Tag Archives: Cadillac

Hey Minneapolis: Test Drive A CTS-V, Get $50 For Providing Feedback

Hey, what’re you doing this Saturday? How about driving a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, Sedan, Sport wagon, or all of the above at no cost to you?

I have been alerted that Wally McCarthy’s Cadillac in Roseville is having an open house this Saturday from 10 am until 6 pm. There will be free food from the barbecue, a free car wash, and apparently much more (no promises on what exactly that much more will be). The dealership will also have a raffle for Twins tickets, gift certificates to local restaurants and other prizes. Of course, GM Preferred Pricing will be offered to anyone that comes in that day.

Cadillac would also like to give you a penny for your thoughts, well actually 5,000 pennies to be exact. Engineers from Cadillac will be on-site and providing $50 Amex cards to consumers who will sit down with them and provide honest feedback. You can sit and tell them why your BMW is so much better than a Cadillac (if that is how you feel, though I’m guessing at that point you haven’t driven a CTS-V variant), and they’ll still give you the $50. All they want is feedback. Though fair warning, I’m told there are a limited amount of gift cards.

Full Disclosure: Cadillac did not pay me to write about this event. It didn’t urge me write about this event. A friend at Cadillac merely gave me a heads up that this open house would be happening in my area and I figured, who wouldn’t want to drive a CTS-V and eat free food. From a guy who has driven a handful of CTS-V variants, if you really don’t have plans, go drive one of these cars. It’ll probably make your day.

Review – 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: The Red Blooded Coupe

Holy crap, Cadillac has a sexy coupe for sale. I mean, who thought I would utter those words in 2011? Well there they are, in black and white type.

The reality is that any variant of the CTS-V is awe inspiring, and I’ve already attempted to find the meaning of life with the CTS-V Sport Wagon. But when the opportunity arises, who am I to turn down the opportunity to find out what is it like to live with the CTS-V Coupe? Read More…

Towing Experience: When A CTS-V Coupe Has A Blow Out

This is the tale of my experience with the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe and having a blowout during that time. I assure you it’s entertaining if it isn’t you that is living it.

My fiancée and I were just leaving home in the CTS-V Coupe, off to see some friends, when a large pothole on an onramp blew out the front passenger side tire. Immediately after hitting the pothole I realized the tire blew out and pulled over. At this point I didn’t realize how bad a situation this really was going to become. Read More…

Why Yes, That’s a 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Sitting In My Driveway

Yup, another post to announce another CTS-V variant has landed in my driveway. This time it lacks rear doors and the versatility of the wagon. But man is it sexy with those graphite wheels and yellow calipers. Oh and the Recaro seats with yellow suede aren’t bad either. I know the question is burning in your heart, the answer is yes. This CTS-V Coupe does have the six-speed manual transmission. I heard the rumble as it pulled down the street. The level of awesome is paramount. I’m looking forward to a week of punishing gas mileage and a whole lot of fun.

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Video – Overview Of The 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum

While I have already posted my review, I wanted to share my quick video overview of the 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Why Yes, That’s A 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon Sitting In My Driveway

Yes seriously, I am posting just to say a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon with a six-speed manual is sitting in my driveway right now. The level of awesome is paramount. The classic line from Team America keeps going through my head at the moment….

2011 Detroit Auto Show: The Good, The Great, The Sad

While Detroit has been down in the dumps for a while, this years auto show definitely shows things might be back on track in the D. Of course it had to snow while everyone was in town, but it gave those from the warmer climates a chance to see what us snow belt state peeps live through on a daily basis.

Some of you will remember that last year I wanted to differentiate myself. I started tweeting pictures of cars with the models and tagged them as #EyeCandy. This quickly became a hot topic. A few of my followers mentioned this year that I was not really tweeting any #EyeCandy and asked why not. The simple answer, there wasn’t any. Few booths had the babes that were in attendance last year. Though Chrysler group and Ferrari still pulled through.

But lets get down the to the product. The new Chrysler 300 looks terrific. In reality, many wondered when they saw the pictures if it can recapture the market that the 300 once had in 2005. Upon seeing the car in real life, I am happy to report that it looks much better in person. The interior really does deliver on the promise that the 300 made back in 2005. American luxury. From the great new Pentastar V6, to the growling Hemi V8 in the 300C, this is American luxury in a rear-wheel drive car.

Another car I was anxious to see in real life was the new Chevrolet Sonic. The Sonic is Chevrolet’s new B-Segment car which will take on the likes of the new Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and many others. I have to say, while I think the new Sonic is a home run from a styling perspective, I can see how many will not. It will be either a love it or hate it vehicle. From the exposed barrel headlights to the ridiculously short rear overhang and really long front overhang, the styling is nothing short of eye catching. The interior gauge cluster is also interesting, as they actually put into the production model the Aveo RS concept’s gauge cluster. With a racing like analogue tachometer and a digital speedometer, the gauge cluster is more reminiscent of a race car or motorcycle than that of a sub-compact car. Going on sale later this year I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see how the driving dynamics compare to the competition.

