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Next-gen 2021 Ford F-150 introduced with hybrid power, thoughtful in-cabin innovation

The 14th-generation Ford F-150 has been introduced.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has revealed the 14th-generation F-150. The next chapter of the F-Series story is designed to take capability and comfort to new heights in the 2021 Ford F-150.

"Since 1948, our hardworking F-Series customers have trusted Ford to help them get the job done," said Jim Farley, Ford's chief operating officer. "F-150 is our flagship, it's 100 percent assembled in America, and we hold ourselves to the highest standard to make sure our customers can get the job done and continue to make a difference in their communities."

2021 Ford F-150 The model comes with a host of new wheel options.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The truck is built on a new high-strength steel frame that resides under the high-strength aluminum body. At the front of the truck is an updated version of the Ford F-Series grille that, in some trim levels, has heritage-like leanings with a center section that calls back to 1940s era models. Eleven grille options are available.

There is a fresh LED light signature at the front that faces a body that features a domed hood and wraparound bumpers. The model rides on larger diameter wheels and tires than the previous generation. Unique tailgate appliqués are available.

The truck's available full-length power running boards run nearly from wheel to wheel.

Ford is targeting the most towing, payload, torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup. Part of that is its six-engine lineup, which includes a new hybrid 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that's paired with a 35-kilowatt battery. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Read more about engine and transmission specs here.

2021 Ford F-150 Ford has made the truck ready for the job site.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A variety of drive modes are available, which, when chosen, transform the driver information display to match the spirit of the model. A 12-inch fully digital driver's information display is available. A four-inch productivity screen is standard.

Among that the innovations in the model is an available Pro Power Onboard generator that is integrated into the truck body and available in a variety of power options. The most powerful of which is able to provide the same charging capacity as a Level 2 electric vehicle charger.

The interior is full of thoughtful innovations like a storable flat work surface, storable shifter, available 12.0-inch infotainment touch screen, soil-resistant seat upholstery, and more.

The front seats in the King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models feature early 180 degrees of recline ability and are called Max Recline Seats.

2021 Ford F-150 There is a flat load floor behind the front seats.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Under the rear seats is a fold-flat storage area that runs the width of the rear.

The truck's technology allows for bumper-to-bumper over-the-air updates. According to Ford, most of these updates can be completed in user two minutes.

Ford has given the truck its SYC 4 infotainment system. The system is twice as fast as SYNC 3 and features a number of new features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can now be accessed wirelessly. Apps including Waze and Ford+Alexa continue to be available.

Customers can access more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content, live channels, ad-free music, sports, entertainment, news and personalized recommendations, and they can search for related content with available SiriusXM with 360L satellite and streaming service.

The new eight-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen is available starting on F-150 XLT, while the optional 18-speaker B&O Unleashed system with speakers in the headliner and front headrests is available on F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, and standard on Limited.

2021 Ford F-150 The seats features nearly 180-degree recline-ability.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A number of innovations are in the bed and on the tailgate. You can read more about those here.

Zone lightning allows drivers to choose which exterior lights are illuminated while the model is parked.

Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist are available. Find out more here.

The truck comes with the latest iteration of Ford Co-Pilot360, which includes a number of features including pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. There are also 10 new driver assist features including Active Driver Assist, Ford's new hands-free driving system that was introduced last week in a preview of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. It will have late availability and be available via an over-the-air update.

The Ford F-150 will go on sale this autumn. It is assembled at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.

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The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept shows of the possible future of a V8 under the hood of a Jeep.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept model shows that the production model of a V8-powered Wrangler (and possibly Gladiator) is likely on the way - and that's straight from the people in the know at FCA.

Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts have been asking us for a Wrangler -8 and our new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept proves that we have the ability to make that happen," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "From the recently introduced 29-mpg Wrangler EcoDiesel to our award-winning Jeep Gladiator, and the upcoming Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Jeep is clearly listening to its customers. We are anxious to gauge their reaction to this new Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept, a vehicle that delivers an incredible and unmatched level of fun-to-drive performance and capability, on- and off-road."

