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A Peek into the Future of Cadillac

If you’re between the ages of 29-44 and in the market for a new vehicle, chances are the criterial for your next set of wheels is a far cry from what buyers  would be looking for two decades ago. Sure, back then there were those who looked for performance or prestige in a vehicle but one would never have expected to find  both at the same time in one car. The number one purchase decision isn’t just finding a car that can get you from point A to B. Although we are still concerned with reliability and comfort, seeing as though the average commute time for drivers have quadrupled in recent years, we now also look at what we drive as an extension of our personal style and must reflect our lifestyle.

I will never be shy to admit my love affair with German vehicles (Porsche will always have my heart!) but my fondness for American cars have grown over the years after getting behind the wheel of several cars within General Motor family. There has been a lot of change going on in their portfolio of brands but the most impressive to date has been the $12 billion investment from General Motors to re-establish everything about Cadillac – from brand image and messaging, dealer experience, to even it’s vehicle naming system and product portfolio, which consists of plans to release 9 (yes, 9) brand new vehicles by the year 2021.

The future of Cadillac design and technology – The Escala

There has been much talk about what these 9 cars may be but they are rumoured to consist of the following; a sub sedan (CT2 or CT1)  to compete with the Audi A3 and Mercedes Benz CLA-Class, a reimagined version of the ATS (CT3) to rival the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4 and Lexus IS, an ultra luxury full size flagship sedan, a fifth generation Escalade, a B segment sub compact crossover to compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, a C segment compact crossover to rival the X3, Porsche Macan and Mercedes GLC-Class, an entry full size crossover to tackle the Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and last but certainly not least, a full size flagship crossover , the Pièce de Résistance of the brand’s crossover lineup which will be a high end full size, three row CUV to rival the current Mercedes GLS-Class and upcoming BMW X7 and Audi Q9.

I got recently got acquainted with the new XT5 for a week, interested…knowing it’s job was to replace the brand’s first CUV, the SRX; with it’s sleeker exterior and sophisticated, contemporary interior. But mainly because I know the vehicle will foreshadow the future of Cadillac SUV’s to come. Inside, the cabin was surprisingly roomy, seats even proved comfy to my boyfriend during our drive to Prince Edward County, who often gets irritable during road trips. For those looking for extra cargo space for urban or out-of-town adventures, this XT5 will definitely surprise you. It seats five however when more space is needed, the adjustable rear sliding seats also fold into a 40-20-40 split for extra storage space, with a metal divider in the back that slides and locks in place to keep cargo from moving about There’s even a brilliant hidden storage compartment under the floor that is sure to please those meticulous, Type A personalities that love to keep things super organized.

The XT5′s V6 engine includes an active fuel management system that cuts down to four cylinders under light loads which is brilliant, but a less attractive feature is the “stop/start” that puts the engine in idle when you’re at a traffic light. Unlike other vehicles that also offer this feature, the XT5 does not allow you to disengage this feature, that could become a bit of an annoyance if you are not into the abrupt start every time the light turns green in rush hour traffic.

Although comfortable than most behind the wheel, winter driving can still prove to be nerving for me at times, but I felt super comfortable in my AWD model, which has three settings; front wheel drive only, sport (needed for extra handling and traction control) and AWD tasked to maintain continuous all wheel power for even the most slippery roads. For those young families concerned about safety, the Platinum edition is packed with amazing technology features within the Driver Awareness Package that also includes the most talked about tech piece, the rearview mirror camera, unique to the Platinum version. It works as a regular rear view mirror but with one simple switch, it converts into a video screen using a feed from, wait for it…a self cleaning camera in the lift gate. And the best way to give your loved ones the best passenger experience – Cadillac CUE Infotainment System with Apple Car Play capability and 4G LTE wifi hotspot.

But you’re probably thinking, “what’s up with that Escala? And when’s that coming out?” Beautiful vehicle I know, but for now just the brand’s latest concept car that has been making the rounds on the auto show circuit with it’s very own handler. Sounds a bit high maintenance, but if you’ve seen this beast in person, you would probably be more understanding of it having a babysitter.

I sat in an exclusive panel discussion put on by Cadillac during Toronto Auto Show week, moderated by Design Exchange President Shauna Levy who spoke with two of brand’s design team members, who dished the design details behind the Escala. Based on what I’ve been hearing and reading since the concept car’s debut at Pebble Beach, the goal of the Escala is to point in the direction Cadillac’s heading in and some of the features could very well be things the automotive company will debut on product models in the very near future. Could this be a prototype for the next CT8 flagship sedan model? Possibly! But what I do know is Cadillac’s design process starts three to four years in advance and inspiration is pulled globally from fashion, architecture, interior design to even accessories, to put them ahead of the game in producing colour and fabrication options. Assuming something close to this comes to market, it’s safe to say interested buyers who desire large, opulent transportation would shell out a lot of money for a car like this, so the designers have spared no expense with every single detail.

