The Friday Five:The 2020 Road Trip, Even Safer Subaru, and GM-Honda Get Betrothed Edition

Beverly Braga | Sep 04, 2020

This week, Jeep debuted a plug-in hybrid Wrangler and a luxurious new Grand Wagoneer SUV, Mercedes-Benz re-set the bar for what makes a luxury car, and Honda announced a new Limited Edition of its Civic Type R. We’ve also released an ultimate guide to new vehicles in 2021, giving you an overview of everything you need to know about brand-new, redesigned, and significantly updated models for the coming year.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Chevrolet Poll Confirms That 2020 is the Year of the Road Trip - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

To no one’s surprise, 2020 has sparked a lot of nostalgia. Thanks to pandemic-inspired quarantines, social distancing, and travel restrictions, many Americans longed for the good ol’ days of just getting out of the house. So, in what is likely the least shocking poll result of the year, a Chevrolet-Harris Poll survey found 89 percent of respondents said their vehicles afforded them a safe and much-needed respite from the stay-at-home-all-day life. 

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 Towing Trailer

For those who opted to take a road trip, 80 percent said it was “one of their happiest moments” since March. Many experienced a list of firsts as well: 20 percent were new national park visitors; more than 10 percent were camping newbies; and 41 percent explored a new-to-them destination. Participants also acknowledged a newfound appreciation for the great outdoors (43 percent) and domestic travel as a whole (38 percent). 

When specifically asked about their vehicles, 56 percent said it had become “part of the family.” But 53 percent did admit they wished for more cargo room while traveling, which could likely mean North America will be an SUV-dominated market more than ever.

2021 Infiniti QX80 Changes Add New Tech, Features, Price - Find the best Infiniti deals!

Speaking of having more cargo room, the big 2021 Infiniti QX80 offers more style, technology, amenities, and trim levels. 

Previously offered in Luxe and Premium models, the 2021 Infiniti QX80 adds a new top-of-the-line Sensory version. The QX80 Sensory does its best to appeal to one’s, uh, senses with quilted leather seats, wood trim accents, and a tricot fabric headliner on the inside with 22-inch alloy wheels and chrome mirror caps on the outside. The underbelly includes the Hydraulic Body Motion Control System as standard equipment for added smoothness and stability during the drive.

Infiniti is now calling the mid-level Premium the Premium Select and it features a more subdued tone with dark chrome and black exterior accents to the grille, fender vents, mirrors, rear tailgate, and 22-inch alloy wheels. The Luxe model remains the entry-level QX80.

For 2021, all QX80 models come standard with a wider 9.6-inch Smart Review Mirror display, which can alternate between a standard mirror and LCD monitor for a high-definition increased field of view. Also standard are more driver-assistance technologies, including blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

The starting price for the new QX80 does jump $2,300 to $70,445 (including destination). However, a fully-loaded Infiniti QX80 Sensory starts out at $81,595, which is $11,250 less than the previous model equipped with the most expensive option package. 

2021 Lexus RC Black Line Announced - Find the best Lexus deals!

Last week, Lexus announced updates for the 2021 RX crossover. This week we have info on the 2021 RC sports coupe. Although a carryover year for this first-generation model, the 2021 Lexus RC does receive a couple of added perks, including a new trim level.

The Lexus RC is the latest vehicle in the lineup to offer a Black Line Special Edition model. Available on RC 300 and 350 variants, the Black Line treatment is based on the F Sport trim and features standard LED headlights, black chrome 19-inch F Sport wheels, darkened exhaust tips, and your choice of Ultra White and the all-new Cloudburst Gray paint. Ash wood trim accents and black synthetic leather upholstery with contrast stitching grace the interior while a custom luggage set courtesy of Zero Halliburton completes the luxury package.

For the entire RC model line, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and heated exterior mirrors are now standard. Also new for 2021 is a Grecian Water exterior color.

2021 Subaru Impreza Safety Tech Standard with CVT  - Find the best Subaru deals!

For 2021, the Subaru Impreza receives minimal updates, which also is reflected in its minimal price increase of $100 for the base model ($18,795 not including destination fee).

New for the model year is the company’s EyeSight driver assistance and collision avoidance technology as standard equipment on all CVT-equipped vehicles. This means the base sedan and 5-door as well as the Sport 5-door do not have EyeSight unless you option them with the CVT (a 5-speed manual gearbox is standard for these models). All other examples of this Subaru receive the driver-assist tech at no extra cost.

For mid-tier Premium models, SI-Drive is now standard. This vehicle management system offers two selectable drive modes, allowing drivers to adjust engine performance, control, and efficiency based on their preference or driving conditions.

GM, Honda Put in Writing Plans to Create New Auto Alliance

Mazel tov! Things are getting serious between General Motors and Honda. After announcing an electric vehicle partnership in April, two of the world’s largest automakers signed a non-binding agreement this week toward establishing a North American alliance. The automotive partnership would be managed via a joint committee made of up each company’s senior management.

Although the aforementioned EV project is slated to produce two Honda-branded vehicles, this newly proposed partnership is much wider in scope. The two would share vehicle platforms and co-develop both all-electric and internal combustion-engine models through sharing of R&D, engineering, and technology advancements as well as working toward reducing collective production and manufacturing costs. 

As if Honda EVs by GM weren’t interesting enough, we’re all ears as to what other offspring this union brings.

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