With the North American International Auto Show still days away, information is leaking through sieve-like embargoes. Cadillac Provoq is a fuel-cell powered concept Crossover SUV that telegraphs cues for Cadillac’s future Crossovers like the next SRX. Of course, the first question is why Cadillac used a name for this concept rather than an alphanumeric like “TRX” or “URX” or “VRX”.
Cues from Future Generation Cadillac Crossover SUVs
VehicleVoice will have more from the show floor next week when we can shoot the Provoq in the flesh.
Provoq has contemporary body surfacing with a bold contour swage on the bodyside initiating from the inevitable gill in the front fender. The grille texture is very similar to the new CTS and closely follows Cadillac’s present design language. So from a design standpoint, Provoq is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Nice looking in the way the new CTS is nice looking.
The Provoq rides on a 110-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 190-inches. So, it’s about a half-size smaller than the SRX (116-inch wheelbase and 195-inch overall length). Based on GM’s new compact crossover architecture, the Provoq has more to do with the Saturn Vue than the SRX.
Aerodynamics a Key to Improved Efficiency
The Provoq is optimized for low aerodynamic drag, with the front fascia featuring a computer-controlled grille that opens as cooling is needed. There is a wind-tunnel designed belly pan to smooth airflow beneath the Provoq. The functional rear spoiler helps reduce drag by smoothing airflow over the roof. In addition, the roof contains a solar panel for charging vehicle accessories.
Powertrain – Hydrogen Fuel-Cell
The powertrain is the fifth generation version of General Motor’s hydrogen fuel-cell stack. (The fourth generation is presently powering a fleet of 100 hydrogen Chevrolet Equinox SUVs that GM has put into a testing rotation with people in California, New York, and Washington.)
This fifth-gen version is one-third smaller than what’s on the road now, and its hydrogen fuel cell can provide a continuous output of 88 kilowatts. Three electric motors are expected to deliver 0-60 mph times of about 8.5 seconds with a governed top speed of 100 mph. The hydrogen is stored in two 10,000-psi tanks that hold 6 kilograms each, and the quick-fill feature works similarly to the Equinox test fleet. Range is expected to be 300 miles. The Provoq is also a plug-in hybrid incorporating a plug-in feature to pre-charge the lithium-ion batteries from your home electrical system. The ports for the plug-in hybrid are conveniently located on both sides of the vehicle. Both the brakes and transmission incorporate drive-by-wire technology.
While Provoq is a technology concept, think of it more as a styling and package concept for future Cadillac Crossover SUVs. When we see this styling on the road, it will be petroleum powered – either gas or diesel or maybe a gas-electric hybrid… but not a production hydrogen fuel-cell.
Better say this right up front, with the possible exception of the new Chevy Malibu, Cadillac’s second-generation CTS may well be the most improved new car of the 2008 model year. To be sure, it’s the most impressive vehicle to carry the Cadillac badge since the stunning 1967 front-wheel-drive Eldorado
This car is so impressive it’s tough to recall how Cadillac got into the performance luxury sedan business to begin with. Like so many stories regarding General Motors as of late, this one has a significant overseas component. Almost five years after the astonishingly moronic proclamation of a now (fortunately) retired Cadillac chief engineer that, “Cadillac will be a front-drive car company,” the Catera debuted.
Little more than an Opel Omega with cosmetic revisions limited to a revised grille and rear decklid garnish with the requisite chassis retune and FMVSS compliance changes, the Catera was an expedient way to provide U.S. Cadillac dealers with a car the division hoped would help retain customers who had been leaving the nameplate for BMW and Lexus entries. Initially offered with a peculiar 56° vee 200HP 3.0L 24-valve DOHC six-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed automatic, the Catera was the unfortunate recipient of what was barely a mid-pack powerplant. And the sometimes finicky V6 aside, while no 3-Series, the Catera was a decent car clothed in a decidedly innocuous wrapper. But if there’s one thing a Caddy should never
be, it’s innocuous. Not surprisingly, the Catera incurred the wrath of many journalists and self-proclaimed “analysts” from the get-go. One such insightful wag decreed the Catera spelled the “end of Cadillac” because it was not offered with a V8 engine. Yeah hum.
AutoPacific Take on Cadillac DTS Win – The Cadillac DTS wins the 2007 Motorist Choice Award® in the Large Luxury Car class.
Owners rate the ride, reputation and reliability of the DTS as class leading.
IntelliChoice take on Cadillac DTS win – The Cadillac DTS wins the 2007 Motorist Choice Award, because it has best in class maintenance costs and low insurance costs.
Cadillac DTS Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Luxury Car – Also Top-Ranked Vehicle:
“It takes an especially satisfying vehicle to win the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards outright – top car and rated higher than the top truck. The Cadillac DTS – Cadillac’s Large Luxury Car – achieved that honor for the 2007 model year,” said AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Owners particularly liked the Cadillac DTS for its package (Size, Roominess, Ease of Entry/Exit, Visibility), Exterior and Interior Style, Ride, Power/Acceleration, Innovative Technology and Warranty Coverage. This is part of the Cadillac renaissance”.
