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2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Dec 19, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium
2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV

In honor of the last season of HBO’s Entourage, LA Car is presenting its series of reviews showcasing the cars and the magic of this award-winning program. Next up: It’s the Cadillac of cars. Or rather, it IS a Cadillac—in this case, the biggest Caddy of them all: The Escalade ESV. John Grafman reports. By John Grafman More often than not, the character of Turtle on HBO’s Entourage, played by Jerry Ferrara, gets no respect. Sometimes I wonder if HBO would have rather cast the late Rodney Dangerfield for the job? Up until very recently, Turtle served the plot by being a punch line to Johnny “Drama” Chase, and occasionally Eric Murphy and Ari Gold. But his days as a driver/valet and personal assistant to Vincent Chase are waning. Turtle’s ship has finally come in with the explosion of Avion Tequila’s (editor’s note: for those not Entourage cognoscenti, Avion Tequila, an actual tequila, is Turtle’s business interest, after his Limo service didn’t pan out) popularity, and his original investment is paying dividends and then some.

Adrian Grenier as Vincent, Kevin Connolly as Eric “E”, Kevin Dillon as Johnny “Drama” and Jerry Ferrara as Turtle (clockwise from top left) (Claudette Barius/HBO)

The good-natured, fellow New Yorker might actually miss his situation within the pseudo-family, as he relishes toting his buddies about to cafes, client/agent meetings, and of course haute nightspots. But, most likely he will miss the time spent behind the wheel of the Cadillac Escalade ESV. The Escalade has been popular on the show from the start. A 2002 Cadillac Escalade was used in the pilot episode, and four ESVs used from 2004-2008, swapping the old model out every year. In Season 6, the 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV is replaced with a 2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid. Finally, in season 7 the Cadillac of choice is the 2010 Escalade Platinum edition. Does anybody notice a trend here? So, why is the Escalade ESV Platinum the shuttle of choice? Put yourself in mega-star Vinnie Chase’s shoes. He already has Turtle as his personal chauffer. You want to have a luxury brand, more space than a mini-mansion, quality materials for you and your friends to rest your behinds on, and being made in America, Texas to be exact, would be a plus. This narrows the choices quickly.

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium

From Salvatore Assante’s (aka Turtle) point of view, a car that can hold a driver and six hot women (or others) in comfort, and has a flip down roof mounted 8” DVD screen, plus a pair of headrest DVD/screen sis as close to nirvana as one can get. The hybrid version of this is really worth considering if fuel economy is a priority. The hybrid improves city fuel economy by almost 50%, reaching 20 mpg, and scores 23 on the highway, albeit this isn’t the case for the ESV Platinum model. However, our beast is a gas station owner’s best friend at a thirsty 13 city and 18 highway mpg. On the flip side, the Platinum puts out 403 horsepower and 417 pounds of torque, which clearly outshines the ability of the hybrids 332 and 367 respectively. Having the extra grunt is appreciated when you have a full crew of seven on board.

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium

Turtle would really appreciate the handling of this ESV. The magnetic ride control suspension used on the Corvette works very well, even thought the ESV is about twice as heavy as a ‘Vette, tipping the scales at 5,963 pavement crushing pounds. Nobody will forget the size and mass of this regardless of the advanced technology. But, sway and dive is greatly reduced, and rebound is much less pogo stick and far more European sedan like. If anything, this might be too firm, where speed bumps and the like thump solidly. All in all, this makes the oversized Cadillac able to handle driving on heavily congested roadways without freaking out the driver, or the passengers. It still requires a strong foot to bring this down from speed, yet not enough to cause concern. This does offer a manual shift on the stalk for those that want to use the transmission to its full benefit. The entire cast however can appreciate most of the quality touches that the Platinum edition offers. Immediately one notices the leather capped dash, and the very attractive inlayed olive ash and burled walnut wood and brushed aluminum trimmed instrument panel. Additionally the front two rows of seats have Tehama aniline leather that feels as good as it looks. Something is missing in this Caddy. The oversized gaps that one might have been used to in previous iterations of this SUV have been minimized throughout. This is tight!

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium

One of the most appreciated features is the Side Blind Zone Alert collision warning system that lights an indicator symbol in the side mirror if another car is along side or too close to initiate a lane change. As this is the primo version I would like to see a few other luxury features, like speed sensitive cruise control. Automatic parking brake release would be useful. Also, front parking sensors would be nice, even though this does have rear sensors and a rear vision camera system. When parking a vehicle this large it’s important to squeeze every inch out of available parking spots, hence front sensors are needed. From Turtle’s POV the Twenty-two inch chromed rims, and the remote game plug-in make this a must buy. However, as cool as those are, other niceties abound. The power retractable assist steps automatically deploy from the rocker when a door is opened for ease of entry and disappear again once the door is closed. The seats and cup holders have something in common, as both are heated and cooled. Now the drinks can be as cool as the passengers. The power lift-gate, and adjustable pedals are welcomed. Some of the luxury bits included a navigation system, DVD/CD audio system with Bose 5.1 sound with a pair of wireless headphones, XM Navtraffic, Bluetooth connectivity for phones, USB port of music accessories, heated steering wheels, steering wheel controls, tri-zone climate control, heated second row bucket seating, and of course a power sunroof are all the trappings of this mega people mover.

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium Collection

While all of those features are great, what’s exceptional is the power-release fold and tumble second row seating, and folding third row seating. Activating those one can actually get a real bed, with mattress, sheets, pillows, and all, in the back of the Escalade ESV without completely disassembling it. Now, this might be a minor point to the rest of us, but to Turtle and the bachelors on the Entourage this is one benefit they might find hard to ignore, and the reason why they come back to the Escalade year after year. Well, this is Hollywood after all! For more information about Cadillac products, go to

2012 Cadillac Escalade ESV Premium

SPECIFICATIONS Price: Base $85,095, as tested $86,045 Engine type: 6.2L V-8 VVT (L94), overhead-valve, two valves per cylinder; Active Fuel Management, cast aluminum block and head EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 13/18 Horsepower: 403 / 301 @ 5700 rpm Torque: 417 / 565 @ 4300rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / all-wheel drive Transmission type: Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic Suspension: Front: independent, coil-over-shock w/ 36-mm stabilizer bar; Road Sensing Suspension, real-time damping Rear: five-link with coil springs, 28-mm stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: 18-inch x 8-inch 7-spoke machined aluminum (std), P265/65R18 all-season Bridgestone blackwall steel-belted radials 22-inch x 9-inch 7-spoke chromed aluminum (opt), P285/45R22 all-season Bridgestone blackwall steel-belted radials Brakes: Front: Vented discs 13 x 1.18 Rear: Solid discs 13.5 x .787 Power-assisted four-wheel discs with standard four-channel ABS; twin-piston front calipers, single-piston rear calipers Overall length: 222.9” / 5660mm Overall width: 79.1” / 2010mm Overall height: 75.5” / 1918mm Curb weight: 5982 (AWD)

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