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept The model is pretty standard for a modern Wrangler Rubicon - on the outside.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's been a hot minute since there was a V8 under the hood of a Jeep. The last model to wear its power proudly was the 1981 Jeep CJ, which had a 5.0-liter V8 that delivered 125 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept is powered by a 6.4-liter (392-cubic-inch) HEMI V8 that delivers 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That power gives the concept a zero to 60 mph time of less than five seconds.

Its engine is paired with a more robust version of the traditional eight-speed automatic, something that the HEMI in the Charger Scat Pack gets as well.

The parts roster includes Rubicon rock rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan. It also comes with Dana 44 axles, Selec-Track full-time two-speed transfer case (3.73 gear ratio), and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle locking differentials. The SUV rides on custom 17-inch deadlock wheels that are wrapped in 37-inch mud-terrain tires.

The suspension of the typical Wrangler JL has been upgraded to include new aluminum, monotube Fox shocks, and two-mode exhaust, which is adjustable at the touch of a button.

The company has installed a factory Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit from Mopar.

All that equipment gives the model some impressive numbers. It has a water fording capability of 34 inches, 13.25 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 51.6 degrees, a breaker angle of 29.5 degrees, and a departure angle of 40.1 degrees. It's Trail Rated.

Jeep has given the concept a Granite Crystal paint job, bronze-colored tow hooks, badging, springs, shocks, and wheels. There's a heavy-duty raised hood, custom half doors, and Wrangler's Sky One-touch powertop.

The concepts interior features a Red Rock-colored leather bolstered seats with gold stitching, along with a performance steering wheel.

When will you see the production version of the V8? These things take time, but remember, the auto show circuit looks to pick up in earnest early next year, and we have the Wrangler 4xe to see first.

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Thought the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross just debuted in Thailand, it could be slated to come to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Let's face it, the Toyota CH-R was never really supposed to be a Toyota. The model, destined to be a Scion, had its life's direction altered when Scion closed up shop and parent company Toyota merged select members of its lineup with the Toyota line. For the last three years, the model has been doing its damnedest to escape the Scion mold, but hasn't. It remains the odd duck in the stable, not delivering the high-quality interior, good handling, and capability that earns the brand sufficient praise.

Enter: the Toyota Corolla Cross. Though its name doesn't quite invoke the feelings, of "Why? Whhhhhhyyyy?" that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross moniker does, the Corolla Cross name is clearly a strategic move meant to capitalize on the one already worn by one of the best-selling cars of all time.

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Marketed as "Corolla Meets SUV", the Corolla Cross looks like it executes at every level. It rides on the same TNGA platform as the Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, C-HR, and Corolla, and the Lexus UX. That architecture make the slightly longer and taller Corolla Cross spacious with class-leading cargo room for its class.

Though the model is undoubtedly going to be modified a smidge if it comes to America, Toyota has outlined its highlights as part of its launch in Thailand.

The Corolla Cross makes much of its looks from the RAV4, but it's a copy. It's a natural progression of the design language, the same way the Highlander is. Toyota notes that this design allows for an "impressive rearview".

A new torsion-beam suspension delivers a cushioned ride. Toyota notes that the Corolla Cross is easy to maneuver and has a tight turning circle.

Toyota is selling the front-wheel drive model with a traditional gasoline-powered engine setup and as a hybrid. These variants are similar to the Corolla and Lexus UX in the States.

The gasoline-powered model has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 140 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid model returns 122 total system horsepower. Both engines are paired with a CVT.

The interior has good headroom and wide door openings. These are similar characteristics to the modern Corolla.

Toyota has already trademarked the Corolla Cross name for the U.S. according to Car & Driver. The model, which would fill a slot in Toyota product plans that were leaked earlier this year, may be the vehicle set to be made at the end joint Mazda-Toyota plant that is under construction in Alabama. It would fill the gap between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup, and compete directly with the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona.

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