundred dollars a day to squire it around Salt Lake City for a long weekend.
That enthusiasm didn’t last.