The exterior colour, called Gaia, is made up of nine layers of paint and changes colour in different lighting conditions. The spacious interior – surprisingly uses fabric, reminiscent of what you may find in bespoke suit, evoking fine tailoring and actually turns out to be more inviting and interesting than leather. A complex and labour intensive stitch pattern was created using special thread that brings the fabric to live where it meets the luxurious leather.  As for technology, the features are a marriage of understated sophistication with two curved OLED screens layered into the dash but controlled via what designers call the “Goddess Dial” located in the arm rest. Not to be outdone by the cockpit, mix modality plays throughout the rear seat entertainment system as well. Oversized screens are nestled in the two front seats and retract into the headrests, leaving only a sliver of the bottom display in view to reveal a more streamlined finish. In this mode, the passenger only sees the basic necessities – time, weather, estimated time of arrival, etc. And if that’s not enough for you, the Escala design team employed famed American designer Jason Wu to create a custom set of travel sized bags and totes specifically to appeal to what we imagine the Escala driver to be…a purveyor of luxury lifestyle who needs chic luggage for their private G5 flight.Photos by JessBaumung.com and GM Authority

Stay up to date on all things Cadillac and view vehicle portfolio and pricing at CadillacCanada.ca

2017 GMC Acadia Whistler, BC Experience

With fast paced lifestyles being the norm these days and car consumers becoming far more discerning each year, it’s not surprising that drivers are looking for much more out of vehicles now more than ever before. We need more cargo/storage capacity. Additional space for more passengers. Want better fuel efficiency. Desire a luxury aesthetic with premium finishes. We’re intrigued by next generation technology (who ever thought we would be living in a world with 4G LTE wifi in cars?!). Or require 4WD capabilities for winter driving conditions. I mean, the list of Canadian customers reasons for purchasing a vehicle can just go on and on. In the past I viewed cars similar to the way I looked at real estate and men. It sounds odd and funny but ti’s true. I believed that there was no perfect vehicle, house or man – and finding one that ticked all the boxes wasn’t realistic. For years car customers have sacrificed in one way or another. Twenty years ago, if space was high on your priority list, you were probably sacrificing on style by having to choose a minivan to accommodate a family of 7. Wanting better performance meant a heavier vehicle frame and increased engine size; resulting in poor fuel efficiency. Japanese and German vehicles were known for their style and design, but it was the American manufacturers that were known for comfort. Fast forward two decades and we may be moving towards a world where it’s possible to get your whole wish list in one vehicle.

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

Last week I ventured all the way to beautiful Whistler, British Columbia for a couple days of adventure and to discover the all new 2017 GMC Acadia. Our drive from Whistler commenced from Vancouver Airport, where we headed up the scenic Sea to Sky highway, giving us our first taste of the brand’s most innovative Acadia to date. On our itinerary during our surprise filled visit with GM Canada…an unbelievable outdoor experience that included learning how to ride like the mountain bike pros on the GMC sponsored Pump Track, an exclusive ride inside the Guinness World Record Breaking Peak to Peak Gondola that spans the entire distance between Whistler and Blackcomb, lunch overlooking a breathtaking vista of snowcapped mountains at Christine’s on Blackcomb, an ATV off-road excursion with RZR Tours at Cougar Mountain and dinner at Whistler’s premier dine dining and award winning restaurant Bearfoot Bistro. And if that wasn’t enough, after our delicious four course meal at Bearfoot, we headed to the restaurant’s lower level where patrons will find the Ketel One Ice Room – the world’s coldest vodka tasting room and only sub-zero vodka room in Canada. If you followed my trip on snapchat, you most likely saw our group donning white Canada Goose parkas to help us brave the -32C (-25) temps in there, while we sampled a few of the vodka’s in their 50 plus collection.

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

GMC, a brand known for it’s professional grade heritage, bold features and craftsmanship, has refined the latest Acadia with the help of premium finishes, innovative features and tons of space options for both passengers and cargo. Here’s a quick look inside the 2017 GMC Acadia:

The revised mid-sized SUV’s exterior has modern updates with sculptural lines that made our motorcade of Acadia’s stand out as we made our way up the winding highway. But it’s the car’s interior and tech features that really stand out in my opinion. It may not look like it from the outside, but this cross over fits up to 7 passengers quite comfortably despite losing a bit of interior room compared to it’s previous year’s model, thanks to premium seating and the vehicle’s easy access to it’s 3rd row. How? With the assistance of Acadia’s fold flat 2nd row seats that allows you to be ready for whatever your next adventure might be. You can go right ahead and file the enhanced second-row Smart Slide® seats under “Mind Blown”. This row can tip, pitch and slide forward even when a child seat is attached. Shocking I know! And this should go without saying, but this feature is only recommended when a child is NOT strapped into it’s car seat. If more cargo space is what you really need, designers have placed built-in seat release levers to make it super simple to fold the second row seats completely flat from the back of the car.

For those of you have have kiddies or nieces and nephews you look after on weekends like I do, the comprehensive suite of available Driver Alert and Active Safety Technologies to help protect drivers from the unexpected on the road, would blow you away. With the increase in deaths of babies being inadvertently left behind in cars, the Acadia has the industry first “Rear Seat Alert System” that reminds drivers that items and/or children may still be in the vehicle’s 2nd or 3rd row seats. Knowing you have the added safety of sensors, radars and cameras to help detect potential crash situations, can bring comfort to drivers with young children and babies on board. Other notable technologies that are a first for the Acadia that can even probably help with yearly insurance fees are the Front Park Assist, Lane Change Alert and Lane Keep Assist, Knee Airbags and much more.

