NEW FOR 2010:

– 6.2-litre V8 now equipped with Active Fuel Management technology
– Locking steering column, USB audio connector in centre console, side thorax bags added to front outboard seats, revised inner door design for enhanced side impact protection, battery saver mode for extended accessory use, revised parking brake release, and previous Platinum Edition clock standard in all models
– Exterior colours: Silver Lining added; Quick Silver and Blue Chip discontinued

For 2010, the Cadillac Escalade EXT receives several new features, including Active Fuel Management, which shuts off half the cylinders for improved fuel economy when full power is not needed. A new inner door design and new side airbags improve crash protection, while trim additions include a USB audio connector, revised parking brake release, and fancier clock.

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

Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, privacy glass, fog lamps, heated mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, reverse tilt-down, integrated turn signals and puddle lamps, rearview camera, front recovery hooks, roof rack, running boards, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear consoles, cruise control, driver information centre, tire pressure monitoring system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power tilt leather and wood wheel with audio controls, power windows with front express up/down, ten-way heated leather seats, driver’s side memory, 60/40 split-folding heated second-row bench seat, six-CD/DVD stereo, navigation system, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, XM satellite radio, rear-seat audio controls and headphone jacks, auto-levelling rear suspension, trailer tow package, power locks with keyless entry, automatic xenon headlamps, theft deterrent system, rear parking assist, and OnStar with Turn by Turn Navigation feature.

Available options include power-retractable running boards, 22-inch chromed wheels, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

The Escalade is over-the-top, but combines the usefulness of Chevrolet’s popular Avalanche with plush luxury, including SUV-style ride and handling, comfortable seats and numerous options. The Midgate allows the EXT to be turned into a variety of configurations, but it’s a time-consuming job that’s easiest when done with two people.

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