Recently, Kia’s been running a commercial called “The Kia Chairlift.” The ad shows a Sportage driving some skiers up a relatively tame incline in place of a chairlift. Don’t get me wrong: that’s impressive. I’m reasonably sure my FWD would be alternately spinning itself into ruts and sliding into ravines. However, a Sportage can’t really be considered a terrain-conquering beast. And it certainly couldn’t make it to the top of the Flute Bowl.
What’s a Flute Bowl?
I’m glad you asked. The Flute Bowl is a remote area on Whistler Mountain not accessible by chairlift. To reach its peak, skiers need to walk nearly 45 minutes uphill. And nothing’s more fun than interrupting a day of skiing to haul your gear up a mountain like a 19th-century surveyor. Whistler Blackcomb was looking for a better solution, so they asked their partner GMC. GMC was already providing “a fleet of Professional Grade trucks and SUVs on the mountain,” but this task demanded something special.
All Mountain Sierra HD 2.0 (GMC Snow Tank)
The GMC All Mountain Sierra HD 2.0 (which I would have named the GMC Snow Tank) is nothing if not special. Based on the All-Terrain X, it has little trouble climbing even the steepest surfaces. A 6.6L Duramax Diesel with 910lb-ft of torque is just the beginning of its ridiculous spec sheet. The All-Mountain’s most obvious upgrades are the 18-inch 175 Series Mattracks that guarantee traction in the snow. To accommodate those triangular tank treads, GMC needed to install a 12-inch lift kit. But that’s not all. Other modifications include:
Whistler Blackcomb Custom Wrap
The GMC Snow Tank also hangs on to the standard (“standard” in the sense the same way that Rolls Royce mixes real diamonds in their paint) features of GMC’s All-Terrain series. Those features include:
Heated Steering Wheel
Black Sport Side Steps
All Terrain Grille Insert With Chrome Grille Surround
Once, Cadillac was the standard against which others were measured. Being the “Cadillac of x” was being the best in an industry. But, since then, their identity has lost some of its coherence. To a younger generation of drivers, Cadillac was estranged from its history of greatness. Recently, however, Cadillac has been redefining itself – while holding on to what earned them their success. By all measures, they’re gaining ground, and Capital Cadillac is showcasing that momentum.
A New Approach
According to Mahmoud Samara, Managing Director of Cadillac Canada, the “Dare Greatly” campaign is the enactment of their new ethos. In his words, “Everyone and anyone that touches the Cadillac brand has to walk, talk, act and live the daring attitude.” They’ve partnered with young artists, young fashion designers, young filmmakers, and more young creators. Did I mention that they’re all quite young?
One of the most daring aspects of Cadillac’s reinvention is the adjustment of its demographic. The bench seat has ridden toward the sunset in the DTS. Instead of offering reactive designs married to the past, Cadillac is reaching ahead of the curve. Seemingly, the modernisation of their lineup could risk alienating their faithful (older) customers. But one might instead argue that lifelong fans of Cadillac would identify more with the reclamation of Cadillac’s golden-age spirit than with the iteration of vehicles from the past. That “golden-age spirit” is one of aggressive innovation and risk-taking. Clearly, Cadillac must agree, because those two principles are the defining elements of their latest concept car, the Escala.
According to official channels, Escala signifies “scale” in Spanish, but it might be apt take the alternate translation, “ladder.” After all, Cadillac has been trying hard to climb back to the top. As Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac, puts it, Escala signals “the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.” If that’s true, the pinnacle of premium certainly looks enticing.
In the sense that Cadillac actually intended for the name, Escala might be a scaled-down Escalade. Cadillac’s King of SUVs has been dominating the full-size luxury SUV category for years. In addition to sharing half of its name, the Escala shares its luxury sensibility. Cadillac has used their standard hand cut-and-sewn technique. The interior was inspired by their suiting partners. The front row interior is different from the back, emphasizing the distinct needs of drivers and passengers. Per Cadillac’s design team, this makes the Escala “a car you desperately want to drive, and also one in which you want to be driven.” Personally, I’d rather drive it.