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

2017 GMC Acadia

I’m not sure about you, but I’m always a fan of anything that makes long road trips bearable or working on the road manageable and GM’s fleet was ahead of it’s time introducing 4G LTW wifi connectivity via OnStar, Apple Car Play capabilities (allowing drivers to utilize all the functionalities of their iPhone or Android devices to make calls, send texts, listen to music and access maps all displayed on an 8″ colour touch audio system), plus Five USB ports ensures everyone is happily connected and charging.

A common worry for those moving from a car to cross over or SUV is no doubt gas mileage and rightfully so. Advanced design and engineering as allowed the 2017 Acadia to be over 700 lbs lighter than it’s predecessor, resulting in better fuel economy. You will find fuel range for the Acadia different depending on the model and engine size of course. For car buyers who’s priority is fuel efficiency the clear choice is the 2.5L engine getting drivers 11.0/9.2/10.2 L/100km (City/Highway/Combined). If fuel efficiency take a back seat to performance, then the 3.6L V6 engine with 310 horsepower plus active fuel management is the way to go with 13.0/9.3/11.3 (City/Highway/Combined) L/100km.

The 2017 GMC Acadia is already available in showrooms now in Canada and price points for the base 4-cylinder front drive only Acadia SL start at $29,995, with the top line Acadia Denali AWD starting at $47,845. For more information on all Acadia models head to GMCCanada.ca

#FindNewRoads in Chevrolet’s 2016 Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro Six

Over the last few years, I have test drove various vehicles and have been on countless journeys but test driving one of America’s most classic cars across the desert states was an incredible way to get acquainted with the all new Chevrolet Camaro. Chances are you are too young to remember the first generation that was introduced back in 1967, but it was an instant hit and an integral part of the muscle car era and road racing. To this day, the ’67 Camaro with orange houndstooth interior is amongst my top 10 favourite cars of all time. We got the chance to spend 36 hours on an epic road trip with a pre-production car to celebrate the launch of the sixth generation Camaro.

Find New Roads Camaro

We departed Toronto last week with a quick connection in Denver to New Mexico. Here is where we commenced our “Oprah and Gayle” adventure to ‘Find New Roads’ and help Chevrolet take this special fleet of new Camaro’s across all 48 contiguous states along with over 100 other media and journalists. With very limited guidelines or rules from brand, we were challenged to learn as much as we could about the vehicles features, while trying to hit as many points of  interest within the sphere  of our driving leg.

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

We touched down in Albuquerque just in time for sundown and took the opportunity to explore the city by foot before the all the driving started the next morning. If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad”, you would have been completely geeking out. Majority of the hit show was filmed within a 10 mile radius of where we were staying. The next morning the Chevrolet brand team informed us that the cars would be given out at random to the media and journalists on this leg of the drive. This news immediately created anxiety amongst myself and the rest of the male auto journalists. There was a mix of automatic and manual transmissions, V6’s and V8’s and one or two SS’s thrown into the mix. My desire for a manual transmission v8 came as a bit of a surprise to the rest of team. Unfortunately this time around luck was not on my side and I ended up with a Summit White V6 2.0L Turbo with an 8 speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. I mean, not a bad consolation prize but I was dying to test out the 6 speed manual. However, when we pulled out of the hotel parking lot and I heard the deep throaty sounds coming from the twin exhaust pipes, my FOMO started to disappear. This V6’s guts and responsiveness took me by surprise – in a good way.

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

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Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

With our ride packed, which we fondly called Walter White in honour of Breaking Bad’s leading character, we hit the road for five hours across New Mexico to Alamangoro to White Sands. Located at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the white sands of New Mexico. Great wave like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert here and created the largest gypsum dune field in the world. We originally had other plans to drive up north to some points of interest in Colorado but when we found out about this little gem, we diverted from our plans and headed out for a little adventure. The dunes, brilliant and white, are ever changing. They grow, crest but always advance thanks to strong southwest winds.

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

The brand portfolios within General Motors has always impressed me with their advanced technology and entertainment features, which were definitely welcomed as we racked up all that windshield time. We relied heavily on the Camaro’s OnStar system and Apple CarPlay, which you have heard me rave about before in my most recent Chevrolet posts. With just a touch of the Blue Button located on the rear view mirror, we had highway concierge at our disposal during our trip, that helped us find where we were going and even find a place to stay at our next destination in Arizona before we left White Sands. With 4G LTE Wifi and Apple CarPlay, we were able to cruise the desert and be connected to our beloved social media channels while also being able to use our iPhone functionalities that were paired through the vehicle’s instrument panel; directions via Apple Maps, sending/reading and receiving iMessages, making calls, listening to our fave tunes from both our phones and Spotify. In very remote areas there was no cell phone reception and at times the wifi signal in the car was not strong enough, but we were thankfully able to receive turn-by-turn directions to the vehicle in the wee hours of the morning to help us navigate our way across state lines.

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Find New Roads Camero

After venturing off our pre-planned route to explore the white desert sands, we were left for a quiet and lonely 9 hour ride to Sedona, Arizona. To say it was desolate was an understatement. All the towns we passed through had closed down by 7pm. Stores, restaurants and gas stations…all closed. No street lights.

