Buick is making a major comeback. What used to be known as a “grandpa car” is making huge strides in tearing that reputation apart and making its own stamp on the current market. One way is taking the luxury the next level. In order to bring Buick to the next level in luxury, General Motors introduced Avenir models to the 2018 lineup.
Diesel fuel: does it evoke figments of black smoke and sad environmentalists? That’s because the diesel industry has been dealing with scandals from automakers like Volkswagen, attempting to blindfold drivers from the realities of their vehicles. However, in the GM world, several diesel vehicles are being introduced in 2018 and 2019 to bring back diesel customers that have been wronged by VW. With better technology for diesel-burning vehicles, increased emissions standards, and upfront honesty, GM is aiming to improve diesel vehicles’ bad reputation.
Gasoline has been a frontrunner in the auto industry for a very long time. Is it finally time for diesel engines to have their spotlight, rightfully this time?
Don’t Call It a Flagship
The 2018 CT6 sits at the top of Cadillac’s sedan lineup. At 17 feet, it’s a veritable land yacht, fit to compete with the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes S-Class for a fraction of the price. Its seats are made of premium hand-stitched materials and feature 15 massage functions. The 2018 CT6 also offers some of the best technology in the automotive industry. But is it worthy of being Cadillac’s flagship? Let’s find out.
The Cadillac CT6 gives drivers a choice of three powertrains. The first is a 2.0L turbo with 265 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque and the second is a 3.6L V6 with 335 horsepower and 284 lb/ft of torque. Both are capable and efficient. But if you’re going to splash for a full-sized luxury sedan, you should really get the right engine to match.
The “right engine,” of course, is the meaty 3.0L twin turbo with 404 horsepower and 400 lb/ft of torque. Paired with the eight-speed automatic transmission, acceleration is smooth and assured, invariably giving you total confidence when powering down the highway. However, while its powertrain is sublime, it’s not the CT6’s greatest feat of engineering.
The 2018 Cadillac CT6 features so many great innovations that it’s tedious to go through them all. For example, you may not have heard about Night Vision which uses thermal cameras to help you see in the dark. You get a completely new perspective in your surroundings that even the best headlights can’t provide.
Then, there’s Active Rear Steering. At speed, your rear wheels turn the same direction as the front wheels in order to provide the agile handling of a small car. At low speed, the wheels can turn opposite directions to help maneuver into tight parking spots. The degree to which the rear wheels turn is also affected by the driving mode.
And you can’t forget about the about the 34-speaker Bose Panaray sound system. Quite simply, it’s one of the most engrossing and refined audio systems in the automotive industry. It even uses speakers mounted inside the front headrests. Paired with Bose’s Active Noise Cancellation, you get a pristinely quiet cabin. But none of these are the CT6’s best feature.
The piece de resistance is SuperCruise, the best commercially available autonomous driving system. It allows you to take your hands off the wheel while your CT6. It maintains speed and distance from other cars and keeps you in your lane. It also tracks your face to make sure you’re paying attention. SuperCruise only works on mapped highways (per its map, Cadillac has even mapped most of the Ring Road in Regina) and it uses sensors to ensure that you remain focused on the road.
Whereas companies like Tesla allow owners to test unfinished systems, Cadillac is taking a more conservative approach: “While it is technically possible for the technology to drive hands-free on other kinds of streets and roads, we feel strongly that this targeted approach is the best to build consumer and regulatory confidence” -Barry Walkup, chief engineer. If that’s the safest approach to implementing autonomous driving, I’m on board – so to speak.
Clearly, the 2018 Cadillac CT6 is an objectively great car. And for now it’s fit to rule an excellent sedan lineup – at least until Cadillac brings the Escala concept car to life in 2021…
The 2018 Yukon
The GMC Yukon is celebrating 25 years on the road at the top of the GMC food chain. The professional-grade full-sized SUV brings rugged performance, seating for up to seven, and some undeniably good looks. Plus, with the Denali badge, the 2018 Yukon becomes an uncompromising luxury vehicle with a genuine chance of unsettling the Cadillac Escalade’s preeminence.
What’s New for 2018?
GMC has refined rather than remade the 2018 Yukon. Perhaps the greatest highlight is the new transmission, a smooth 10-speed automatic exclusively paired with the 6.2L EcoTec3 V8. Tire-pressure monitoring system has been improved with an alert that will tell you when you need to fill up the tires. It’s only available with the 6.2L V8 engine reserved for the Denali and Denali XL models. On the outside, there’s a new Satin Steel metallic paint colour and chrome grille. On the inside, GMC has added new wood trim options for Denali models.
