General Motors has long been known for its Cadillac luxury cars, but some of its other divisions also build high end, premium automobiles alongside their Cadillac cousins. Buick and GMC have come a long way in the past couple years not just in terms their build quality but also in regards to the number of luxury features and designs that they have to offer their customers. In many ways, all three of GM’s premium-oriented brands are beginning to challenge market leaders when it comes to comfort, performance and technology.
Let’s take a look at 10 GM luxury vehicles from Cadillac, Buick and GMC that deserve a closer look when shopping for a high end automobile:
01: 2011 GMC Acadia Denali
The 2011 GMC Acadia Denali is the full-size crossover’s top trim level, and is easily distinguished from other members of the Acadia lineup. The GMC Acadia Denali comes with a number of exterior styling changes, including a unique grille, revised bumper surrounds front and rear and flared wheel wells, as well as HID headlights and 20-inch chrome wheels. Inside, the Acadia Denali offers a full load of features, including a head-up display, upgraded perforated heated and ventilated leather seats, a dual sunroof and a quieter, better-insulated cabin.
Under the hood, the 2011 GMC Acadia Denali packs a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that offers up 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, sent to either the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission (all-wheel drive is an option). Fuel mileage for the large crossover checks in at up to 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
02: 2011 Cadillac CTS
The 2011 Cadillac CTS – whether found in mid-size sedan, coupe or wagon body styles – is a versatile luxury performer whose styling stands out from the rest of the luxury crowd. In addition to its angular good looks, (part of what Cadillac terms the “Art and Science” design philosophy), the Cadillac CTS also offers buttoned-down handling and the availability of options such as navigation, adaptive HID headlights, and a surround sound audio system.
The 2011 Cadillac CTS counts on a pair of V-6 engines as its primary power plants. The vehicle’s 3.0-liter unit is good for 270 horses and 223 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.6-liter motor ups the ante to 306 ponies and 273 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage for the two engines is almost identical, with the smaller 3.0-liter squeaking ahead with its 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway rating. Each can be paired with either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission, and all-wheel drive is also available.
03: 2011 GMC Terrain
The 2011 GMC Terrain might not offer Denali-levels of opulence, but the compact crossover is a step above some of its competitors when it comes to offering a premium driving experience. Although more basic versions are available, topping out the GMC Terrain’s options list brings you items like leather seats, a navigation system that responds to voice commands, an entertainment system for rear passengers and a Pioneer surround sound system.
The 2011 GMC Terrain’s entry-level drivetrain consists of a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for this motor is rated at 22 mpg around town and 32 mpg highway. A 3.0-liter V-6 is an option for the Terrain’s highest trim levels (also featuring a six-speed auto), and it develops 264 horsepower and 222 lb-ft of torque while dropping fuel economy to 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. All versions of the crossover SUV can be had with all-wheel drive.
04: 2011 Cadillac Escalade
The 2011 Cadillac Escalade has long been the king of the full-size luxury SUV mountain, and at first glance it’s easy to see why. Big, bold and not lacking in power, refinement or sheer road presence, the Cadillac Escalade (which can be had in standard and extended wheelbase editions) can seat as many as eight passengers in absolute comfort. A short taste of the equipment that can be ordered with the Escalade includes LED headlights, top-tier leather upholstery and interior trim, heated first and second row seats, an active suspension system and power retractable running boards.
The 2011 Cadillac Escalade benefits from the installation of a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that churns out 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel is standard, but all-wheel drive is optional, and both come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Although not designed with hardcore off-roading in mind, the Escalade’s strong truck frame helps it to tow just north of 8,000 lbs. Fuel mileage for the SUV is reported as 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.
05: 2011 Buick LaCrosse
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse mid-size premium sedan has emerged as a genuine competitor to Japanese luxury brands like Acura and Lexus, thanks in large part to the effort that Buick has engineered the LaCrosse with the same relaxed, vault-like driving feel that buyers in this particular segment prize. It also doesn’t hurt that the 2011 Buick LaCrosse can be had with an array of technology features that includes rear parking assistance, a blind-spot warning system, a navigation system and adaptive HID headlights.
