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Automotive Review: The 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

2014 Cadillac ATS

Summer driving is always made more pleasant with a set of sweet wheels. Thanks to General Motors, I recently enjoyed a very extended test drive experience with the 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD. The luxury automotive brand’s full sized CTS sedan, built to go head-to-head with imported competition, has increased in size this year and is now comparable to the BMW 5-series. This left room in Cadillac’s portfolio lineup for a compact luxury vehicle to compete in the entry level luxe class with the BMW 3-series and Mercedes 3 Class. A few weeks ago I picked up my ATS in Opulent Blue Metallic, which was equipped with all-wheel drive,a 2.0L turbo engine (boasting 321 hp) and the luxury collection. I literally drove it all over the GTA and as far as Montreal for a weekend jaunt in hopes to test out every single feature. As a legit car enthusiast and lucky enough to sit behind the wheel of some of the most beautiful cars manufactured, I was shocked at how much attention this little vehicle garnered at stoplights, gas stations and valets.

Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

Exterior innovations help to make the vehicle more fuel efficient and uber quiet. Sculpted side mirrors which are firmly positioned to reduce wind noise in addition to an acoustically laminated windshield and side door glass, expertly deflects noise making this one of the quietest cabins I’ve ever driven in. The 18″ wheels, dual exhaust, illuminating door handles, and vertical LED signature lights help to make this sporty body look extra chic. In regards to the interior, I am confident that those who have never driven in a Cadillac before would be blown away by both the features and design. The vehicle was equipped with some of the most advanced safety innovations including the brand’s Driver Awareness Package. Utilizing sensors and strategically placed cameras allows for the driver’s seat to alert of the driver of potential danger via seat vibrations, in addition lane departure alerts, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, front and rear automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, which was really beneficial on the 5 hour drive to Montreal.  I could understand if some found these constant vibrations to be an annoyance while driving, but I found it to be extremely helpful. For those that would much prefer to have their rears vibrate while driving, the functional option can always be easily turned off on the auxiliary panel.

2014-Cadillac-CTS-Dashboard-Done-Small

I was also treated to an upgraded steering (that has a heated option obviously not beneficial for right now but still an amazing feature forWinter) and the much talked about CUE (Cadillac User Experience) interface aka the heart of the interior; controlling navigation, media, climate control and more. The latter combined with BOSE surround sound made listening to my favourite Sirus XM Satellite channels a really enjoyable experience.

Cadillac ATS 2.0 AWD

Outside the St. Germain Hotel in Montreal, Quebec

So here’s the skinny, the manufacturer rates the ATS 2.0T AWD’s fuel efficiency as 6.9L/100km for highway driving and 10.4L/100km with city driving, while my approximate fuel mileage came in around 6.9L/100km and 10.9L/100km respectively. For a premium vehicle, it was nice to discover that premium gasoline wasn’t mandatory but rather only “recommended”. This is a huge deal as majority of other vehicles in the luxury category require premium gasoline usually making fill-ups pretty pricey. The ATS starts at $35,695 but the ticket price for this model with the luxury collection and all other aforementioned packages/upgrades brings the price point at $49,290, which is just a smudge under the $50K sticker price for the BMW 329i xDrive with similar bells and whistles. Surprisingly, overall I preferred the ATS. Although both vehicles are almost identical in size (minus one inch), the Cadillac’s interior feels a bit roomier and it also ticks all the boxes when it comes to speed, luxurious design and functionality.

For more information on the brand’s vehicle lineup head over to Cadillac.ca and for details specs click here. To follow along all my past and present adventures with Cadillac, use the hashtag #RideInStylexCadillac on Twitter and Instagram!

My Ride In Style x Cadillac Fashion Week Experience

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Attending World Mastercard Fashion Week for the Fall/Winter 2014 collections was made extra special this season because I got to partner with my friend Christian Thompson and the amazing people at Cadillac Canada to hit up the top 5 shows during the week – and thanks to the luxury automobile company, we arrived in style to the tents in the sleek new Cadillac CTS sedan. With the temperatures still below zero, we thoroughly enjoyed the heated steering wheel feature, the car was spacious enough to fit our fellow blogger friends when we headed out to after parties, and we couldn’t get enough of the amazing BOSE noise-cancelling sound system. The heart and soul of the vehicle called “CUE” (Cadillac User Experience) was the perfect tool that navigated our routes to shows, allowed us to connect multiple iPhones to the entertainment system so we had plenty of music to choose from and even when we were low on gas, it directed us to the top 10 closest gas stations within the area. The CTS was the perfect accessory for Toronto Fashion Week. The CTS has both beauty and brains, no luxury detail was spared and the advanced technology features are super impressive; a driver awareness package that has lane departure warnings and rear cross traffic alerts and the best feature is the Automatic Parking Assist. The vehicle scans a parking lot for an available space and automatically steers itself into a parallel space only requiring the driver to use the accelerator and brake when needed.

