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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 appliqu├ęs 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 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is an off-road ready family hauler.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Pathfinder is the company's three-row crossover, sitting below the Armada and above the Rogue in the company's lineup. It's a rival to the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot. Check out the Nissan's most compelling features by scrolling down.

Every Pathfinder comes loaded with safety technology.

The Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety and driver assist technology comes standard on the Rogue. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, land departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking.

Additionally, the company's Intelligent Driver Alertness and Rear Door Alert technologies are standard.

ProPilot Assist takes the wheel.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's ProPilot Assist technology doesn't allow for hands-free driving and it's not self-driving, but it does fuse together many functionalities that make daily drive functions easier, especially when your children are doing their best to distract you.

ProPILOT Assist combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to help control acceleration. It can be used in heavy traffic and on open highways.

For 2021, ProPilot Assist has been enhanced. It has next-generation radar and camera technology that is designed to allow for smoother braking, better steering assist, and improved detection performance when vehicles cut into the lane.

There's a removable second-row center console.

Between the second-row captain's chairs in the seven-passenger Pathfinder, there's a thin center console (enough storage space for two cupholders and some small items) that is removable without using any tools. Removing this console allows for easier access in/out of the third-row for small children and adults. With the console in place, the seats can still be tipped and moved forward for quick ingress/egress to/from the third row.

The second row is spacious.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Sitting in the second-row captain's chairs is very much like sitting in those that you'd find in a full-size SUV. Adults will find that hip-room is plenty big enough while children will relish the opportunity to feel like they're being treated to upscale accommodations.

Three people fit across the back seat.

Second-row captain's chairs are being offered for the first time on Pathfinder with this new model. Nissan has added rear seating flexibility with the ability to fit three across the back seat. While three adults are a tight fit in the third row, children, tweens, and some teens that don't have long legs won't likely have a problem with it.

Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has made the Rogue available with all-wheel drive. Those models also get five drive modes: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The modes are engaged using the drive-mode selector mounted on the center console. The all-wheel drive system uses new technology that is designed to respond quicker when slippage is detected.

It has a 6,000-pound towing capability.

Nissan boasts that the 2022 Pathfinder has best-in-lass available 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity. That's enough to allow boats, ATVs, camp tents, or trailers to be connected out back. Trailer Sway Control is standard on the Pathfinder and allows for more towing confidence, especially when winds pick up.

Moving the second-row seat is as easy as the push of one button.

Nissan has equipped the second-row bench seat in the Pathfinder with EZ-Flex one-touch mechanics. It takes just one press of a button to activate fold and slide functionalities for the second-row seats. The button can be reached from both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle for ease.

The cargo area is plenty spacious.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America


Behind the SUV's third-row seats Pathfinder can fit a 120-quart cooler or four golf bags - all with the third row full of occupants. The interior can also accommodate 4x8-foot plywood sheets.

The ride is sublimely quiet.

Nissan has equipped the Pathfinder with acoustic laminated front glass, thicker second-row glass, increased door and floor isolation, and a 60-percent increase in engine noise absorption materials. The result is a vehicle that provides a quieter ride, meaning less likelihood parents will have to should to be heard by third-row passengers.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a lot to like for families looking to save on fuel.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The redesigned Kia Sorento looks good. Kia has given the three-row SUV new life, not as a substitute for the Telluride SUV but instead as its own crossover, with plenty of differences to give them their own identity.

The 2021 Sorento comes in two variants, the Sorento and Sorento Hybrid. Each is offered in its own set of trim levels. The Sorento base model is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that delivers 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Higher grades get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Sorento Hybrid comes in two trim leaves, S and EX. Both are powered by the company's turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain that offers up 177 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV prioritizes fuel efficiency over performance, an important distinction that sets the Sorento Hybrid apart from other hybrid variants, including the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid that delivers an energetic boost to the RAV4 lineup.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The Sorento Hybrid is the type of vehicle that can get you to a trailhead, but isn't built to go beyond that.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The power output is fine if you plan on sticking to in-town driving and aren't looking to load up the Sorento Hybrid for a long road trip. In the default Eco drive mode, the car responds to the throttle the most comfortably. Under traditional and harder acceleration, the Sorento Hyrbid's powertrain is noisy and ill-mannered. It's almost like the SUV is telling you, "I'm built for efficiency, not speed". Message received.

Kia's done a good job making the Sorento agile and it drives nicely and makes for a pleasant daily runaround. Unlike what Toyota has done with the Highlander, all-wheel drive is not available on the Sorento Hybrid.

The 2021 Sorento Hybrid comes standard as a six-seater with captain's chairs in the second row. The seats, leatherette in the upmarket trim level, are comfortable enough. There's a decent amount of cargo space with the third row erect or stowed.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The cabin of the Sorento Hybrid is plush enough for its price point.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The well-thought out cabin design delvers exactly what customers need and in the EX trim level, the car's appointments are near-premium. The SUV has the usual list of standard and available features, but nothing is too fancy: Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio, push button start, keyless entry, a rearview camera, wireless smartphone charger. Nothing looks, feels, or operates like it's cutting edge, but it doesn't have to - this isn't a luxury vehicle.

There is one very nice design touch in the cabin. On either side of the infotainment touch screen are vents that service the front row of the auto. Their output is divided into two each with the bottom vent able to serve the midsection of front passengers' bodies while the upper part goes higher. More automakers should design vents this way.

The Hybrid EX model that was delivered for testing had its lane keeping and centering system not as honed in on lane lines as is optimal, which resulted in crossing over the lines without any alert going off or corrective action being taken by the vehicle's computer.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Cargo space is always tight in three-row SUVs, but Kia has given the Sorento a good balance between cargo space and third-row legroom.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at $33,590. That's a thousand-and-a-half over the starting price of the Telluride and $4,000 more than the traditional 2021 Sorento.

There are currently only two other three-row hybrid SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Expedition Hybrid. The three models and their varied price tags and third-row layouts service very different customers but they generally all get lumped together. The Sorento Hybrid is, by far, the lowest priced model of the three, and it feels like it when you're inside. There's nothing wrong with that. Dodge sold a lot of Journeys despite the fact that it wasn't the best or most expensive SUV out there.

Think of the Kia Sorento Hybrid as the Dodge Journey of three-row hybrid crossovers and you won't be disappointed.

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