News Roundup: F-150 Sets Half-Ton High Score, Buick Electra Excites, New MDX, More
This week in the news, Ford ups the F-150's towing and hauling, Volkswagen is giving the new Taos a new engine, a new Acura MDX is coming, Buick brings back Electra, and the 2021 NACTOY semi-finalists are revealed.
Ford’s F-150 pickup is a big deal, as part of the biggest-selling model line in Canada, and as far as being big. There’s a new one coming for 2021, and now Ford has revealed that it will be able to tow a maximum of 14,000 lbs (6,350 kg), has a payload up to 3,325 lbs (1,508 kg), and a maximum of 430 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque.
That tow rating is 800 lbs (363 kg) more than last year and makes it the biggest-hauling half-ton pickup around. Even the new PowerBoost hybrid (the one that makes that max power figure) can tow up to 12,700 lbs (5,760 kg), making it the highest-towing (and only) full-hybrid truck on sale. The other engines start with a 3.3L V6 with 290 hp and max towing of 8,200 lbs (3,719 kg), then there is a 2.7L twin-turbo V6 with 325 hp and 10,100 lbs (4,581 kg), a 5.0L V8 with 400 hp and 13,000 lbs (5,897 kg), a 3.0L V6 diesel that’ll tow 12,100 lbs (5,488 kg) and make 440 lb-ft and finally the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that has 400 hp and the top tow rating. Ford has also said that the PowerBoost hybrid will offer enough jobsite electrical power to power up to 28 refrigerators. Or, more likely, some saws, lights, and loads of cordless tool batteries.
Buick put the future of the brand’s design, and a look at the electric future, on display at the Shanghai auto show. Even better, they brought back a classic name. The Electra is no longer a vehicle longer than a city block, instead, it’s a crossover with the lowest roof we’ve ever seen on such a ride. Though far from the classics that wore the name, this EV concept carries on some of the same ideals. A sleek design statement that would look elegant in just about any setting. Inspired by a space capsule, and wearing 23-inch wheels and illuminated badging, the Electra also gets butterfly wing doors (with facial-recognition unlocking) and a hidden skateboard integrated with the brake light to offer zero-emission and convenient last-mile personal mobility. Though a concept, Buick says it would have a range of more than 660 km on a single charge, and hit 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds from a stop.
Volkswagen’s Taos compact crossover, fitting into the lineup between the Tiguan and ID.4 (in size, at least, probably not price) will be getting a new engine. We still haven’t seen the model, but VW has announced it’ll have a new version of the Jetta’s current turbo four. Growing from 1.4-1.5L, the engine will use a VW version of the Miller cycle and a high compression ration for more power. It will also have plasma-coated cylinder liners, a cooling module that gets it up to temp more quickly, and a fuel injection system running pressure 1.75 times more than before. It will have 158 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and VW’s US COO says it shows the gas engine isn’t dead yet.
Acura is launching an all-new MDX crossover, the fourth-gen of the company’s best-seller. While they’re showing just a tease so far, we can see that it will have new “Chicane” taillights, a sharper new nose, and lines and creases running the length of the car that look much more like the RDX than the somewhat dull current MDX. The full thing will come, in prototype form, at least, October 14th.
Twenty-seven semi-finalists in three categories have been announced for the 2021 North American Car, Utility, and Truck of the Year awards, with the winners set to be announced in January. Voting on the cars will be a total of 50 journalists from Canada and the US, which will first be narrowed to three category finalists in December. The semi-finalists are:
Car of the Year
Hyundai Elantra family (includes N Line and HEV)
Mercedes-Benz E Class Sedan, All-Terrain, Coupe, Cabriolet
Utility of the Year
Ford Bronco Sport
Ford Mustang Mach E
Hyundai Santa Fe
Land Rover Defender
Toyota RAV4 Prime
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge
Truck of the Year
Ford Super Duty
Ram 1500 TRX
Jeep Gladiator Mojave