NEW FOR 2008:

– No changes for 2008

Having been transformed into its second generation for 2007, the Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup truck is unchanged for 2008.

Like its Escalade and Escalade ESV cousins, the EXT uses a 6.2-litre all-aluminum V8 engine with six-speed automatic. It shares its platform and body with the Chevrolet Avalanche and features a fully-boxed frame and GM’s exclusive "Midgate" panel, which allows the EXT to convert from a five-passenger SUV into a two-passenger pickup, with 2.7 metres (nine feet) of protected and secured storage area. The truck includes a standard locking tonneau cover, which can be removed entirely for extra space.

Standard equipment on the EXT includes automatic all-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, heavy-duty locking rear differential, Bose 5.1 surround sound system, high intensity discharge headlamps, power-adjustable pedals with memory, remote starter, leather seats with 14-way power adjusters on both front seats and two-position driver memory, independently-heated cushions and seatbacks with three settings, second-row leather 60/40 split-folding bench, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with rollover mitigation, trailer package, Ultrasonic parking assist, 18-inch aluminum wheels and rain-sensing wipers.

Available options include an eight-inch touch-screen navigation system, DVD system, 18- or 22-inch chromed wheels, and XM Satellite Radio with three months free service.

The EXT is identical to the Escalade from the front doors forward, but is as long as the extended-length ESV, and shares all of the comprehensive upgrades of the equally-new-for-2007 Escalade.

The Escalade is over-the-top, but it combines the best features of Chevrolet’s popular Avalanche with plush luxury. Its ride is more SUV than pickup truck, even though it converts into one. The Midgate allows the Escalade EXT to be used in a variety of configurations, but be warned: it’s probably the only item on the vehicle that isn’t electric, and removing and replacing it is tedious work.

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