Subaru’s compact and capable Crosstrek received a pretty substantial update for the 2021 model year, but you probably won’t notice at a glance. The mid-cycle refresh leaves the exterior nearly unchanged, aside from a few styling tweaks and some wheel arch cladding for the new Sport trim seen here. Instead, the Crosstrek’s changes happen largely in the engine bay and on the list of standard and available driver-assistance technologies — and they all go a long way toward making Subaru’s compact crossover even more compelling than before.New 2.5-liter engineThe Crosstrek can now be optioned with a larger, more powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which it scavenges from its senpai, the Subaru Forester. In the lighter Crosstrek, the engine’s 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque feel a bit more responsive, but more importantly, the crossover is noticeably more sprightly than it was with the older, 2.0-liter engine — which is still available, by the way. Compared to the 2.0, the 2.5 is working with 30 extra hp and 31 more lb-ft of torque. That’s 20% more get-up-and-go.
Of course, Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is standard. The Crosstrek’s Lineartronic continuously variable transmission isn’t too bad when tooling around town and commuting, but it doesn’t do the Subaru any favors when asked to hustle, regardless of whether the SI-Drive powertrain mode selector is set to Intelligent or the slightly more aggressive Sport program.
The overall ride quality is good and most of the time the Crosstrek feels more like a hatchback than what most people might think of when they read “small SUV.” Over bumps, the Crosstrek is comfortable and its 8.7 inches of ground clearance lend a surprising amount of trail capability. That ride height becomes a bit of a liability if you get too ham-fisted with the steering, though, with plenty of body roll letting you know when it’s time to chill out.Interestingly, the 2.5-liter engine is nearly on par with the 2.0-liter boxer-four when it comes to fuel economy. Rated at 27 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined, the more potent powerplant only sacrifices a single mpg from the combined estimate compared to the smaller, less-powerful engine option.
In addition to styling changes, the Sport model also features a more robust X-Mode system.
Aside from the increased cost of stepping up to the new Sport or top tier Limited trim levels — which, in fairness, also include more standard features for the money — there’s really no tradeoff for going with the bigger engine. Then again, the 2.0-liter, with 152-hp and 145-lb-ft of torque, is still the only way to get the optional six-speed manual transmission, if that’s your jam. Sadly, the manual gearbox comes with a few hidden costs including stepping down to just 25 mpg combined and losing access to many of the Crosstrek’s driving aids.
The new Sport modelThe 2021 model year ushers in a new Crosstrek Sport trim with some interesting performance and amenity enhancements. Visually, the Sport has a more pronounced front bumper and wheel arch cladding, as well as a dark finish for the grille and exterior trim. The Sport’s 17-inch wheels are done up in a dark gray finish, too.Inside, you’ll find seats upholstered with water-repellent StarTex fabric and Sport-embroidered floor mats made of 25% recycled material. Bright yellow trim pieces and contrast stitching go nicely with the Sport’s exclusive Plasma Yellow Pearl paint, which I personally think is a fantastic hue. My girlfriend, however — who is normally a huge fan of the Crosstrek — thought it was a bit too much, calling it “vomit-y.” I suppose there’s no accounting for poor taste.Sport models come standard with the new 2.5-liter engine, but upgrade to a dual-function version of Subaru’s X-Mode terrain management system, adding Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud programs for the all-wheel-drive system and brake-based traction control. Other CVT-equipped models feature single-mode terrain management — basically, on or off. Hill-descent control adds a bit of surefootedness to steep grades and is part of the X-Mode tech whether or not you opt for the Sport.EyeSight, standard for most Crosstrek models, gains a new trick this year.
Safety techAlmost every Crosstrek (at least, every one with a CVT) comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance safety suite. This year, EyeSight gains adaptive cruise control that now includes lane-centering assist. The steering assist works well; it’s not as strong as some systems I’ve tested, but also not as intrusive, which lends to the Subie’s relaxed on-road demeanor. Meanwhile, pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning all carry over from last year.This Sport tester is equipped with an optional $1,600 package that adds blind-spot monitoring with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a power sunroof and upgraded dashboard tech. For the best driver-aid experience, step up to the Limited model where you’ll get high-beam assist and reverse automatic braking standard.I sort of expected the EyeSight upgrade to include Subaru’s DriverFocus attention-monitoring system, which watches the driver’s face and alerts them if they’re distracted or drowsy, but alas, it’s not included on the 2021 Crosstrek. For now, that system can only be found on Subaru’s larger Outback and Forester crossovers, as well as the Legacy sedan.Sport models feature yellow interior trim and matching contrast stitching.
