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.

Understanding Fuel: Gasoline vs Diesel

gasoline vs diesel in GMC vehicles

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?

Should You Finance or Lease Your Cadillac?

Capital Cadillac - Financing and Leasing a New Cadillac

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, payment options are probably on your mind. It comes down to three options: an all-cash purchase, leasing, or financing. Depending on your financial situation and the reason for getting a new vehicle, one option may be more appropriate for you than the others. We’re here to break down these options for you so you can make an educated decision on your next vehicle purchase.

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 New Buick Enspire Concept: Bold EV Crossover

2018 Buick Enspire Electric Crossover

Take one look at the current Buick lineup and you’ll see no resemblance to the stodgy, rounded leisure cruisers of preceding decades. Since the introduction of the new LaCrosse, Buick has begun to consistently deliver attractive, relevant products without alienating loyal followers. The new Buick Enclave and Regal are stunners. But the new Buick Enspire crossover concept is out of this world – well, after being announced at Auto China in Beijing, it’s at least on the other side of the world.

Why China?

Revealing the new Enspire in China makes a ton of sense. First, in 2017, Buick sold 1.2 million vehicles in China. That’s roughly five times as many as they sold in the United States.  Further, China is a better market for EVs in general. The nation has a huge pollution problem and is forcing automakers to increase the number of emissions-free vehicles in their lineups. Meanwhile, North America has lagged behind in EV adoption. So, we shouldn’t feel too jealous that Buick chose China to reveal its most exciting vehicle in years.

The Buick Enspire

Evidently the good people of Buick have run out of words that begin with “EN,” so they’ve started making some up. What about entourage, endeavour, encephalitis? Or, maybe the conspicuous “e” is a tip of the cap to the fact that this is a purely electric vehicle. Yes, the Buick Enspire is a premium all-electric SUV, the holy grail of the battery-powered world. And, despite being a concept, it’s no fantasy.

Per Buick, the Enspire’s motor can generate 550 horsepower. That’s right, 550. And, as long as you’re not constantly taxing them all, it has a driving range of 

600 kilometres. That huge number, if achievable for the real market, would certainly put “range anxiety” to bed. Impressively, the Enspire is also outfitted with GM’s Super Cruise technology that delivers the safest commercially available semi-autonomous driving experience. In fact, it’s the first vehicle outside of Cadillac to be fitted with the new tech. On mapped roads, drivers can take their hands off the wheel and enjoy the ride (as long as cameras detect they’re still paying attention).

As smart and powerful as the Enspire is, the looks are arguably just as impressive. From the recessed blue mesh grille with meter-wide badge and predatoryheadlights to the subtly chamfered sheetmetal, the Enspire looks great. Five years ago, no one would believe you if you told them it’s a Buick. Maybe that’s why the company broke its promise to stop printing its name on the back of vehicles for this special occasion. That could also be the reason the steering wheel features an illuminated tri-shield badge. Still, you may not notice it with the head-up display that spans the entire windshield like something from iRobot.

Just a Concept

For now, the remarkable Buick Enspire is merely a concept vehicle. There’s no word on whether it will even be more than a show piece for the Chinese market. If Buick brought it to market and priced it consistently with the rest of its lineup, it could be a definite threat to prohibitively expensive entries from Tesla, BMW, and Jaguar. But, even if the Enspire crossover is just a statement of intent, it will reassure fans that Buick has not lost the desire to innovate which brought us its current crop of stellar vehicles.

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.