Best Car Features on the Christmas List

Best Car Features on the Christmas List

Christmas is almost here. It’s the time of year when tired copywriters slap together hackneyed seasonal frames for their blog posts. So, without further ado, here are the top five new car features you need to put on your Christmas list.

OnStar 4G LTE WiFi

While you white knuckle down an icy Highway 1 on the way to Gam Gam’s house for Christmas, your kids want to recline and stream Paw Patrol, or trade bitcoin on their iPads. Well, that’s easy thanks to OnStar 4G LTE WiFi. Standard on many new GM vehicles (often with a temporary, free subscription), WiFi lets you connect as many as ten devices to surf the web and stream music, movies, and audiobooks.

While you try to tell the difference between black ice and black pavement in the black night, at least your kids won’t be yelling at you.

Need For Low-Speed Automatic Forward Braking

What is low-speed automatic braking? If your vehicle detects an imminent forward collision while driving at a low speed, your vehicle will automatically brake. This will reduce the severity of a collision and can even avoid certain collisions entirely. If you’ve ever had someone suddenly pull out in front of you (that is to say, if you’ve ever driven, anywhere), you’ll understand why this feature is on the Christmas list.

Hitting people is bad; low-speed automatic forward braking is good. And it’s already available on many new GM vehicles including the 2018 GMC Terrain.

Best car features wishlist

IntelliBeam Headlamps

Listen, I love being blinded by strangers on the highway as much as the next guy. Wait, I don’t love that, and neither does the next guy. Fortunately, IntelliBeam Headlamps can sense traffic and will turn your high beams off the avoid blinding people on the road! They’re not just the future; they’re an available feature in most new GM vehicles.

It makes your life easier because you don’t have to keep switching your high beams on and off manually. More importantly, when other drivers have intelligent high beams, they won’t obnoxiously blind you (unless they have lazily installed HID headlights, but that’s a different subject)! I guess I would actually prefer if this feature was on everyone else’s Christmas list instead of my own…

Heated Steering Wheel

I don’t really need to explain this one, do I? A heated steering wheel is a steering wheel that heats up. It feels good on your hands when it’s cold. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Surround Vision

This is Saskatchewan, a province in which 93% of people drive full-size pickup trucks. I made that statistic up, (69% of vehicle purchases in Canada are light trucks!) but you get the point. We have a lot of large vehicles, and our parking lots, alleys, and downtown centres often leave us with little space. Maybe you’re the Da Vinci of parking, but for the rest of us less-Vitruvian men, a little bit of parking assistance is a good thing. Enter Surround Vision – one of the coolest car features currently available.

 

Surround Vision uses cameras to help eliminate blind spots when driving. If that sounds like a regular backup camera, you’re right. But I haven’t got to the black magic part yet. Surround Vision uses multiple cameras located all around the vehicle and stitches the images together. It’s sort of like the “panorama” feature on your smartphone. Except Surround Vision builds the image in real time, meaning that you can see a bird’s-eye view of your vehicle and the surrounding area. That makes parking and trailer guiding a snap (“a snap” is old people language for easy.

What vehicle features are at the top of your Christmas list? Oil slicks and an ejector seat?

 

How To Use IntelliLink Voice Commands

GMC IntelliLink in the new 2017 Yukon Denali

The infotainment systems available in modern vehicles have become drastically more sophisticated over the past few years. But they’ve also become much more complicated. Which means they’re more dangerous to drivers. Yes, I concede that’s kind of a slippery slope argument. But the fact is this: you’re more likely to get distracted from the road swiping on a touch screen for the correct Bruno Mars song than you would by switching between radio presets. Admittedly, touch screens have been getting a little more responsive. That means drivers will spend less time concentrating on them. But the most important improvement to these systems, by far, is the introduction of voice commands. Being able to adjust the route of your navigation system without taking your eyes off the road is invaluable. But figuring out the right commands for your onboard assistant can be difficult. That’s why we’re going to run through some of the most important commands for your GM IntelliLink software.