Starlink infotainmentSubaru’s Starlink infotainment suite carries over mostly unchanged, here in its upgraded Multimedia Plus spec with an 8-inch touchscreen and TomTom-powered navigation software. It’s a decent setup with a nicely organized menu structure and responsive interface, but also nothing to write home about. That said, I honestly think I prefer this smaller, simpler system to the massive, vertical screen you’ll find in the new Legacy and Outback. The more petite option is just easier to wrap my head around. Besides, with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, I don’t think anyone who carries a modern phone will be left wanting for media streaming apps or excellent navigation software, even if they forgo the tech upgrade and stick with the Crosstrek’s standard 6.5-inch screen.The Crosstrek also features Subaru’s subscription-based Starlink telematics services. Starlink Safety Plus and Security Plus grant remote control and vehicle monitoring via a smartphone app, allowing drivers to lock/unlock the doors, remote start the Crosstrek with pre-set climate controls on cold or hot days and receive notifications when the car’s alarm is triggered. Collision notifications, emergency SOS assistance and roadside assistance are the sort of features you hope to never use, but will be glad to have when you do. Parents can take advantage of features like geofencing and excessive speed notifications — helpful when lending the Crosstrek to a younger driver. There’s also a Starlink Concierge Package that unlocks “in-vehicle assistance with restaurant and hotel reservations, purchasing tickets for sporting/theater events and scheduling service appointments,” according to Subaru. That sounds cool, but it’s also somewhat redundant to anyone with a functioning phone in their pocket.The 2021 changes only make the Crosstrek a more compelling option.
Pricing and availabilityThe 2021 Subaru Crosstrek remains a strong and practical choice for drivers looking for a good mix of light off-road capability and excellent on-pavement manners. With more standard features and more available power, you can expect a price increase, but not as much as you might think.Including a $1,050 destination charge, the starting price for the base 2021 Crosstrek is just $23,295 with the six-speed manual, which is just $100 more than last year. Go for the CVT and you’re looking at $24,645 — an increase of $140. Considering the CVT also comes with EyeSight safety tech and X-Mode terrain control, it’s probably the more realistic starting point for most drivers. The new Sport trim starts at $27,545 and Subaru doesn’t even charge extra for the fancy yellow paint. With the sunroof and tech upgrades, my example pictured here comes in at $29,145. Ever since its launch, the Crosstrek has carved out a nice little niche for itself and continues to compare favorably against other vehicles at this smaller end of the compact SUV space. The 2021 Crosstrek is hitting dealerships as you read this and it’s a more well-rounded choice than ever. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek
27 city / 34 hwy / 29 combined mpg
Max cargo capacity
55.3 cubic feet
2021 Ram 1500 TRX first drive review: Yep, we got it airborne – Roadshow
“Now as you come around to the ramps, you’ll want to be doing about 55, 60 miles per hour,” my co-driver shouts over the roar of the engine while rocks and dirt blast the pickup’s undercarriage. “That’ll get you the best height and distance for the jumps and set you up to start braking for…
“Now as you come around to the ramps, you’ll want to be doing about 55, 60 miles per hour,” my co-driver shouts over the roar of the engine while rocks and dirt blast the pickup’s undercarriage. “That’ll get you the best height and distance for the jumps and set you up to start braking for the next turn.”Yes, jumps. I’m behind the wheel of the 702-horsepower 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, one of the most extreme and overbuilt performance trucks Ram has ever produced. And as the wheels leave the ground and the cacophony is replaced with an eerie silence, I’m starting to understand just how insane this apex predator really is.
Heart of a HellcatRam’s engineers followed a familiar formula: Take a popular Fiat-Chrysler product and dump the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 from the Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats into the engine bay. Pat yourself on the back; you’ve earned a beer.
