Car News:  Oversteer

The Second-Generation Cadillac Escalade Is an Icon

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2002 Cadillac Escalade AWD
Used 2002 Cadillac Escalade
$6,336
RELATED READING
See all Cadillac Escalade articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Karma cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Eric Brandt February 2019

It's now been two decades since the very first Cadillac Escalade arrived on the scene. Initially, it was little more than a GMC Yukon Denali with different badging -- and the Yukon Denali itself was really just a decked out Chevrolet Tahoe. The first Escalade even used the exact same wheels as the Denali, but with different logos on the center caps. It was fairly obvious that the first Escalade was thrown together in a rush to compete with the Lincoln Navigator.

Fast forward to today and the Cadillac Escalade is a sought-after status symbol that's synonymous with American luxury. I don't think it reached the status and name recognition that it has today because of the first-gen Escalade. I think the second-gen model that ran from model years 2002 to 2006 is really the one that kicked off the nameplate's legacy.

The second-gen Escalade was the first one that wasn't an aesthetic carbon copy of another GM product. Yes, it still had an awful lot in common with the corresponding generation of the other full-size GM SUVs, but it had a classy and distinct design that was different enough from its Chevrolet and GMC brethren to stand out.

You still see these things all over the place -- and I think they're aging pretty well. What I like about this generation of the Escalade is that it is both unapologetically a truck and unapologetically a Cadillac. I especially like the dinner-plate-sized Cadillac emblem on the back. From every angle, there's no confusing this Escalade with a Yukon or a Tahoe. Also, let's not forget that this was the generation that introduced the Chevy Avalanche-based Cadillac Escalade EXT (endearingly nicknamed the "Escalanche") pickup truck thing. A lot of people hate the EXT -- but to me it's a beautiful marriage of weirdness, functionality, luxury and in-your-face style, and I really wish it were still around.

When the Escalade came into its third generation for model years 2007 to 2014, the longest-running Escalade generation so far, some genius at GM said "let's make the Escalade look just like the Yukon again" -- and the Cadillac was less distinct. It may have been a better SUV in a lot of ways, but I think the third-gen Escalade was a step backward in terms of design. Aside from the current generation, the second-gen Escalade is the only one that you can really, truly tell is an Escalade if you take the emblems off.

Full-size luxury SUVs have come a long way since the early 2000s, but I still think the second-gen Cadillac Escalade is a classy brute that is aging nicely and has no qualms about it is. Just a fancy Tahoe? Maybe, but is that a bad thing?

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here's Why the Koenigsegg Agera RS Is Worth $10 Million
I Bought the Most Unreliable BMW Ever Made
Autotrader Find: 1990 Subaru Legacy With a Landau Roof

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2002 Cadillac Escalade AWD
Used 2002 Cadillac Escalade
$6,336
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Second-Generation Cadillac Escalade Is an Icon - Autotrader