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads Camaro

Find New Roads CamaroPhotos by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca

We arrived in Sedona after 3am so we had no idea what was around us when we arrived in this adorable town until we woke up the next morning and discovered that we were surrounded in the most beautiful of landscapes. With less than four hours of sleep we woke up and took advantage of the little time we had before having to hit the road to our final destination and did a bit of hiking around Red Rock.  When we got to the summit, the views of the rocky red terrain left both Nathalia and I breathless. Suddenly I became jealous of having skyscrapers as my playground at home instead of mountains. The change of scenery was just what we needed. Here’s a sneak peek at the #CamaroSix:

So here’s the skinny: in my opinion the transformer-esque coupe has an appealing body type and is significantly light, roughly 200 lbs lighter vs the 5th generation. This is partially because it rides on a version of the Alpha platform that also works well with the Cadillac ATS and CTS. Both the driver and passenger seats provided the comfort we needed during our long highway drives but as you probably imagined, the rear seats are purely ornamental and can be compared to those of a Porsche 911. Non-existant. Also, the HVAC vents were oddly placed quite low in the centre stack, so it channeled the air low towards my hand on the gear shift. It’s low profile and open front grill helped keep the Camaro grounded on all the winding desert and mountain roads. I also loved the standard features like the new Driver Mode Selector that gives you Snow/Ice, Tour and Sport modes allowing for easy adaptation to changing driving conditions plus  the leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel was easy on the hands after several hours behind the wheel at a time.

For more information plus pricing on the 2016 Camaro 2.0L Turbo and it’s 6.2L V8 and 3.6L V6, click here. 

Sea to Sky 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Experience

Chevrolet-Colorado-Squamish2015-15

When I started SoSasha.com, I had absolutely no idea where it would take me. My job has given me the opportunity to embark on amazing journeys but this month’s Sea to Sky Chevrolet Colorado adventure was one of the most extraordinary experiences that I will never forget. If someone told me a year ago I would be hiking over 600 meters of The Stawamus Chief; the world’s second tallest freestanding granite monolith, paddle boarding on the tranquil waters of Brohm Lake, mountain biking down a mind blowing single-track in the mountains and driving a pick-up truck in Squamish, I would have never believed it. Never to say no to a challenge, I quickly accepted an invitation to head to Squamish, British Columbia, dubbed the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada” to get out of my automotive comfort zone and push my physical boundaries.

Sea to Sky Chevy ColoradoSea to Sky Summit bridge

A  runner and wanna-be cyclist I may be, but a hiker and mountain biker I am most certainly not. Our very first excursion was to take on intermediate mountain biking with the team from Sea to Sky Adventure Company. Squamish is well known for their bike trails all over the world. Not your average recreational ride, we were treated to a hairy raising, technical route that featured leg-searing climbs, steep defends complete with narrow bridges, rocks, roots and spectacular views.

Sea to Sky Chevrolet Colorado

Sea to Sky Chevrolet Colorado

Sea to Sky Chevrolet Colorado

Sea to Sky Chevy Colorado

Sea to Sky Chevorlet Colorado

For someone who is relatively fit and not afraid of heights, a hike seems reasonable enough, however a three hour hike up the steep elevating grain of the Chief to it’s first peak was enough to prove that I was not as physically fit as I thought. We battled it out gingerly climbing up slick rock surfaces and some inclines were so steep that we were forced to use iron ladders and rope to assist in our ascend. Similar to running a race, the final 20 minutes of the trek were the hardest but we were promised by our amazing guide Aaron that the views would be all worth it in the end. And sure enough, he was right. It was alarmingly breathtaking. We were unable to find words for the first few moments at the top. The irony in this excursion, we had thought the climb up was tough, but it was in fact far more challenging heading back down to terre firma.

Shannon FallsPicturesque Shannon Falls – the first scenic top on route to the top of the Stawamus Chief

Sea to Sky Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet-Colorado-Squamish2015-04

From the mountains high up in the sky, we brought it back down to ground level and hit up beautiful Brohm Lake for SUP. An acronym I was unfamiliar with until this trip, SUP stands for “Stand Up Paddle Boarding” and in case you’re wondering, is almost as challenging as regular surfing. It’s an amazing full body workout that also requires exceptional balance. We glided along these calm waters for what seemed like hours. Secluded from the entire world, it was the most at peace I had been for as long as I could remember. Plus our amazing guide Alistair from our bike tour rejoined us for the last stop on our whirlwind outdoor adventure.

Sea to Sky Chevorlet Colorado

This trip could have only been made possible with one vehicle and that’s the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. This mid-size pick up took my photographer Nathalia and I through the city streets of Vancouver, a winding 1.5 hour scenic drive up the Sea to Sky highway and seamlessly to each location for our “choose your own adventure” activation. After spending some considerable time in the Colorado, I discovered there are a few things I can no longer live without; 1) turn by turn navigation and 2) 4G LTE high speed wifi connectivity – both powered by On-Star. These sweet little luxuries, which will soon become necessities, had a powerful enough connection through the mountains for all our devices. We were able to stream our fave playlists on Soundcloud, surf the web, check email, edit images and post real time video content on snapchat. With the Colorado’s roomy interior cabin (providing 3 inches more rear leg room over’s it competition) and lower profile, by the time we arrived in Squamish we had completely forgot we were driving in a truck and not a sedan.

