A Nip and Tuck Face Lift Is Added To EV Boost & Tech
Ford apparently had ants in its pants earlier this week. The 2019 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid midsize sedan will make its public debut at next week’s New York Auto Show, but the Detroit automaker just couldn’t wait—the company revealed details about the car on Wednesday, a week before the New York show’s media days. Here’s what we know.
Nearly 20 Percent More Electric Only Driving Range
The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi doesn’t receive any mehcanical updates, but the plug-in hybrid gets a battery capacity boost that gives it a longer electric-only driving range of a projected EPA rating of 25 miles. That’s up from the 21 miles of electric driving of the outgoing 2018 model, or a nearly 20 percent improvement. That’s not a huge boost, but it’s enough to get the Fusion Energi up to the same 25-mile range rating as the 2018 Toyota Prius Prime, the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the U.S. so far this year.
EV Boost and grill tweak for 2019
How did Ford engineers accomplish that while maintaining the same size of the existing battery pack? Specifically, they came up with a new chemistry for the 84 individual lithium-ion cells that’s slightly more energy dense. The capacity of the air-cooled battery pack has risen from 7.6 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 9.0 kWh.
Ford said data generated from existing plug-in hybrid owners shows the 2019 Fusion Energi should have sufficient range for up to 80 percent of owners’ daily commutes, with the support of both home and workplace charging, assuming the vehicle is fully charged daily at home and at work. Even without workplace charging, the automaker estimates approximately 48 percent of plug-in hybrid customers could potentially get to and from their jobs on electric power alone.
Ford did not yet have a projection for the 2019 Fusion Energi’s combined gasoline and electric range; this year’s figure is 610 miles. Regardless of that EPA rating, the plug-in 2019 Fusion Energi still qualifies for a $4,600 federal income-tax credit for buyers.
A Horde Of New Safety Tech
The 2019 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, along with the hybrid and gasoline models, will be Ford’s first model to get its Co-Pilot 360 Protect safety systems, just announced a week earlier at the Ford Uncovered sneak peek. Standard on all Fusion models, Co-Pilot 360 Protect includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane keeping system, a rear backup camera and auto high-beam lighting.
New safety tech puts Fusion Energi in front of other Fords
Beyond the standard Ford Co-Pilot 360 Protect is a more advanced bundle of optional driver-assist technologies called Co-Pilot 360 Assist. It adds adaptive cruise control with stop and go, which automatically accelerates and brakes to a full stop when traffic halts, while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. It also includes voice-activated navigation, along with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. Fusion SE trims and above get SYNC 3 with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, in addition to an embedded 4G LTE modem with WiFi hotspot support for up to 10 devices.
A Mild Refresh
The Fusion Energi has always been a Clean Fleet Report favorite when it comes to styling. For 2019, the Fusion Energi receives a new chrome mesh grille, while other models keep five horizontal bars. There’s also a new lower front and rear fascia, and a new LED taillamp design with a distinctive new horizontal chrome garnish across most of the rear deck, just above the lamps. There are no significant changes to the interior.
We’ll have more details and pricing information on the 2019 For Fusion Energi closer to its launch in late summer.
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Big Battery, But When Is the Kona EV Coming to the United States?
Subcompact SUVs have become global big sellers, so a big nod to Hyundai for being the first to introduce a version with a battery-electric powertrain. As the name suggests, the Hyundai Kona Electric is the all-electric version of the automaker’s new gasoline-powered Kona subcompact crossover-utility vehicle. Sized between a Kia Soul and a Honda HR-V, gas models are offered with all-wheel drive, the Electric is front-wheel drive only.
A Whopper-Sized Battery
When it arrtives in Europe later this year, the 2019 Kona Electric will offer two versions. The more expensive variant will carry around a 64-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-polymer battery pack, Hyundai says that it earns a driving range of 292 miles. That estimate is based on the Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which closely matches the EPA’s test cycle. That outdoes the 236-mile figure that the same procedure cites for the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Big battery, but will we see it here?