Cadillac CTSWorld Mastercard Fashion WeekWorld Mastercard Fashion WeekThe week was all about fall fashion so it was only appropriate that we started it off with Line Knitwear, who is known in Canada for their high quality knits that combine both style and practicality. I was pleasantly surprised to see so much depth in the collection, co-designed by friends, John Muscat and Jennifer Wells, who said their inspiration for the line came from the hidden wonders of the forest and bold colours of nature. Sitting across from us during the show was none other than Supermodel Coco Rocha, who looked absolutely stunning . The 25 year old Toronto native wore a blood orange top from Greta Constantine paired with a Zac Posen high waisted skirt.

Line Knitwear Fall/Winter 2014

What I Saw: Tons of angora in the form of crop tops and mini skirts that came in the prettiest macaron hues, form fitting pencil skirts, and gorgeous outerwear. Texture was a huge theme throughout each vignette and the silhouettes in the collection seemed like a nod to the “Mad Men” era (aka the 50s). What I Loved: The stunning winter white ensemble (sweater and lacey mini) literally made me temporarily lose my breathe, bodycon textured sweater dresses and a croc embossed leather moto and pencil skirt. The latter so good that I wanted to rip the look off the model on the runway. Also catching my attention on the runway…the cool, edgy ear cuffs and the flowy side swept locks on the models.

Line Knitwear Fall 2014Line Knitwear Fall 2014Backstage post show with Christian Thompson and designers John Muscat & Jennifer Wells of Line Knitwear

Grace Lee World Mastercard Fashion WeekLead Artist for Maybelline NY & Key MUA for World Mastercard Fashion Week Grace Lee doing her thing backstage

GSUS Sindustries Fall 2014

It’s been almost 6 years since Amsterdam cult fave brand showed a collection at Toronto Fashion Week. Why you may ask? “Simply because it’s long overdue…” says GSUS Sindustries Canadian Marketing Manager Everton McDougall. I couldn’t agree more. I have been a long time fan of the brand after discovering it out west in Vancouver in 2006 and still collect key pieces each season. GSUS has slowly made a resurgence as of late in the Canadian market with a successful press preview of their Spring/Summer Collection at the end of 2013 and has plans to expand into the American market. What I Saw: The edgy Dutch company latest line aptly titled, “Tour Des Alpes”, was inspired by both the brand’s cultural heritage and the outdoors – which McDougall calls “The Boyscout meets Alps Folklore” resulting in a ton of folklore prints found in the knits. Taking a different (and refreshing) approach to the runway experience, GSUS had local singer/songwriters Cylenz, Peter-John and Q-Benjamin perform as models walked in ultra cozy cardis, printed long johns and graphic printed dresses.

GSUS Fall 2014 Collection World Mastercard Fashion Week

What I Loved: Models wearing bold burgundy lips while classic 8 hole Doc Martens were paired with dresses and skirts…a total nod to the 90s which was so cool! The top on my list was the ultimate plaid boyfriend blazer that could easily be a staple in any female’s closet this fall and of course the classic denim the brand is quintessentially known for. Overall, the joint effort of Everton McDougall, Ian Lee and Stylist Sharad Mohan in putting together the looks and entertainment for the runway presentation was a hit!

GSUS fall winter 2014 GSUS Fall Winter 2014 CollectionIt was all about fur, plaid and leather during Pink Tartan’s runway show on Day 3. Expecting to see another collection of preppy looks, I was pleased to see that Newport-Mimran combined a perfect juxtaposition between Uptown Chic and the Cool Downtown Girl that we can expect to see come fall.