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse starts out by offering a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that is good for 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, along with fuel economy of 19 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. More power is available from the LaCrosse’s optional 3.6-liter V-6, which provides 280 ponies and 259 lb-ft of torque along with a 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway fuel economy rating. Both engines are shifted through a six-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive can be ordered with the V-6 motor.
06: 2011 GMC Yukon Denali
The 2011 GMC Yukon Denali is a perfect match for drivers who need the grunt of a truck-based SUV but who don’t want to sacrifice anything in the luxury department. Like the Acadia Denali, the GMC Yukon Denali stands apart from standard editions of the sport-utility vehicle through the addition of smoothed-out exterior styling and an interior design that is quieter, more composed and far more upscale than that of any other version of the Yukon.
The 2011 GMC Yukon Denali also features a special engine borrowed from the Cadillac Escalade. The V-8 motor displaces 6.2-liters and provides an exceptional 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission is included regardless of whether all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive is selected. The Yukon Denali offers fuel mileage of 13 mpg around town and 18 mpg during highway cruising.
07: 2011 Cadillac DTS
The 2011 Cadillac DTS is the last of its breed, a full-size luxury car built in the American tradition. The Cadillac DTS offers a spacious interior (including the rare option of six-passenger seating), as well as a suspension design that isolates driver and passengers from the rougher aspects of the road. Standard on the DTS are items such as HID headlights and power leather seats, while the range-topping Platinum trim includes an adaptive suspension system and a range of active safety systems that work to protect vehicle occupants in a variety of different driving scenarios.
The 2011 Cadillac DTS is one of the few remaining vehicles in the Cadillac lineup to feature the venerable Northstar V-8 engine. The 4.6-liter unit comes in two flavors: 275 horses and 295 lb-ft of twist (in most models) or a 292 horsepower, 288 lb-ft version (Platinum trim). A four-speed automatic transmission harnesses that output, and the DTS posts fuel economy figures of 15 mpg city and 23 mpg on the highway.
08: 2011 Buick Regal
The 2011 Buick Regal is bar none the most engaging-to-drive model in the Buick’s stable. The mid-size Buick Regal sedan was designed to take on Europe’s top premium sporty four-doors, and it accomplishes this task with genuine flourish. In addition to its sleek styling, the Regal also offers a range of features that includes HID headlights, the Interactive Drive Control system, a navigation system and heated leather seats.
The 2011 Buick Regal comes with a 182 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine right out of the box. Also capable of generating 172 lb-ft of torque, this unit is paired with six-speed automatic gearbox and returns fuel mileage of 19 mpg in stop-and-go city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. The Regal can also be ordered with a more robust 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that offers 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, along with the choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto tranny. Fuel mileage for the quicker sedan comes in at 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
09: 2011 Cadillac SRX
The 2011 Cadillac SRX is aimed squarely at luxury-seeking mid-size crossover buyers. The five-passenger Cadillac SRX is roomy and well put together, with features such as a panoramic sunroof, heated leather memory seats, HID headlights, a navigation system and a Bose surround sound system all available as part of its package. Also in the cards: the availability of three zones of automatic climate control, ventilated seats and a DVD entertainment system for rear passengers.
The 2011 Cadillac SRX rolls off of the assembly line with one of two hearty engine options. The first is a 3.0-liter V-6 that is good for 265 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque, and the second is a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 that brings 300 ponies and 295 lb-ft of twist to the table. Each features a six-speed automatic transmission and the option of all-wheel drive. The non-turbo unit’s fuel economy edges out the performance motor by a few miles per gallon, checking in with 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
10: 2011 Buick Enclave
The 2011 Buick Enclave proves that luxury can come in a large package and still drive with the handling and confidence of a family sedan. The Buick Enclave comes with three rows of seating that can handle as many as eight occupants, and the crossover’s equipment list can be expanded to include a navigation system with a backup camera, a SkyScape sunroof (an enormous dual-pane unit) and of course cushy heated leather seats.
The 2011 Buick Enclave comes with enough might to tow up to 4,500 lbs, making it a very practical choice amongst its crossover brethren. The Enclave’s standard 3.6-liter V-6 provides 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, and its advanced six-speed automatic transmission helps the vehicle to achieve fuel mileage of 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. All-wheel drive is optional on the Enclave.