Effficiency

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid's engine makes it as efficient as a compact SUV

The 2021 F-150 Hybrid is the company's most fuel-efficient full-size truck sold in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 2021 Ford F-150 is now the fuel economy leader in the truck segment. The company's new hybrid full-size light-duty pickup truck is equipped with the fuel-efficient 3.5-liter PowerBoost engine that delivers efficient power in every configuration.

"Our team spent months living with and observing truck customers at their homes, on job sites and on the weekends," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product platform and operations officer. "Using electrification, we realized we could now give customers something they had long wanted but didn't think was possible – tremendous power, great fuel economy and all-new capabilities to make their F-150 even more productive."

2021 Ford F-150 The 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid comes standard with an on-board generator that can be upgraded to have enough output to power a bevy of tools at a construction site. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The least thirsty 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid is configured with a 4x2 drivetrain and gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. It has a range of 750 miles. The 4x4 PowerBoost model earns an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined, which is the best among 4x4 full-size light-duty pickups. It can go 700 miles on a single tank of gas.

That fuel efficiency makes the F-150 Hybrid as efficiency as the 2021 Jeep Wrangler, 2021 Hyundai Tucson, and 2021 Jeep Compass, though the F-150 is much more powerful. It delivers 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque. The 4x2 PowerBoost has a 12,700-pound maximum conventional towing capacity with the Max Trailer Package. It has a maximum payload of 2,120 pounds.

In addition to the hybrid engine, Ford offers four other power plants, including its 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6. All engines come standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

F-150 Hybrid buyers get Pro Power Onboard, a generator, standard on their vehicle. It is capable of exporting 2.4 kilowatts of power via outlets in the cabin and cargo box. Buyers can upgrade to the optional 7.2-kilowatt output, which provides up to 18 times more exportable power than the nearest competitor.

The 2021 F-150 has been shipped to dealerships across the U.S. and will be handed over to buyers this month. It is is assembled at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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The Hyundai Santa Cruz will debut next week but ahead of that, the design department is giving a closer look at the truck in a new video.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

We'll see the Hyundai Santa Cruz in full for the first time when it debuts on April 15 but ahead of time, Hyundai is setting the stage for expectations with the model. To help with that, the company released a video today featuring the truck's design manager discussing the inspiration for the utility vehicle.

The quick one-minute video is hosted by Brad Arnold, design manager at Hyundai North America. The Southern California native is the leader of the team that created the Santa Cruz, a project that began years ago. He's joined in the video by Senon Franco, the lead designer at Hyundai North America.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America
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As Arnold explains in the video, the design of the Santa Cruz started with a simple premise: "this is not a typical truck". Based on how Arnold describes the capabilities of the truck, that sounds true. It is meant to "thrive in dense urban environments and the open outdoors". One could argue that no full-size truck on the market today does that. Neither do most of the midsize models, though their sizing is better for that landscape.

Arnold says that the Santa Cruz is "small in size", a call that serves to remind viewers that the Santa Cruz isn't a big truck. It's more similar in size to the forthcoming Ford Maverick, a small truck that slots below the Ranger in Ford's lineup.

However, the company isn't even calling it a truck. The new model is being referred to as the Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle. This sounds a lot like how Kia is referring to the new generation of its Carnival minivan as a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

Arnold says that the design is meant to make the Santa Cruz not look like a truck. Rather, it's supposed to look "like a Santa Cruz". Part of that includes the front end, which looks like a carryover from the fascia of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson.

Among the other secrets Hyundai is giving away ahead of the product's reveal is that there will be more than one "efficient" powertrain, a flexible bed, "cutting-edge" connectivity, and all-wheel drive.

Watch the video for yourself below.

Design Inspiration | 2022 Santa Cruz | Hyundai www.youtube.com

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