The new A6 has already won a design award without even leaving the show floor. In my opinion the new A6 takes everything that is right with the new A8 and A4 while dropping everything that is wrong with them. Smashing all the good together to make a great looking Audi. The design language has really come together for this car. The interior is terrific and the exterior is eye catching. The optional LED headlights are very intricately designed when inspecting them up close. You will see the new A6 on the road later this year.

I’m not going to really cover the CTS-V Coupe race car but I wanted to make mention of it. Two words come to mind when you walked past it on the turntable, menacing and awesome. Ok, moving on.

Toyota has finally unveiled a larger Prius. The model is called the Prius V. This is especially confusing to some since the regular Prius has trim level packages that are in roman numerals. Right now if you go buy a Prius in the top trim level you are buying a Prius V. Wait, that can’t make sense. So when you buy a top trim level Prius V will you be buying a Prius V V? This is clearly not well thought out. I wonder if Toyota realizes this yet. Maybe someone should send them a note. Regardless, I heard many people comment on how the Prius V rear end has a lot of Honda Fit in it. I can see that. The front, well it looks like a third generation Prius with a few slight tweaks. You’ll still know it’s a Prius. You will see the people mover Prius at a dealership near you in the Summer.

Ah the Honda Civic Concept. Honda waltzed Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy on stage to talk about the new Civic Concept. Here’s the problem, either Wentz was drunk or he really could care less about being there. He enthusiasm was worse than the new Civic’s styling. He barely stumbled through his words off the teleprompter. Note to Honda: make sure your spokesperson is somewhat excited about your luke warm product.

But getting back to that product, the new Civic Concept looks as if a new Odyssey and the current generation Civic got it on in the back room. That, or a designer of the current Civic got wasted one night, and just took the current Civics lines and tweaked them a little. For a mid-cycle refresh, I am not sure how this will be competitive until 2016 with new competition from Hyundai, Ford and Chevrolet. We will have to wait and see when the new Civic comes out, but I am not holding my breath.

Mercedes had its SLS E-Cell electric car on display. In a word it is blinding. The paint job on this car can literally sear your retinas. Beyond the paint job, it looks fairly identical on the outside to the current SLS. The interior changes a little as most of the gauges and center stack are now LCD screens. This car will go into production, but if you have to ask range or price, you can’t afford it.

I don’t really want to spend much time on the Passat as I’m not sure it deserves it. I’ll reserve final judgement until I drive one. Until then, I’ll say this, Volkswagen is going downmarket to sell more cars. Is that really a good idea? Why alienate all your current customers. People that buy current Passats pay more because they expect to get better quality materials. Cheapening the car for a lower base price is going to hurt your brand image. This is no longer just German engineering, it is German engineering to a price point.

While I skipped Porsches press conference to eat breakfast at my hotel (it was at 6:30 AM), I will say looking at the car in person, it is stunning. Seeing that huge flywheel in the passenger seat, yea. This is how you build a hybrid. It is good to see Porsche looking at new technology for racing. If this car does go into the racing circuit it could change the game. With less fuel stops needed and more power on tap for instant bursts, it could be a whole new era of racing.

At the end of the day I was exhausted. Most journalists were up at 5 AM and didn’t leave the show floor till nearly 8 PM. I ran to nearly every press conference and went through approximately 6,600 milliamps of battery power for my iPhone4. It was a good show with some great product. Not everything was great, but it was a good to see where each automaker is going in 2011.


Full Disclosure- My NAIAS travel and accommodations are being provided by General Motors

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 36: “Bad Beak”

Episode 36 starts with introducing this weeks guest Nick Saporito from GM Inside News and Ford Inside News. This week we find the garage quite full. Both Nick and I  have had Cadillac Escalade Platinum’s along with Chevrolet Cruze’s. Also in the garage I have a Mitsubishi Evolution MR and Nick has a Buick Regal Turbo.

We then move along to the major news of the week segment. This week included:

  • Top 10 ugliest car grilles [Link]
  • Dealers are creating monster Camaros [Link]
  • Great YouTube find: CHP video from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake [Link]
  • How to install and iPad in your Mustang [Link]

Next came our main topic which was discussing what’s coming in 2011. We take a look at Ford’s financial goals along with some Detroit Auto Show talk.

Last we plug our respective sites: Ford Inside News, GM Inside News, AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Review – 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum: What A Cadillac Should Be

Cadillac latest advertising campaign pegs the brand as “The New Standard of the World.” But are they really? Over the past 10 years, there is no question that they haven’t been. But do vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade Platinum stand to change that?

The Cadillac Escalade Platinum stands for all the right things at the wrong time. With 22″ wheels, three TV screens and a 6.0-Liter V8, the Escalade is what many would say is wrong with America. Wait a second, what’s this? It’s a hybrid!

GM launched its two-mode hybrid system in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full size SUVs. Both of those full size SUVs share the GMT-900 platform with the Cadillac Escalade, making an Escalade hybrid model a no brainer.

The exterior of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and the GMC Yukon Hybrid both feature slightly tweaked exteriors for enhanced aerodynamics. The Escalade hybrid does not feature a different front end or body work, but the Platinum edition does.