2015-chevrolet-colorado-mid-size-truck-mo-design-interior-980x476-01

So here’s the skinny, the Colorado took on city driving like a champ but the real question is, could it handle all the demands of our intense outdoor  itinerary? The truck’s innovative GearOn™ storage system is what set’s this mid-size pickup apart from the rest. It features two-tier loading with reconfigurable cross rails and a unique bed divider that helped organize and secure all of our belongings underneath the Thule system, which also made it surprisingly simple to store our bikes and SUP boards. I am far more open to trying to new activities than experimenting with different vehicle types. I like what I like and I know what I know, but after this trip, my preconceived notions about driving a pickup truck have vanished for good. Apparently I am not the only one, the Chevy Colorado’s largest target market of buyers are currently women!

Chevy-Colorado-wave1-day1-2-2

Sea to Sky Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet-Colorado-Squamish2015-01Photography by Nathalia Allen and General Motors Canada

Thank you General Motors team and Chevrolet brand for this experience of a lifetime and also Adventure Drive/Odyssey International, Sea to Sky Gondola, Sea to Sky Adventure Company and our amazing tour guides. Click here for more information on pricing, accessory + GearOn™ options and tech specs for the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. To view additional photos of this spectacular trip, search the hashtag #ChevyColorado on Twitter and Instagram.

Cadillac Reveals Its Premium Luxury CT6 Sedan in NYC

Cadillac CT6 Sedan

For the last year and a half I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with General Motors Canada and their diverse portfolio of brands. Very early on in our relationship, I was drawn to the offerings of the Cadillac brand. If you have been reading my blog for a while you are well aware of my passion for cars which I credit to my father’s influence. Like many other car enthusiasts, I had the common misconception that only Germans knew about performance and could make cars for “drivers” while North American companies focused on making vehicles for “passengers” with fancy bells and whistles. Well, boy was I ever wrong! Something special has been happening with Cadillac over the last year and the brand’s focus has been on finding ways to marry the worlds of performance, technology and luxury design within their fleet of vehicles. I had the privileged of getting behind the wheel of Cadillac’s SRX, ATS, CTS, CTS Sport, XTS (you can check out my road trip experience with it here) last year and it changed my view on North American cars forever.

Cadillac started 2015 off with bang. In January during the Oscars, the brand launched it’s new “Dare Greatly” campaign as part of their strategy to reposition Cadillac as a distinctive alternative to it’s German competitors. Throughout the Academy Awards broadcast, four commercials aired to promote their new CT6 luxury sedan featuring individuals with inspiring stories of how they have taken risks in their careers and included fashion designer Jason Wu and Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak. Aside from the attractive body of the vehicle that made a small cameo appearance towards the end of the first commercial, I personally was intrigued by the message because of the risks I have taken myself to get to where I am today.

I had the privilege of going to New York City at the beginning of April with a handful of Canadian media to witness the world premiere of the CT6 full size sedan and to attend the New York International Auto Show. Cadillac has long been known for it’s extravagant parties and this one was no exception. Guests walked from the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park to the pier, where we caught branded water taxis to Duggal Greenhouse at the Naval Yards in Brooklyn and got serenaded by Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq at the end of the night. Revealing the brand’s most luxurious vehicle to date in New York was fitting as Cadillac plans to relocate its headquarters to the Big Apple from Detroit, which is a move that can help them reach more luxury buyers.  What can you expect to see from the vehicle Cadillac hopes will be the catalyst into the super premium category?

Cadillac CT6 RevealCadillac President Johan de Nysschen unveiling the 2016 Cadillac CT6 full size sedan

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Although the frame is constructed of more than 10 different materials, it is somehow still the world’s lightest and most agile full size luxury performance sedan. Easy on the eyes, the body of the CT6 is super sleek and sophisticated but it’s inside the cabin where all the magic happens. Upon entering the car, it’s hard not to notice the quality materials used, the hand stitched and cut & sewn tailored interior – that closely mimics the tailoring in the fashion industry. I am sure driving this machine or sitting shot gun is where most want to be in the CT6, but I love that Cadillac is redefining the rear seat passenger experience. With best in-class rear leg room, two high-def TV screens, quad zone cooling & heating, not to mention reclining seats…I would be more than happy to be relegated to the backseat.

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Cadillac CT6 Reveal

Always on the forefront of technology advancements in their vehicles, Cadillac is stepping up their game ensuring that driving this car will not only be enjoyable but safe. The all new Bose Panaray system boasts 34 strategically placed speakers to ensure each passenger experiences concert hall sound quality. Surround view-video recording capabilities that can be used while driving, a 360-degree camera and a night vision cam that can detect animals and humans by heat signature and much more.

Cadillac CT6 RevealPhotos courtesy of Cadillac and General Motors

Click here for more information on what else you can find in the all new CT6 and head to Cadillac.ca for more information on the brand’s full portfolio. Production of this vehicle begins at the end of the year and scheduled to hit roads early in 2016.

Automotive Review: The 2014 Cadillac XTS Platinum Collection

Video shot & edited by Robert Okine (robertokine.com) | Music “It’s New” Produced by SOUL

Thanks to Cadillac Canada I rode in style all summer long in a few vehicles from the brand’s 2014 line to get better acquainted with the design, performance and technology that can be found within it’s current portfolio. After spending significant time in the 2014 CTS and ATS , I was treated to an extended experience with the XTS Platinum Collection, one of the most technologically advanced production cars in the brand’s history. With it’s enhanced space, entertainment features and luxurious interior design inspired by the fashion and home furnishing industries – it came as no surprise that I fell totally in love.