Without going into specifics, the Korean automaker says drivetrain output is 201 horsepower (hp) and 291 pounds-feet (lb.ft.)of torque. That’s enough to quietly whoosh the Kona Electric from a standing stop to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds.
The base Kona Electric model, packing 133 hp and 291 lb.ft, of torque in its electric motor, wrings out 185 miles of range from a 39.2-kilowatt battery. It’ll hit 62 mph in an okay 9.3 seconds.
A strength for the Hyundai Kona Electric is battery charging. As with Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Kona EV will be able to take advantage of speedier 100-kilowatt Combined Charging System (CCS) DC hardware. With such a connection, the larger pack can get to an 80 percent state of charge just as quickly as the smaller battery. But with a Level 2, 240-volt connection charging and the 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger, the Kona Electric with the smaller pack reaches full in about six hours, versus nearly 10 hours with the larger pack.
Mostly Same-o, Same-o Styling
The Kona Electric looks pretty much like its gas-powered siblings, with the biggest visual difference up front. It now features a closed-off grill with the charge port next to the Hyundai logo
Nothing wrong with hitting a hot segment with an EV
. Other changes include LED daytime running lights above its LED headlights and a distinct front bumper with lateral air curtains that enhance the aerodynamics by reducing turbulence in the wheel arch area. The design theme of the front is picked up at the rear.
For the hip crowd that wants the latest in styling, the Electric can be ordered with a two-tone roof.
Inside the electric Kona is a near repeat of the gas models with a softly styled dash and a 7.0-inch central infotainment display. A new high-resolution 7.0-inch cluster displays the different gauges, such as the speedometer, battery charge level, energy flow and driving mode to the driver. The Kona Electric also packs an adjustable regenerative braking system hidden in the shift paddles, which can generate a few extra electrons for the battery when slowing down.
For comfort, front seat passengers will have heated and cooled eight-way powered seats. A heated steering wheel is optional.
Tech and Safety Features
The base audio system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. High-end audio know-how comes from Krell, including eight channels at 45 watts per channel. The Kona Electric comes standard with a USB port and an AUX jack. There’s also connection for every smartphone you can name, and you can pop your device onto a wireless charger if it’s new enough.
Inside, everything you liked from the gas Kona
Standard is Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of active and passive safety systems. It includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. Optional are forward-collision monitoring, blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems and a driver-attention warning system.
Hyundai plans to launch the Kona Electric later this year in Europe and South Korea before “hopefully” bringing it to the United States. While no U.S. pricing was revealed, expect the base model to have a sticker price of at least $30,000 before incentives.
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Jaguar has joined the ranks of other automakers who reveal all-new vehicles just a few days before major auto shows. In this case, the British automaker revealed its much anticipated I-Pace battery-electric crossover SUV this week, one week before the public opening of the Geneva Motor Show.
The reveal of the I-Pace took place at the Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria, with a special live streaming show as the first I-Pace rolled off the production line. As expected, the I-Pace is little changed since the concept was introduced at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.
0-to-60 MPH In 4.5 Seconds
We’ll cut to the chase and get right to the heart of the I-Pace. Under the alluring sheet metal are two Jaguar-designed concentric electric motors—which feature driveshafts passing through the motors themselves for compactness—placed at each axle, producing all-wheel drive. The two motors produce a net 394 horsepower and 512 pounds-feet of torque. With all four wheels being electrically driven, it’ll romp to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
Another all-electric SUV arrives
A 90-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery sits between the two axles and is mounted low, contributing to a 50:50 weight distribution and a lower center of gravity. The battery will keep the I-Pace going for an estimated 240 miles (EPA and European measurements are still forthcoming). With a 100-kW DC fast charger, it can go from empty to 80 percent charge in just about 40 minutes. Using a 7-kW Level 2 home charger, it’ll take about 10 hours to add the same amount of charge.
