For 2005, the Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup truck receives most of the same cosmetic upgrades given to its Escalade SUV cousin: a premium instrument cluster with bright chrome trim, burled walnut trim, bright chrome exhaust tip, touch-screen navigation with 6.5-inch screen, a new Riptide teal blue metallic exterior paint colour, an improved cooling system with a more powerful alternator, OnStar Gen 6 hardware with enhanced hands-free capability, and 60/40 rear bench seating.

Based on the Chevrolet Avalanche four-door pickup truck, the EXT shares that vehicle’s cargo capacity system: the “Midgate” separating the cabin from the box can be taken down and the rear seats folded to create a two-seater pickup with the capability to carry the ubiquitous 4×8 sheet of plywood. Power comes from the 6.0-litre V8 that’s also used in the Escalade, mated to a four-speed automatic. The EXT is strictly all-wheel-drive, using a system that splits the torque 38/62 front/rear under normal driving conditions, and sends power where needed when wheelspin is detected.

The EXT comes in a single trim line, incorporating a removable and stowable three-piece rigid cargo cover, privacy glass, fog lights, high-intensity discharge headlights, power foldaway heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, driver’s side auto-dimming, passenger side tilt-down park feature and puddle lights, chrome roof rack, running boards, 17-inch aluminum wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, HomeLink garage door opener, tire pressure monitoring system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, OnStar, power-adjustable pedals, leather and wood steering wheel with audio controls, leather interior, 14-way power heated seats, 60/40 split-folding leather rear bench seat, six-CD/cassette stereo with nine speakers and rear-seat audio controls, four ventilated brake discs, speed-sensitive steering, automatic rear level control system, trailer towing package, and rear parking assist.

Proving that nothing succeeds like excess, Cadillac has done fairly well with the EXT, so much so that Lincoln countered its own Mark LT pickup even though its ill-fated Blackwood was hardly around long enough to make the history books. The Cadillac version includes a few features missing on the Lincoln, such as stability control and side-impact airbags, but a $17,755 difference over the LT’s four-wheel-drive version might send more than a few luxo-truck shoppers over to the Lincoln showroom.

The Escalade EXT is built in Silao, Mexico.

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