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2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Review

The Cadillac Escalade EXT has a comfortable ride and a roomy interior. However, its clumsy handling and above-average ownership costs push this high-end Cadillac into the bottom half of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Lively acceleration
  • Smooth, comfortable ride
  • Roomy seating space
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Lower towing capacity than most full-size trucks




Critics' Rating: 7.1
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 7.6
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Overview

Is the 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT a Good Used Truck?

A used Cadillac Escalade EXT is a decent option for a previously owned full-size pickup truck. It has a pleasant ride, good looks, and quick acceleration. Still, it can’t match its mainstream competitors where it counts – towing capacity, cargo space, fuel economy, and price. You can find more capable and far more affordable alternatives in the 2013 Chevy Silverado and 2013 Toyota Tundra. The Cadillac Escalade SUV is reviewed separately.

Used 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Performance and Interior

The Escalade EXT has a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 403 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. The brawny engine and refined transmission move the Escalade up to speed briskly and provide muscular passing power on the highway. Even a full complement of cargo or passengers won’t dampen the EXT’s commanding acceleration. The downside to this power is poor fuel economy. The Escalade gets just 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

The EXT’s suspension delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. Bumps and dips from rough pavement are felt, but they’re ironed out nicely. However, the truck’s substantial proportions make it unstable around corners and difficult to maneuver or park in tight areas. The Escalade EXT has a towing capacity of 7,600 pounds, making it more than capable of pulling a small camper or boat trailer. Still, most full-size truck competitors can tow a few thousand pounds more.

Read more about Escalade EXT performance »

The Cadillac Escalade EXT is a four-door luxury pickup with seating for five. Its leather seats are soft and remain quite comfortable, even on long trips. Head- and legroom are generous in both rows as well. Even so, tall drivers may struggle to find a comfy position due to the steering wheel’s lack of telescoping adjustments. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats.

The Escalade EXT has a 5-foot bed and a lockable tonneau cover. The back wall of the bed – referred to as the midgate – can fold flat into the truck’s cabin, expanding the bed length to 8 feet. The rear window is removable as well. Overall, it’s a practical layout for carrying the occasional large item. However, it’s worth noting that the rear seats can’t be used once the midgate is folded down. The EXT has a payload rating of 1,239 pounds.

The Escalade’s dashboard has refreshingly simple audio and climate controls. Its standard 8-inch touch-screen navigation system is generally easy to use as well. Less appealing are the EXT’s cabin materials and rear sightlines. The wood trim and metallic accents are offset by lots of hard and cheap-feeling plastics. Side and rear visibility is limited by the truck’s thick roof pillars and triangular rear buttresses.

Read more about Escalade EXT interior »

Used 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT Prices

The price of a used EXT pickup ranges from around $35,900 for a base model to $38,200 for a Premium model. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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We Did the Research for You: 52 Reviews Analyzed

This overview includes fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, crash test scores, and much more. We've also researched 52 Cadillac Escalade EXT reviews to help you decide if the 2013 EXT is the right truck for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT?

The Escalade has great reliability, earning a score of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

See Escalade reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Escalade EXT?

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety published full crash test results for the 2013 Escalade EXT. Cadillac equipped all 2013 EXT models with a standard rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

See Escalade safety scores »

Is the 2013 Escalade EXT the Best Model Year to Buy?

Cadillac redesigned the Escalade EXT in 2007, and the pickup truck saw no major changes until it was discontinued in 2014. Give the 2012, 2011, and 2010 models a look if you’re shopping for an EXT. You’ll find the same features as the 2013 model, but likely at a much lower price.

Compare the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Escalade EXT »

Which Used Cadillac Escalade EXT Is Right for Me?

Cadillac offers the 2013 Escalade EXT in three trim levels: base, Luxury, and Premium. Standard features include an 8-inch touch-screen navigation system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, OnStar telematics, remote start and keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, ventilated and heated seats (front), a locking tonneau bed cover, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera.

The Cadillac Escalade EXT Luxury trim adds a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, and Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension. The Cadillac Escalade EXT Premium trim adds power-retractable side steps and a rear-seat DVD player.

You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Escalade EXT. Cadillac certified pre-owned vehicles see the original new-car limited warranty extended to six years or 100,000 miles. Cadillac CPO models must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Cadillac’s warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Cadillac certified pre-owned program »

2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT and Other Trucks to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT or 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche?

The Chevy Avalanche and the Escalade EXT pickups were built on the same production line. In fact, these General Motors twins share the same body-on-frame chassis, cargo space, and safety features. They also offer comparable ride quality. The EXT rates higher for reliability, and its larger V8 engine offers more power but lower fuel economy. The Avalanche is available with a more robust four-wheel-drive system, and used models typically cost thousands of dollars less than used Escalade EXTs. Still, the Avalanche’s cheap interior leaves much to be desired. Neither are top picks in this class.

Which Is Better: 2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT or 2013 GMC Sierra 1500?

The 2013 GMC Sierra doesn’t have the luxurious look or appeal of its EXT cousin, due in part to its cheap cabin materials. But from a practicality standpoint, it’s the far better vehicle. The Sierra offers superior towing and payload ratings, four engine options to choose from, better fuel economy (up to 15/22 mpg), and a wider variety of cab and bed configurations. The Sierra also has lower projected ownership costs than the Escalade EXT, and used models are typically far more affordable to buy. Go with the Sierra.

Compare the Escalade EXT, Avalanche, and Sierra 1500 »


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