The Friday Five:The Bronco Rumors, F-150 EV Timeline, and Silverado Flex Edition

Beverly Braga | Sep 18, 2020

This week, we previewed the upcoming 2021 Jaguar F-Pace, 2022 Hyundai Tucson, and 12-years-in-the-making 2022 Nissan Z. There was also ambitious news on the battery-electric vehicle (BEV) front with Kia announcing plans that BEVs will account for 25% of its global sales within a decade.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Ford Bronco Says No to V-8, Yes to Manual Sasquatch - Find the best Ford deals!

The 2021 Ford Bronco was revealed only last month, but when fans have been foaming at the mouth for 25 years since the SUV was previously on sale, rumors, speculation, and hope will hardly cease any time soon. 

2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door Badlands Sasquatch Front Quarter View

Maybe the Change.org petition sparked it, or maybe it was already part of the plan. Regardless, engineers were spotted testing a prototype Ford Bronco manual (no big deal) that appears to have the Sasquatch Package (oooh, interesting). Currently, the 7-speed stick shift is available on select Ford Bronco models equipped with the turbocharged 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder engine. The Sasquatch Package, while available for every trim, is paired only the 10-speed automatic. Prototype means possibility, perhaps?

Little possibility, however, exists of Ford’s 5.0-liter V-8 joining the Bronco lineup. According to the SUV’s chief engineer Eric Loeffler, emissions regulations simply wouldn’t allow adding the engine to the SUV, regardless of whether Ford even wanted to offer it. 

Nevertheless, the Bronco already seems plenty capable with its current turbo 4-cylinder and twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 engine offerings that produce 270 and 310 horsepower, respectively. Of course, there’s fan forum chatter of a performance version as well, though “Bronco Raptor” sounds too much like Nickelodeon’s CatDog, which was weird. Ford Bronco Raptor Sasquatch? Hopefully, whatever Ford comes up with isn’t reminiscent of conjoined siblings of different species.

New Ford EV Center to Build Upcoming F-150 Hybrid and 2023 F-150 Electric Models - Find the best Ford deals!

The all-new 2021 Ford F-150 went into production this week at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, but not without the Blue Oval company reiterating its plans for the first-ever hybrid and battery-electric versions of its best-selling truck. As part of a $700-million investment, a new electric vehicle center will support battery assembly and production for these models.

The 2021 F-150 PowerBoost hybrid will pair a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 with an electric motor powered by a 1.5-kWh battery. The F-150 EV is due in mid-2022, which will likely label it a 2023 model. With a dual-motor powertrain, the all-electric truck will deliver more horsepower, more torque, and be quicker off the line than any F-150 truck on the market today. The F-150 EV also will feature a slew of other new technologies as well as over-the-air update capability.

New Multi-Flex Tailgate Confirmed for 2021 Chevrolet Silverado - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

Last month there was speculation that the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado would be receiving a rebadged version of the MultiPro tailgate that is currently a GMC Sierra exclusive. Well, good news for Silverado fans! Chevrolet recently confirmed that the multifunctional tailgate is coming for the Silverado, and a year earlier than rumored. The new-for-Chevy Multi-Flex Tailgate will feature six configurations and be available late in the 2021 model year’s production schedule, meaning early 2021.

2021 Honda Passport Changes Include Standard 8-Inch Infotainment System - Find the best Honda deals!

The Honda Passport is a carryover model for 2021 but now starts at $33,710 (including the $1,120 destination charge) for the base Sport, a $625 year-over-year increase. What’s new, though, is that the Display Audio system is now standard across the board. With an 8-inch touchscreen, this infotainment system includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, among other upgrades.

Price increases range from $225 to $285 for EX-L, Touring, and Elite models, but with no changes to their respective equipment and features. All 2021 Passport models feature a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard on all but the top-level Elite, which is all-wheel-drive only. The Passport’s torque-vectoring AWD is available as a $2,000 upgrade for other trim levels. The 2021 Honda Passport is on sale now.

AAA Study: Automotive Marketing Misleads Consumers About Driver-Assistance Tech

A new research study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that drivers tend to have higher expectations and erroneous assumptions when automakers market “automated” driving technologies in their vehicles. 

Using fictitious but realistic sounding names for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), the study presented participants with “AutonoDrive” and “DriveAssist” systems. Each one had the same features. However, training and wording for the former focused on capabilities and conveniences, while the latter emphasized technology limitations and driver attention. 

The research found that AutonoDrive users tended to be more overconfident in their ADAS, which led to misconceptions that the system would avoid blind-spot collisions on its own (42%) and slow down the vehicle during cornering without driver assistance (56%). By comparison, perception with DriveAssist users was 4% and 27%, respectively, regarding those same ideas. 

A previous AAA survey found that 40% of Americans felt names like Tesla’s “Autopilot” and Nissan’s “ProPilot” meant the vehicle could drive themselves. Currently, no Level 5 (fully autonomous) self-driving car is available anywhere in the world. Autopilot and ProPilot are considered Level 2 systems and require driver attention and, when necessary, driver participation. 

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