Pink Tartan Fall 2014 collection

Pink Tartan kept in line with the brand’s core aesthetic but played with fabrics, texture and colour. What I Saw: Copious amounts of elegant outerwear…probably the best outerwear I’ve seen from PT to date, plaid pants, skirts (both midi length and above the knee) and cropped jackets in addition to fur mitts, stoles, and vests. What I loved: Pretty much everything as per usual but I had to choose in no particular order; the chocolate midi skirt, which was brilliantly paired with a fur stole and sweatshirt; a brocade skirt with major layer elements on top and a quilted full skirt with chunky knitted sweater and wool moto jacket. I really admire how Newport-Mimran has taken a chance with this collection and tried something a bit different. If we end up seeing a lot of these looks hitting retail racks, the brand may be able to gain fans in an entirely different demographic by appealing to a younger crowd. It has been ages since Pink Tartan showed on the same evening as Newport-Mimran’s husband’s brand Joe Fresh. Both designers used this opportunity to join forces for an after party which was held at Lee on King St West; where media, socialites and buyers sipped on prosecco and noshed on super tasty bites prepped by the staff at Lee.

Pink Tartan Fall Winter 2014 CollectionPink Tartan Fall Winter 2014 CollectionMackage Fall Winter 2014With Christian Thompson of ChristianConfidential.com and Designers Elisa Dahan & Eran Elfassi of Mackage

Each season there are a few things that stand out during fashion week; 1) the outstanding leather pieces that are created by the design duo behind Mackage, 2) the unique design of the runway for the models to walk on – in October it was a high gloss, lacquered gold and this season they got everyone into the spirit of fall with a leaf covered runway and 3) my backstage conversations with Elisa and Eran. I always ask the the pair what their favourite looks are from the collection and enjoy hearing them go back and forth arguing about who is right. But surprisingly last week they agreed that their faves was the head-to-toe plaid. Not only is the Mackage team known for putting together a great show, but they always have pretty awesome celebs sitting front row and the coolest after-parties that nobody wants to miss. Last week they hosted an exclusive event inside Citizen where hottie DJ Brendan Fallis spun tunes all night. What I Saw: Oversized fur-trim hooded jackets, chic crossbody bags, and looks accessorized with hats (fedoras, baseball caps, beanies, etc). What I Loved: There really was just too much goodness in the show for me to handle. The midnight blue leather skirt and oversized army jacket with fur trimmed hood needs to somehow miraculously get into my closet. Extremely happy to see that quilted leather will be a main stay this season. Every woman seated  in David Pecault Square that evening lost it over the quilted crop top and pencil skirt.

Mackage Fall Winter 2014 Collection

Mackage Fall Winter 2014 Collection

I couldn’t think of a better way to close out the week than the Mikael D show. Presented off site in Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar, it was the perfect space to show off the gorgeous collection from the Canadian designer. For those who are unfamiliar with Mikael D, its creations are as close as one can get to couture here in this country.  They are literally pieces of art and really can only be appreciated fully close up in an intimate setting. I was lucky enough to head backstage before the show started to get up close and personal with the garments thanks to team at Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ and also chat with Lead Stylist from Solo Bace, Paul Pereria, to find out what the inspiration was behind the hair looks and the products used to create them.

Mikael D Fall Winter 2014 CollectionBackstage pre-show at Mikael D Fall Winter 2014 Collection runway show

According to the Beirut-born, Montreal based designer, “I wanted to partner with Paul (and Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+) because I felt that he shared my vision, because they could take the hair design to the next level. With dresses like these, the hair is so important, it is a key part of the ensemble, not just accessory.” Upon chatting with Paul, it was clear that he did in fact get Mikael’s vision and ideas. He mentioned that he first saw the garments when he went to meet the designer at Toronto’s Templar Hotel and immediately picked up on the “Deconstructed Chic” vibe, which inspired him immediately to create an updated look based loosely on the 60s beehive. To obtain the looks he used some of my fave products from the Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ line of products; the Blow & Go Thick (leave-in spray), Schwarzkopf Professional Session Extreme Hold Spray, and my new hair crush product the Sea Salt Spray…while also incorporating Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+ Dust It to create major volume and hold.

Mikael D Fall Winter 2014 Collection

Mikael D Fall Winter 2014 Collection

What I Saw:  Mikael’s collection stayed true to it’s roots of ultra glam with the floor length gowns with intricate detailing and delicate beading that probably took countless hours to create. Cocktail length dresses and mini metallic looks with gold appliques and whimsical lace makes any of these perfect for any red carpet situation. What I Loved: The raw brick walled space as the venue which was set up as in a rather relaxed environment. The official wine sponsor of the night was Apothic Red and being able to sip vino while watching a fashion show was a great touch. The black floor length sheer gown with lace legging underlay, the gold off the shoulder mini and full skirted ball gown wedding dress stole the show, literally leaving us wanting more.