2014 Cadillac XTS

I feel that is it is only right that any vehicle I drive reflects me and my lifestyle. Call me crazy but because of my love for cars, I look at them as an extension of who I am and similar to fashion, cars can sometimes be a way to express yourself without having to say a word. Design aesthetic is of course important, but performance and technology are also key touch points . I want to feel safe in a vehicle – whether that’s having a confident feeling of power when accelerating or over taking traffic on the highway or feeling safe knowing camera based detection systems will help me avoid collisions. And although, I don’t have kiddies, space is still very much a welcome feature both in the cabin and in the trunk for my friends, various changes of clothes for photo shoots, and luggage for press/road trips.

2014 Cadillac XTS

2014 Cadillac XTS

My black on black XTS Platinum Collection turned heads just about everywhere I went because of it’s clean lines and dramatic presence. Not to be outdone by the exterior, the vehicle’s interior is really what blew me away. The brand’s design team didn’t cut any corners when it came to leather and other interior materials. For example, the cut and sew treatment of the leather – is an element the team borrowed from fashion. During the design process, Cadillac studied how the industry chooses leathers for shoes and handbags to design the XTS’s interior in a way that would be an extension of products with which luxury consumers already interact with. In addition to the beautifully wrapped leather seats, wood grain accents contrasting stitching, illuminated sill plates, and ambient interior lighting – every single detail is considered. The extended space in the rear cabin was a hit amongst my friends and family who I carted  around the city and brought along on my luxury road trip adventure to Montreal for my So Sasha x W Hotel Experience. 

2014 Cadillac XTS

2014 Cadillac XTS

Even my rear seat passengers over 6 feet tall sat happily in the backseat with absolutely no complaints about lack of leg room. While having to sit in the backseat of a car is usually a passengers least fave thing to do, the XTS manages to turn this into a treat; with oversized fold-down arm rests that houses additional storage and audio/video remote controls, integrated rear controls for both temperature and radio, rear side window shades, rear entertainment system with dual screens accompanied by two Cadillac Bose noise cancelling headphones. The vehicle offers more interior space than other mid sized luxury cars, particularly in the backseat, where it has four inches more leg room than the Mercedes Benz E Class, BMW 5 Series and approximately two more than the Audi A6.

2014 Cadillac XTS

One of the main reason I love Cadillac vehicles is because of the advanced technology features. The CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system always acts as a welcome distraction for passengers while sitting in traffic. With access to XM Satellite radio and listening to music out of  a Bose Studio Surround Sound – 14 speaker system with two additional personal speakers on the top of each front seat, the XTS creates a superior music listening experience. And if that’s not enough, the powerful amp and AudioPilot noise compensation technology takes it to a completely different level. The 8 inch multi-touch capacitive screen in the “infotainment” system is really easy to use and as I am seldom driving alone, it’s nice to have multiple charging outlets and the capacity to pair up to 10 bluetooth enable devices. CUE also responds to my voice commands, has a 3-D GPS nav system and for when things really hit the fan and I am in need of major help, I can always rely on the On-Star service to help me with directions, recommend restaurants in the area and provide assistance in the event an emergency arises. Low on gas and not familiar with the area? Not a problem — the XTS lists the closet gas stations, provides a list of all the locations in close proximity and directions to each when the vehicle is low on fuel.

2014 Cadillac XTS

Cadillac XTS Platinum Collection

Here’s the skinny…for those of you who are car geeks like myself, unfortunately this model doesn’t pack the heat and speed of the much talked about V model, which has 410 hp, but it still has enough get up and go to not have you bored while driving. Average fuel consumption was to be expected with approximately 9.9-10.3 litres/100km (combined city and highway driving). Larger than any other sedan I think I’ve ever driven measuring in at over 200 inches long, means there is a cargo advantage over other vehicles in it’s category with room for 5 or more suitcases. With this size, it was really beneficial to have features such as lane departure warning, side obstacle sensors, forward collision alert and rear cross traffic alerts, which notified me of any potential danger via driver seat vibrations – all standard in the Platinum Collection. And inspired thinking from the brand team made it possible for the ultrasonic front and rear park assist that helps drivers parallel park the car. With that said, XTS is an ultra chic, comfortable ride and all around good place to spend time whether it be on long road trips or short city driving. The price point for the XTS Premium Collection with all the bells and whistles comes in at $67,655. For additional details on the 2014 XTS click here and to learn more about the brand head over to www.cadillac.ca.

Dine With Cadillac Series – Exclusive Escalade Film Festival Experience

Dine With Cadillac

Cadillac has been near and dear to my heart over the last year or so and I’ve enjoyed many opportunities working closely with the General Motors Canada family. From media activations, press trips, personal road trips, and lifestyle experiences for SoSasha.com – you name it, Cadillac has blended seamlessly into my life. Although my love for the brand’s luxurious portfolio of vehicles comes across on my site and social media channels, we felt it was time to do something different and introduce a small group of influencers (who have never been exposed to the brand before) to the Cadillac team in an intimate setting to share all the new and exciting things coming down the pipeline in 2015.

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

DineWithCadillac

Dine With Cadillac

I teamed up with my friend Garrett Tonge of Gtonge1.com, who I have collaborated with several times before in the past on lifestyle projects, to launch the #DineWithCadillac series. Our inaugural event took place during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival  and was held at The Spoke Club during the Nikki Beach Toronto  Pop-Up. Over a delicious multi-course brunch served in the venue’s private wine cellar, our guests got to interact with the Cadillac Brand Director, Mahmoud Samara and the PR/Media team, who brought us up to speed on the amazing technologies that will be found later this year in the brand’s 2015 line-up.