Of course, there’s so much more to it than that. In the Ram TRX, that engine breathes through a new dual-path induction system that mixes air drawn through its functional hood scoop and with intake from the grille at the underside of a massive 29-liter airbox. Ram tells me that this design helps to tumble the air inside the box, shaking out sand and water before it passes through twin 8×12-inch air filters. With a total of 198.4 square inches of filter surface area, Ram claims this is the “largest air filter in the segment.” The TRX also features a unique, high-flow exhaust with 5-inch resonators and exhaust tips.The changes to the Hemi’s breathing mean the TRX makes just 702 horsepower (as opposed to the Hellcats’ 717-plus) with 650 pound-feet of torque, which it sends though an eight-speed automatic transmission to a four-wheel-drive system. That’s more than enough power to launch the 6,350-pound TRX from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and onward to 100 mph in 10.5 seconds. The truck will even run the quarter-mile in just 12.9 ticks. The TRX launches quickly and powerfully, immediately finding traction, even on a dirt runway.
This wide boi is 8 inches wider than a standard Ram 1500.
Suspension upgradesIn many ways, the suspension and chassis upgrades to the Ram 1500 TRX are even more impressive than the powertrain because they’re so much more extensive. The TRX’s frame is based on that of a Ram 1500 Crew Cab, but is modified with over 70% new parts to improve strength and rigidity, and to completely change the truck’s suspension geometry. The pickup’s flared body is 8 inches wider than a standard Ram 1500, accommodating a 6-inch increase in both the front and rear tracks.
The TRX sits 2 inches taller than the standard 1500, boosting its ground clearance to 11.8 inches and its water fording depth to 32 inches. The front wheels are moved forward by 0.6 inch, increasing the wheelbase slightly and freeing up room for beefier suspension components and 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory all-terrain tires, mounted on 18×9-inch wheels (or optional beadlock-capable wheels of similar spec that allow ultra-low tire pressure for crawling).The TRX’s suspension and chassis upgrades are perhaps more exciting than the 700-horsepower engine.
You’ll find an independent suspension up front and a solid rear axle with coil springs and forged aluminum components all around. At all four corners, you’ll also find 2.5-inch Bilstein Black Hawk E2 adaptive dampers with remote reservoirs controlling the movement of the suspension. Up front, the TRX has 13 inches of wheel travel, with 14 inches of travel at the rear axle. (You can check our spec comparison to read — and watch — how the Ram 1500 TRX stacks up against the Ford F-150 Raptor.)On the roadOn paved roads, the TRX feels confident with, of course, great acceleration off the line and surprisingly smooth shifts from its eight-speed automatic transmission. The rumble of the V8 exhaust is ever present, but never annoying. The ride is still body-on-frame truck-like, but it’s no more floaty than the standard 1500, which already has pretty controlled ride.The TRX features a total of eight drive modes, plus a valet setting. Highway miles are best spent toggling between the default and nicely balanced Auto setting and Sport, which sharpens the steering, suspension, transmission and stability control. Ultimately, I found it best to create a Custom setting that blends the two. There are also modes for Snow, Mud/Sand, Towing, Rocks and Baja.From the 12-inch touch display, drivers can customize their TRX’s performance for a wide range of conditions.
You interact with the drive modes using a combination of physical controls and the standard 12-inch Uconnect 4C infotainment system. Ram says that this is the first implementation of its Performance Pages software with the big 12-incher, which also features menus for monitoring off-road metrics like wheel articulation, steering angle and axle locker status. Of course, the infotainment software still boasts all of the tech features that I like in the standard 1500, including SiriusXM 360L integration, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, Uconnect Apps and more. You’ll also find a ton of physical charging options for phones and tech, including a total of five USB-A ports and five USB-C ports split between the front and rear rows, as well as a wireless charging pad at the base of the dashboard.The pickup can also be had with a modern suite of driver-assistance technologies, including blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward pre-collision warning with brake assist and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist. Keep checking boxes to add a full-color head-up display and a rear camera mirror.Drive modes and 4WD settings can be quickly toggled with these controls. Notice that there are no 2WD modes.
