First Experience: The 2019 Cadillac XT4

We cannot stop talking about the XT4, Cadillac’s exciting new luxury SUV. It’s the newest addition to their current lineup and Capital Cadillac was honoured to attend the first showing of it last month (August). We sent Sales Manager, Dillan Kuntz and our Cadillac Manager, Kevin Gatschene to Calgary, AB for a first-hand experience. Dillan explains just how amazing it was:

Everything You Need To Know About the XT4

The legendary XT4 is about to grace us with its presence in dealerships across North America in Fall 2019. Its arrival has been greatly anticipated because it’s a new vehicle of its kind. It’s the first-ever luxury, compact SUV entering Cadillac’s lineup. This big step in Cadillac’s evolution is an exciting one, as it was designed with a new generation in mind: Millennials. Here is everything you need to know about the notorious XT4.

Future Cadillac Lineup: XT6 and Escala Rumours

Cadillac Escala

In recent years, Cadillac has become known for delivering aggressively-styled sedans with true sporting performance. Even the base model engines provide robust performance. But the real star of the lineup has been the V-Series track-oriented models. And, of course, the Escalade remains a fixture of the lineup, as well as of the luxury SUV market generally. The lineup has been a little imbalanced, favouring cars. But that will soon change as Cadillac trims its sedans and adds some SUVs, starting with the new XT4.

The 2019 Sierra AT4: GMC’s Off-Road Warrior

2019 Sierra AT4

In the 2019 Sierra AT4, GMC finally has its own off-road specific variant. Don’t get cynical, this isn’t a base model truck with big tires and some aggressive decals. The Sierra AT4 is built, from the ground up, to deliver excellent performance in adverse conditions. And of course, that capability is combined with what makes GMC unique among pickups, genuine luxury features and first-class comfort.

The 2019 Sierra AT4

According to GMC’s vice president Duncan Aldred, “The 2019 Sierra AT4 is designed for the customer who wants an elevated presence on the road and the capability to venture off life’s beaten path. It’s also the beginning for the AT4 brand, which will be seen on every vehicle in our lineup in the next two years.” Clearly, the AT4 name will become a counterpart to the Denali badge. Instead of elevated luxury, the AT4 badge will guarantee rugged, off-road performance.

Performance

Sierra AT4 performance starts with the standard 5.3L V8 engine and 10-speed gearbox. Other engines are available, but the standard setup is confident and efficient. It times the shifts well and improves acceleration. You also get a factory 2” suspension lift and Rancho monotube shock absorbers for better performance on tough terrain.

For superior handling and style, GMC’s off-roader comes with standard 18” wheels, but 20” wheels are available. Both sets are exclusive to the Sierra AT4 and feature a unique, machined-face, dark tinted appearance. By default, the AT4 comes with 33” all-terrain tires. However, 33” Goodyear Wrangler mud tires are also available. I would personally recommend the 20” wheels if only for the fact they more naturally fill out the new Sierra’s massive wheel cut-outs.

Multi-Pro

GMC also confirmed that the Sierra AT4 would get the new Multi-Pro tailgate as standard equipment. If you don’t know, the Multi-Pro is the most innovative tailgate ever. You can configure it in six different ways, serving as a standing workstation, load stop, extendable step/bench, and more. For an everyday workmanlike truck, it’s hardly an essential feature. But it helps set the Sierra apart in a tightly contested segment.

Other standard equipment includes:

  • Black chrome exterior accents on fog lamps and grille
  • Body-colour accents on grille surround and bumper
  • Exclusive athletic interior trim elements
  • Red vertical recovery hooks
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Traction Select System

Available Features

If you want to take the Sierra AT4 to the next level, you can add a bunch of advanced features. Take Surround Vision for example. It uses a series of cameras to generate a live image of your surroundings. It makes navigating tight spots easy – extra useful if you’re driving around rocks and trees. There’s the segment-first multicolour HUD. It projects critical vehicle information like speed, fuel level, and more. It’s also customisable, so you can see the information you need without taking your eyes off the road.

