The Cadillac Escalade EXT enters the 2006 model year with a coupee new convenience features. One is a sliding load floor that allows you to slide the floor of the truck bed in and out and past the lowered tailgate to facilitate loading and unloading. The sliding floor is designed to hold up to 1,000 pounds. The other new feature is an optional power-activated tonneau cover. Rather than manually lifting the standard three-piece rigid tonneau cover, you can now open and close the cover with the push of a button.
As with all Escalade models, the EXT has broadened Cadillac's customer base by attracting a younger generation of buyers. Its unusual design is part of the growing Sport Utility Truck (SUT) genre, which currently consists of the Chevrolet Avalanche, HUMMER H2 SUT, and Cadillac Escalade EXT. The common denominator among SUTs is the versatility afforded by a collapsible bulkhead (called a midgate) between the truck bed and the cabin, which increases the amount of cargo that can be carried. In the case of the Escalade EXT, the midgate lengthens the truck bed from 5 feet, 3 inches to a full 8 feet. To protect items from prying eyes and inclement weather, the EXT comes standard with a durable three-piece cargo cover and a locking tailgate. The optional power tonneau and the new sliding load floor add new levels of convenience to this year's EXT.
The five-passenger Escalade EXT comes standard with full-time all-wheel drive and GM's StabiliTrak, a four-channel electronic stability control system that keeps the vehicle on the driver's intended path. Other safety features include dual-stage front air bags, wherein the second stage is reserved for severe collisions, and a Passenger Sensing System that automatically deactivates the front passenger air bag when the seat is occupied by small or out-of-position passengers. Cadillac also includes one year of complimentary access to Virtual Advisor by OnStar, which provides emergency communication capability and allows hands-free access to weather forecasts, traffic reports, stock reports, and more.
The Cadillac Escalade EXT falls into the Large Premium Pickup segment where you find the unique combination of the utility value of a full-size pickup coupeed with the luxury accoutrements of a premium sedan or SUV.
Still in its infancy, this segment presently consists of only two models. The Escalade EXT's sole competitor is the Lincoln Mark LT, which was introduced in 2005. The J.D. Power and Associates Sales ReportSM indicates that Cadillac sold 7,766 Escalades in calendar year 2005, compared with the Mark LT's 10,274 units in 2005, for a combined segment total of 18,040.