Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2019

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If you’re looking for the true “Cadillac of Pickups,” the 2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT is it. This $63,030 sport utility truck is the closest thing on the market to a pickup truck from Cadillac.

Although it doesn’t disappoint on the luxury front with leather seats, a burled wood dash and upscale tech gadgets, the auto press is a bit skeptical about the Escalade EXT’s truck credentials.

The EXT seats just five passengers and its towing and hauling capabilities are subpar compared to those of other pickups.

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According to U.S. News and World Report, a fully-loaded Chevrolet Avalanche SUT costs less than the base model EXT, and it can tow substantially more.

You might also consider a Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn, which is one of the most luxurious full-size pickup trucks on the road.

Not only can this upscale pickup tow and haul more than the Escalade EXT, but it is more affordable than the 2012 EXT, even with a full complement of options.

Cadillac Escalade EXT Auto Insurance

If you have a driving record that’s longer than six years, insuring an Escalade EXT should cost you between $2,100 and $2,500 a year, NADA reports. That’s a monthly rate of almost $200. For drivers with less experience on the road, though, the average annual auto insurance rate may be significantly higher.

By way of comparison, drivers of the Honda Ridgeline typically pay about $1,119 a year in auto insurance costs, and the typical cost to insure a Chevrolet Avalanche for one year is approximately $1,150 according to NADA.

Escalade EXT Repair Costs

NADA also estimates that the typical Escalade EXT will incur about $1,935 in repair costs over five years, all of which will arise during the third through fifth years of ownership. The vehicle’s 4-year/50,000 mile limited warranty will cover most repairs during the first and second years of ownership, as well as the beginning of the third year of ownership.

The 2012 Escalade EXT’s powertrain is under warranty for an additional one year or 50,000 miles after the limited warranty expires.

Although the Chevy Avalanche and the Honda Ridgeline both have shorter limited warranties than the Escalade EXT does, their 5-year repair costs are still lower than the EXT’s.

The average owner pays around $1,600 to repair a Ridgeline for five years, and it usually costs about $1,835 to pay for the Avalanche’s repairs over the same time period.

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Maintenance for the EXT

Both the 2011 and 2012 Escalade EXT models come with complimentary maintenance provided through Cadillac’s Premium Care Maintenance Program. This fully transferrable maintenance plan lasts as long as the vehicle’s warranty is in effect, and it covers oil changes, filter replacement, vehicle inspections, and tire rotations.

The cost of maintaining the Escalade EXT over five years is estimated to be $1,264. Since the EXT’s warranty typically expires around the middle of the third year you drive your EXT, most of these costs will be incurred during the fourth and fifth years of ownership.

Maintaining a Honda Ridgeline should cost approximately $2,610 over five years, and NADA expects that the Chevy Avalanche’s maintenance costs will total about $2,266 after five years.

Cadillac Escalade EXT Safety

There is very limited crash test data available for the Cadillac Escalade EXT, due in part to its high price and in part to its restricted production numbers.

The 2011 model has not been tested at all, but the 2010 model earned the full five available stars on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s frontal collision test.

On the administration’s rollover test, the Escalade EXT earned just three stars out of five. While this isn’t a strong result, it’s typical among large SUVs and pickup trucks.

If you’re in the market for a safer truck, consider either the Toyota Tundra or the Ford F-150, both of which were recognized as “Top Safety Picks” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

2012 Escalade EXT Fuel Economy

All three available trim levels for the 2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT come standard with a 6.2 liter Vortec V8 engine, which gets 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

These are by far the lowest fuel economy numbers of any sport utility truck, and they’re even poor by full-size pickup truck standards.

The Honda Ridgeline and the Chevy Avalanche both get 15 mpg in the city, and the Ridgeline gets 20 mpg on the highway. The Avalanche’s highway mileage is 21 mpg.

Among full-size pickups, the Ford F-150 is the best non-hybrid fuel economy performer, getting 17 city mpg and 23 highway mpg. The Tundra from Toyota gets 16 city/20 highway mpg, and the Chevrolet Silverado gets 15 city/20 highway mpg.

Even the worst-performing full-size truck, the Nissan Titan, gets the same gas mileage as the EXT does.

2012 Escalade EXT Trim Levels

The three trim levels for the 2012 Cadillac Escalade EXT are Standard, Luxury, and Premium. The EXT Luxury costs about $4,000 more than the base model, and you’ll pay almost $70,000 for the Premium trim.

The base model comes standard with a backup camera, a touch-screen navigation system, heated and ventilated front seats, a folding midgate panel, and an onboard tonneau cover.

Tech features include a surround-sound system by Bose, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and one year of complimentary OnStar.

With the Luxury trim, you add on a heated steering wheel, magnetic ride control, 22-inch alloy wheels, and a power sunroof. The Premium EXT incorporates power-retracting assist steps and a rear-seat entertainment system.

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