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

With We R Addicted Magazine Co-Founder Mark Munroe chatting with Cadillac Brand Director Mahmoud Samara

Dine With Cadillac

From l to r; Natalie Nankil – Media Relations Manager for GM Canada, Bloggers Gracie Carroll of Gracie Carroll.com and Garrett Tonge of Gtonge1.com

Dine With Cadillac

From l to r; Hannah Yakobi – Editor In Chief of Fajo Magazine, Masha Marinkovic – GM Public Relations and Blogger Dani Goddard of GirlsofTO.com

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

With my super busy lifestyle and always being on the go, I can never leave home without multiple charging options for all my mobile devices which leads to a clutter of charging cords around the middle console of my car. Later this year Cadillac will be adding wireless charging technology into the 2015 ATS sport sedan and coupe models, followed by the CTS sport and the Escalade SUV. The wireless charging feature will be in the format of a power mat that will be located inside the storage bin behind the faceplate panel of the entertainment center. And if that’s not enough, Cadillac will also be introducing 4G LTE internet connectivity. The built-in connection will allow passengers access to online content via a Wi-Fi hotspot, which will be able to accommodate up to seven devices. This is pretty much a dream scenario for Bloggers, Social Media Influencers, Real Estate agents, Sales Executives or any other individual that needs internet connectivity for the job throughout the day on the road. Also, it’s an amazing feature for families to have for their children and other passengers when traveling on long road trips.

Dine With Cadillac Escalade

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

Pictured directly above – the 2015 Cadillac Escalade Premium Collection

After enjoying post brunch bevies on the rooftop, our group was whisked off in chauffeured Escalades to attend the premiere for two of the most anticipated screenings during the festival, “This is Where I Leave You” featuring an all-star cast including Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Rose Byrne and Adam Driver and “The Equalizer” featuring Denzel Washington and Chloe Grace Moretz, made possible by one of our sponsors, L’Oreal Paris Canada. Being a car enthusiast, it should come as no surprise that our transportation in the 2015 Escalade was the highlight of my afternoon. The Silver Coast Metallic exterior colour combined with the luxe Kona Brown interior turned heads as we drove down King St West with the windows down. Cadillac did a superb job of preserving the Escalade’s iconic design while modernizing the car’s feature exterior elements, giving the SUV a chic update. Not to be outdone by the exterior, the Escalade’s cut and sewn nappa leather seats, second row captain chairs, hand wrapped leather middle console and door panels in addition to unique exotic wood accents literally blew my mind. A scenic ride through the city was the perfect introduction to the vehicle, which has me looking forward to getting behind the wheel of one very soon so I am able to share more info on the performance and technology details with you. I have a feeling it may become my new favourite vehicle out from the brand’s line-up.

Dine With Cadillac

Dine With Cadillac

Photos by Robert Okine, Cadillac Canada, and Instagram (Dani Goddard & Sasha Exeter)

I want to take this opportunity and give a huge thank you to Cadillac Canada in addition to L’Oreal Paris Canada, Rimowa, Glaceau Water/Smart Water, The Spoke Club, Nikki Beach Toronto and the Milka Mili Agency for helping make this event possible – and stay tuned for more lifestyle experiences with Garrett and I, in conjunction with General Motors. For more information on Cadillac and it’s vehicles, head to www.cadillac.ca.

My Luxury Road Trip to the W Hotel Montreal with Cadillac

W Montreal

The W Hotel brand has gained notoriety across the world as the ultimate luxury hotel and last week I had the absolute pleasure to call their Montreal property home for a few days. Located in the city’s historic Banque du Canada building and just blocks away from Old Montreal/The Old Port, it’s a phenomenal location for out of town visitors and for locals interested in a chic stay-cation! Staying within the theme of luxury, we traveled in Cadillac’s new 2014 XTS sedan, which turned out to the best road trip vehicle. With room for four long-legged adults with excessive luggage, 2 rear TV’s with wireless Cadillac headphones, the ingenious CUE (Cadillac User Experience) interface for all our entertainment, navigation and technology needs, our smooth and comfy ride was even better than taking a flight in my opinion. And we weren’t the only ones in love with the vehicle. The XTS’s finely crafted exterior gained so much attention on the streets in Montreal, the valet and hotel guests.

Cadillac XTS

Cadillac XTS

Cadillac XTS

W Hotel Lobby

W Hotels prides themselves with taking their guests through a journey that awakens and engages all of their senses during the course of their stay. Upon entering the dimly lit lobby, I was engulfed in the most sweetest of scents, which turns out to be the brand’s signature mist that is sprayed throughout the property. It has become so popular and synonymous with the hotels, that is now available for sale through W location lifestyle boutiques and online. The music played in all the common areas is unlike what you normally hear in hotels and sets the mood for an ultra chill vibe. When I inquired about the trendy playlist I was informed by the property’s PR & Marketing Manager that the W actually has their own Musical Director, Michaelangelo L’acqua, who carefully curates soundtracks for each location.