The Cadillac of Cadillacs
Although the Escala only exists in fantasy or the future (depending on your worldview), its DNA is visible in Cadillac’s CT6. Both vehicles feature aggressive versions of Cadillac’s iconic vertical lighting system – although the Escala’s is a few shades angrier. Sharp contours on the hoods of both vehicles drive the eye down toward signature crests. Finally, Cadillac has packed both sedans with an absurd amount of technology to facilitate each of the driver’s interactions.
The CT6’s available Rear Camera Mirror streams HD video of your surroundings. The available Night Vision system uses thermal technology – yes, thermal technology – to provide a rendering of upcoming obstacles, pedestrians, and wildlife. The entertainment dock offers touchpad input and available wireless device charging. I could go on, because it’s easy to get mired in a list of features, but that’s not really the point. The experience delivered by the sum of those features is all that matters.
And that experience is one of excitement and comfort. The CT6 is big, but remarkably lithe. Any of its available engines will pull you to the corners and push you back in the seat. Suspension is stiff, but very responsive, making for an engaging drive. However, the CT6 is still a thoroughbred Cadillac, so you’ll still be comfortable. Both the front and back seats offer substantial legroom with leather detailing cut and sewn by hand. Remarkably, the available 20-way power-adjustable seats feature heat, ventilation, and massage functions. At once, the CT6 is the quintessential Cadillac, and something singular.
Capital Cadillac – The Future of Dare Greatly
The purpose of the Dare Greatly campaign is to orient Cadillac toward the future. It’s worthwhile, then, to consider the Escala as a target for the company’s innovation and design. However, we may be years from seeing the Escala’s one-piece interior trim and translucent headliner in a production car. For now, the CT6 is negotiating (with aplomb) the gap between future and present. When you drive the CT6, you get a sense of the company’s golden-age swagger. But, with Cadillac’s renewed dedication to industry leadership, you should be more excited about what’s ahead.
To explore the CT6, and the rest of the 2017 Cadillac Lineup, visit Capital Cadillac today.
When we talk about the future of emission-free driving, we think about electric vehicles. That means vehicles that are simply powered by a battery. The former darling of eco-consciousness, the hydrogen fuel cell, has been pushed into obscurity. But, with the combined might of GM and Honda, it’s coming back.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Hydrogen fuel cells combine oxygen and hydrogen to produce electricity, heat, and water. There are no harmful emissions. The main difference between batteries and fuel cells is that fuel cells will not lose their charge over time. All they require is hydrogen fuel.
GM was responsible for creating the very first hydrogen fuel cell – and they did it much earlier than you’d think. In 1966, the company debuted a modified GMC Handivan, which they called the Electrovan. Room for six passengers was reduced to two with most of the space being occupied by giant oxygen and hydrogen tanks, and a mess of wires. The Electrovan boasted an impressive driving range of 193km, but was never taken off private property for safety concerns. Something, something Handinburg…
The Electrovan didn’t amount to much, so GM shelved the fuel cell program for 40 years. Now, they’re back in earnest, enlisting help from Honda. The Japanese automaker is the leader in hydrogen technology. Their Clarity sedan is already a viable option for drivers – where fueling infrastructure permits (California). Together, GM and Honda are investing $85 million USD in a venture called Fuel Cell System Manufacturing. At GM’s battery pack plant in Brownstown, Michigan, they’ll be producing the next generation of fuel cell. Together, GM and Honda will also be working with the government (good luck) to improve infrastructure for hydrogen fueling.
Today, nearly every automaker has at least one electric vehicle. GM alone has the Chevy Bolt and Spark, as well as hybrid vehicles like Cadillac’s CT6. But maybe that’s the point. 100% emission-free roadways will be here soon. And, with the EV marketplace already crowded, it might be wise for automakers to diversify their clean energy lineup.