Like other modern EVs and plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs), the I-Pace offers multiple brake-regeneration settings. In its strongest mode, one-pedal driving is feasible when the driver turns off the car’s creep mode. (Creep mode allows the EV to roll forward when the driver’s foot moves off the brake, like most gasoline cars will.)
Looks Pretty Close To the Concept
The 2019 I-Pace has a compact body and is fairly low to the ground for an SUV, but it still seats five while offering plenty of cargo space.
The electric powertrain is designed to enhance the road experience
“The I-Pace’s electric powertrain offered us unprecedented design freedom,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design. “Starting with a clean sheet enabled the dramatic cab-forward profile, unique proportions and exceptional interior pace. Yet, it is unmistakably a Jaguar. We wanted to design the world’s most desirable EV, and I’m confident that we met that challenge.”
Its sleek, coupe-like silhouette was influenced by the Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept. That includes C-X75 styling cues with a low, short hood with the automaker’s traditional grill and a built-in hood scoop for aerodynamic improvements. The vehicle has a coupe-inspired styling, sweeping front fenders, muscular rear haunches and flush door handles with a slippery 0.29 drag coefficient.
The rear is squared-off to a sharply angled rear hatch window that features a hydrophobic coating so there’s no need for a rear wiper. Tail lights feature a “chicane line” signature, a new Jaguar design element that replaces the more traditional E-Type round design.
Classed as a midsize SUV by its physical footprint, the cab forward design and packaging of the EV powertrain mean the I-PACE offers interior space comparable to a full-size model. The SUV affords a rear legroom space of 35.0-inches and a useful 0.43- cubic foot central storage compartment in a space that would ordinarily be occupied by a transmission tunnel in a conventional vehicle. Also in the rear, tablet and laptop storage can be found beneath the seats; while the rear luggage compartment behind those seats offers a 25.3 cubic feet capacity, a generous 51.0 cubic feet is available with the second row seats folded flat.
The I-Pace interior is all Jaguar style and quality
In typical Jaguar fashion, the 2019 I-Pace’s cabin is pure luxury. A glass panoramic roof is standard, and the interior can be had in either leatherette or proper leather. As you might expect, you can toss in some pretty fancy trim pieces made from real aluminium or ash wood.
The I-Pace uses two touchscreens to control virtually all vehicle functions. Called the InControl Touch Pro Duo system, the infotainment screens, upper 10-inch and lower 5.5-inch units, are cleanly integrated into the vehicle’s distinctive floating center console. The top half takes care of infotainment duties while the lower half deals with climate control, seat and drivetrain settings. Another 12.3-inch interactive driver display behind the steering wheel can be configured to show vehicle operating data in a variety of formats.
A suite of smart range-optimizing technologies includes a battery pre-conditioning system that allows the vehicle to warm or cool its battery and cabin to an optimal temperature while plugged in to power. The I-Pace will also have its own Amazon Alexa skill. This will allow owners to check the car’s range, lock status and more without leaving the house or even picking up a smart device.
The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is on sale now in Europe and will be available in the U.S. in the second half of 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle, in S, SE and HSE derivatives as well as a one-year-only First Edition model derived from a very well equipped HSE trim. U.S. pricing will be announced on March 6, in conjunction with the vehicle’s debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. However, Jaguar has already opened up preorders for U.S. buyers.
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Wagons Making Comeback, Volvo Plugs Them In
In the 1960s, station wagons were the choice of American families. Their sales were usurped in the mid-1970s by the minivan, which later gave way to the sport-utility vehicle. Today, crossover SUVs are at the top of the sales charts. However, Volvo never gave up on wagons.
The baby brother look (not a bad thing)
In Europe wagons are called “estate” vehicles. Squared off, boxy Volvo wagons may not have been pretty, but they were safe. While they are still regarded as one of the safest vehicles to own, the boxy styling has been discarded by the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, which has been on a roll over the past few years with a string of visually stunning vehicles.