Off-road performancePlaying around at Wild West Motorsports Park in Sparks, Nevada, I’m able to first test the Ram TRX’s crawling ability over a fairly steep rock hill climb overlooking the race course. Setting the drive mode to Rock, the transfer case to its 2.64:1 4WD Low range and locking the Dana 60 rear axle sets the truck up for high-torque, slow-speed climbing. With the aid of Ram’s spotters and the TRX’s generous approach (30.2), departure (23.5) and breakover (21.9) angles, the TRX makes short and relatively easy work of the climb.While waiting for my turn on the track, I’m able to explore the rocky grounds surrounding the course, testing the Selec-Speed Control — a sort of off-road cruise control inherited from the Jeep Wrangler — on another low-speed climb up a loose grade. The TRX’s dampers do a fantastic job of soaking up some huge bumps at speed, jostling me around in the deeply bolstered driver’s seat quite a bit, but still feeling nigh unstoppable over a two-track trail. In the airSetting the TRX’s drive mode to Baja lets the 4WD, gearbox, steering, and stability control systems know that it’s time for business. Meanwhile, Baja sets the suspension for maximum travel and control needed for high-speed dirt driving. I enter the course at the top of a huge hill. Then it’s a stomach-churning drop down to the front straight and immediately over a small hop. Then it’s into the whoops, a washboard series of bumps that test the Bilstein suspension and Ram’s Active Terrain Dynamics software, which can react every 20 milliseconds to keep the truck balanced and controlled.I was encouraged to really test the limits of the TRX’s advanced suspension.
After a sweeping left-hander (that I was encouraged to drift), it’s time for the big jump. Lining up for another downhill approach, I point the pickup at the dirt ramp and mat the accelerator, reaching the recommended 55-mph speed before taking to the air.The TRX absolutely flies, and lands with such grace that I wonder if Ram should have instead called this tyrannosaurus a pteranodon. Looking back at my photos, I estimate the big jump was a little over 60 feet (about three and a half truck lengths) from takeoff to landing, reaching a height of about 24 inches. All 13 inches of suspension travel are used when landing, the dampers allowing for full compression while progressively firming near the end of travel with up to one ton of damping force at each corner to prevent bottoming out.Wheels back on the ground, I let out a whoop of my own before getting hard on the 15-inch, four-wheel disc brakes for a sharp left-hander. Kicking up a big rooster tail, I snake my way back up the hill to do it all again… five more times.Ram’s Truckasaurus is not a practical choice, but it’s definitely a ton of fun.
Availability and pricingStarting at $71,690 (including a $1,695 destination charge), the Ram 1500 TRX is significantly more expensive than the $58,135 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew’s. Fully loaded, you’re looking at around $95K for the TR2 trim level with all the optional fixings. Plus, the T. rex’s 10 miles per gallon city and 14 mpg highway ratings are worse than the Raptor’s 15 city and 18 highway estimates, meaning you’ll also pay more at the pump.That said, the TRX is a bigger, more powerful predator than the Raptor with just over 250 more ponies at its beck and call. It’s also got a more advanced suspension, particularly at the rear axle where the Raptor’s still rocking leaf springs. (Rumor has it that Ford could strike back with V8 power and a coil spring setup of its own for the next-generation Raptor.)The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is not a practical truck, but it is quite possibly the most fun and most insane pickup you can buy today.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs. Fitbit Sense: Top smartwatches go head to head – CNET
The Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Sense are top smartwatches that can help keep an eye on your fitness levels and act as a phone alternative on your wrist. Both also have an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG — Apple uses ECG) app, track workouts, sleep and blood oxygen levels, but they’re different in the…
The Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Sense are top smartwatches that can help keep an eye on your fitness levels and act as a phone alternative on your wrist. Both also have an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG — Apple uses ECG) app, track workouts, sleep and blood oxygen levels, but they’re different in the way they go about doing these things. To help you decide which is right for you, I’ve compared them on everything from fitness tracking to battery life and overall performance. If you have an Android phone, the Fitbit is your only option, but both work with iOS devices, making the decision trickier if you have an iPhone. After two weeks of wearing these watches, I can tell you that there is no one-size-fits-all option. If you want the best overall smartwatch, with seamless fitness tracking and safety features, get the $399 (£379, AU$599) Apple Watch. If you want the most robust sleep tracking, temperature sensor and the best battery life, get the $329 (£299, AU$499) Fitbit Sense.
The latest Apple Watch has a robust set of fitness tracking features, an FDA-cleared ECG, blood oxygen tracking and all the responsiveness you could want from a smartwatch. It’s also the better option if you need built-in LTE to use your watch without your iPhone nearby.
Read the Apple Watch review.
The Fitbit Sense also offers an FDA-cleared ECG, strong sleep tracking, a temperature sensor and a stress tracking sensor. Unlike the Apple Watch, it also works with Android, has plenty of third-party watch faces to choose from, and offers the better battery life of the two watches.