Mikael D Fall Winter 2014 Collection

World Mastercard Fashion Week

Ride In Style x Cadillac

World Mastercard Fashion Week

World Mastercard Fashion Week

Ride In Style x Cadillac World Mastercard Fashion WeekPhotos by Tiffany Sin (www.tiffanysphoto.ca) and George Pimental

Special thank you to all those that made this all-access fashion week experience possible – Cadillac Canada, General Motors Canada, the team at both ASC Public Relations and MacIntyre Communications, Line Knitwear, Mackage, GSUS Sindustries, Pink Tartan, Mikael D, Schwarzkopf OSIS+, and last but not least BAZZUL Toronto for the dressing me.

Giveaway |Ride In Style With The 2014 Cadillac ATS

Cadillac ATSPhoto courtesy of roadandtrack.com

Cadillac is synonymous with luxury and style, which is why Christian of www.christianconfidential.com and I chose to partner with the brand during World Mastercard Fashion Week in Toronto. We have been enjoying riding around the city in our chic 2014 wheels and decided to give our readers a chance to win a weekend with the all new Cadillac ATS. With so many amazing features such as; a heated steering wheel, BOSE noise cancelling speakers, handcrafted cut & sewn leather interior, and CUE; the Cadillac User Experience system that acts as a in car tablet which lets you control safety, navigation, communication and entertainment features, this vehicle makes driving an enjoyable experience.

Entering is quite easy…all you need to do is tweet, “I want to #RideInStylexCadillac in the #2014ATS” for a chance to win. In order to enter, you must be 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license and abide by the rules in the waiver. Contest runs from Wednesday March 19th at 10am until Friday March 21st at 6pm. *Please note, contest is only open to residents of the Greater Toronto Area.

Best of luck to you all!

My Buick Lifestyle Drive Experience With The 2014 LaCrosse

2014 Buick LaCrosse

If you happen to fall into my age bracket (25-35), you probably think of Buick as the vehicle your grandparents drove when you were growing up. To be completely honest, I used to as well until I got a chance to have an extended test drive experience for two weeks in the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. I’ve only ever owned Japanese and German vehicles so I was intrigued to see what the Buick brand had to offer in regards to performance, design and craftsmanship. I drove the LaCrosse all over the city determined to see if the vehicle had what it takes to really be considered a luxury car and whether or not it fit my lifestyle. I was completely blown away by the tech features, which believe me were greatly appreciated during this horrendous winter weather. On those cold and early 6 am drives to my Nike Training Club classes at Academy of Lions Crossfit, my drive was far more pleasant having the benefit of a heated steering wheel. Trust me when I say that this feature is a little piece of heaven and made the transition back to my car after the test drive extremely difficult. The amazing 8 inch display integrated audio system, “Intellilink”, with capacitive touch controls made it unbelievably easy to pair all my wireless/bluetooth devices, use navigation and enjoy  Beyonce’s album through the phenomenal Bose speakers (…and yes I still have her album on repeat!)

2014 Buick LaCrosse2014 Buick LaCrosseFrom attending events,  meetings and a private fashion dinner at Cafe Boulud at the Four Seasons Hotel – where 12 of us noshed on a feast of Whole Roasted Chicken with Pomme Aligot, Fall Root Veggies, Roasted Cote de Boeuf, Spinach a la Creme and the restos famous Baked Alaska dessert – these wheels were both comfy and roomy enough for me to play designated driver for my fellow blogger buddies and was definitely sleek enough to hold it’s own amongst other luxe cars in the valet of some of Toronto’s hottest spots. Believe me, if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “No way…this is a Buick?!”, I would never have to work another day in my life.

Cafe Boulud Four Seasons HotelCafe Boulud Four Season Cafe Boulud Four Seasons Hotel

During the winter safety features become even more important to me. I log a ton of kilometers on the road each week going to events and meetings so the probabilities of a potential accident are increased with all my windshield time. I have yet to see a safety portfolio in a car like the one in the LaCrosse. Buick has introduced the latest advances in safety technology…the car can alert you of a potential hazard by a vibration in the driver’s seat, lane change alerts to warn you of vehicles in the next lane approaching fast from behind and a unique collision preparation system which not only warns you of a potential collision ahead but can also automatically apply the brakes if it detects you may not be reacting quickly enough to the threat. Hate getting into a cold car? Well there’s an app for that too. With the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App you can lock, unlock and even start the LaCrosse remotely from your phone or tablet.

