$23,750 - $26,165

2011 Cadillac Escalade EXT Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Cadillac Escalade EXT was new.


Performance: 7.8

Reviewers are impressed with the 2011 Escalade EXT’s powerful V8 engine, although they say that its chunky curb weight hurts its braking performance. Still, most reviewers think the EXT drives well for such a big truck, and although it will never drive like a sports car, its ride is car-like in most situations. This is fortunate, since most Escalade EXT owners will probably use their truck exclusively for commuting, and not for rugged outdoor duties like farm work or off-roading.

  • "At just about 3 tons, the assumption would be that this SUV performs more like a fully loaded container ship than a modern luxury vehicle. Surprisingly, though, the EXT is fairly sprightly thanks to the abundance of power under the hood. The EXT's steering and handling are also predictable and well-mannered, but this is still a large vehicle, and maneuvering in tight spots can be a hassle." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The only engine available with the 2011 Escalade EXT is a 6.2-liter V8, and reviewers are okay with that. They say the powerplant feels very strong, although one writer mentions that its six-speed transmission is sometimes slow to downshift during passing maneuvers. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque, and comes standard with all-wheel drive. The Escalade EXT gets 13/18 mpg city/highway, according tot he EPA.

If you’re looking for a hard-working pickup truck that cleans up well for a night on the town, but has better gas mileage than the Escalade EXT, you should take a look at the Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid. Its 2HY trim comes standard with luxury features like a navigation system, leather seats and adjustable pedals, and with four-wheel drive it gets 20/23 mpg city/highway.

  • "Powerful V-8 with a great soundtrack.” -- Car and Driver
  • "That said, the EXT's powerful V8 engine delivers surprising power for a luxurious full-size SUV.” -- Edmunds
  • “The 6.2-liter V8 idles a bit rough for our taste, but has no detractors when it comes to acceleration and passing power.” – Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking             

Reviewers say that the Escalade EXT handles especially well for a pickup truck, although its heavy curb weight inhibits its braking ability.

  • " While it will never be mistaken for a sport sedan, the 2011 Cadillac Escalade EXT doesn't drive like a full-size pickup, either. It actually rides and drives like a very large sedan.…Compared with other GM trucks, the EXT's braking and steering feel vastly better, with more feedback to the driver and a quicker response time.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Strong brakes have [a] reassuringly firm pedal, but fast stops trigger lots of nosedive." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Hard to maneuver.” -- Car and Driver
  • "Because the 2011 Cadillac Escalade EXT is so large and heavy, the laws of physics are readily apparent when you approach its limits -- especially while braking.” -- Edmunds

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