IntelliLink Voice Commands

The first step is simple. To prepare your IntelliLink system for a voice command, press the voice command button on the steering wheel. Now you’re ready to use one of the command key

Audio

Say “audio” to bring up the audio controls menu. From there, you can cycle through options with manual controls, or continue with voice commands. The “play” command is very important. Saying “play” followed by an artist name, album name, song name, genre name, playlist name, audiobook name, or podcast name will launch the appropriate media from a USB or Bluetooth device compatible with IntelliLink. Of course, you can also use voice commands to control the radio. Say “Tune to (station frequency number) FM” to change the station.

Phone

The IntelliLink system can also control a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. To connect your phone, first say “Pair phone.” To change the connected phone, say “Change phone.” Once your phone is connected, you can use IntelliLink to make a phone call. Use commands “Call” or “Dial” followed by a contact name or the phone number in single digits: eg., “three, zero, six, five, five, five, one, two, three, four.”

Navigation

One of the most important applications of the IntelliLink system’s voice command is navigation. Fumbling with Google Maps or tapping at your touchscreen while trying to navigate is extremely dangerous. Touch the voice command button then say “Navigation” or “Destination” to begin. From there, you can say “Address,” followed by the complete address of your destination; “Contact,” for directions to a person’s address; or “Point of Interest,” to bring up options about interesting locations. Finally, you can say “Cancel Route” to… cancel the route.

Highlights

  • “Audio” – bring up the Audio menu
  • “Play” – followed by artist, album, song, genre, playlist, podcast, or audiobook
  • “Tune to” – followed by station number + “FM” or “AM”
  • “Call” or “Dial” – followed by contact name or phone digits
  • “Pair phone” – connect your phone via Bluetooth
  • “Change phone” – select a different phone to pair with Bluetooth
  • “Navigation” or “Destination” – followed address, contact name, or point of interest
  • “Cancel route” – stop navigating

Many new GM vehicles are equipped with IntelliLink functionality. However, many drivers don’t use it to its full potential. Mastering voice commands will help you stay focused on the road. That’s vitally important in a time when distracted driving is one our roadways’ greatest dangers. And, as a bonus, you get to feel a bit like Knight Rider.

Cadillac Super Cruise

Have you heard of adaptive cruise control? Well, Cadillac has already made it outdated.

Cadillac Super Cruise will be introduced in 2017.

What is Adaptive Cruise Control?

Adaptive cruise control reduces your cruising speed when there is a vehicle in front of you. Once the road is clear, the CT6 returns to cruising speed.

What is Super Cruise?

Super Cruise is a semi-autonomous (drivers will be prompted to retake control of the vehicle when approaching turns) system with “full-speed range adaptive cruise control and lane centering, using cameras and other sensors to automatically steer and brake.” Basically, you set a speed on the highway and your CT6 will keep you in the center of your lane, a safe distance from surrounding vehicles. Like most adaptive cruise systems, Super Cruise will use cameras, GPS, and radar technology as a foundation. But the system is much more sophisticated than that.

LiDAR

According to Cadillac, “Data from on-board cameras, GPS and radar sensors is a key component [but Super Cruise] adds to this formula using advanced laser technology in development for future autonomous vehicles: a LiDAR-scanned map database.” LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a surveying tool that measures distance to a target by illuminating it with a pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected light. The confluence of all these tools results in one of the most accurate and responsive autonomous systems the industry has seen. And the innovation doesn’t stop there.

Super Snooze

Barry Walkup, Super Cruise chief engineer says, “When we were developing Super Cruise™ we knew it was important to keep the driver engaged during operation. That’s why we’ve added a driver attention function, to insist on driver supervision”. What does that mean? Well, Cadillac have installed a small camera with infrared sensors at the top of the steering column. It tracks your head position to determine if you’re focused on the road, distracted, or asleep. It can also take cool driving “selfies.” No, I’m just kidding – probably.

