Driven: 2012 Cadillac Escalade AWD Premium

The heyday of the full-size luxury SUV may well have passed, but no vehicle born of that era has become more ingrained in the popular culture than the Cadillac Escalade. (A quick aside: Do we think this would have been the case if the Escalade had been named the ULX or some other nonsense amalgam of letters and numbers? No.) Even though the Escalade’s biggest-volume sales years may be behind it, this vehicle still looms large in the public consciousness, and the general perception of Cadillac.

Cadillac bosses might prefer that their brand be defined by newer models like the CTS, the CTS-V, or maybe the SRX. But the fact is that as the biggest and most expensive model in the lineup, the Escalade remains the flagship — it’s the mack-daddy Caddy.