Can the littlest Caddy on the market really compete with the small sedans that European manufacturers have to offer? In this week’s video review, I drive the 2014 Cadillac ATS to see if it can really be considered a contender in this segment.
Between the American Le Mans series and the SCCA World Challenge, GM has developed some incredible fan loyalties for the Corvette and Cadillac brands respectively. A large chunk of that loyalty is due to the personalities driving the cars. Once upon a time led by Canadian Ron Fellows, Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O’Connell are fan faves in their own right. Now that Big Ron has more or less retired, the spotlight has shifted to Andy and Johnny.
As the team gets ready for the season opener in St Pete’s in March, the team’s social media efforts are likely going to be epic. To start things off, the team is hosting a live chat on Facebook tonight. Fans can chat directly with Andy Pilgrim and Johnny O’Connell.
To get in on the chat, “Like” the Cadillac page on Facebook and then be sure to visit the page from 8 to 8:30 est tonight.
At times it may seem like I’m a truck or SUV guy, as I’ve ranted a few times about the fact that I truly don’t believe that large vehicles are going to be leaving the North American market any time soon. We tend to have larger families here than they do in Europe and have greater distances to travel due to the rather expansive continent we live on and we need the room to carry more stuff. I have often asked the question: “how do Europeans get their kids to hockey without an SUV?” Seriously. You can’t put 2 kids worth of hockey equipment in a Fiat 500 now can you?
The answer? Station wagons. Shooting brakes. 5 doors. Estate cars. Whatever you choose to call it.
In truth, I suppose I’m a wagon sort of guy. In my teenage years, my Step Father drove a 1978 Dodge Monaco wagon. You know the one, it had rearward facing seats just like the infamous Vista Cruiser. This monster had a 400 cubic inch V-8 that would spin the back tires until, well – at least 5 feet! In more practical terms though, it could transport 7 passengers in relative comfort, while still having more storage space than most modern SUV’s. It could tow pretty much anything you could dream up and carry the ubiquitous 4×8 sheet of plywood. It was ugly as sin, but with all the seats folded it became a funhouse on wheels. Hmmm – better keep this PG.
The Cadillac Escalade is a bit of a curious beast in that it is loved equally by families and rappers. Of course families love schlepping the kids to and from activities in a style that says I’ve arrived, while the gangsta crew wants da biggest and baddest all pimped out wit dubs yo. Ok, so I’m lame, but you get the idea. Enter the Escalade Hybrid. Big, mean and green and sporting some killer chrome 22’s, it might be the perfect ride for this somewhat offbeat family to cruise to a dance competition in Buffalo. Yes, it was one of the kiddies dancing, not me.
Since I was in San Fran, Mrs G picked up Big Red so my introduction involved packing the beast for a long weekend away. There were 6 of us along for the ride, and a need to keep the teenagers and the annoying little brothers separated meant that all seats were coming along for the ride in the upright position. It also meant that the space allotted for stuff was seriously limited. While the center and rear rows of seating are easily removed and reconfigured, the 8 passenger Slade is either an awesome passenger hauler or a gargantuan gear hauler, not both. All that being said, if it were only the 5 of us, we’d remove the rearward seats and have a cargo bay big enough to swallow 2 weeks worth of camping gear and our giant hairball of a dog.
I have an uncle that has always driven the gold chain wearing, boss mobile. First there was the automatic Supra, followed up by a Cadillac Allante. Somewhere along the way, he picked up a new T-bird. Amazingly, he never found his way into an automatic Vette. While in The Poconos, a few months back we had a chance to spend some time with the 2009 Cadillac XLR. This thing may just be my uncle`s ultimate ride.
The sharp edged hardtop convertible looks great and has all sorts of electronic trickery. Doors with no handles, electrically powered everything and luxurious leather clad interior ensures that the aging super dude will have more toys than the other guys at the club. Hopefully the club offers storage for his clubs though, as the XLR doesn’t offer storage for much more than that box of domes he keeps around for his mistress. We managed to squeeze a camera bag (sans domers) in the trunk and that was about it.
The 320 horsepower Northstar V8 sounds great and propels the XLR along quite nicely. The automatic tranny is a nice unit, but why oh why is there no 6 speed? Yeah, yeah, we know; the segment demographic is more interested in elevating their status rather than the actual driving experience.
Enough from me, check out our newest video after the break.
(Photo credit: Chris Doane for Brenda Priddy & Company)
Caddy has been getting it done with the popularity and honors received by the redesigned CTS. For luxury sedan high performance junkies a supercharged variant is now making its way through the spy channels.
The CTS-V will use GMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s LSA motor, a supercharged small block V8 good for an adrenaline pumping 500+ equines. The 2009 CTS-V will feature a supercharger integrated into the intake manifold, the same setup that the upcoming Corvette SS/Blue Devil will use in its LS9 motor.
So here I was, checking e-mail and minding my own business when that Aaron guy sent me even more teasers to get me wound up on this quest for a totally irrational new project. The proprietor of Savage Speed is showing of his new roadster project, which is powered by nothing less than a Caddy flathead. If I’m not incorrect, this is the same Caddy mill that did time at Bonneville before finding it’s way into Aaron’s living room.
Yesterday, over at The Truth About Cars, Mr. Farago has drawn a line in the sand. Fed up with his writers being berated for favouring Traditional Imports over Traditional domestic, Farago has let his readers know that he will no longer accept comments from those who seek to flame the writers for their opinions. These guys know their stuff and the boss is going to stand behind them. Good for you Farago, your team deserves the support.
Now, it’s time for my 2 cents. Or maybe 10.
Like most car guys, I’ve grown up around the Import vs. domestic battle. When I finally joined the car industry, it made sense that I should work in Chrysler store, because I had grown up in a loyal Chrysler household. When I made the switch to a European import store I began to see the difference between manufacturing philosophies. In my time, I’ve worked for Japanese, American and Swedish dealerships and as a result, I’m often asked for my opinion by friends and family who are researching a new car purchase because I’ve seen the products in action.
While Tiger Woods is in New Zealand next week for caddy Steve Williams’s wedding, he will be spending some time following in Tony Stewart’s footsteps.
Williams is apparently a long time modified saloon car racer and has been trying for some time to get his boss off the golf course and onto the race track. He will get his wish this Monday, when Tiger captains one of 2 5 man teams racing 12 laps for charity in high powered dirt track cars.
Maybe Tiger should have visited Tony for some instruction at Eldora first.