If sensors determine you’re not paying attention, the system will provide you with visual, audible, and tactile (through the responsive seatback) alerts. If you still fail to respond, your CT6 pulls to the side of the road and comes to a complete stop. It can even automatically contact emergency services through OnStar integration.

Why the CT6?

The CT6 is a natural candidate to receive Cadillac’s Super Cruise. The sleek sedan already has the brand’s most impressive array of technology. Nightvision, is a pedestrian detection system that uses infrared technology to alert the driver to unseen hazards. The CT6 also offers available automatic parking, front pedestrian braking, auto vehicle hold, and wireless device charging. For entertainment, Cadillac gave the 2017 an available 34-speaker (some of which are mounted inside the headrests) Bose Panaray sound system. You can also equip the rear seats with 10” HD screens with Blu-ray.

As the culmination of Cadillac’s research and innovation, the CT6 is obviously a natural flagship for Super Cruise. The new feature will be available on 2018 CT6 models arriving this fall.

Check out more information on Cadillac in Regina or current inventory.

The CTS Talks

But not like K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication is now a standard feature in the Cadillac CTS.

V2V communication will be available on the new CTS.

What is V2V?

V2V is wireless communication between vehicles on the road. Dedicated, Short-Range Communication (DSRC) and GPS. DSRC is something like the near field communication used in modern smartphones. Basically, cars with V2V technology can inform one another of their respective positioning as well as obstacles, road conditions, et cetera. Despite the lazy “2” in the acronym, V2V can theoretically connect many more vehicles simultaneously. The implication is that we’ll soon see roads populated by vehicles that can “see” one another through darkness, fog, buildings, and around corners.

The V2V hardware in the CTS can processes 1,000 inputs per second. And, it has a communicative range of 300 metres. Further, the technology doesn’t rely on cell coverage, so don’t expect any “outages.” Currently, V2V is far from standards. Many automakers don’t even offer vehicle-to-vehicle communication as an available feature. So, the fact that Cadillac is making the feature standard in the CTS right now is pretty impressive.

How Soon Is Now?

Cadillac isn’t even waiting until the next model year. V2V will be available in 2017 CTS interim models currently being produced. Seemingly, it’s all part of Cadillac’s efforts to lead the industry through technology, design, and innovation. Per Richard Brekus, Cadillac global director of Product Strategy, the move is on par with some of the brands other “firsts:” “From the introduction of airbags, to the debut of OnStar, Cadillac continues its heritage of pioneering safety and connectivity advances.”

What Else?

But it’s not like the CTS needed any modernization. Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist and Rear Vision Camera with dynamic guidelines are already standard features. These tools can be complemented with a suite of available safety technology. Surround Vision’s four cameras give the driver a bird’s-eye view of their vehicle. Forward Collision Alert uses camera technology to warn of forward vehicles approaching too quickly. Its warnings are visual, audible, and tactile, through the Safety Alert Seat. Other safety technology available in the CTS includes:

  • Lane Change Alert
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Side Blind Zone Alert 

To see the first-class standard features in the CTS for yourself, visit Capital Cadillac today. Or, browse our inventory now.

The GMC Snow Tank

GMC Snow Tank in action.

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:

  • Fox Shocks
  • Winches
  • 360-Degree Lighting
  • 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:

  • Underbody Shield
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Black Sport Side Steps
  • All Terrain Grille Insert With Chrome Grille Surround

Check out the GMC Snow Tank in action below. And, visit our website to build your own Snow Tank.

Honda and GM Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership

General Motors & Honda Team up
GM and Honda form an unlikely alliance

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.

Handy History

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.

 

GMC Handivan

Conclusion

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.

The GM Technical Centre Expands

On January 30, more than 70 members of the Business Council of Canada convened at the Canadian Technical Centre’s Markham Campus. They were gathered to celebrate the announcement that GM’s research and engineering operations in the city would be broadened. A complement to the automaker’s Oshawa Campus, the Markham facility will focus on a range of software projects.

