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2002 Cadillac Escalade – American Status Symbol

2002 was a banner year for the Cadillac Escalade. It was completely redesigned, and it quickly became one of the most popular SUV’s on the market. The Escalade is known for its luxurious appointments and its powerful engine, and it remains one of the most sought-after vehicles on the road today. If you’re looking for a car that will make you feel good about yourself, the Escalade is definitely worth considering. It’s a classic American SUV, and it has all the power and luxury that you could want in a vehicle.

The 2002 Cadillac Escalade was an American status symbol, as many musicians, especially rap, promoted it in their music videos and lyrics. The Escalade featured in various blockbuster movies released at the time. The fact that it was a powerful, intimidating, and luxury SUV also played a role.

2002 cadillac escalade

Back in 2002, when the Cadillac Escalade was released, many loyal customers could not wait to own one. The first-generation Escalade was not the best SUV ever made, and Cadillac had to step up their game. With all free marketing through media sources, it was bound to become a status symbol. Oh, it was a beast of a machine as well.

2002 Cadillac Escalade – An American Status Symbol

The 2002 Cadillac Escalade was cemented as an American status symbol when people started using it in music videos, song lyrics, and high-profile movies. Jay-Z used the Escalade in two music videos, “Malibu’s Most Wanted” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” while the 2002 Escalade played the main role in the “Matrix Reloaded” in the memorable car chase scene that took place on a highway.

2002 cadillac escalade

Further cementing the Escalade’s pop culture status was when it made its way into song lyrics. Mike Myers sang “Give Me An Escalade” as a rap parody in the movie “Austin Powers – Goldmember,” and Big Tymers mentioned the Cadillac three times in their hit song “This Is How We Do.” The Escalade was a longtime feature in the “Bernie Mac Show” from 2001-2006.

2002 cadillac escalade

And who can forget the iconic villain, Leslie Chow from the “Hangover,” who drove around with his cronies in a 2005 Cadillac Escalade? A first-generation Escalade was used in the car-heist movie  “Gone In Sixty Seconds” starring Nicolas Cage, and Jennifer Lopez mentioned the beast in one of her hit songs, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.”

All the status-driven people “singing” the Escalade’s praises was free marketing, and Cadillac was not complaining. The Escalade had to be something special to become a status symbol, and indeed it was.

2002 cadillac escalade

After the mess they made with the first-generation Escalade, the second-generation has to be special. Cadillac did not disappoint when they released the improved Escalade in 2002.

Let us examine why this big badass of a Cadillac grabbed the attention of so many rappers, athletes, and pop icons.

2002 cadillac escalade interior

2002 Cadillac Escalade Specifications

Part of Cadillac’s DNA has always been to design vehicles that include the following:

  • Performance
  • Most Advanced Technology
  • Sophistication In Design
2002 Cadillac EscaladeSpecifications 4WDSpecifications 2WD
EnginePushrod 16-Valve V8 6.0-liter – Iron Block & Aluminum Head – Port Fuel InjectionPushrod 16-Valve V8 5.3-liter – Iron Block & Aluminum Head – Port Fuel Injection
Power345 hp @ 5200 rpm285 @ 5200 rpm
Torque380 lb. ft @ 4000 rpm325 lb. ft @ 4000 rpm
Drive TypeAWDRear-Wheel Drive
Transmission4-Speed Automatic4-Speed Automatic
0-60 mph7.8 seconds9.6 seconds
Maximum Speed108 mph108 mph
Brakes4-Wheel ABS4-Wheel ABS
TiresP265/70/R17P265/70/R17
Maximum Towing Capacity8,200 lbs.7,400 lbs.
Maximum Payload Capacity1,440 lbs.1,467 lbs.
Cross Weight7,000 lbs.6,800 lbs.
SuspensionFront Independent SuspensionShort & Long Arm Front SuspensionSolid Live Axle Rear SuspensionFront Independent SuspensionShort & Long Arm Front SuspensionSolid Live Axle Rear Suspension
Range In Miles (CTY/HWY)260/364 mi.338/442 mi.

Rappers don’t ride in small cars, and the Escalade was large and powerful, offering many entertainment and comfort features, like the following:

  • Bose Audio System (250 Watts)
  • 6-Disc Changer (Rappers Love Their Music)
  • Subwoofer
  • 11 Speakers
  • Diversity Antenna
  • Separate Rear Audio
  • CD-Controller Stereo
  • Audio Control on Wheel
  • Front, Rear, and 3rd Row Cupholders
  • Rear Parking Sensors
  • Speed-Proportional Power Steering
  • Universal Remote Transmitter
  • Dual Zone Climate Control
  • Interior Air Filtration
  • Overhead Console with Storage
  • Cruise Control
  • Tilt-Adjustable Steering Wheel
  • Electro Chromatic Inside Rearview Mirror
  • Leather and Wood Trim
  • Dual Illuminating Vanity Mirrors
2002 cadillac escalade

The only negative feedback was the fitted subwoofer was too small to handle the Bose system and sounded a bit low in the bone-jarring-bass department. Fitting a 12-inch Bose would have fixed this mistake, in my opinion.

2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT – What’s The Difference?

The main difference is that the 2002 Cadillac Escalade is a five-door (8-seater), whereas the Cadillac Escalade EXT was built as a four-door (5-seater) – both a luxury SUV and a heavy-duty truck (rear end like a pickup truck.)

2002 cadillac escalade interior

Many have called it Cadillac’s first-ever sport/utility truck (SUT), by subscribing to the current four doors/short bed fad. It was launched head-to-head with the Lincoln Blackwood and was built on the same chassis (GMT800) as its brother from another mother – the Chevrolet Avalanche. 

2002 cadillac escalade

The Escalade EXT cargo box is an estimated 5-ft-3″, and could be extended by folding the manually operated mid gate – hinged rear bulkhead panel – into the interior space. You then have to remove the rear window and pull the hard cargo cover off, which will result in the cargo box length to increase to 8-ft-1″.

Enough space to fit in a mother-in-law or two.

2002 Cadillac Escalade Price

If you could slide into a time machine and transport yourself to the year 2002, you would have had to take the following cash-stash with you:

  • $48,735 for a 2002 Escalade 2WD
  • $52,230 for a 2002 Escalade 4WD
  • $49,245 for a 2002 Escalade EXT

Today, you can pick up an Escalade for a few thousand dollars. For models in mint condition, expect to pay a little more.

Towing Specifications2002 Cadillac Escalade 2WD2002 Cadillac Escalade 4WD2002 Cadillac Escalade EXT
Maximum Towing Capacity7,400 lbs.8,200 lbs.7,900 lbs.
Maximum Payload Capacity1,440 lbs.1,467 lbs.1,447 lbs.

To put it in better perspective for you, if you own a 2002 Cadillac Escalade 4WD, you will be able to tow/haul the following:

2002 cadillac escalade

You don’t need to worry when something needs some towing; the Escalade is powerful enough to haul half a zoo.

2002 Cadillac Escalade Problems

As with any vehicle manufactured, there will be a few problems here and there, as seen with any motor vehicle brand.

The following recalls have been issued over the years:

Most complaints received were related to braking issues. 

Conclusion

The 2002 Cadillac Escalade took the SUV market by storm when it was released, and the stars of Hollywood promoting it furthered the cause of wanting to own one. It was a well-designed SUV with tremendous power and speed and was renowned for how well it handled for such a big truck.

2002 cadillac escalade

When Cadillac managed to incorporate all sorts of luxury into the design, it was like beauty met the beast for the first time in an SUV. Power and elegance, a match made in icon heaven.

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