Team Hall & Nass Preview the 2010 Cadillac Lifestyle, Part 1 of 2
What you’re about to read is not your typical Team Hall & Nass review (as if we ever do anything “typical” anyway). We’re not going to focus on one single car, one outrageous performance, or just another thrill ride shared via words by yours truly. No, this is something different. Something special. An experience that only the “new” General Motors could provide (and one we are eternally grateful for being invited to). What you are about to read is both a glimpse into what life is like for the “typical” modern-day Cadillac owner accompanied by a snapshot driving review of a few cool new cars within the 2010 Cadillac lineup, ala Team Hall & Nass style.
“We’re SO Not Worthy … THANK YOU GM”
We’d like to publicly thank Donna McLallen (@GMTexas on Twitter), Vicki Cosgrove and everyone on the GM South Central Region Team for being kind enough (and crazy enough) to invite us to this event. Without their kind, good faith invitation, we wouldn’t be able to bring you, the wonderful fans and followers of Team Hall & Nass, this incredible tale you’re about to enjoy. We owe you a big one (as well as some brake pad linings and perhaps a bit of tire tread too …)!
The Exclusive Event Invite
Officially billed as the Cadillac Culinary Media Tour, this event was an opportunity for select members of the Texas automotive media to experience what life is like for the “typical” Cadillac owner. There was a lot of fine dining, many breathtaking views, with glamour and elegance all around (and that’s not even talking about the venues we visited!). But all the fine dining and white glove treatment aside, the real attraction was the chance to get down and dirty (in a very stylish way) with select cars from the exciting new 2010 Cadillac vehicle lineup. However, the experience of the entire event is more than noteworthy, so we’ll go on (and on) here about both!
It is here that I must publicly admit to something. There was not a “we” on this adventure. When invited, it was stressed that only one of us could attend due to the limited number of seats and cars at this event. So in the spirit of full disclosure here, that means this time out, it was all Hall and no Nass. Though fear not, our faithful fans of non-traditional auto review driving! I did not play calm, cool, or collected at this event. No cars got babied (beyond the view of the parking lots, anyway). There was still the proverbial Nass that got Hall(ed) on all of the test drives! We’ll get to that in a bit …
The Experience Begins at Checkpoint One
The event began with a meeting in the parking lot of Via Real Restaurant in Las Colinas, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). We were supposed to arrive by 3:30 PM. Of course, I was running a bit late, so by the time I arrived almost everyone had already headed out toward the next “secret” location in their pick of 2010 Cadillacs. I say almost everyone because when I whipped into the lot, I saw Charlie from BurnoutRadio.com (@BurnoutRadio on Twitter) standing next to a lady I didn’t know in the parking lot. I assumed she must be part of the GM Texas team. You know what happens when you ASSUME … right?!? (more on that in a bit). As soon as I spied him in shorts & tennis shoes, I felt a sense of ease. Not only could I stop feeling badly about wearing jeans with my button down, but I also began to feel that maybe I kinda, sorta did belong at this event. Yay! I also spotted Vicki from GM (waiting patiently, I might add) for me to arrive and sign the release papers so we could all head out toward the next location on the Tour.
After signing my life and good credit away in case I destroyed the car(s) (perhaps they DO know me better than I think they do …), Vicki directed me toward a brand new second generation 2010 Cadillac SRX Crossover and explained that it was all mine to experience en route to the next destination. She said the directions of the carefully laid out driving route were in the passenger seat, to be careful and to have fun on my solo drive.
Charlie and the aforementioned lady I didn’t yet know were already belted into a 2010 CTS Sport Wagon and appeared to be getting adjusted. I pulled up next to them and made a “tactical” decision. I figured I’d just follow them so I could enjoy the drive versus worrying about trying to read the printed directions. After all, Charlie appeared to have a GM rep riding shotgun with him, so what could go wrong?
SIDE NOTE – If you think you’re going to just “follow” Charlie from Burnout Radio and all will be fine, well, you’re only half right.
As I waited on Charlie to pull out ahead of me, he put his window down, laughed, shouted something about how the seat adjustment control was smarter than he was (one of the many reasons I love Burnout Radio), and then he says to me, “What are YOU waiting for? I replied, “I’m just going to follow y’all.” He laughed and said, “That might not be the best idea, but okay! Let’s go!” After which, Charlie whips sideways out of the lot in the CTS Wagon with me on his tail … and away we went!
An Olfactory Delight
I have to stop the action here for a moment and share this bit of personal history with you. The second I sat down in the SRX, something clicked. It didn’t hit me on a conscious level immediately, but deep within the recesses of my mind, something was welling up. It didn’t take long to surface either. In fact, as soon as I started down the road, it hit me. One single, but overwhelming, thought. All I could think of was “Momma.”
You see, my mom drove Cadillacs for years. But what in the world could this 2010 crossover have in common with the Coupe deVilles, Sevilles and STSs of my family’s past? What could it be? There was only one answer – the leather. The moment I was enveloped in the smell of the gorgeous and well appointed 2010 Cadillac SRX leather interior, my brain went back to all those years of my youth spent riding shotgun alongside my mom on outings near and far around our small hometown. All of her Cadillacs had the same smell in them when they were new. Oddly enough, even over time, as the scents of Estee Lauder and V05 permeated the interiors as well, that original smell lingered until the day they were traded in on another Caddy. I vividly recall how the scent was very different from the smells you’d find inside of new Corvettes, Silverados, Tahoes, etc.
