Forget the Tesla Cybertruck, Bring Back the Cadillac Escalade EXT

As a luxury car brand, Tesla is looking to return the pickup truck to the luxury line of vehicles in a market where there are none. There is, of course, the arguable exception of the GMC Sierra – if you consider it a luxury pickup. However, there used to be previous truck models from luxury brands. Let’s talk about the Cadillac Escalade EXT.

What we know about the Tesla Cybertruck

Despite a polarizing design and a less-than-stellar introduction to the automotive world, the hype was initially high for the Tesla Cybertruck. According to the Observer, Tesla had received over 250,000 Cybertruck reservations a week after its reveal. Six months later, this had increased to 650,000 reservations which cost buyers a refundable $100.

However, the truck has been delayed several times since. While production was initially meant to start in late 2021, it’s now expected to begin in mid-2023. One would assume the number of reservations has only grown since then.

Elon Musk even seemingly confirmed this as, according to Reuters, Tesla has more Cybertruck orders than it could fulfill in the first three production years. However, before the Cybertruck, the Cadillac Escalade EXT made waves in the luxury pickup truck market.

The Cadillac Escalade EXT luxury pickup truck

NBA star Dwyane Wade's customized Cadillac Escalade EXT luxury full-size pickup truck model
NBA star Dwyane Wade’s Cadillac Escalade EXT | Gregory Bojorquez/Getty Images

According to Auto Evolution, Cadillac made and sold almost 50,000 units of the first-generation Escalade EXT between 2001 and 2007. Like the Cybertruck, it was a half-pickup luxury truck. It also shared most of its entrails with the Cadillac Escalade full-size SUV. The engine of this model was a 6.0-liter V8 producing 350 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. It also came with a four-speed automatic transmission alongside an AWD drivetrain.

Some notable design details included corner-mounted turn signals and a truck bed where the third row of seats should have been. This was complemented by a low-hinged tailgate that made loading cargo easier. Additionally, owners could remove the rear panel to extend the space for cargo on the bed. This was a midgate design popularized by the Chevy Avalanche.

Between 2006 and 2013, buyers got the second-generation Escalade EXT based on the Chevrolet Silverado/Cadillac Escalade platform. The front of the vehicle featured a wide grille and thinner headlights. Behind the second-row seats was a truck bed that could fit an ATV. Under the hood of this car was a 6.2-liter V8 capable of making 409 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, while AWD was still standard, the manufacturer changed from the previous generation’s four-speed automatic to a six-speed.

The second-generation Escalade EXT also had a pretty impressive interior. Some of the highlights were leather upholstery, chrome and wood accents, and a refrigerated storage area in the center console that lived up to the car’s luxury billing.

The car the Escalade EXT was based on

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The Cadillac Escalade EXT was actually a luxury variant of the Chevrolet Avalanche; another pickup truck produced over two generations between 2001 and 2013. The Avalanche was also built on the Cadillac Escalade platform, so it was easy to duplicate.

It came with two engine options: a 5.3-liter 285 hp-rated V8 and an 8.1-liter 340 hp-rated V8. The 5.3-liter variant produced 325 lb-ft of torque, while its counterpart offered 460 lb-ft of the same. These engine options were paired with rear-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission.

The 2006-2013 models had a 4×4 system that could be activated in difficult terrain though it mostly worked with rear-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission. Buyers could choose between a 5.3-liter V8 engine that could produce 320 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque and a 6.0-liter V8 that upped performance to 370 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.