With the massive success of the Denali brand, GMC knows better than anyone that high-spec pickups are a veritable goldmine. And while there is stiff competition from off-road specific vehicles like the Ford Raptor, the Sierra AT4 is a really aggressive statement of intent. It will be interesting to see how its combination of rugged performance and premium style resonates with buyers.

Is That a Buick? The 2019 Envision

2019 Envision

The 2019 Buick Envision

Finally, the Envision has joined the rest of Buick’s lineup by embracing the new-generation styling. Although the 2019 Envision has only technically received a “model refresh,” the changes are pretty dramatic. The most obvious alteration is the new grille with the split-wing badge. The Envision is the last Buick to receive the signature look, and it couldn’t have come soon enough.

The other major improvement to the front fascia is the inclusion of Bi-LED headlights on all turbocharged models. They cast a brighter, purer light; use less energy, and last longer. Plus, the arrangement is a bit more aggressive and stylish. The new grille and headlights blend quite well into the Envision’s architecture. While the overall shape hasn’t changed, the revised front and rear fascia make it seem a bit more elegant.

Comfort

A vehicle that looks as premium as the 2019 Envision, should feel premium inside. I’m happy to report that the 2019 Envision is spacious and comfortable for all passengers. Of course, the Envision features standard heated seats and OnStar WiFi. Plus, QuietTuning engineering help mute the sound of the road and the engine for a pristinely quiet cabin. There’s even a standard hands-free power liftgate to help you load and retrieve cargo with ease.

When it comes to performance, Buick hasn’t made many alterations for 2019. But that’s not a bad thing. All-wheel drive remains standard on all Canadian models, so expect assured performance in all conditions. The standard engine is a 2.5L naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder with 197 horsepower and 192 lb/ft of torque. It’s a capable and efficient engine, but it’s hard to recommend when the available turbo is so good. That engine delivers 252 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque. It’s active and solid powertrain that gives you great acceleration and highway passing speed. And the increase in power actually comes with an increase in fuel efficiency (9L/100km combined vs 9).

Is That a Buick? Seriously – Is It?

Now, the Envision, and the rest of the Buick lineup, is more distinctive than ever. And that’s important because Buick also just announced the removal of its name from the trunks and hatches of its future vehicles. It’s not exactly clear why Buick has made this decision, but some speculate the absence makes space for the Avenir trim level badge. Others have posited that customers are sufficiently familiar with the tri-shield logo to make the lettering redundant.

However, a more cynical interpretation of the move is that Buick wants to divorce its attractive new vehicles from lingering perceptions of the brand’s history. The new vehicles (just look at the redesigned Regal) are sleek and modern, whereas previous design generations have been… overwhelmingly conservative. So, getting rid of the Buick badge could help customers get over their preconceptions and prejudices.

Of course, this is all speculation, and five letters on the trunk won’t make much of a difference to anyone. What we know for sure is that the 2019 Envision is shaping up to be an excellent crossover. It will be available starting this summer, so check back at Capital GMC Buick Cadillac for the latest information.

 

The 2019 Sierra: GMC’s Four Best Features

2019 Sierra Best Features

According to Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC, “The heritage of the GMC brand is rooted in full-size trucks, of which the Sierra is our cornerstone. The next generation Sierra caters to these unique customers who demand a premium, innovative truck that supports their professional and personal passions.” If you had to underline one word from Aldred’s statement, it should be innovation.

GMC has loaded the 2019 Sierra, which we discussed in an earlier post, with a ton of exciting new features. The new innovations meaningfully distance the Sierra from the Chevy Silverado (a problem in the past), but also from the rest of the full-sized pickup segment. There’s a lot to like about the next-generation of professional-grade pickup, I’ve picked out some of the best new features, and detailed them below.

MultiPro Tailgate

The MultiPro Tailgate is the most advanced tailgate in human history. It has six unique functions and a G.I. Joe Kung Fu Grip. I’m sorry. It’s hard not to be a little cynical about the new 2019 Sierra’s MultiPro tailgate. But, once you get past the skepticism, you’ll notice some impressive utility.