Finally, GMC has introduced a Denali-exclusive Ultimate Package which bundles the following:
- Power sunroof
- Automatic running boards
- Adaptive cruise control w/ collision warning; exterior paint accents
- 22” Wheels
- And more
You can check out a more detailed breakdown of the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali right here. But for now, let’s take a look at what customers can expect as standard equipment.
The Yukon SLE is the base model in the family and comes with an MSRP of $56,175. That might be tough to swallow, but that price is competitive with other full-sized luxury SUVs. Plus, even the base model comes with a good balance of “premium” features including Rainsense automatic wipers, 18” aluminum wheels, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Performance is pretty solid, too.
The standard engine in the 2018 Yukon is a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 delivering 355 horsepower and 383 lb/ft of torque. GMC pairs that engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission which delivers power capably (though not as capably as the Denali’s 10-speed). 4WD, of course, is available on every trim level. In any configuration, the Yukon is solid. It can tow and haul without breaking a sweat and is pretty enjoyable to drive. But performance and driving dynamics are not the Yukon’s greatest assets.
The area in which the SLE really excels is entertainment. An 8” infotainment screen is standard. And with standard OnStar 4G LTE WiFi, you can stay connected with music, messaging, and navigation. SLE buyers also get a Bose 9-speaker sound system paired with the audio brand’s exceptional Active Noise Cancellation. The combination delivers crisp and encompassing sound that surprises in a vehicle so large.
Car sales are slowing every year in North America. The sedan has been unceremoniously supplanted mostly by small SUVs. The low cost of fuel has made the extra cargo space, ride height, and versatility very attractive for Canadian buyers. In fact, Cadillac sells more XT5 crossovers than all of its sedans combined. As a result, Cadillac, like all automakers, can’t afford to have a broad and robust sedan portfolio. This is particular shame for Cadillac, a brand that has begun consistently delivering comfortable, powerful sedans, with unique styling. Perhaps the greatest current exemplar is the Cadillac ATS. And with the Cadillac CT5 on the horizon, the future looks safe, too.
Further, the entry price point for Cadillac is affordable relative to other luxury sport sedans. While other brands have begun favouring gentler suspensions and numb handling, Cadillac is doubling down on its unique driving dynamics. That means aggressive powertrains, and sporty driving dynamics. You’re never arrested by potholes or uneven pavement, but you can still feel the road. Perhaps the greatest example right now is the 2017 Cadillac ATS.
The 2017 Cadillac ATS starts with a standard 2.0L Turbo engine with 272 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque. If that isn’t enough power for you, you can upgrade to the 3.6L V6 with 335 horsepower, Active Fuel Management, and Auto Stop/Start. Cadillac has paired each engine with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission that guarantees a smooth supply of power. But performance doesn’t stop with the powertrain. You also get Brembo brakes, a fully-independent sport suspension, ZF premium steering, 17” alloy wheels, and more.
Despite the excellence of the ATS, Cadillac is planning to consolidate it with the CTS sedan into the new CT5 (and perhaps the XTS). The name will bring the sedan in line with the nomenclature favoured by the stellar CT6 (which isn’t going anywhere in case you were worried) and the XT5 crossover. Although it will be disappointing to see these sedans go, it’s hard not to be excited with what we’ve seen of the CT5.
Spy photographs, showing the CT5 prototype completing road test, indicate that it will follow directly from the Cadillac Escala concept unveiled in 2016. It has the same malevolent, slit-like headlights, and dark mesh grille. Pushing the styling a little further in this direction will do greater justice to the remarkable driving dynamics in Cadillac’s sedans. It will also help convert more non-believers unfamiliar with the brand’s renaissance. Of course, we don’t expect the Cadillac CT5 to be available for customers until 2020. By then, Cadillac may have made a few other changes to its stable.
After the Cadillac CT5
Once Cadillac is left with the CT5 and CT6, they will add a third sedan, the CT4, to complete the lineup. As the name would suggest, the CT4 will be the smallest of the three and compete against the Audi A3 and BMW 2-Series. Not only will the lineup be trimmer, but it will be far easier to understand. For the average customer, it’s difficult to remember the difference between an XTS and XT5, for example. However, while it’s a good thing that the lineup will be easier to understand, it’s a shame Cadillac is letting go some of its great cars.
The ATS has really hit its stride. And the ATS-V and CTS-V are two are the best performance-oriented production cars available – hands down. But as long as Cadillac continues to deliver exceptional cars for drivers, customers should continue to be excited.
