At the end of the shifter is a Toad Hall button (It’s “Tow/Haul”—Ed.), and the 3.06 first-gear ratio means the EXT is useful for dragging the wreckage away from locomotive collisions. There’s even an in-dash computer program called “Vehicle History Last 15 Days.” Ours recalled the Battle of Hastings, the movie Nurse Nancy, and quite a bit of time spent idling in a Krispy Kreme parking lot.
This Cadillac includes an “Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist” (URPA), so that you don’t back over a runaway bison or a Humvee belonging to the military police. Cadillac says the device “now incorporates a new snow, ice, and mud algorithm in its software.” What it does is this: It works to tell you when it’s not working.
Observed fuel economy was not so good. The EXT was 28 percent less efficient than a 5534-pound Sayers & Scovill DeVille Masterpiece hearse sans casket, in fact. One difference between the two: The hearse doesn’t require premium fuel.
Several C/D editors suggested I compare the EXT with a blackwall. (Black-WOOD. It’s a Lincoln, for God’s sake—Ed.) But the EXT already has 17-inch blackwalls, so I compared it with a 1976 Cadillac Mirage pickup. They both have flying buttresses.
While I was driving the Mirage (see below), it occurred to me that, back in 1976, Cadillac buyers didn’t want their luxury sedans to be confused with anything so mundane as a truck. Hence, a car-based pickup. A quarter-century later, Cadillac buyers don’t want their trucks to be confused with anything so mundane as a luxury sedan. Hence the EXT. I didn’t say any of this out loud.
I’m glad I didn’t. Cadillac’s engineers are sensitive about the word “pickup.” The assistant vehicle line executive for full-size trucks gets quite huffy as he reminds, “The EXT is based on a utility chassis, not a pickup-truck chassis.” He means the Chevy Suburban. We know why he’s touchy. For many years, Car and Driver insisted it was a lifestyle, not a magazine. None of our parents ever bought this.
Cadillac says 20 percent of EXT buyers will be women with a $125,000 household income. This is lucky. It means they’ll already own their own ladders. We predict that the EXT will be snapped up by buyers whose lifelong credo is “Hey, watch this!”
Only in America could something like the Cadillac EXT be built. This makes you wonder why it’s built in Silao, Mexico. (John, do you have anything resembling a conclusion? Purchasing advice?—Ed.)
There are lots of things on which you could spend $49,990. This is one of them.
A quarter century ago, you could order a pickup truck from any Cadillac dealer. Known as the Mirage, the truck was based on a ’76 Coupe de Ville with a 500-cubic-inch V-8. The conversion was effected by Traditional Coach Works of Chatsworth, California, which advertised it as a hybrid for the “discriminating sportsman, rancher, or gentleman farmer.” In the case of the Mirage depicted here, the donor Coupe de Ville cost $11,767. The conversion cost another $15,694. That was a pile o’ cash in the ’70s, and only 104 Mirages were ever produced. This unrestored version—with 80,000 miles on the clock—belongs to Hugh Smith of Midland, Michigan.