Read the Fitbit Sense review.
Both are comfortable to wear, with familiar designsThe Series 6 looks like every other Apple Watch that has come before it, with a square face available in two sizes (either 40 or 44mm) plus a digital crown and side button. The Sense looks like a higher-end Versa and comes in just one 40mm size with a stainless steel rim around the square face, but instead of a physical button, it has an indentation on the side that vibrates when pressed and can be used to control the screen. While the Fitbit is physically larger than the 40mm Apple Watch, the actual screen size is only a hair bigger than the Apple Watch because of the bezels. The Apple Watch also has bezels around the screen, although they’re slimmer than those on the Sense. Each watch has a color, always-on screen that’s easy to see in broad daylight, although I found the Apple Watch takes the edge for overall brightness when glancing down at my wrist during an outdoor workout. The Sense has many more watch faces to choose from than the Apple Watch, including third-party ones. However, you can further customize some Apple Watch faces to include complications, which are similar to shortcuts: They can display information such as weather or calendar appointments at a glance. Both also have different colors and hardware finishes to choose from. Straps on both are easy to swap in and out with quick release buttons and you can change up the look with a wide variety of bands including leather, woven and silicone options.
Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET
Fitbit has added sensors, but you may not need them Each watch can scan for potential signs of a heart condition called atrial fibrillation or aFib with their ECG apps. Place your finger on the digital crown for 30 seconds on the Apple Watch, while you place your index and thumb on the opposite corners of the Fitbit Sense for the same amount of time to take a reading. You can share results from both with your doctor. See where the ECG is available around the world on the Apple Watch and on the Fitbit Sense. Each watch can also monitor for signs of high or low heart rate and notify you accordingly. ECG on the Fitbit Sense
Both can also track SpO2, or blood oxygen saturation, while you sleep. Check levels in the Health app on your iPhone for the Apple Watch, or wait for the Fitbit to calculate your nightly average on the SpO2 watch-face about an hour after waking up. It’s also displayed in the sleep section within the Fitbit app as a graph, but will only show variations throughout the night and not exact percentages. The Apple Watch also lets you take a spot check of SpO2 and takes background readings throughout the day — the Fitbit doesn’t have an on-demand reading. Neither one of these watches are intended to be used as medical devices and may not be as accurate as a traditional pulse oximeter which is what doctors use to measure SpO2. Fitbit’s watch has two additional sensors that the Apple Watch lacks: a temperature sensor that measures variations in skin temperature throughout the night, and an EDA or electrodermal activity sensor that uses sweat to determine stress levels. Changes in baseline temperature (like what’s monitored with the Sense) can indicate a number of different conditions like the onset of a fever or changes in menstrual cycle.
Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET
But as interesting as having all this data is, stress detection on the Sense in particular seems more like a work in progress than a fully fledged health feature at the moment. To take a measurement you first place your palm over the watch face for 2 minutes while the EDA sensor analyzes sweat levels. The watch then uses this metric, along with sleep, activity and heart rate variability data to calculate a stress score that can give you insight into how your body responds to stress. The problem is the Sense doesn’t give you any indication of what to do with a high or low stress management score, like getting more sleep or holding off on a strenuous workout. There are some guided meditations in the Fitbit app, but I’m not sure how effective they were at reducing my stress levels. The daily Stress Management Score from the Fitbit Sense
Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET
To access these guided meditations, as well as guided workouts, more nuanced health data sleep and temperature variations you will need to pay $10 a month for a Fitbit Premium account. Apple will soon roll out its $10 a month Fitness Plus service that offers workout classes to cast on your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV and sync directly to your Apple Watch. Both also offer native sleep tracking, but the Fitbit Sense has a lot more data about your sleep than the Apple Watch. Premium subscribers can get a breakdown of their sleep stages — like deep, REM and light — breathing rate, SpO2 and temperature variations culminating in a sleep score in the morning. The Apple Watch focuses more on establishing a healthy bedtime routine and mostly looks at duration of sleep which shows periods of awake time during the night as well as heart rate and SpO2 data.