For example, the upper part of the tailgate can be independently lowered to reveal a standing workstation, a great convenience to those who have ever done detailed tasks or paperwork on a jobsite. The MultiPro tailgate also features a convenient cargo access position and extended load stops at two different heights. There’s even a sturdy, full-width step which can also serve as a seat. Some will dismiss the MultiPro Tailgate as a gimmick, but others will see how it can simplify the use of their truck.

CarbonPro Box

GMC will also be leading the industry by introducing the first carbon fibre box. General Motors has not been diplomatic in its criticism of Ford for using an aluminum alloy in the F-150’s bed. GM reasons that a pickup box is subjected to routine abuse and should be made of tough material. The 2019 Sierra features high-strength steel by default, but CarbonPro is an option on higher trims. It’s the strongest material in any pickup box and it’s also the most resistant to corrosion. Plus, it’s light.

Segment-First Multicolour HUD

A Head-Up Display (HUD) is a transparent display that shows information without requiring the viewer to look away from their usual sightlines. HUD are common in video games, airplanes, and “smart glasses”. In the automotive world, a HUD is information projected onto the base of the windshield. Some vehicles, like the Pontiac Grand Prix, had primitive HUD in the late eighties. But those units hardly compare to the Multicolour Head-Up Display in the new 2019 Sierra.

The 3×7-inch display is crisp and bright. It displays info like remaining fuel and current speed, but you can customise it to suit your needs. And, importantly, it’s not obtrusive or distracting and won’t impair your view of anything on the road.

Segment-First Rear Camera Mirror

On the theme of keeping your head up, the 2019 Sierra also gets the Rear Camera mirror. It performs as a regular rearview mirror, but also as a feed for the reverse camera when backing up. It was previously reserved for the Cadillac lineup where using the infotainment screen to display the backup camera feed is far too gauche. In all seriousness, the Rear Camera Mirror allows you to see what’s behind your truck without lowering your head so that you can still see what’s in front of you. It’s not an essential feature, but it’s a nifty add-on.

 

The 2019 Sierra: A Pickup Worthy of It’s Own Badge

The 2019 Sierra

GMC’s 2019 Sierra has finally been revealed. It boasts a first carbon fibre box, pro trailering tools, standard 22” wheels, and much more. Let’s take a closer look at the professional-grade pickup!

The 2019 Sierra

Whenever we’re talking about the Chevrolet Silverado or the GMC Sierra, one question always comes up. Why does GM sell the same truck under two names? Quite often, the models have been distinguished by little more than a badge and grille. If GM simply unified the two brands, they could boast much stronger sales. But, for the 2019 model year, with full redesigns, GM has promised that the two trucks will be markedly different.

And, at least ostensibly, GMC has delivered. The new Sierra is bigger, taller, and lighter. On the inside, that translates to best-in-class headroom and legroom. On the outside, it translates to a pretty impressive profile. The front-end is clean and imposing, aided by the sharp C headlights, elevated hood, and tall grille. It looks much

Power

The Sierra will feature a choice of three powertrains. The first is a 3.0L Duramax turbodiesel inline-six. It’s good to see GM addressing customer support for diesel pickups, despite the consumer concern that have followed the illegal emissions cheating from Volkswagen, Jeep, and RAM. Additionally, there will be two V8s, a 5.3-litre and a 6.2-litre variety – just like in the previous generation. However, both will be more efficient thanks to the inclusion of Dynamic Fuel Management which replaces Active Fuel Management.

Dynamic Fuel Management

In the simplest terms, a small number of cylinders generate a small amount of power more efficiently than many cylinders. So, in low performance demand situations, GM’s Active Fuel Management shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders (a predesignated block) to save fuel. The technology had not been dramatically altered since 2004, so the advent of Dynamic Fuel Management is exciting news.