The Cadillac XTS was once the clear link between Cadillac’s recent past and its new direction. That’s a polite way of saying it was a bit outdated. Has time passed the long sedan by entirely? Not so fast. Cadillac has reimagined the big sedan for 2018, and the results are impressive.
The 2018 Cadillac XTS
Cadillac has completely reinvented the XTS and brought its design language squarely into the twenty-first century. Slouching shoulders and the ancestral bench seat are relics of the past. It is at once refined and muscular. With its angles and vertically stacked headlights, there is no chance that the 2018 XTS will be confused for graceful or polite. Instead, you might call it athletic or muscular. At the very least, it is undeniably modern.
In recent years, one of the most compelling reasons to buy a Cadillac has been the wealth of standard features. And that’s no different with the 2018 Cadillac XTS. The 2018 Cadillac XTS gets a standard 3.6L V6 delivers 304 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque. On the technology side, you get standard wireless charging and rear vision camera. Plus, you get an eight-speaker Bose audio system along with the next-generation CUE system, so managing smartphone media and apps easy.
- 19” Pearl Nickel Premium Wheels
- Brembo Front Brakes
- Adaptive Remote Start
And comfort is a priority, too. The XTS is a Cadillac, after all.
Of course, things get really interesting when you upgrade to one of the premium trims available on the 2018 Cadillac XTS.
If you want even more power than the naturally-aspirated V6 allows, Cadillac also offers a twin-turbocharged 3.6L V6 that cranks out 410 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft of torque. Intelligent all-wheel drive with Haldex technology is available from Luxury models upward. It constantly changes the amount of torque delivered to each wheel in order to deliver maximum grip at all times. Other available performance features include:
- Magnetic Ride Control
- Intellibeam Headlamps
- Reconfigurable Gauge Cluster
The 2018 Cadillac XTS is the most intelligent XTS ever. With the Driver Awareness Package, standard on higher trims, you get incredible features like pedestrian detection and following distance indicator. Other features include:
- Low Speed Automatic Braking
- Lane Change Alert
- Side Blind Zone Alert
The Driver Assist Package is available on Premium Luxury and standard on Platinum models, and includes:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Forward/Reverse Automatic Braking,
XTS Platinum V-Sport
For 2018, Cadillac is also bringing the XTS into the V-Series family. The 2018 Platinum V-Sport boasts a 3.6L Twin Turbo engine with 410 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Inside, there’s a reconfigurable gauge cluster. To stand out on the road, Cadillac also includes standard 20” aluminum exclusive V-sport wheels with Sterling Silver premium paint and an exclusive V-Sport grille.
From a distance, the introduction of the 2018 Buick Encore might seem less exciting than the previous year’s model. In 2017, the Encore, along with the LaCrosse, ushered in Buick’s new design language. The compact crossover and the anything-but-compact sedan eschewed bulbous panels for sleek and sharp lines with an attractive new grille. While Buick may not have any flashy changes for 2018, they have taken a fantastic CUV and made it even better.
What Is It?
Whether you call it a compact crossover, CUV, MUV, or tall car, the 2018 Buick Encore is a small but practical vehicle. Even though it has a standard 1.4L turbocharged DOHC engine, it’s not going to win a Sunday drag race. And it’s not going to survive the Rainforest Challenge. But it is a smart pick for (sub)urban commuters. It has excellent fuel economy, great cargo space, and when equipped with 4WD offers some relatively rugged performance. Plus it has undeniable style – especially in Coastal Blue.
Not many features have been added to the 2018 Buick Encore. That’s largely because the 2017 model, as an ambassador of Buick’s new, modern philosophy, was a showcase for the latest technology and comfort features. Some of the new standout features include:
- Available ionizing interior air cleaner
- HD Radio
- Standard capless fuel filler
- Coppertino Metallic exterior paint
Despite its size, the 2018 Buick Encore manages to conceal quite a lot of space. In fact, with a standard flat folding passenger seat, it offers 1,370.54L of total cargo capacity making it perfect for weekend getaways. But when you need to move five people, you can do it with unrivalled comfort. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard and all surfaces feature premium materials. Plus, it’s remarkably quiet.
A Quiet Encore
Thanks to standard Active Noise Cancellation and Buick QuietTuning, every Buick Encore is supremely quiet. How do they work? Active Noise Cancellation emits negative soundwaves that counteract the sound of the engine and the road. QuietTuning, meanwhile, refers to all of Buick’s engineering techniques like acoustic-laminated glass, reinforced door panels, and sound-proofed dashboard that help keep your cabin at the peak of tranquility.