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The Apple Watch also has a fall detection feature that can call emergency services and contacts if you remain motionless after a hard fall. It also has noise level alerts, irregular heart rate alerts, VO2 max measurements and mobility metrics. And it’s also the only one that you can potentially give to kids or elderly relatives to keep an eye on their daily health data with Family Setup. Great fitness trackers, but HR is more accurate on the Apple Watch Each watch has a range of different exercises that it can track, on top of general metrics like steps and calories. The Apple Watch has over 40 different workouts to choose from while Fitbit has over 20 available that cover all the main options. Both watches also automatically detect certain workouts including walks and runs, so you get credit for your effort even if you forget to start a workout manually. They’re also water-resistant, allowing them to track swims. Both have built-in GPS so you can track the route of your outdoor workouts without bringing your phone, but the Sense takes around 10 seconds to acquire a signal outdoors while the Apple Watch is within 1 to 2 seconds. I did a 4-kilometer outdoor run on both and the distance and route were pretty much the same when I compared the Sense and Apple Watch results on a map. The Sense can show you what heart rate zone you’re in and encourage you to push harder (or back off).
The Sense also shows you heart rate zones such as cardio, fat burn and peak, on the screen in real time. It can buzz as you enter different heart rate zones, which may be helpful if you’re trying to train at a particular intensity. However, when I compared the heart rate tracking on the Apple Watch and Sense for an outdoor run against a chest strap, the standard for this type of metric during workouts, I noticed the Apple Watch kept up while the Sense often lagged behind by about 20 to 30 beats per minute. After around 10 to 15 minutes, the Sense caught up to the strap’s readings. After your workout, the watches break down your metrics in either the iPhone Fitness app (Apple Watch), or the Fitbit app (Sense). I love how clearly the Fitbit app presents your workout data, including splits and heart rate zones. The Apple Watch only gives you your range, splits and heart rate on a graph rather than breaking it down into zones.
Apple Watch Series 6 or Fitbit Sense: Choosing the right…
The Apple Watch has more smart features While the Fitbit focuses on health tracking, the Apple Watch is the better package if you also want a designated smartwatch. You’ll get more third-party apps, much tighter integration with the iPhone and faster performance overall. On the Fitbit Sense, even minor tasks like changing watch faces or syncing apps can take 30 seconds or more to complete, whereas on the Apple Watch it’s almost instantaneous. Responding to notifications or text messages is easy on the Apple Watch: dictate, send a quick canned response, or scribble on the keyboard. You can also take calls from your wrist because the mic and speaker are decent quality. If you have an iPhone, the Sense won’t let you respond to notifications, but if you’re on Android you can either send a quick response or dictate a message. The same goes for phone calls — only Android users can make or answer calls from their wrist with the Sense as long as it’s in range of the phone.
The Apple Watch is the only one that has an LTE option for $100 more than the Wi-Fi only model (it costs $499 in the US) to take calls and stay connected without your phone nearby. Each has the option to use a voice assistant: Siri on the Apple Watch, or Alexa on the Fitbit Sense. Google Assistant support is coming at some stage on the Sense, although at the time of this review it hasn’t been activated on my watch. Put simply, Siri can do a lot more on the Apple Watch than Alexa on the Sense, like start a workout, send a text message or start a timer. Alexa is limited in what it can do, and it’s a lot slower, but it does let you control smart home devices if you have any. The Apple Watch also lets you control smart home devices with Siri. Finally, you can’t store your own music on the Fitbit Sense. Instead, you’re limited to downloading music for offline listening from Deezer or Pandora with a premium subscription. The Apple Watch on the other hand lets you store your own music (it has 32GB of storage) or download music from Apple Music for offline listening with a subscription. Battery life is a clear win for the Fitbit Sense With notifications from your phone, sleep tracking and the always-on display active, I was able to get a day and change out of the 40mm Apple Watch Series 6. You’ll need at least 30% battery remaining to track your sleep, so you’ll probably need to charge this watch every day to keep it topped up, unless you turn off the always-on display which can extend the battery life to almost two days.
The Fitbit Sense lasts two full days with notifications, always-on display and sleep tracking and can extend it to almost 5 full days by turning off the always-on display. Each watch charges with a proprietary magnetic puck that snaps on to the back. The Apple Watch charger is forwards and backwards-compatible with earlier Apple Watches, while the Fitbit Sense charger is designed specifically for the watch (so you can’t use earlier Fitbit chargers from the Versa, for example, with the Sense). Both charge to 100% in about an hour and a half. Which is the better smartwatch? The Apple Watch is the stronger overall smartwatch that blends fitness tracking with an ECG and SpO2 sensor, but only if you have an iPhone. The Fitbit Sense has a lot to offer for Android users, specifically if you want an ECG, robust sleep tracking and are intrigued by stress and temperature tracking.
