Cadillac reveals all-new 2015 Escalade in New York City

Cadillac revealed the 2015 Escalade last night with a stylish and festive party in New York City. I was on hand to check out the new luxury SUV as it was introduced by Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of Global Cadillac, along with Ed Welburn, vice president of design for GM. This fourth generation vehicle is immediately recognizable as as Escalade but the improvements are quickly apparent as well, particularly the new headlamps and taillamps. Cadillac is emphasizing the craftsmanship that goes into the luxury accents of the Escalade as they highlighted some of the people behind the vehicle with beautiful photography by Autumn de Wilde. Sitting in the Escalade one certainly notices the comfortable and luxurious interior that buyer will expect.

With the emphasis on luxury craftsmanship and technology, the 2015 Escalade is loaded with features that will draw in consumers in the luxury SUV segment:

- The new Escalade interior features cut-and-sewn and wrapped materials along with real wood trim options. The use of premium materials is immediately recognizable when you sit in the vehicle. The new seats are also very comfortable.

- The new LED lighting jumps out as the most distinctive part of the exterior design evolution with Cadillac’s vertical light signature. The headlamps consist of four vertically stacked crystal lenses and LEDs. Coupled with the large and chiseled front grille the Escalade retains its very distinctive look with these upgrades. The rear of the Escalade is now even more distinctive with tall, thin vertical LED taillamps that reach to the top of the vehicle and feature the brand’s wreath-and-crest insignia which illuminates in the dark.

- I’m a big fan of Cadillac’s CUE system for navigation, media and other internal controls and it will be standard in the Escalade. I like how CUE uses proximity sensors to activate common options and controls as your hand approaches the screen. The new CUE also offers an expanded “favorites” section that provides quick access to station presets, favorite phone contacts and navigation destinations all in one convenient spot.

- Cadillac claims the new interior will be “dramatically quieter” due to a stronger new body structure, new and enhanced acoustic material, and Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology.

- The Escalade is Offered with 2WD and 4WD drivetrains and features a new 6.2L V-8 engine rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque – a nearly 5-percent increase in horsepower and 10 percent more torque.

- Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension system is now a standard feature.

- The front seating area offers more than 1.5 inches more headroom and more than four inches of additional legroom compared to previous models while the 2nd and 3rd-row seats fold flat.

I’m looking forward to driving the new Escalade to fully experience the new features. The updated design and luxury features will definitely generate more attention for this iconic nameplate.

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Car Review: 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD

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Among the full-size SUV crowd, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better looking entry than the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD with its top to bottom inspired design. After spending a week driving the QX56, you’ll realize just how much luxury can be squeezed into a condo on wheels.

EXTERIOR

The exterior of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD is simply stunning, as the folks at Infiniti have put together the complete package with this high-end machine. The Infiniti QX is designed to attract and hold viewers’ attention, conveying its underlying sense of power and strength. The bold, front chrome grille is flanked by automatic on/off bi-functional xenon headlights with windshield wiper interlock and integrated front fog lights. Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights and headlight washers add to the list of options.

Other exterior features include LED taillights, heated and power-folding sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals, courtesy lights and reverse tilt-down feature, body color running boards, body color integrated front and rear splashguards built into the wheel arches, roof rails, a power-sliding tinted glass moonroof and a power rear liftgate. A front underbody spoiler, functional rear liftgate spoiler and redesigned side mirrors help provide aerodynamics of 0.36 Cd and zero lift. The QX’s strong presence is accented by the powerful wheel and tire combinations, including 22-inch, 9-spoke forged aluminum-alloy wheels with 275/50R22 all-season tires that demand respect.

INTERIOR

I have friends who spent big bucks on designing their homes or condos that can’t touch the luxurious feel of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD! The QX’s world-class inner sanctum offers a comfortable space and personal controls for every occupant. It features standard 7-passenger seating capacity, with 8-passenger capacity available with the second row 60/40-split folding bench seat. Leather-appointed seating is standard for all three rows. Even more luxurious semi-aniline leather seating surfaces in our Deluxe Touring Package with new third row perforation and stitching added for 2013 to match the front two rows. The driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable, including 2-way power lumbar support. It features a standard dual occupant memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors. The front passenger’s seat is 8-way power adjustable, including 2-way power lumbar support. Heated front seats are standard, with climate-controlled (heating and cooling functions) front seats and heated second row seats, and the second row captain’s chairs offer a tip-up function for easy third row entry/exit. Also standard is a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel which drivers will truly appreciate in colder months, and a 16.6 cubic foot cargo space for luggage is provided with the third row seat up. When the third row seat is folded, the flat load floor offers a wide versatile space for carrying cargo and recreational gear.

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Car Review: 2013 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT

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There aren’t a whole lot of luxury SUVs that can compare in looks to the 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport, and after driving one for a week, the rest of the vehicle is also enviable to competitors. The RX 350 F SPORT features an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, F SPORT-tuned suspension, unique sport front bumper and mesh grille, 19-inch split five-spoke wheels in a Dark Graphite finish, and exclusive interior enhancements in a way that only Lexus could deliver!

EXTERIOR

The new distinctive and contemporary front of the RX F SPORT is highlighted with Lexus’ signature spindle grille and a bolder sport bumper, featuring an F SPORT exclusive mesh design. The upper edge of the grille is set lower than the upper edge of the headlamp assembly to establish a more aggressive look. The standard LED daytime running lights and combination rear lamps reflect the “L” design motif. Fog lamps are integrated into the sculpted lower front bumper fascia.

Pronounced front fenders flow into the doors, and integrated rear fender flares neatly sweep around to pull together the taut rear corners of the vehicle. The lower body emphasizes the standard 19-inch wheels. Distinctive F SPORT exterior badging adorns the sporty exterior. Together, these improvements mark a serious improvement from past models, as the RX 350 becomes the vehicle it was intended to be from the start. The new emphasis on design from the folks at Lexus is really paying dividends with the RX 350 F Sport.

INTERIOR

The cabin of the 2013 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT is nothing short of amazing in the quality of the materials, overall luxury feel and high-end technology features. The buttons and knobs are elevated from other luxury SUVs and the leather surfaces are extraordinary comfortable. The RX F SPORT features a unique interior design treatment with perforated black leather-trimmed seats with white perforation holes. White contrast stitching accentuates the seats, center console and door armrests. A new Ebony Bird’s Eye Maple trim adds a touch of sporty elegance. A black headliner, a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel showcasing the “F” logo, and aluminum pedals complete the interior enhancements.

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