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2004 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition - Driving Impression

Livin' Large In A Phat Ride

Ken BrubakerWriterKeninemPhotographer

Livin' the opulent, high-profile life of an affluent musician or professional athlete isn't normally part of our world. This is partly due to our shocking absence of wealth. It may also have something to do with the fact that we blow chunks at most sports and we can't sing worth a crap. Nevertheless, we recently got to experience what it's like on the other side of the bottle of Cristal when our peeps in the 313 hooked us up with a dope '04 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition. As you can tell, it went straight to our empty heads.

Dissing the all-wheel-drive Escalade has historically been one of our favorite ways to pass time. We've always considered this whip to be wack, due to its lack of off-road skills. After shackin' with the 'Slade for a couple of weeks though, it's clear we've been bojanglin' because this ride is bumpin'.

There are three Escalade models. The Escalade ESV is Suburban-based. The Escalade EXT is Avalanche-based, and the Escalade is Tahoe-based. No matter which one you throw down a wad of dead presidents for, however, each comes with a tight collection of luxury standard equipment. Without a doubt, though, the ESV Platinum Edition is the pimp daddy of them all. When this new-for-'04 model rolls off the end of the Silao, Mexico, assembly line, it's dressed to impress with every conceivable toy a playa needs, and even a few things a playa don't. The Platinum package effectively sets the exterior of the 'Slade apart from a standard ESV with a lower ride height, chrome dubs, P275/55R20 tires, chrome grille, and class envy-provoking Platinum lettering on the liftgate. Like the standard ESV, the interior of the Platinum Edition offers a fly collection of lavish perks, including a nine-speaker Bose premium audio system, XM satellite radio, DVD-based navigation system, dual 7-inch video screens and two pair of wireless headphones. The Platinum Edition bumps the interior luxury level up a notch over the standard ESV with a righteous bunch of walnut burlwood accents; a kickin' ebony and shale dash; and for your ba-donka-donk, there's totally bumpin' shale leather seating surfaces.

We fired up the 345hp 'Slade and bounced out of the 815 to the 920, an artsy-fartsy area in Wisconsin that's home to some loco Malibu-like real estate prices. During the summer, the quaint peninsula is crawling with playas driving luxury nameplates like Lexus, Range Rover, and Infiniti. When we slid into the areous of our resort, we caught the attention of a well-to-do type unloading perfectly matched leather luggage from his Lincoln Navigator. He freaked us out when he struck up a conversation with us. We're used to the fine wine crowd just looking at us like we're buggin' when we show up in our locked, lifted, winch-laden, dirty F-150 on 35s. At first we thought he was a playa hata, but he seemed truly interested in the massive Cadillac with its huge jeweled wreath and crest emblem prominently adhesived onto the 'Slades liftgate. Since we obviously had his attention with our totally bumpin' ride-as well as our groovy dollar-sign necklace and faux gold #1 pendant-we schooled him on what makes the Platinum 'Slade da bomb. We left him speechless by offering up the lowdown on the 'Slades 730 specs-including the off-the-hook heated and cooled cupholders and the righteous heated and cooled leather seats.

Shizzle, at the end of our two-week vacation from reality, we had to give the Escalade back to the boyz at Cadillac. We came away from our experience with a Cristal clear observation: If you're a playa who has 700 Benjamins to spend on a set of wheels, you can't go wrong with the Escalade ESV Platinum Edition. This eight-passenger, attitude-oozing, super-luxo ride is arguably the hippest way to say to all the other wanna-be playas that you've "made it." This vehicle will help you represent without looking like an uptight executive.

Vehicle model: '04 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum Edition
Base price: $69,305
Price as tested: $70,155 ($850 destination charge)
Options as tested: None

Type: OHV V-8
Displacement (liter/ci): 6.0/364
Bore x stroke (in.): 4.00 x 3.62
Valve actuation: Pushrod
Compression ratio: 10.0:1
Intake: Sequential CPFI
Mfg's power rating @ rpm (hp): 345 @ 5,200
Mfg's torque rating @ rpm (lb-ft): 380 @ 4,000
Mfg's suggested fuel type: Premium unleaded

Transmission: 4L65-E automatic
Ratios (:1)
First 3.06
Second 1.63
Third 1.00
Fourth 0.70
Reverse 2.29
Axle ratio: 3.73
Transfer case: Single-speed open differential
Low-range ratio: N/A
Crawl ratio: 11.41

Frame : Welded, fully boxed ladder type with hydroformed front and rear sections
Body: Steel

Front: Independent SLA with torsion bars, Road Sensing Suspension, 32mm stabilizer bar, monotube shocks
Rear: Five-link with coil springs, automatic air-leveling system, RSS, 30mm stabilizer bar, monotube shocks

Type: Power recirculating ball
Turns (lock-to-lock): 3
Ratio: 14:1

Front: Disc, 12.01-inch rotors, dual-piston calipers
Rear: Disc, 13-inch rotors, dual-piston calipers

Wheels (in.): 20
Tires: P275/55R20

EPA city/highway: 12/16
Actual combined, city/highway/trail: 15.5

Weight (lb.): 5,820
Wheelbase (in.): 130
Overall length (in.): 221.4
Overall width (in.): 78.9
Height (in.): 75.7
Track f/r (in.): 65/66
Minimum ground clearance (in.): N/A
Turning diameter, curb-to-curb (ft.): 43.08
Approach/departure angles (deg.): N/A
GVWR (lb.): 7,200
Payload (lb.): 1,380
Maximum towing capacity (lb.): 7,700
Seating: 8
Fuel capacity (gal.): 31
Claimed interior volume (sq.-ft.): 131.6

313-Detroit telephone area code
815-Four Wheeler Midwest Bureau telephone area code
920-Door County, Wisconsin telephone area code
Ba-donka-donk-Nice looking butt
Benjamins-$100 bills
Bounced-To leave
Buggin'-Acting in a manner which is not socially acceptable
Bumpin'-To ones liking
Cristal-Roerderer Cristal champagne
Dead presidents-Cash
Dissing-Showing disrespect
Dubs-20-inch-diameter wheels
Off the hook-Unbelievable, outrageous, and so on
Playa-Someone who's really in
Shackin'-Living with
Wack-Not to one's liking

Hip-hop slang is saturating the English language. As a matter of fact, there are entire books written on the topic. Heck, a few companies even offer flash cards! Hip-hop slang can be single words that relate to everything from brand names to specific physical actions. They can also contain alternative pronunciation and spelling of normal words as well as phrases. Further, there are different genres of hip-hop including East Coast, West Coast, South, Old School, and Gangsta. Hip-hop terminology is constantly evolving, so if you want to get your verbal game on, visit a Web site like www.urbandictionary.com or www.wordiq.com.