Dynamic Fuel Management is capable of shutting down any of seven cylinders at any given time as a live response to the demands. That sounds complicated, but it just means that your V8 can be reduced to single-cylinder function when you’re driving very slowly. While Active Fuel Management improved fuel economy by 5.5%-7.5%, Dynamic Fuel Management pushes those numbers to as high as 15%.

High Strength, Low Weight

But the flashier fuel-saving measure, is the construction. Ford has gone all-in on aluminum – and met significant resistance for it (largely from GM). Instead of following the lead, GM is using what it calls a “mixed materials approach.” GMC will make the Sierra’s swing panels (hood, liftgate, doors) out of aluminum. Fixed panels on the body will continue to use steel. Most impressively, GMC is introducing an optional carbon fibre pickup box. It’s the first in industry history and it’s 62 lbs lighter than the steel one it replaces.

The 2019 Sierra distances itself even further from the Silverado with a ton of incredible technology like the MultiPro Tailgate. But we’ll cover the best innovations in a separate post.

 

 

The 2019 Cadillac XT4

2019 XT4

Gasoline engines continue to become more efficient as fuel prices remain stable. Consequently, buyers can get bigger vehicles with more interior space for less money. That’s why Cadillac, like nearly every major automaker, is in the midst of shifting its attention toward crossovers and SUVs. In one sense, this is a shame because Cadillac has a stable of excellent driver’s cars. But if they can synthesize those great driving dynamics with the luxurious comfort of the Escalade, the forthcoming XT4 will be a massive success.

Cadillac’s SUVs

Cadillac’s utility lineup has been in drastic need of reinforcements. The imperious Escalade continues to be the full-sized SUV against which others are measured. At the other end is the XT5 crossover, Cadillac’s biggest seller. These are both objectively excellent and commercially successful vehicles. They’re easily identifiable on the road, drive well, and pack a compelling suite of luxury features. The problem is that they’re Cadillac’s only SUVs. That’s why Cadillac is preparing to bolster its utility lineup, starting with the XT4.

The Cadillac XT4

As the name suggests, the XT4 is smaller than XT5, making it a sub-compact crossover. Admittedly, building an attractive sub-compact SUV is difficult, a fact to which BMW and Audi must readily attest. Planting a body on a smaller platform, but making it taller can lead to some awkward proportions. However, what we’ve seen from spy shots of the XT4, shows that success is possible.

The XT4’s lower stance actually helps Cadillac incorporate some of the great stylings from its sedans. It has a squarish architecture and an athletic stance much like the ATS. But the front end is actually more reminiscent of the Cadillac Escalade. The result promises to be one of the best looking CUVs we’ve seen yet. Of course, we’ll have to wait until Cadillac pulls the camouflage off to be sure. The whole picture is, of course, accented by some relatively giant wheels.

Under the Hood

Presumably, the engines will be turbocharged four cylinders. That’s the industry’s en vogue powerplant thanks to its compact size, low weight, and relative power. And it just makes sense for the XT4. The ATS sedan has a powerful 2.0L Turbo with 272 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque. It would be a good candidate for the XT4 and should promise confident power. The low stance should allow Cadillac to impart it with some compelling driving dynamics like its sedans. The thrill of driving is sometimes lost in taller SUVs with less “planted” weight.

On the Inside

Rightly or wrongly, buyers judge premium crossovers primarily on their interior quality. But, based on the standard set by the rest of Cadillac’s lineup, that shouldn’t be a problem. By now we’re used to genuine leather, aluminum, hand-stitched details, and the latest technology like wireless charging. And it’s fair to expect most of the elements in the XT4. What we know for sure has been gleaned from a recent spy photo. You’ll notice a fairly spacious cabin with a characteristically sturdy steering wheel and a large touchscreen complemented by minimalistic piano key buttons. We’ll have to reserve judgment until we’re afforded a more complete view.

When can expect to see the XT4 without its camouflage? Cadillac will be unveiling the 2019 XT4 at the New York Auto Show in March. Rumours indicate that Cadillac will be offering virtual reality walkarounds, so that prospective buyers can experience the XT4 in person.