Fun Stuff

Depreciation Appreciation: Cadillac Escalade

Welcome to Depreciation Appreciation! Every month, your pals at dig up an example of how depreciation can make for an extra-fantastic used-car deal.

This month? Dolla dolla bills y’all! You want to look like a big-dollar baller and make your fellow motorists think you’ve just spent the weekend in the club making it rain. Thing is, you’re on a bit of a budget.
Solution? The Cadillac Escalade. Copies of the 2002 to 2006 generation of this posh-ute superstar can be had for under $10,000 all day long, and a well-maintained model is ideal for drivers who want space, comfort, power, and who want to look pretend-rich.

The Sticky

The second generation Escalade launched in 2002, featuring GM truck-frame construction, massive size, big standard power, and enough chrome to deck out a rap video. Escalade was also comfortable, stylish, and capable, and remains a relatively exclusive machine to this day.

Look for a 6.0L V8 with 345 hp, all-wheel drive on all models, and a four-speed automatic. Heated leather, memory seating, Bose audio, parking sensors, automatic lights and climate control were all on board.

Approximate New Value

At launch, the Cadillac Escalade commanded an MSRP of around $65,000 without any options, though numerous up-level models and packages drove that figure well into $80,000 territory just a few years later. Some top-line models, like the Escalade Platinum, even carried a starting price in the high $90,000 range!

Approximate Used Value

Today, you can find a used copy of an Escalade from this generation for under $10,000, all day long—and some with surprisingly low mileage. Here’s an example of a model with less than 140,000 km of service, priced at just $9,800. Here’s another beauty with less than 200,000 km on the dial, priced under $8,000! You could spend more on a Honda Civic.

You’ll find numerous listings like this one, in the sweet-spot of the used Escalade marketplace, with mileage in the mid-100’s, and pricing between about $11,000 and $12,000.

Why You Want One

First, there’s selection galore. This generation Escalade was available in standard length, extended-length ESV, and pickup-based EXT variants. The latter amounted to a Chevrolet Avalanche with a going over by Cadillac designers and engineers to create a high-versatility bling-mobile. High-end ‘Platinum’ models even got additional feature content and standard twenty-inch wheels.

Second? With ground clearance for days, and a decision-free AWD system, your new-to-you Escalade is all-weather ready, even in the dead of winter. Heated seats and automatic climate control add comfort on cold mornings.

Third? If you’re after a used luxury SUV, the Escalade makes plenty of sense. Largely free of wiring and electronics issues common in numerous comparable German models, and with solid GM truck reliability and lower resale value than Japanese competitors, a used Escalade with reasonable miles and in good condition should be reliable for years to come.

Finally, remember that since it’s just a GM pickup under the skin, the Escalade will be relatively easy to source parts for, relatively inexpensive to repair, relatively familiar to your mechanic, and relatively robust when worked hard or driven in real-world conditions.

The Verdict

Where luxury and styling are concerned, the Escalade hits the mark as a used SUV buy. A well-maintained, lower-mileage unit with a two thumbs up from your favourite mechanic can be bought with confidence.