Design

Watch: Go behind the wheel of a century's worth of Fords

The look of the Ford Mustang has evolved inside and out over the last half-century.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

You've come a long way baby. A new video from Ford shows off the view drivers have had in their vehicles, from the Model T to the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. Levers, knobs, and buttons all make their way in and out of the frame, but there's been one constant over the last century - the steering wheel.

As the video shows, the view from the driver's seat has gone from simple to sophisticated to simple and sophisticated. Technology in, on, and around the steering wheel has gone from simple to ever more complex over the years.

The first windscreens were made of the same material as household windows. Now they're a complex multi-layered glass meant not just to protect and shield from the elements but also provide structural support and prevent road and engine noise from permeating the cabin.

2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 The 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 had all the gauges a buyer would have expected. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In 1927, the Ford Model A cost $540. To add a car radio, buyers had to fork over $130 extra. It wasn't until the Model Y showed up in the 1930s that the rearview mirror became commonplace. In the years following World War II, Ford's dashboard design was influenced by airplane cockpits.

As the Swinging 60s rolled around, Ford's cockpits become more extravagant. Softer materials made their presence known and dashboards began showing more character. The muscle cars of the 70s had their beefy designs translated from the exterior to the interior.

The rise in the popularity in video games led to controls being added to the steering wheel of Ford cars. Then came airbags.

As computers gained relevance in the workplace, they began to be inserted into vehicles. As personal computers gained prominence, buyers demanded that the evolution come to cars as well. Not only were high-tech features developed, but personalization and customization of computer-based features became a thing.

Materials continued to evolve making interiors more durable and customers began demanding more premium features.

For the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, Ford has taken a reductive approach to the cockpit. The Ford design team is committed to continuing reductive design as the company works toward releasing more electric vehicles to the public.

Take a watch:

The evolution of the driver’s view www.youtube.com

Mercedes recently showed off the evolution of its steering wheel design over the last century. While Ford has been reductive with its approach, the German automaker is adding screens that span the width of the vehicle. Jeep has taken a similar approach with the new Grand Wagoneer.

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New compact luxury SUV

2022 Lexus NX gets new tech and PHEV drivetrain

The NX is all-new for 2022.

Lexus

The NX may not be Lexus' most popular SUV – that title goes to the RX – but it's got a lot to offer in a compact package. Lexus redesigned the NX for 2022, and the big stories are its new PHEV powertrain, updated tech, and improved safety features.

The 2022 NX 450h+ is Lexus' first plug-in hybrid vehicle. It's expected to deliver 36 miles all-electric range, 84 MPGe combined, a 0-60 mph time of six seconds. It's joined in the NX lineup by the NX 350h hybrid, which uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two high-torque motor-generators that produce a combined output of 239 horsepower. The NX 350h is capable of returning 39 mpg combined and a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds.

2022 Lexus NX New tech and updated safety features are headline changes for 2022.Lexus

A turbocharged gas engine rounds out the NX powertrain selection. It's a 2.4-liter unit that makes 203 horsepower and 184 horsepower. Surprisingly, it's weaker than both of the hybrid powertrains, and is only capable of a 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy lands at 28 mpg combined.

The new NX comes standard with a 9.8-inch touchscreen that employs a new Lexus interface to make interactions smoother and easier. A 14-inch touchscreen is optional, and includes a three-year trial for a bundle of connected services. Lexus offers a new connected smartphone feature that allows drivers to store their vehicle profiles in the cloud and take them to other Lexus vehicles equipped with the tech.

2022 Lexus NX The NX gets a PHEV powertrain option for the first time.Lexus

The Lexus Interface also offers advanced voice controls and a new voice assistant feature. The automaker says that it was designed to recognize natural speech, and uses two microphones with noise cancellation, seat detection, and speaker location capabilities. Drivers can ask for the weather, traffic situations, control the audio system, and more with their voice.

The NX's safety features got a boost for 2022 as well. Standard features now include risk avoidance emergency steer assist, left-turn oncoming vehicle detection and braking, right/left turn oncoming pedestrian detection and braking, and dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management.

2022 Lexus NX F Sport models get sporty interior finishes.Lexus

The 2022 Lexus NX should begin arriving on dealers' lots in December 2021. Pricing for the NX 250 FWD starts at $39,025, which includes a $1,075 destination fee. The range-topping NX 450h+ starts at $56,635.

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Ford EV manufacturing

Ford plans new plants in Tennessee and Kentucky

Ford's new TN facility may be one of the largest in U.S. history.

Ford

Earlier this year, Ford outlined its plans for significant investments in electric vehicle development and construction. Today, the automaker announced a big step forward in that roadmap that will include two new facilities, billions in new spending, and thousands of new jobs.

The $5.6 billion Stanton, TN factory will be called Blue Oval City and will bring 6,000 new jobs to the area. Ford says the site will include a BlueOval SK battery plant, and that electric F-Series trucks will be manufactured there. The assembly plant is designed to be carbon neutral and to send zero waste to landfills once it's up and running.

Ford Blue Oval City Ford plans to create a combined 11,000 jobs.Ford

Ford notes that Blue Oval City will be one of the largest automotive manufacturing sites in U.S. history. The campus sprawls 3,600 acres over six square miles, and will house assembly, battery production, and a supplier facility. The vertical integration of all functions on one site should lower Ford's production costs and reduce its carbon footprint.

The $5.8 billion Kentucky site will be a dedicated battery manufacturing complex that houses two separate battery plants. The location will supply Ford's North American assembly plants and is expected to create 5,000 new jobs. The facilities in both states are being built as part of a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation, pending regulatory approval.

Ford Blue Oval City The TN facility is expected to be carbon neutral when it's up and running.Ford

The increase in production capacity can't come soon enough for Ford. Earlier this year, the Mustang Mach-E EV debuted to strong demand, and the automaker will soon roll out the first electric F-Series truck. Called the Ford F-150 Lightning, the pickup will be the first electric truck from a legacy automaker.

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