Flagship Sedan Gets an Updated Look and New Technology
Among General Motors‘ many New York auto show introductions this month was a facelift for the top Cadillac sedan, the STS, due on sale midsummer 2007. A new face, a new engine, and new technologies highlight the Cadillac‘s changes.
In 2003, Cadillac showed a stunning large sedan concept called the Sixteen
, so named for its V16 engine, and since then there has been talk of bringing the ultrasedan to market. While never-ending rumors have not yet been enough to make it into a real product, Sixteen is claimed as inspiration for Cadillac’s latest grilles, including the 2008 STS and 2007 Escalade.
The STS face gets new stacked headlights, a new lower front fascia, and narrower side marker lamps. Cadillac was not able to resist the urge to add vents to the sides of the front fenders on the STS, this time called “side air extractors.” Changes at the sides and rear of the STS were minimal, included are chrome-plated door handles and new lower rocker moldings along the side and a body-color rear fascia and new polished, aluminum exhaust tips.
The STS’s interior was already quite a nice place to be, so interior changes for 2008MY are minor. There is a new steering wheel with Sapele Pomelle wood trim, an available heated steering wheel, and a new wood trim with metallic surrounds for the center stack.
Appropriately, Cadillac adds new technology on its flagship sedan, though they could have introduced these systems with the all-new 2008 CTS revealed in January. The revised STS can be ordered with a lane-departure warning system as well as a blind-spot alert system. The lane-departure system uses a camera in the rearview mirror to read the lines in the road, while the blind-spot alert is a radar-based system. StabiliTrak has been updated to include active front steering (helps turn front wheels into the skid when rear wheels lose traction). A new steering motor assembly works with the computer-driven electronic controls to measure wheel slip at each wheel independently during acceleration, braking, and on low-traction road surfaces. There’s also a new performance handling package for some models, with eighteen-inch wheels and summer-only tires.
The base STS gets more power for 2008, with GM applying direct-injection to the 3.6L DOHC 24v V6 and mating it to a six-speed automatic transmission. The change means an increase in output to 298HP. Even at 255HP, the V6 offered enough power to make the base STS a comfortable drive, so the extra power will make the base STS that much more desirable, especially as looking to direct injection and the six-speed autobox also means there will not be a fuel economy penalty for the extra power. The available options list has grown for the V6 models as well, and you will now be able to order it with IntelliBeam headlights and the head-up display.
Ah, this is more like it. The 469-horsepower supercharged Cadillac STS-V is what a high performance interstate cruiser is all about. Large, substantial, spacious, fully featured, blindingly fast, the STS-V, in most cases, more than fills the bill for affluent drivers who covet luxury as well as performance.
Now, I know my colleagues who like more nimble cars pooh pooh the STS-V, but this car certainly has its place. In fact, when the STS-V rolled out of our lot an Audi S4 with its 340-horsepower V8 and a six-speed manual transmission rolled in. The younger, sportier folks gravitated to the Imola yellow S4 and shed nary a tear for the STS-V. Me, I’d take the STS-V in a heartbeat.
You could tell from the smiles on the faces of the suits from Cadillac that they had just come from something special. The Cadillac Escalade had just won the Playboy 2007 Car of the Year Award. Jim Taylor, Cadillac General Manager was lugging around a golden trophy with a totally blinged-out Playboy bunny glued to it and a discreet plaque proclaiming Escalade’s win.
Playboy Magazine has just named their 2007 Cars of the Year
. Included in this year’s list were:
Playboy 2007 Car of the Year –
BMW Z4 M
Best SUV –
Best Sports Coupe –
Porsche 911 Carrera
Best Bang for the Buck –
Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500
The Al Gore Special –
Best Two-Way Player –
Best Pickup –
Best Cross Dresser –
Best Roadster –
Saturn Sky Red Line
Oh yeah, about the presentations. Apparently, a hostess Playmate gave the executives a tour around the Playboy Mansion. A former Playmate, the young lady was extremely well spoken, knew her stuff and presented Playboy in a very favorable light. What I’m saying is that she wasn’t the airhead blonde bimbette that may have been expected at Playboy.
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There are few things more fun than walking through a major auto show along side AutoPacific Analyst and former General Motors brainiac, Jim Hall. You have to be patient. He knows everybody and everybody knows him, so the going is often slow. But the one liners you get to overhear as he comes upon the latest in concept cars are worth the wait. So we decided to follow him around the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but this time,we brought the video camera.
Jim checked out the new Cadillac CTS, due to hit showroom floors this October. If you haven’t seen this performance sedan yet, you’re going to be blown away whether you’re a Cadillac fan or not. Cadillac must have had BMW’s 5 series and the Audi A6 in the crosshairs when they dreamed up this beauty. Even Jim was impressed.
He also reviewed a crop of new concepts –
Mercedes S-Class Convertible Ocean Drive
Jim went to design school, so watching him chat about stamped steel is actually interesting. And you can’t beat descriptions like “swoop du jour” and “Ingmar Bergman on acid.”
Thanks for the stroll, Jim. It was fun.
Show Runtime – 14:44
The first generation CTS was a true breakthrough for Cadillac. Love it or hate it, the polarizing design proved that Cadillac had guts. Furthermore, it proved again that “middle of the road” is no place Cadillac wanted to be. CTS sales were brisk, and Cadillac was once again talked about in positive terms.