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2009 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

  If ever a vehicle defined excess, it would be the Cadillac Escalade.
For years, this monster Caddy has represented the epitome in American automotive hedonism — so powerful, so luxurious, so big. Everything about it is over the top, from its tugboat engine to its hide-covered seats to its dinner-plate-sized Cadillac logo on the back. It’s extravagance on a grand scale.
     And if ever a vehicle represented the opposite — efficiency, frugality, and Earth friendliness — it would be the venerable hybrid car.
     Interestingly, Cadillac has combined the two for 2009 in the new Escalade Hybrid. It’s just as opulent as the regular Escalade, with the same bold styling, luxurious cabin and outrageous V8 power, but it’s also far more fuel efficient.
     The Escalade Hybrid uses a bank of batteries and powerful electric motors to boost acceleration and save gasoline. You don’t have to plug it in a power outlet, either, because it recharges the batteries every time you use the brakes.
     General Motors uses the same technology in the new GMC Yukon Hybrid and Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, both of which are cousins of the Escalade. If you thought the only difference in the three was the badge, though, you’d be wrong.

     This was the case a few years ago. Year after year, I would criticize the Escalade’s cabin for using the same cheap, crappy plastic materials as the Yukon and Tahoe. But finally, starting with the current generation Escalade, General Motors got it right.
     The ’09 Escalade Hybrid, just like the normal Escalade, has a very nice, well-built interior like you’d expect in an expensive luxury car. The panels are all perfectly aligned like a pricey European sedan, with soft-touch materials and excellent construction.
     It also has a quiet, smooth ride, as you’d expect in a $74,000 vehicle, along with all the trappings of a great luxury car. Standard equipment includes a touch-screen navigation system, a rear-view camera, Bose stereo, tri-zone automatic climate control and a remote starter that makes it easy to warm up the vehicle on cold mornings.
     Best of all, the Escalade Hybrid presents a very Earth-conscience image.
     Let’s face it. Nobody who spends this much money on a vehicle — especially a large SUV — is doing so to save money at the gas pump. The Escalade Hybrid is more about making a political and social statement that you care about the environment, but you don’t have to give up a comfortable lifestyle to do so.
     This vehicle isn’t shy about its hybrid status. It’s covered in big, bold logos that practically shout its Earth-friendly credentials, including a huge “HYBRID” sticker across the bottom of the doors.
Combined with the edgy Cadillac styling, it sends a powerful message everywhere it goes: “I can be excessive and efficient at the same time. So there.”

  1. MJS 1986
    May 11th, 2010 at 18:42 | #1

    Is it just me, or does the giant “Hybrid” sticker both cheapen the vehicle’s exterior, and just scream “I need attention?” Why do people just have to know you drive a hybrid?

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