Volvo’s renaissance continues with the unveiling to the automotive media of the all-new V60 last week in Sweden. The new 2019 Volvo V60 wagon carries over the theme set by the larger V90 wagon that debuted two years ago.
“The family estate driver is an important customer for our business and has been for generations,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “The new V60 honors that tradition, but also takes it much further.”
That “much further” includes two plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models, the latest driver assistance features and other safety technology.
Two PHEV Powertrains
There will be two V60 plug-in hybrid models offered, the T6 and T8. Both Twin Engine plug-ins essentially use the same powertrain: A 2.0-liter gasoline inline four-cylinder engine that is twin-charged—supercharged and turbocharged—powers the front wheels. An integrated starter generator (ISG) is sandwiched between the engines and an eight-speed automatic (the ISG charges the battery and cranks the engine during start-stop events). The engines are paired with a 65-kilowatt electric motor mounted to the rear axle to provide all-wheel drive.
A Swedish aesthetic inside–safety and serenity
In the T6 Twin Engine, the 2.0-liter makes 253 horsepower (hp) and 258 pounds-feet (lb.-st.)of torque. With the rear electric motor added, the overall system output is 340 hp and 435 lb.ft. Step up to the T8 and the four produces those ratings upped to 303 hp and 295 lb.-ft., with total output of 390 hp and 472 lb.-ft. Both models have the same electric-only range of up to 28 miles. Despite their different power outputs, both will make the 0-62 mph run in 4.8 seconds.
Lots of space in the back of a wagon
While that’s good news, the bad news is the T8 is not coming to the U.S., at least not for now. When it arrives, the V60 will launch with a buyers’ choice of a 250 horsepower 2.0-liter gasoline turbocharged T5 four-cylinder front-wheel drive or T6 plug-in hybrid. At least we can expect it to top the XC90 PHEV’s 62 MPGe (though fuel economy numbers have not been released and easily join Clean Fleet Report’s 30 MPG AWD Club.
New V60 Joins Volvo’s Latest Styling Direction
In profile, the new 2019 Volvo V60 looks much more sculpted and stylish than the wagon it replaces. Up front, the V60 borrows heavily from Volvo’s V90 wagon. The “Thor’s Hammer” LED lights proudly flank the grille and the T-shaped running lights look very similar to the ones on the larger wagon. But the V60 differentiates itself with larger, more pronounced lower intake openings. On the backside, Volvo’s traditional L-shaped tail lamps follow the shape of the rear D-pillar and then slice inward toward the center of the hatch.
The new model is based off Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture that underpins other models like the V90 and XC60 and XC90 crossovers. The most obvious difference between the V60 and big-brother V90 is in length. The V60 is almost 7 inches shorter than the V90, though the wheelbase length has only been reduced by 3.9 inches. Elsewhere, the V60 is only an inch or two smaller in both width and height.
Volvo keeps on its traditional road, but with contemporary equipment
Inside Like Other New Volvo Models Plus, Lots of Safety
The 2019 Volvo V60’s interior is visually identical to that of the XC60 crossover and 90-series cars, with a vertically oriented touchscreen in the center console, only a few buttons and knobs below it, a digital gauge cluster and the same lovely wood and aluminum inlays on the dash and doors. The Sensus infotainment system, which carries over unchanged, is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has a built-in 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.
Being a Volvo, the V60 comes with a number of safety and driver assistance systems, including lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. Standard safety features include advanced driver support systems found in the 90-Series and XC60. The City Safety with Autobrake technology uses automatic braking and detection systems to assist the driver in avoiding potential collisions. Volvo says it is the only system on the market to recognize pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals.
The 2019 Volvo V60 also comes with the latest version of the company’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system that can now operate unassisted on “well-marked roads” at a maximum speed of 80 mph. It also will be equipped with Run-off Road Mitigation and Oncoming Lane Mitigation.
