New Model News

2021 Infiniti QX50 gets additional standard features, starts at $37,950

The 2021 Infiniti QX50 has received a few upgrades for the new model year.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Already in its third model year since its generational redesign, the 2021 Infiniti QX50 gets a number of upgrades including a roster of added standard equipment.

Infiniti will sell the model in five trim levels: Pure, Luxe, Essential, Sensory, and Autograph It has a starting MSRP of $37,750, a $500 price increase over the previous year's model.

For that price, buyers will now be getting rear seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags, automatic collision notification with emergency call, acoustic laminated front side glass, and a Wi-Fi hot spot as standard equipment. The two-row SUV will also be available with a new Mineral Black paint job.

2021 Infiniti QX50 The QX50 remains much the same on the exterior.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The 2021 QX50 Luxe is now available with an Appearance Package that includes elements from the Edition 30 including 20-inch black-painted wheels, black mirror caps, dark chrome accents, black grille mesh, and graphite headliner.

Additionally, the QX50 Essential gets traffic sign recognition technology while the QX50 Sensory now has direct adaptive steering as standard. The QX50 Autograph gets a standard tow package.

Previously, Infiniti charged extra for the Climate Package on the QX50 Sensory. For 2021, that equipment is added as complementary.

The SUV continues to be powered by the company's 2.0-liter VC-Turbo power plant that delivers 268 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive models achieve 25 mpg combined while all-wheel drive QX50s get 25 mpg combined.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the QX50 and all-wheel drive is available. Drivers can choose to operate their model in either Standard, Eco, Sport, or Personal drive model. Steering can be tailored Using Default, Dynamic, or Dynamic+ modes.

2021 Infiniti QX50 The car's cabin features plush accomodations that befit its price tag.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti will also continue to offer all models, except the base Pure grade, with standard ProPilot Assist safety and driver assistance technology. That includes direct adaptive steering and adaptive cruise control technologies.

Active noise cancellation and active sound enhancement technology give the QX50 one of the quietest cabins in its class.

The 2021 Infiniti QX50 is on sale now.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Cadillac Escalade is one of the most luxurious SUVs you can buy.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac has given the 2021 Escalade the tagline "Never stop arriving" which seems apropos for a full-size SUV that shows up in nearly every way. Having undergone a complete redesign, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade finds itself securely at the top of the company's lineup showcasing the high-tech features and plush accommodations buyers are looking for.

The three-row SUV is built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and the GMC Yukon at the General Motors Arlington Assembly plant outside of Dallas. The platform is ridged and good, allowing the Escalade and its brethren to take on corners at speed without fear of coffee spilling.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury The Escalade continues to have a commanding presence on the street.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

That also means that it's big. Huge, in fact. But, the Escalade isn't so big it's unmanageable. Sure, you'll need a stepladder to see below the hood. But, how many Escalade owners are doing their own maintenance these days? Camera views help tremendously, as does safety technology.

As tested in the Premium Luxury trim, the two-wheel drive Escalade was powered by Cadillac's standard 6.2-liter V8 that's paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, a fresh addition to GM's offering list. The power plant delivers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, just as it is in the SUV's full-size GM stablemates, and has the same SAE-certified horsepower and torque top-out points. It's a competent power plant but it works better in the Yukon Denali.

Why?

That's the big question. The two SUVs are nearly the same weight – pushing 5,800 pounds – and were similarly equipped underneath, as tested. Yet, the Escalade drove like it had a 1,000 pound-boulder strapped into the second row. It didn't feel as agile or swift as the Yukon, but also didn't give the feeling like you're towing when you're not.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury The Escalade's imposing body style is not so large that it proves unmanageable. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The Escalade was test driven back-to-back-to-back with other vehicles in its segment, the Yukon and the Ford Expedition, and it proved to be, hands down, the least maneuverable. Those poor limousine service drivers in L.A. are not going to enjoy working their way up, and then back down the snaked driveways of the Hollywood elite in this Cadillac.

However, once they get on the road and are able to sit back and relax a touch with their clientele all buckled up, they're going to enjoy the drive. The tester wasn't equipped with GM's Super Cruise, which is a hands-free driver assist technology, but the addition would be a welcome one as the lane keep assist isn't as proactive as other systems from other automakers, and the massive Caddy requires a driver's full attention to stay in the lane.