Apple Watch Series 6The best all-round smartwatch
2021 Cadillac Escalade first drive review: American swagger – Roadshow
This is the Cadillac we’ve been waiting for. The Escalade has been transformed from merely ordinary into something truly outstanding. Sure, the brand’s recent crop of products has been OK, including the engaging CT4-V sedan and handsome XT6 crossover, but these vehicles still don’t quite hit the mark, let down by questionable powertrains and less-than-stellar interiors.…
This is the Cadillac we’ve been waiting for. The Escalade has been transformed from merely ordinary into something truly outstanding. Sure, the brand’s recent crop of products has been OK, including the engaging CT4-V sedan and handsome XT6 crossover, but these vehicles still don’t quite hit the mark, let down by questionable powertrains and less-than-stellar interiors. But none of this applies to the new Escalade. No, it’s not tuned to handle like a sport sedan, but it still drives well for something so large. This imposing SUV is extremely luxurious, yet it isn’t the least but stuffy or old-fashioned. It offers segment-leading technology that avoids being intimidating or difficult to use. In short, Cadillac has at long last delivered a true luxury contender. No if, ands or buts, this is a flagship model to be proud of.Caddy’s caveat-free machine has the goods to square off with rivals from Germany, Japan and America to compete on equal terms, though you may not realize it at first glance. The new Escalade’s exterior is certainly recognizable — and handsome — but overall, it’s fairly sedate and unexpectedly demure, even in supersized ESV form, the model seen here. Inside, though, it’s a completely different story.It seems General Motors’ designers must’ve blown most of their budget creating this Cadillac’s inner sanctum. Showing how much thought the company has put into this vehicle, it’s available in something like nine different interior trim combinations, with unique colors, wood finishes and leather perforation patterns depending on the model. Platinum versions, which sit at the pinnacle of the Escalade range, feature buttery-soft semi-aniline cowhides in all three rows and loads of standard equipment. Quality is a high point, too. Poke at various trim pieces or bezels and nothing feels cheap or frail, everything is nicely finished and solidly built. About the only thing I don’t like is the silly electronic shifter, which looks like an old, brick-style cell phone. Also, it remains to be seen how premium lower-trim interiors will be, but if this top-shelf model is any indication, they should be pretty majestic, too.
The 2021 Escalade’s comportment is praiseworthy. Like its sister SUVs from Chevrolet and GMC, the addition of an independent rear suspension has, among other things, dramatically improved ride comfort in the second and third rows of seats. Adult passengers should have little to complain about, even if they’re sitting in steerage.Chances are, the first thing you’ll notice about the 2021 Cadillac Escalade’s cockpit won’t be the stitching or door handles, it’s the screens. Sprawling across the dashboard are three individual OLED panels which measure more than 38 inches across. Subtly curved and beautifully integrated into the overall design rather than tacked-on like an afterthought, these seemingly overlapping displays provide perfect blacks, low glare and, according to Cadillac, the largest color range in the automotive business. Seriously, this unprecedented amount of screen real estate makes for super impressive standard equipment, and these displays are far from just eye candy. Like GM’s other recent infotainment systems, the one in this vehicle is superb, booting up quickly, responding immediately to inputs and never stuttering or lagging. Pinch-to-zoom on the navigation map, for instance, is as responsive as the smartphone in your pocket or purse. For added convenience, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a wireless device charging pocket on the center console.
Those OLED screens… are amazing!
Further satiating today’s tech-obsessed motorists, the new Escalade offers plenty of high-end goodies. Augmented-reality navigation is perhaps the coolest and it’s a feature that’s standard across the model range. When a route is active, the system overlays directional arrows on top of a video feed of where you’re driving, which is then piped to the center screen from a forward-facing camera. The closer you get to a turn, the larger and more animated the directional arrows get, making it nearly impossible to miss a navigational cue. This Cadillac can also be had with night vision. The latter isn’t particularly useful in most situations, but it can be handy for detecting animals or pedestrians in low-speed areas. Making this beast of an SUV just a little easier to park, the standard 360-degree camera system offers a dizzying array of different angles, which you can easily cycle through with just a few taps of your finger. The new Escalade can also be had with an awesome AKG sound system that makes even highly compressed music, like satellite radio, come alive around you, though it’d better be good considering it has no fewer than 36 speakers.