The grille is an egg crate-like design that is more in-line with the rest of the Cadillac line-up. The headlights are fully LED with a unique design exclusive to the Platinum edition. I actually like the grille design on the Platinum better than the regular Escalade.

While the headlight design is certainly unique, I’m not sure if they are better or worse. The LED headlights flood the road with natural blueish white light. This clashes with the yellow light that hits the road from the halogen fog lights. I wish Cadillac has fitted LED lights in the fog lights along with the headlights. This would give the front end a much more cohesive look at night.

The Platinum also features 22″ chrome multi-spoke wheels which put the Escalade up in the air. To help get into this land barge you have automatic step bars. They deploy as soon as any of the doors open. Around back, the Escalade Platinum features all-LED lighting.

Visually the Escalade is already an in your face, over the top vehicle. The Platinum edition takes that all one step further and in reality it looks better than the regular Escalade in many regards.

The interior takes the regular Escalade to the next level. Everything is pretty much real wood, real aluminum or one of two different kinds of real wood. The doors and top of the dash are both wrapped in leather while the center stack and anything on the dash that isn’t wood is aluminum.

The steering wheel features a nice combination of all three materials. While the Platinum features a heated steering wheel, the Hybrid Platinum does not. Cadillac decided to forgo this feature due to the energy draw. Too bad, with aluminum and wood on the steering wheel, chilly doesn’t begin to describe the feeling in your hands when it is zero degrees outside.

The fist two rows are covered in a very nice aniline leather, while the third row settles for nuance leather. In all reality, both are very nice looking and feel great. As mentioned before, the Platinum Escalade features two different types of wood inside. Both olive ash and walnut burl adorn the dash with an intricate yet tasteful break to switch from one to the other.

The gauges are white with blue needles. Chrome surrounds the gauges, which I might have thought would be distracting in sunlight, but I am happy to report it is not.

Navigation is standard, though slightly dated. The system is DVD-based which means it is not instant when changing map views and such. The navigation system does have live traffic,which is provided by XM. The main navigation screen is also home to most of the settings, the sound system and the hybrid drivetrain graphic, which shows you where the power is being routed and from what source. The sound system is Bose branded and sounds alright, but it isn’t mind blowing by any means. The Harman Kardon and Pioneer sound systems that GM has been using in other vehicles sound better.

The Escalade Hybrid Platinum features a rear seat entertainment package. This consisted of not one or two, but three screens. Why three? Because this is the Platinum. Two of those screens are seven inches in dimater and are mounted in the front two headrests. The third screen is eight inches and drops down from the top of the Escalade. There were remotes and headphones galore.

If you haven’t already decided from the pictures and all the above, the interior of the Escalade Hybrid Platinum is definitely a nice place to both be for both the driver and passengers. I would go as far as to say, the interior of the Platinum is exactly what a Cadillac should be. Granted I would give it a technology update, but that is beside the point.

The Escalade Hybrid’s powertrain is a 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 with active fuel management paired to two 60 kilowatt electric motors. The power goes through a 2-mode transmission, which is essentially a four speed. Two speeds are for city speeds, while two speeds are for highway speeds. The cutoff is at 40 miles per hour for switching from city to highway mode.

I was highly impressed with the system. It is smooth and overall very seamless. During the week I had the Escalade Hybrid it was around zero degrees the entire time. This meant that the battery pack had to work harder to hold a charge.

The engine stop-start function didn’t really kick in until the vehicle and battery were both thoroughly warmed up. So short drives did not get the full benefit of the hybrid powertrain. When I had the Tahoe Hybrid it was spring and warm. I saw an average of 19.6 mpg in mixed urban/suburban driving. With the Escalade Hybrid Platinum I saw an average of 15.3 mpg. While the weather definitely impacted my mileage, this is better than the 12 mpg I probably would have seen with the non-hybrid version.

The Escalade Hybrid Platinum I had for a week had a sticker price of $89,090. That is a lot of coin for an SUV, or any vehicle for that matter. The Hybrid Platinum is the highest trim model of Escalade that you can purchase. Is it worth nearly $90,000? Probably not. Then again I wouldn’t spend nearly $90k for a BMW X6M either, and that has 555 horsepower. The price tag seems a bit unreasonable.

With all that said, this is absolutely without a question the nicest Cadillac Escalade available, and it is a little greener to boot. There is no question that the Hybrid is more fuel efficient, especially when it is not 0 degrees outside.

I’m going to stick with my statement from earlier, defining this vehicle as what a Cadillac should be. A really nice interior filled with leather, real metal and wood, and a powerful yet somewhat green powertrain. If Cadillac can build vehicles like this and push the boundaries of technology further, they might have a chance at yet again becoming the standard of the world.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Fail – Introducing The GM Escalado

Spotted by none other than the great Mark Boyadjis in Columbia Heights, MN, this mid 90’s Chevrolet Silverado has a second generation Cadillac Escalade front clip grafted onto it. Paint is for suckers. Either the front clip is still just primed and not painted, or else the front clip is black and the donor truck is white. Either way it is hideous. For the awesome blend between luxury and redneck, the GM Escalado is the only way to go.

Thanks for the tip Mark.