GM Technical Centre

By expanding the GM Technical Centre in Markham, GM will be focusing their efforts on what they call “advanced mobility innovation.” That includes things like autonomous tech, vehicle dynamics systems, infotainment systems, and connectivity features. As it stands, Markham is home to well over 1,000 technology companies. In addition to being a technological hub, Markham is less than an hour from GM’s headquarters in Oshawa. Consequently, the expansion of the conveniently situated complex should come as no surprise. By the time GM completes it, the 150,000 sq.-ft complex will have a capacity of 700 employees. Already, 180 employees are working on site.

The creation of jobs in the automotive sphere will be welcome news to many Canadians. Considerable anxiety has followed Donald Trump’s promises to bring automotive jobs back to the United States. But, if Carlisle’s words hold true, these jobs are in no danger: “we are excited to be giving Canada’s best and brightest software engineers opportunities to help define some of the most important mobile technology changes in a generation. Canada’s focus on innovation, talent development and partnerships with the academic sector all bode very well for the future.”

Bright Future

If nothing else, GM’s focus on autonomous tech should have drivers excited. GM vehicles already have a suite of exciting driver-assistance features. The 2017 GMC Terrain, for example, has available Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Vision Camera, and Side Blind Zone Alert. Surrounding you with 360 degrees of protection adds a futuristic surreality to driving. Now, with GM assembling hundreds of Canada’s best software developers, you can only imagine what the actual future of driving will feel like.

To experience the current wave of GM innovations, check out the new inventory of Canada’s #1 GM dealer!

 

New GM Inventory
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Buick Safety: 5 Stars

Buick Safety: 5 stars
Comment & tell us how important safety is to you!

Buick safety is well respected. In 2017, Buick safety ratings back that up. The company’s entire lineup received 5 stars from the NHTSA. This is the third consecutive year Buick has achieved maximum safety ratings for their entire lineup.

Buick Safety

Buick was able to continue its impressive run even as they introduced four new vehicles in 2016. The company redesigned the lineup to appeal to a younger generation of drivers. With an emphasis on sleek, modern design, Buick is picking up momentum. Through September 2016, Buick had sold 1,046,746 vehicles for the year. In 113 years, that was the fastest they’d ever reached the mark. And yet, despite the brand’s renaissance, a dedication to safety and reliability has remained fundamental.

For example, Buick’s flagship sedan, the LaCrosse, became bigger and more athletic for the 2017 model year. However, the sedan has maintained its stellar safety record. According to Buick, the achievement is owed to “the use of stronger, lighter press-hardened and high-strength steels.”

What Does 5-Star Really Mean?

In determining Safety Ratings the NHTSA puts vehicles through the following:

  • Frontal Crash Test Scenario
  • Side Barrier Crash Test Scenario
  • Side Pole Crash Test Scenario
  • Rollover Resistance Test Scenario

After each test, engineers test the dummies for a variety of injuries. The NHTSA only gives 5-Star ratings to vehicles that protect drivers in the most dangerous kinds of collisions.

Ultimately, the ratings show Buick’s long-standing commitment to safety has remained intact. This is all the more impressive considering they’ve modernized their line-up’s image. Drivers would be wise to take advantage of Buick’s combination of reliability and style before others start to clue in.

Our huge inventory includes a great selection of both new and pre-owned Buick vehicles. So, click the button below to see what’s on our lot right now. Also, make sure to inquire about your test drive today!

2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In

Cadillac CT6 Plug-In hybrid
Cadillac CT6 Plug-In hybrid will be available for sale in the Spring of 2017

Cadillac CT6 Plug-In

Electric vehicles have already started taking over our roads. Well, they’re taking over the ones populated with charging stations, anyway. But the mainstream EVs and hybrids being produced now have, naturally, prioritized function over form. With lightweight construction being necessary for driving range, manufacturers haven’t been focusing on comfort and style. Hopefully that can change with the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In.