Sure, there is that famous “new car smell” that everyone talks about and loves. Such wonderful smells that usually fade away after the first year or so of daily driving duties. However, the smell of a brand new Cadillac is different not only in scent but in longevity. Trust me, there is a difference. I am as sure of that distinct smell as most people are that the Pope is Catholic or that two plus two equals four. It is the smell of my childhood. It is the smell of many morning trips to school, to grandma’s house in the summer, to the swimming pool or the movies with friends, the chaperoned drives of my first dates and to my first homecoming dance, the joyous ride to my high school graduation, the sad ride to my grandfather’s funeral, even the ride to the celebratory dinner after my college graduation. It is one of the more distinct smells of my past, my family, my life. It is uniquely Cadillac, and in its own way, a part of me.
So much for being able to be “objective” … HA! At this point, the cars I drive at this event would pretty much have to really unimpress to get a bad word spoken about them. I’m not one minute inside of the first one I drive and they are already like family to me. I feel safe and at home. I also want to call my mom.
First Impression of the Second Generation 2010 SRX
While part of me is off dreaming in my head of my family’s history with Cadillac, I’m also very much in the moment, soaking up the present day amenities of the SRX. I’ve got the massive skyroof all the way open (now THIS is a sunroof almost worthy of drop top status!) and the rather impressive stereo system blaring a Jimmy Buffett song (courtesy of Radio Margaritaville on XM Satellite Radio). While you’d think I’m relaxed and in full luxury cruise mode, lest you not forget that I am also in full pursuit of Charlie from Burnout Radio who is in the greater-powered, sport-tuned CTS Sport Wagon and currently running at full throttle down a very bumpy suburban street. Yeah, it’s time to see what this puppy will do under Team Hall & Nass “real world driving” conditions.
With little to no traffic around, my heavy right foot and faith in Cadillac engineering, I hold the pedal down while I marvel at the SRXs ability to stay planted over bumps that the city of Las Colinas and Dallas Country should be ashamed for letting pass as paved public roads. I’m sure the local speed limit is probably in the 30-45 range, but these are things I don’t typically worry about anyway, much less when I’m shaking down a vehicle.
Amazingly enough, the limits of the suspension travel in the SRX are yet to be met, even as I watch the CTS Sport Wagon show daylight under the back tires (and sometimes all four tires … at once!) while Charlie flies over the massive dips, bumps and jumps in the road. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost swear he was trying to lose me! However, even with a heavier gross vehicle weight and 39 less horsepower on tap (the SRX has a 265 HP DOHC 3.0 liter V6 versus the 304 HP 3.6 liter V6 in the CTS Sport Wagon), I find myself on the brakes more often than not trying to stay off his back bumper. With this kind of performance, I can’t wait to drive the upcoming 300 horse 2.8 liter turbo V6! Of course, that said, I bet if I were in the CTS Wagon and Charlie was in the SRX, I’d have already checked out … but that’s just speculation.
As we continue our game of cat and mouse on the streets of Las Colinas, two things begin to occur to me. 1) There is no way, no way, that Charlie knows where he is going, and 2) If that’s a GM employee riding with him, she is either a former GM performance group person or an adrenaline junkie!
Getting Punked by Burnout Radio
After about 15 minutes of chasing the CTS Sport Wagon around (without any trouble keeping up, mind you), we finally come to a stop in front of an office building. I figure something is up when I immediately notice that there are no signs of any other Cadillacs or anyone else around for that matter. When I pull up next to Charlie and roll down the window, he jumps out of the CTS and yells. “Congratulations Berry Lowman! You’ve just been on your first Burnout Radio ride and drive!” He then introduces me to Katie, his personal photographer. Yep, NOT a GM rep!
You’ve got to love Charlie. He’s just that funny. He can be serious at times, but he’s always funny! So after realizing that I’ve officially been punked on my first media event with Burnout Radio, I ask him where we’re supposed to be. His reply? “Somewhere on top of one of these office buildings around here … which one I don’t have a clue! The first thing I do on all of these media drives is throw the map out the window. We just drive around, have fun, pick a location, shoot the cars, then try to catch up to where we’re supposed to be.” Once I stop laughing, I jump out and start shooting pics of the cars as well. I figure this is just the beginning of the evening’s adventure. Little did I know it was only going to get better from here!
Team Hall & Nass Cadillac Week Coverage
We hope y’all are enjoying our Team Hall & Nass Cadillac Week coverage. The carnage (we mean, coverage) continues tomorrow with part 2 of 2 of our 2010 Cadillac Lifestyle Preview.
Due to new FTC guidelines, please note that GM didn’t pay us to write any of this, nor did they ask us to. (After reading some of this, they may even prefer that we hadn’t!). They simply provided dinner and access to their cars and, in turn, we had the “Cadillac” of experiences. We sincerely thank everyone at GM and Cadillac South Central Region marketing who made this possible, and all of you, our amazing fans. We couldn’t do this without you. We love you all!
This blog entry has been approved by Pirate Pig, official mascot of Team Hall & Nass. Pirate Pig offers hamthrax protection for all, and would like to remind you, “IF YOU’VE JUST BEEN PASSED, THEN YOU’RE NOT HALL & NASS!” :@)~