Exterior

The 2011 Escalade ESV was so big it made all the other cars around it feel like an entourage of hangers-on. It has plenty of chrome and shined like an opera singer dressed for the stage and ready to hit the high notes.

The high notes aren't so much new notes. The Escalade ESV has shiny 22-inch wheels, chromed air vents, and a power liftgate and running boards. The running boards were a source of pain early in my test drive because I kept whacking my shins on them as they automatically dropped down when I opened the door. I did finally remember they were there and seldom hit my shins after a few days. The diva had slayed me.

My kids — ages 7 and 9 — had few problems getting in the ESV, but closing the doors once they were inside was another matter. If your kids are young they're going to need some assistance.

The Escalade ESV is 222.9 inches long. Make sure to measure your garage before bringing this beast home. I could fit it in my garage but couldn't close the garage door because the bumper obscured the door's sensor. Don't say you weren't warned.

The Escalade ESV has a 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8. It uses regular gas or E85 ethanol, which lowers its fuel economy to 9/13 mpg.

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