Wunderbar

Visually, each square foot of the W Montreal exudes comfort and luxury and with 2.5 bars, home to one of Montreal’s best restos, Otto; and the tranquil Away Spa…let’s jus stay it was sensory overload in a good way. Sidebar, 2.5 bars in fact isn’t a typo. The hotel actually has one of the smallest bars in the world, Bartini, hidden on the ground floor behind the elevators. This tiny space is perfect to kill time waiting to check-in, a quiet pre-dinner drink or even ideal to rent out exclusively for a small bachelor or bachelorette party before hitting the Montreal streets. Directly across from Bartini is the sleek designed Wunderbar, where you will find amazing cocktail concoctions created by highly trained mixologists and music that will have you stumbling to your guest room wee into the early morning. And as if the bar wasn’t already super cool, the gorgeous staff all wear custom dresses by Canadian designer Travis Taddeo. If you’re looking for a more laid back vibe then Plateau, the mezzanine level bar, is just the space for you. Taking some design cues from other W properties in other markets, they definitely made it a point to integrate a Canadian theme with the usage of maple leafs etched into the beautiful bar. And with it’s unique design, wood plank flooring, high ceilings and furniture, it creates the illusion of chilling outside on the perfect summer night!

W Montreal Bartini Plateau Bar

W Montreal Wunderbar

The chic decor and ambiance of Otto is the perfect setting for the restaurant’s elegant italian cuisine. There, you will find seasonal dishes infused with local ingredients created by Executive Chef Yves Lowe and a pretty extensive wine list with bottles from all over the globe. I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience there and noshed on delish seared scallops with chorizo, soya beans and honey mushrooms to start, followed by black cod and honey cake for dessert.  I finished off the meal with a Chateau Faillefer Lafon 2012 ice wine made specifically for the W Montreal – how cool is that? Not to be outdone by the restaurant,  the in-room dining service is pretty phenomenal as well. The signature W Montreal breakfasts in bed were the perfect way to start each morning!

W Montreal

If you have yet to stay at the W Montreal, or any W for that matter, guest room accommodations are available in three general categories and are all very generous in size. The basic guest rooms, which believe me are not basic at all range from 252-328 sqft and the mid-size suites range between 422-580 sqft. All these rooms have oversized windows, ultra-modern design, the ultimate mini bars, open concept bathrooms and plush white robes. The ridiculously stunning penthouses; appropriately named the “Wow” and “Extreme” suites are exactly that and range between 1000-1336 sqft with a multi-level layout, dining area, 20 foot ceilings and large outdoor terraces. Ever left your face wash or fave body lotion at home when traveling? You will be happy to hear that the hotel has Bliss Spa amenities. It is the only hotel I can travel to where I would feel comfortable leaving my Korres face wash behind at home because their amenities and beauty products are so amazing!

W Montreal

W Montreal

W Montreal Mega Room Accommodations 

E Wow Suite

E Wow Suite

E-Wow Suite

E Wow Suite W Montreal

 E – Wow Penthouse Suite

Other Services/Amenities Worth Nothing:

  • FIT Fitness Centre, a beautiful workout environment with state of the art equipment for strength training, pilates and cardio. Open 24/7 for guests convenience
  • Certified “Green” Hotel that practices waste minimization and practices environmental excellence. Each day a guest declines housekeeping services, they are rewarded with 500 Starwood Preferred Guest Points. More in here 
  • The good life at the W Montreal isn’t only for us humans. Your fur babies can also get the star treatment during your stay. With dog walking, grooming services and pet birthday cakes and even an in-room dining menu from Otto, this is a vacay your pet will never forget. More info on the W’s pet policy, fees and menu items here 
  • Away Spa, located on the lower level of the hotel, is a place where guests can restore harmony and balance in a space designed to help you decompress. I enjoyed a few services during my stay and highly recommend the Aroma Polish, which is a 90 minute treatment that includes a full body exfoliation utilizing a volcanic scrub and a 60 minute massage. During my massage my amazing therapist detected some my problem areas due to excessive stress and running and was so kind as to take me through some exercises that I can do at home to help relieve the pain.
  • W Hotel Worldwide App: If you’re a fan of the W properties, then you need to download this free app immediately, which allows you to find and book a room, see special offers, shop the W Store and even download special W Hotel music playlists created for different moods and activities by Musical Director Michaelangelo D’acqua and the brand’s fave DJ’s from around the world.

Here’s the skinny…the property is approximately 10 years old and although it looks aesthetically pleasing to the eye, I think they will be due for a few updates in the next little while. Rumour has it that the property will be undergoing some renovations this Fall to the guest rooms. They do not have complimentary wifi in the guest rooms and it must be purchased for $15/day however, wifi is available for free in the lobby lounge. Minus these two small issues, our stay at the W Montreal was pretty amazing. Going forward it will be difficult to stay at any other hotel property in Montreal as the W’s hospitality game is ON POINT! It’s a hotel that is family friendly but still cool enough for celebrities and stars alike – during my stay I saw Actors/Comedians Seth Rogen and Chevy Chase. Travel Tip: Summer time in Montreal is extremely busy with concerts, conventions, film, music and comedy festivals so it can become a difficult task to find accommodations. I suggest when traveling between May through August, you book as early as possible.

Click here for more information on the W Montreal and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. For more on W Hotels Worldwide, destinations and events, head to WHotels.com. Stay tuned for my full review on the Cadillac XTS

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!

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!

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