The CT6 Plug-In is a hybrid coming this spring. The CT6 will boast a remarkable 3.6Le/100km. It also reports a driving range of 643 kilometres. With those specs, drivers won’t need to fill up or plug in very often. Cadillac, however, has always made its name for power and style, not quiet economy. Will mainstream fans of Cadillac be disappointed?

In Short, No

In the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, a two-motor EVT system will be paired with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine. This will give the car an impressive 335 hp. Per Cadillac’s press release, the CT6 will “propel the vehicle from a zero to 96km/h (60 mph) in an estimated 5.2 seconds.” As for luxury, the Plug-In will have all the features from Cadillac’s Premium Luxury trim. Surely, combining efficiency, power, and style can’t be cheap.

What Does It Cost?

It’s important to remember, Cadillac is pursuing luxury and power while integrating the latest in EV tech. And that comes at a cost. Still, the MSRP of $85,995 will put the Plug-In CT6 beyond the reach of most consumers. But the same can be said for most hybrids and pure EVs today. The Tesla Model S starts at a staggering $90,400. Quite simply, the fuel savings drivers will reap won’t mitigate the purchase price for a long time. Still, electric vehicles are becoming less expensive every day.

For now, Cadillac fans might be better off driving the standard CT6. Its 2.0L Turbo engine features direct-injection, dual overhead cams, and variable-valve timing to deliver thrilling performance. You’d have trouble finding a more enjoyable way to wait for EVs to become more affordable. And, with autonomous technology threatening to get rid of drivers completely, you should enjoy a little power while you still can.

The Death of the Driver

Death of the Driver
The new OnStar Go will help drivers make safe and smart decisions while on the road!

Autonomous technology isn’t going away: this much you already know. Lane-keeping systems, blind spot monitoring, and parking assistance systems are becoming standard features on new vehicles. But what’s around the corner? Is autonomous technology signalling the death of the driver?

Current and Future Tech

GM, for example, has recently partnered with  IBM to combine OnStar with the Watson supercomputer (jeopardy, not chess). They’re calling the result OnStar Go, the first “cognitive mobility platform” in the automotive industry. Per GM, OnStar Go can help with things like “avoiding traffic when you’re low on fuel, then activating a fuel pump and paying from the dash; ordering a cup of coffee on the go; or getting news and in-vehicle entertainment tailored to your personality and location”. Personally, the idea of my car prescribing Michael Bublé for an angry Monday commute intrigues me. However, I can imagine some drivers want less distractions, less intrusion, and a purer driving experience. Will they be able to find it in 20 years?

Death of the Driver

Henrik Christensen, from UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute, has made a startling prediction. He says that “kids born today will never get to drive a car.” By the time they’re old enough, autonomous cars will have overthrown their manual ancestors. Whether or not Christensen’s prediction will hold true even in places like Saskatchewan, I can’t say. Ice, snow, extreme cold, and scattered populations will challenge  autonomous vehicles.  At the very least, by that time, things like the Forward Collision Alert, available across the 2017 GMC lineup, will have become a baseline standard. The driver will have few, if any, responsibilities. When automakers deploy vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), cars will scan the streets in real time to avoid hazards and maintain safe driving distances. This, in turn, will allow roads and highways to become narrower, saving space in a congested world. Some drivers (Will Smith in I, Robot, for one) will always prioritize motoring passion over convenience. But it’s not hard to imagine “manual driving” being outlawed at some point considering autonomous cars will make fewer errors than us.

Drive While You Can

While I can’t answer that, I can say that we’re decades from complete autonomy on our roads. Until driverless vehicles can travel safely from Cupar to Regina in blowing snow, human drivers aren’t going anywhere. And, for now at least, technology is actually making life better for drivers who like to drive. Take a spin in a Cadillac CTS-V– with  Magnetic Ride Control, for example. You’ll won’t be excited for autonomous cars to take over after that kind of thrill. So, enjoy the road before the death of the driver.

Be sure to check out our inventory by clicking below… Will Smith would.

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