The 2018 Buick Encore is one of the most advanced luxury CUVs on the market, OnStar 4G LTE WiFi is standard, but that’s not even close to being the most exciting piece of technology. The infotainment system features an 8” screen to help you manage messages, music, and navigation from your connected smartphone. You also get a standard Rear Vision Camera and there’s available Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert so that you can remain aware of everything on the road.
These days, vehicle shoppers have tons of choice. There are always great deals, low interest rates, and competitive offerings from half a dozen brands in any category. Customers usually have the luxury of asking “why this one?” When it comes the 2018 GMC Yukon, I don’t have a “one size fits all” answer. But I do have a pretty good answer.
The 2018 GMC Yukon: A New Standard
The value proposition for the 2018 GMC Yukon is based on the fact that you get so much standard equipment. Base models for most vehicles are bereft of quality materials, useful features, and a powertrain worth a few years of monthly payments. But when you buy a 2018 GMC Yukon, you’ll find that comfort, convenience, and performance all come standard.
You want big performance? Try out the 2018 Yukon’s standard 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 engine with 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque while still getting a respectable 10.7 L/100KM on the highway. Inside, the high benchmark continues for comfort and convenience. You even get a premium Bose nine-speaker system which delivers stunning sound quality even on the highway.
Other remarkable standard features include:
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- 4G LTE WiFi
- Rainsense automatic wipers
- Remote start
- 18” bright aluminum wheels
While the standard features are amazing, the fun doesn’t stop there. Upgrading to the 2018 GMC Yukon Denali opens the doors to possibilities previously unconsidered.
2018 Yukon Denali
Denali has always represented the peak of professional grade. A Denali combines GMC’s best features in all categories with a sophisticated flourish. In the 2018 Yukon, it begins with a standard 6.2-liter V8. For your own sake, I hope you don’t encounter a driving scenario that demands more power than you’ll have on tap. While it’s mighty, the power is tempered by sophisticated features like 10-speed automatic transmission, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Change Alert. Oh, and it looks good, too.
Inside, you’ll find a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel; perforated, heated leather seats; and heated second-row seats. And, thanks to Bose’s Active Noise Cancellation, the sounds of the road and wind are entirely deadened. You get a customizable 8” Driver Information Centre as well as a vivid, 8” infotainment screen. GMC has even included a wireless charging dock for your smartphone.
The 2018 Buick Enclave is a big deal. For the new model year, Buick’s full-sized luxury SUV is adopting the design language introduced by the 2017 LaCrosse. The awkward bulk of the 2017 Enclave has been been replaced with a sleek and imposing frame that makes carrying seven passengers more romantic than it has any right to be. And that excellent first impression isn’t let down by anything that follows.
Every 2018 Buick Enclave comes with standard Bose Active Noise Cancellation and Buick QuietTuning.The Noise Cancellation emits negative waves to cancel ambient sound from the engine and road. Buick QuietTuning refers to all of the design techniques Buick uses to make the cabin pristinely silent. Those include features like triple-sealed doors, acoustic-laminated glass, specially tuned suspension, insulated dashboard, and a hydraulic engine mount.
It’s cool to see how far Buick’s designers and engineers have gone to perfect something that many drivers may not even think about. Of course, most drivers don’t care about acoustic lamination. They just want to know their vehicle is quiet – and it is. Even when you’re accelerating on the highway with significant wind, the 2018 Buick Enclave is silent. But it remains a difficult feeling to convey with words. You really have to drive an Enclave for yourself. Once you do, you’ll immediately realise how much passive noise you’ve been tolerating while driving your current vehicle.
Luxury is Standard
The 2018 Enclave is quiet in the industry, too. In the past few years, Buick has been reinventing its lineup, trying to make vehicles that appeal to a younger generation of drivers. To achieve that goal, Buick has employed two strategies. The first, explained above, is design. Modern Buicks are attractive and sophisticated. The second strategy consists of an attempt to offer more standard equipment than equally priced competitors. The amount of standard features available on the 2018 Buick Enclave is amazing. And I’m not talking about floor mats and airbags. I’m talking about genuine luxury features for which the overwhelming majority of automakers charge extra.