Official pricing will be announced at a later date. Following its official reveal in Sweden last week, the V60 will greet the public at the Geneva Motor Show on March 8.
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Diesel Move Is Big Surprise
Hyundai pulled the covers off the all-new fourth generation 2019 Santa Fe SUV this week in South Korea. Heavy with car models and light on crossover SUVs, the new Santa Fe is a big deal for the automaker; it’s the company’s second best-selling model with more than 133,000 sold in the U.S. last year.
For 2019, Hyundai moves the Santa Fe down a new path
The midsize crossover will offer the usual naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder gas engines, but the biggest news is that the U.S. will be getting a diesel option. But before getting into specifics about what is known about the drivetrains and other details, there are changes for model identification.
The outgoing generation lineup had two distinct models: the two-row Santa Fe Sport and the Santa Fe, a longer-wheelbase three-row model. The new 2019 short-wheelbase, five-seat vehicle will be called simply Santa Fe, with the longer-wheelbase version called Santa Fe XL for now. The company also confirmed that an even bigger eight-seat crossover was on the way with an all-new name.
For those who want torque and the best fuel economy, there’s an optional 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel, which arrives in early 2019. Hyundai says the diesel will crank out “around 200 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and an estimated 320 pounds-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm.” Fuel economy numbers weren’t released, but expect the highway number to be in the 30s. Strangely, the diesel version of the Santa Fe is the only model that has what is described as an “occasional use” third-row seat.
The diesel and AWD logoa
Most buyers will likely opt for one of the gasoline engines. The base Santa Fe will offer a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making an estimated 185 horsepower. The upgrade engine will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making an estimated 232 horsepower. All engines come mated to a new in-house-designed eight-speed automatic transmission and will have the option of Hyundai’s Htrac all-wheel drive.
Other changes beneath the sheetmetal are a revised suspension, particularly in the rear, to provide a smoother and more comfortable ride. Hyundai will also offer an optional load-leveling suspension to maintain a consistent ride height, even when loaded with cargo or towing.
New From the Ground Up
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has a new look that is less crossover and more SUV than before. The styling is revolutionary next to today’s comparatively staid version. The new model incorporates the automaker’s latest design cues, including a new take on the company’s “Cascading” grille, along with LED daytime running lights at the top corners of the front end with LED headlights that are clustered below that. With more upright body panels, larger rear quarter glass, and a 2.8-inch growth spurt in overall length, the Santa Fe stands out next to more conservatively styled competitors.
The Santa Fe interior gets an upgrade, too
Along with additional interior space, there’s an all-new dashboard design that incorporates a 7.0-inch tablet-style infotainment system and an available digital gauge cluster. All trim levels receive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, while a navigation system and a head-up display that projects an 8.5-inch image on the windshield giving driving and navigation information is optional. Upper trim levels include a larger eight-inch screen with Hyundai’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system and a 630-watt, 12-speaker surround-sound Infinity audio system. Thankfully, there are knobs and buttons to control climate and audio controls.
Fittingly for a family vehicle, the 2019 Santa Fe incorporates some interesting safety features. Smart Sense, which will be standard on trim levels SE and higher, will come with forward collision warning and avoidance, blind-spot warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a 360-degree camera system, rear cross-traffic warning and collision avoidance, and automatic high beams.
Safe Exit Assist, a system that monitors vehicles approaching from the rear and prevents passengers from throwing open the doors and potentially stepping in front of a passing car, motor cycle or bicycle is folded into Smart Sense. So too is rear seat occupant alert. It uses ultrasonic sensors to detect motion of kids or pets in the back so they are not locked inside the vehicle.
On sale this (2018) summer, the 2019 Santa Fe will be joined by at least two other new Hyundai SUV models this year, including the entry-level Kona subcompact and the Nexo fuel cell. Pricing for the new Santa Fe will be available closer to the release date.
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