"Stop living in the past," say countless advice purveyors across a broad spectrum of media. It's good advice if you're trying to get over an ex-girlfriend, but you pretty much have to live in the past to drop almost $90,000 on a body-on-frame luxury SUV like the 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum. That's $88,295 to be precise, making this the second-most-expensive Caddy available. (First place by a slight margin goes to the Escalade Hybrid.)

The original GMT400 Escalade was a hastily created rebadge of the GMC Yukon, designed as an answer to the then-popular Lincoln Navigator. But it was the next-generation model, based on the GMT800 platform, that became the bling king, while the Lincoln was largely forgotten. Much hype surrounded the launch of the GMT900 platform that underpins the third-generation Escalade, and early on it proved its mettle by besting the Range Rover in a head-to-head shootout. (link: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/luxury/112_0605_fullsize_suv_comparison/index.html). That was 2006. Some five years on, the Escalade's shortcomings are beginning to manifest themselves. More on that later...

The Escalade ESV is the stretched version of the Escalade and uses much of the same hardware as the Chevrolet Suburban. Its 130-inch wheelbase is 14 inches longer than that of the regular Escalade, and its overall length of 222.9 inches is 20.4 inches longer. The extra length is attached entirely behind the C-pillar, which has an unfortunate Sir Mix-A-Lot-approved result on the SUV's proportions. The positive benefits are found on the inside. First, third-row legroom goes up to an adequate 34.9 inches from a brutal 25.4 inches. Second, full-occupancy cargo space goes up from a paltry 16.9 cubic feet to an ample 45.8 cubic feet, with maximum cargo volume jumping to a cavernous 137.4 cubic feet.