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Audi's second EV comes with 218-mile range, 4,000-pound towing capacity

The 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback made its debut at the L.A. Auto Show and now it's ready to arrive on dealer lots.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi is bringing its second electric vehicle (EV), the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback, to the U.S. this summer. The model is a slightly different take on the traditional E-Tron crossover, with a sloped, fastback-like roofline and more efficient powertrain.

The new two-row SUV is virtually the same as its sister E-Tron up front with most major changes coming halfway back. It drops off at the angled D-pillars for a rear that is in vogue with how other German automakers are designing their new SUVs these days.

U.S.-bound versions of the model have exterior trim components that are painted the same color as the SUV's body color – including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers, and exterior mirrors. It rides on standard 20-inch wheels and every E-Tron Sportback comes with an air suspension.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback Buyers can opt for the Black Optics package to give their model a little pizzaz.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Buyers can add on the Black Optics package, which offers black accentuations for the signature Singleframe grille, side windows, bumpers, and exterior mirror housings.

Each E-Tron Sportback is all-wheel drive. It has a 95 kWh battery that helps deliver 355 horsepower in the car's standard driving mode. Drivers who engage Boost mode have access to 402 horsepower, which moves the car from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

Drivers can regenerate power while coasting or braking, which contributes about 30 percent of the model's total 218-mile range. During most driving situations, the car relies solely on a rear electric motor, which improves efficiency. It is slated to get 76 MPGe in the city, 78 MPGe on the highway, which is 2 and 5 MPGe better, respectively, than the E-Tron.

The SUV can charge at 150 kilowatts, recovering 58 miles of range in just 10 minutes and 174 miles of range in 30 minutes. Audi says that 98 percent of all single-trip journeys in the U.S. are under 50 miles. When traveling beyond that and needed a charge, drivers can take advantage of the Electrify America nationwide charging network where owners receive 1,000 kWh of charging – the equivalent of approximately 2,500 miles of range – from Audi at no additional cost with purchase.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback This model features a fastback roofline.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The E-Tron Sportback has a towing capacity of up to 4,000 pounds when equipped with the available towing package.

The list of standard equipment in the cabin is competitive for the car's price point and includes standard heated and cooled front seats and an overhead camera view, which is handy for parking in tight spaces. Options include massaging front seats, and an improved suite of safety and driver assistance technology.

The design of the interior and technology is nearly identical to what is offered in the Audi E-Tron.

Audi will sell a celebratory limited edition E-Tron Sportback Launch Edition with its own lineup of features including an exclusive Plasma blue metallic paint and Dynamic orange brake calipers. Alu-optic trim will highlight design elements, including the unique S-line front and rear bumpers. The model also gets an exclusive interior in Monaco Gray Valcona leather seating surface with two-tone stitched dash and black headliner. It also comes with puddle lamps.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback The car's interior is similar to the one in the E-Tron SUV.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback has a starting price of $77,400, which is $2,600 more than the E-Tron.

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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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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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