2014 Buick LaCrosse2014 Buick LaCrosseThere are seriously too many amazing features to list about this car. I could go on and on but if I did you would probably be convinced that this is a sponsored post (which it is absolutely not). For a frequent driver like me, gas consumption is something I pay close attention to and this car is available with a fuel saving technology called eAssist. I discovered this feature on my second day of the test drive when I noticed they engine turned off when I was stopped at a red light and turned back on when I went to press the gas pedal.  Turns out that this is not only for fuel consumption but eAssist also captures and stores energy in the battery which is used to run accessories when the car is stopped and engine is turned off. So…does Buick still sound like your grandparents car now?

For more information on pricing, features or to schedule a test drive head to the Buick website.

Chevrolet Lifestyle Road Trip with the 2014 Chevrolet Clean Cruze Turbo Diesel

2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel

As a daily commuter into the city I spend a significant amount of time in my car and an obscene amount of money on gas, which trust me I would rather spend on shoes and the Celine Trapeze handbag. When I heard Chevrolet Canada had released a diesel version to their sleek Cruze sedan, that would put my car and all other non-hybrid passenger cars gas mileage to shame, I had to find out more. And that is exactly what I did in November with Garrett Tonge, Founder of lifestyle website Gtonge1.com. Thanks to Chevrolet, Garrett and I got to take the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel on an amazing lifestyle road trip to our nation’s capital of Ottawa to explore what the city has to offer.

 

Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel

Our road trip journey began at Toronto’s chic Hotel Le Germain where we quickly got acquainted with the vehicles amazing features. A road trip wouldn’t be a road trip without some great music, so armed with our best playlists, Garrett and I immediately connected our iPhones to the Cruze’s MyLink System, which let us control everything at tip of our fingers from the steering wheel and colour touchscreen display. Determined to make the most of this drive down we took the scenic route and stopped at a quaint organic coffee shop called The Human Bean and hit up a museum both in the town of Cobourg. After another three hours we arrived at our home for the next few days, The Arc Hotel, and decided to walk around the downtown area before heading to dinner at Play Food & Wine. Located in the Byward Market, this modern, tapas style restaurant uses local, seasonal and sustainable products in their dishes. We loved that resto’s Wine Director detailed her suggested wine pairings under each menu item for an optimal dining experience.

Chevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselChevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselChevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel

Day two in Ottawa started out super early with brekkie in bed and a run on the Rideau Canal (a must during the fall as the scenery is so beautiful), followed by a scenic drive to the east side of Ottawa. We then got dressed up to the nines for some sightseeing around Sparks Street, Parliament Hill, then headed for a swanky high-tea at the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel. The amazing day was finished off with a spectacular dinner at what I would say is Ottawa’s top restaurant for both food and service, Restaurant 18. And of course there is no way we could have made this 4.5 hour trek without indulging in a famous Beavertail post dinner. If you’re unfamiliar with this national Canadian treat, its simply a fried dough pastry that is hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail and comes with a choice of toppings such as; nutella, peanut-butter M&M’s, whipped cream, banana slices, crumbled oreos, etc. Worth every single calorie if you ask me!

Chevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselChevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselChevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselChevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselChevrolet Cruze Turbo DieselHeading out on our last day of the road trip, still on the same tank of gas may I add, we decided to keep it low key and head over to the National Gallery of Art to check out some of the gallery’s current exhibitions. Was really pleased to see some work by one of my all-time favourite abstract artists Jackson Pollock. Before we knew it, it was time to embark on our trek back to Toronto. After a quickie lunch at the area’s oldest and tastiest vegetarian restaurant The Green Door, we hit the road singing along to music from the car’s built in XM Satellite radio. Which was a lifesaver after already listening to our playlists on the way down. I can’t think of a better vehicle to have used for this lifestyle trip. It had roomy interior with leather seats, spacious trunk space to accommodate all of our Rimowa luggage, OnStar’s auto security, car safety and navigation system, rear/back-up camera and it was super efficient in regards to gas giving us 4.2L per 100km of highway driving. Believe it or not, we returned back home without having to re-fuel after driving approximately 1,200 over the duration of the weekend. Many thanks to Chevrolet, Odyssey International and Garrett Tonge for such an amazing time and for allowing me to be a part of the #CleanDieselCruze lifestyle experience.

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