The 2021 Escalade's massive standard 38-inch OLED screen display area is the highlight of the interior and likely the biggest talking point of the vehicle. Its layout is sensical, proves to not be distracting while driving, and supplies just the right amount of information without going overkill on moving graphics.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury The OLED display darkens to deep black at night, giving your drivers' eyes a rest.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The best part of the tech, which is actually made up of three separate screens under the same thin housing, is that it quickly and smoothly goes to near-black, giving drivers the least amount of distraction possible while on the road at night. Its resolution is twice the pixel density of a 4K television.

Though a minor issue, the screen's design does not allow for turn signal indicators to be easily seen as they are positioned directly behind the steering wheel rim. With the indicator's generally soft tone, it's easy to miss when an indicator remains on when exiting a roundabout or merging into traffic.

Surrounding the Escalade's screen are a variety of appointments, some of which feel and look luxurious while others do not. These are, however, typical General Motors product quibbles. The synthetic materials on the dashboard, and thin leather door inserts are not as luxe as what you'll find in SUVs made by Cadillac's rivals. Not that anyone will notice them for long with the OLED elephant in the room.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury The layout of the OLED display is easy to understand and read on-the-fly. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Seats in the Escalade are comfortable, providing ample room. No matter the row, the upholstery is well-executed and the ride is sublime as the suspension easily soaks up the road's imperfections. It's a vehicle the aforementioned elite won't mind being seen in and will look forward to riding in.

Along with its comfortable seats and enough legroom in all three rows for adults, one of the best parts of the Escalade is its sound system. It's the first vehicle with an AKG system (offered with either 19 (standard) or 36 speakers), and it pairs the system with an already-quiet cabin. The sound is all-encompassing for front row occupants and musical elements are separated, coming at you like you're at a concert, rather than listening to a glossed-over recorded session. Turning it up, the quality of the sound is not lost. D-E-lightful.

Individual technology elements of the Escalade are why buyers should choose it over the Yukon and the Lincoln Navigator. The OLED display, Super Cruise, and AKG sound system make the Cadillac a step up from its competition even though its drive feels like a step down.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Premium Luxury Cadillac has made the seats of the Escalade comfortable and appointed them well. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The Cadillac Escalade is pricey. As tested it was well over $85,000, and that's just a mid-grade model. The Escalade faces stiff competition from the Yukon Denali, which comes in at least $15,000 cheaper and delivers a better drive experience. The similarly priced Navigator is also an elegant option that's sure to be upgraded with Ford's hands-free driving technology in the not-too-distant future.

There may be a sleeper competitor on the horizon. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is set to debut soon and will likely rival the Escalade with its sound system and elegant design, and come with a similar price tag.

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Electric vehicles owners in Virginia and Florida will be able to partake in a new, simplified charging scheme.

Photo by Jae Young Ju/Getty Images

Florida and Virginia have joined a growing list of states allowing Electrify America customers to pay by the amount of energy they use to charge their vehicles, similar to the way that Citgo customers pay for gasoline by the gallon. Those two states have been added to Electrify America's new kilowatt-hour (kWh) pricing plan.

The updated pricing structure was established in September 2020 and allows for more transparency with Electrify America customers. It is now available in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Electrify America charging station Electrify America is in the process of adding charging stations across the U.S. Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto

"Electrify America has listened to feedback from electric vehicle owners, potential customers, and longtime industry advocates. As a result we have developed a new pricing structure that is fair, consistent, and recognizes the increasing customer demand for kilowatt-hour pricing," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. "With the new pricing, we deliver a simplified charging experience that shows new and existing customers how easy it is to own an EV."

Florida and Virginia are growing in terms of the electric vehicle charging stations. EV drivers have access to 20 Electrify America charging stations with 96 individual fast chargers in Virginia, and 24 charging stations with 110 individual fast chargers in Florida.

Rates for charging start at $0.31 per kilowatt-hour. Complete pricing information is available at ElectrifyAmerica.com/pricing and on the Electrify America mobile app, which makes charging with the network even easier.

In states where the company operates that aren't in on kWh pricing, Electrify America will continue to offer pricing on a per-minute basis with customers billed for the time spent charging. There are two power levels starting at as low as $0.12 per minute.

Electrify America is committed to expanding its public network of ultra-fast EV chargers. They are planning to either have installed or be in the process of installing 800 total charging stations with approximately 3,500 chargers by December 2021.

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