But what about Super Cruise, GM’s groundbreaking hands-free driving aid? Well, a newly enhanced version that can automatically change lanes will be offered on the Escalade before year’s end. Unfortunately, the model I’m testing here is not fitted with this headlining feature, though it does have regular adaptive cruise control, which is smoother and more responsive than some competing systems.Matching its primo interior, this Cadillac is also supremely quiet and smooth, even when ripping down the highway. On rare occasions, you can get a tiny, tiny bit of body-on-frame jiggle, but that’s really only on horrifying road surfaces. This vehicle’s steering is secure and its body remains firmly planted when navigating corners at speed. The available lane-keeping system seems ineffective, seemingly doing little to keep the Escalade on the straight and narrow.Augmented-reality navigation takes advantage of the Escalade’s forward-facing camera.
Wind, tire and powertrain noise are all quieter than gossip behind your back. Matching that refinement, this vehicle’s ride quality is superb, too. Top-shelf Platinum models come with magnetic dampers and adaptive air suspension, the fanciest of three different setups offered on the Escalade. This combo delivers a ride that is both supple and controlled, far better than the Yukon Denali I tested recently, which, strangely enough, had the same suspension arrangement.All of GM’s new, full-size SUVs are huge, but the extended-length models like the Chevy Suburban and this Escalade ESV are positively gargantuan. While turning corners, I’m constantly looking to make sure I don’t cut things too close or clip any wayward pedestrians. If you’re not careful, you could practically take out a whole elementary-school class and not even realize it. Of course, parking can be a chore, too, aggravated by the Cadillac’s tall hood and limited rearward visibility.This luxury barge is hauled around by a smooth and snarly 6.2-liter small-block V8 that delivers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. It makes this Caddy plenty potent, although I still slightly prefer how the Lincoln Navigator’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 performs, slightly. The latter has a huge load of torque right in the middle of its operating range, whereas this naturally aspirated V8 needs to rev a bit to really get going. Rectifying this, before the year is out, a 3.0-liter diesel inline-six will be available in the Escalade, delivering 460 lb-ft of twist from an estimated 1,500 rpm.Who doesn’t love a good V8 engine? A diesel will also be available in this Cadillac before the year is done.
No matter the engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission is standard fare and it’s very nicely calibrated. In testing, I have not experienced any shift harshness, annoying lags or other bad behavior, plus it’s responsive to drop gears when your right foot calls for a bit of extra speed. With four-wheel drive, the Escalade ESV stickers at 14 miles per gallon city, 19 highway and 16 mpg combined. In mixed driving, I’ve been averaging round 17.7, which isn’t that great, but at least it’s better than the EPA combined rating.When it’s time to slow things down, the Escalade’s brake pedal is a bit rubbery, but it’s easy to modulate and firm enough that it feels like you have generous stopping power in reserve. That’s important for a vehicle practically as heavy as the crawler that used to move the Space Shuttle around. Indeed, a four-wheel-drive Escalade ESV is no featherweight, clocking in at one full shopping bag shy of 6,000 pounds. Even so, this vehicle is still quite capable. My review unit’s maximum tow rating figures to be a stout 7,900 pounds, and when it comes to cargo hauling, the ESV is hard to beat. There’s 42.9 cubic feet of room in the way-back, but fold both the second- and third-row seats down and that figure balloons to 126.6 cubes, far more than you get in a Mercedes-Benz GLS or BMW X7; it’s even a good bit more generous than what the extended-length Navigator L provides, which maxes out at 120.2 cubic feet.It’s kind of like a big ol’ box on wheels.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV’s base price is suitably rich, kicking off at about $80,500 delivered. The regular-length model is $3,000 cheaper. As you can guess, in Sport Platinum trim with four-wheel drive, this unit is far, far pricier. Including about six grand in options and $1,295 for destination fees, my tester rings up for $112,965. A princely sum, indeed.But you know something? I’m not even mad about that. Thanks to its driving refinement, abundant yet easy-to-use tech and opulent interior, this price tag seems totally fair. The 2021 Escalade is the nicest, most thoughtfully crafted Cadillac to come along in years. It is truly a flagship-worthy vehicle.