New Model News

New Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid gets 100 MPGe and 37 miles of all-electric range for under $35,000

The new Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is a fuel-efficient SUV.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Add another model to the fuel-efficient SUV roster. Ford redesigned its Escape for the 2020 model year but it was introduced, three of its four powertrain options were available. Now, the fourth option is making its way to market - a plug-in hybrid electric system.

The 2020 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid delivers best-in-class EPA-estimated all-electric fuel economy rating of 100 MPGe combined and an EPA-estimated 37 miles of all-electric driving range. When running on strictly gasoline, the SUV gets 41 mpg.

MPGe, or miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, is an Environmental Protection Agency metric to compare the amount of energy consumed by alternative fuel vehicles to what traditional gas-powered vehicles consume.

The Escape Plug-In Hybrid's closest competition is the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime. It's a PHEV model that achieves 94 MPGe and gets 42 miles of all-electric rage.

2020 Ford Escape The SUV looks the same as every other new Escape, except for its unique badging and power plug door, located on note driver's side near the hood.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

"The original Ford Escape was the world's first hybrid SUV and the all-new Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid represents how far we've come in technology and efficiency," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. "The all-new Escape plug-in has more power and more passenger space than the Fusion Energi plug-in, as well as up to four times the cargo volume behind its second-row seats."

This Escape is powered by a new 2.5-liter hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). Its liquid-cooled, 14.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery is positioned below the second-row seats.

The Escape Plug-In Hybrid has a Level 1/Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charger, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charger, charge time drops to roughly 3.5 hours.

2020 Ford Escape The SUV's battery is located under the rear seats so that it doesn't disrupt cargo room in the model.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Hybrid models feature four drive modes: Auto EV, EV Snow, EV Later, and EV Charge. In Auto EV mode, the vehicle decides whether to run on gas or electric power. Using EV Now mode, drivers can operate on all-electric power. In EV Later mode, drivers can switch to full gas-hybrid driving to conserve electric miles for later. Ford's new EV Charge mode allows drivers to continue to charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles to use later.

Every Escape comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of driver assist and safety technology that includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centering. Active Park Assist is also available.

Buyers can get the PHEV powertrain on every Escape trim level except S and SE Sport. The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid has a starting MSRP under $35,000.

That MSRP is lower than the RAV4 Prime, but the Toyota model's over $38,000 starting price is reflective of the fact that it features mid-grade and higher features and equipment right off the bat.

Other engine options

AutomotiveMap has already reviewed the Escape's other three powertrains as part of a larger 2020 Ford Escape review.

The 2020 Escape's base engine is a 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder (S, SE, SEL trim levels) that achieves 180 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque.

The available 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder (SEL, Titanium trim levels) is significant peppier getting 250 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Both of those engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Escape Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter hybrid four-cylinder, which is paired with an electronic continuously variable transmission.

Looking for a fuel-efficient SUV that isn't a plug-in? Check out AutomtoiveMap's list of 20 SUVs with the best gas mileage here.

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Polestar currently operates four showrooms in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, an electric performance car brand, will be opening 15 new sales locations in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Called Polestar Spaces, the showrooms are more in line with what Tesla offers and less like a traditional auto dealership.

Each Polestar Space features minimalist Scandinavian-like design, pulling together the heritage of the company with a modern sales environment. Each location is staffed by non-commissioned Polestar Specialists. Test drives can be coordinated on-site or at home.

In the next few months, locations in Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver, Seattle; South Florida; and Washington D.C. will open. Those new showrooms will be established in connection with established retailer groups in the area. Additional information regarding the D.C. and Florida locations is expected soon.

2021 Polestar 2 The fastback Polestar 2 is a head-turner. Photo courtesy of Polestar

The second-half of 2021 will welcome the opening of additional showrooms in Atlanta; Central and South New Jersey; Connecticut; Dallas; Detroit; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orange County, California.

Specific showroom details are available at Polestar.com/Spaces.

"In 2019 we stated our goal of servicing 85% of the addressable EV market within a year of the Polestar 2 launch," said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar in North America. "With these 2021 appointments, we will accomplish that and more- especially with our free pickup and delivery servicing within 150 miles of a brick-and-mortar Polestar location."

Polestar Spaces are already open in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and Manhattan, plus two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Corte Madera and Santa Clara).

The automaker currently offers the Polestar 2 for sale in the U.S. AutomotiveMap recently had the opportunity to test drive the car for review.

It was recently confirmed that the Polestar Precept concept is headed to production. The concept version of the car is noted for its sustainable materials and minimalist design.

Additionally, Polestar and Koenigsegg are working on a project.

Further markets for expansion will be announced later in 2021.

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A diamond mesh grille fronts the 2022 Kia K8.

PhPhoto courtesy of Kia Motorsoto courtesy of Kia Motors

Goodbye, Cadenza. Hello, K8. The Kia Cadenza is one of those cars that is easy forgotten about (if you ever knew about it in the first place) and frequently passed over in favor of the Toyota Avalon or the like. Still, most every automotive journalist who has driven it likes it.

So, Kia's taking the lessons learned from the Cadenza and some from the K5 and Stinger, and rolling them into a new large sedan, the 2022 Kia K8. This week the company unveiled the first official images of the car ahead of its debut. This is the first vehicle named the K8 in Kia history.

2022 Kia K8 The K8's headlights have integrated turn signals.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

2022 Kia K8

"Following our recent company rebrand, we keep moving toward our new brand values with a new model – the K8. This modern sedan has been designed with innovation and elegance at its very core," said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. "While paying homage to the K7, the K8 looks to the future. Its progressive exterior takes on character and emotion, and combines those qualities with an expressive looking front and a dynamic swooping rear, giving the K8 a high-quality, premium presence that takes direct inspiration from some of the world's most technically advanced yachts."

As seen in the photos, the car wears Kia's new logo on its badging, and has design lines reminiscent of the vehicles it has taken lessons from. There's a frameless tire nose grille with diamond lattice, turn signals integrated into the headlights, an elongated side profile, chrome finish along the bottom of the doors, and a roofline that trails off into the trunk. It's all very much from the Kia sedan lineup.

Kia promises that the car will have a "first class" interior that establishes "new benchmarks in premium quality". The sedan will deliver a high-performance driving experience yet be comfortable to ride in, according to Kia messaging.

The rear of the Kia K8 features elongated taillights.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia K8 is expected to arrive in showrooms later this year but the U.S. might not get it until after it's arrived in Korea and Europe.

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