Almost all automakers saddle their base models with underpowered, inefficient powertrains. This is not the case with Buick Enclave. Each trim level comes with the 3.6L V6 SIDI VVT engine that offers 310 horsepower and a remarkable fuel economy rating of 11.2 L/100km (city/hwy combined). Inside, the 2018 Enclave, heated seats, a leather steering wheel, OnStar 4G LTE WiFi, tri-zone climate control, an 8” touch screen, and a 4.2” Driver Information Centre display. If that’s not enough standard equipment, you also get:
- 18” Aluminum wheels
- Automatic LED headlamps
- Heated power mirrors
- Rear Vision Camera
- Remote Start
- Sirius XM Satellite Radio
- And more
2018 Buick Enclave Avenir
If you want you want to further elevate your driving experience, you won’t be disappointed. That’s because 2018 also marks the debut of the Avenir sub-brand. Similar to GMC’s Denali, Avenir signifies the brand’s best luxury, convenience, and performance features. Obviously, that means it comes with All-wheel drive and the 3.6L V6 SIDI VVT engine. But the Enclave Avenir also comes with a unique package of enticing extras.
Included is a unique grille and 20” aluminum wheels. Despite the Black Ice finishes on those items, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, and heated steering wheel will keep you warm. Buick has also included tons of smart features like a wireless charging pad, Surround Vision camera system, and 10-speaker audio. However, the smartest features of all are included in the Avenir’s standard Driver Confidence Package:
- Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
- Safety Alert Seat
- Front and Rear Park Assist
- Forward Collision Alert
- Following Distance Indicator
- Intellibeam headlamps
Other standout Avenir features include:
- All of the features from Premium trim level
- Authentic mahogany steering wheel
- Avenir embroidered headrests
- Power dual moonroof
2018 Cadillac XT5
The 2018 Cadillac XT5 is certain to be one of Cadillac’s best-selling vehicles. The demand for capable and stylish crossovers (which the XT5 undoubtedly is) continues to grow. That also means the small SUV market is a crowded field. So, how does this one stand out? Obviously, it’s beautifully styled and remarkably comfortably. I don’t need to elaborate – it’s a Cadillac. But what even diehard Cadillac fans will find surprising is the offering an astounding amount of features that come standard in every XT5.
An eight-speaker Bose audio system is now standard. It includes Bose Active Noise Cancellation that emits negative waves to nullify the sound of the wind, road, and engine. Even on the highway, your music is clear and sharp without dialling up the volume to harmful levels. And you can even upgrade to the Bose Centerpoint audio system with 14 speakers for a concert-like music experience.
But that’s not the only impressive tech that Cadillac has included. A wireless charging pad eliminates the hassle of wires usually associated with smartphone charging. You just set your device on the pad, and it will charge as you drive. Plus, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can control your music and apps with natural voice commands. And with 4G LTE WiFi, you can stay connected on the go with multiple devices. Oh, and all of these features are standard on the base model XT5.
At the risk of offending some buyers, I will say that most choose the XT5 for its style, flexibility, and elevated comfort. In other words, they do not buy the XT5 for its performance. Nevertheless, the 2018 XT5 is a genuine thrill to drive. While an increasing number of manufacturers are starving their crossovers with turbocharged 4-cylinders, it’s nice to see Cadillac offering a standard 3.6L V6 engine. It’s good for 310 horsepower and pairs exceptionally well with the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission.
Smart & Confident
The 2018 XT5 will offer an available Rear Camera Mirror. Unlike typical rearview mirrors, the Rear Camera Mirror does not simply reflect an image of a vehicle’s rear window. Instead, it uses a camera on the rear of your XT5 to display a live HD image of the road behind you. Why? Because this increases your field of view by roughly 300%. Obstacles like passengers’ heads, headrests, and vehicle pillars are removed from the equation entirely. The result is a much safer and more useful rearview mirror.
If that’s not good enough, you can also add Surround Vision. Surround Vision uses cameras on each side of the vehicle to build an overhead, 360-degree view of your surrounding. It becomes active automatically when you’re driving at low speeds or in reverse. It’s particularly useful for navigating parking lots. While the XT5 is naturally quite agile, it has blind spots like any vehicle, so the extra awareness can’t hurt.
The X(T5) Factor
While Cadillac offers tons of these remarkable available features, it’s frankly going to be difficult to convince buyers not to stick with the standard trim. The base model of the 2018 Cadillac XT5 comes with so many features that other automakers charge extra for (you can even add All-Wheel Drive to the base model). Here is just some of the XT5’s standard equipment.
- 3.6L V6 direct-injection 310-hp engine and 271 lb.-ft. Torque
- 8-speed automatic transmission
- 18″ blade silver painted aluminum wheels
- Bose® 8-speaker premium audio system
- OnStar® 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi
- Wireless Charging
- Rear Vision Camera & Rear Park Assist
- Rear power liftgate with memory height
- Keyless Access, Passive Entry and Push-Button Start
- Handcrafted cut-and-sewn interior
- Okapi deco wood trim
The 2018 XT5 is now available at Capital Cadillac. Stop by and test drive one today.