The best new electric & hybrid cars
The world’s largest automakers descended upon tinsel town to show off a smattering of more conventional vehicles for the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.
California has long been a testing ground for alternative powertrains, making Los Angeles the perfect venue to showcase new environmentally friendly offerings. But clean vehicles weren’t the only stars on the automotive red carpet. Despite millions of investment dollars in electrification, the show proved that gas is still king.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford is taking a big risk using one of its most iconic badges—the Mustang—to make a big splash in the electric vehicle segment. According to the company, it originally set out to build a “compliance car” (one designed to comply with California law requiring automakers that sell at least 60,000 vehicles per year in the state to hit a certain sales quota for zero-emissions autos) that would only be available in certain markets. Instead, it pivoted to build an electrified vehicle inspired by the Mustang sport coupe. Something that is “state of the art, cutting edge and exciting,” according to people within the company.
As such, a new pony car was born. The Mach-E is technically a small SUV. When it comes to market in 2020, the less expensive trims configured in rear-wheel-drive will carry a 75.5-kilowatt per hour battery that can travel 230 miles on a single charge, which is the same as Tesla’s Model Y when similarly outfitted. More upscale trims will have a 98.8-kWh battery with a 300-mile range. The most powerful Mach-E will deliver 459 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque.
In addition to power and range, the Mach-E will offer 29 cubic feet of storage behind the back seats, which expands to nearly 60 with the seats down. There’s also an additional 4.8 cubic feet of cargo space under the vehicle’s hood where a conventional engine would typically sit. Prices will start around $44,000.
2020 Audi e-TRON Sportback
The much-awaited 2019 Audi e-Tron SUV went on sale last May. Now, Audi brings us the e-Tron Sportback. It has a more sloped roofline compared with the jelly bean silhouette of the current SUV. The shape improves its aerodynamics and boosts the overall range of the vehicle to 277 miles, a 22-mile increase over the existing e-Tron.
The Sportback is powered by two electric motors–one on the front axle and the other on the rear. The motors deliver a combined output of 402 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. When not in use, the motors shut down to save energy.
Audi also replaced traditional side mirrors with skinny, wing-shaped virtual ones to reduce drag. These smaller mirrors use high-definition cameras instead of a reflective surface to capture the vicinity in their field of vision. The image is displayed on a OLED screen between the instrument panel and the door. The mirrors can adjust to three driving scenarios: on the highway, when turning and during parking maneuvers. It’s one of the options that will be offered on the $80,000 SUV when it goes on sale late next year.
2021 Tesla Cybertruck
Though Tesla’s Cybertruck won’t be spotted anywhere in the convention center, the truck still grabbed a piece of the limelight. Any way you look at it, Tesla’s Cybertruck–CEO Elon Musk’s name for the company’s new electric pickup–is one odd duckling. It’s a mash-up of a vehicle you’d find in one of the Road Warrior movies and Marty McFly’s DeLorean.
The futuristic vehicle starts at $39,900 and will come in three variants with one, two or three electric motors providing propulsion. The single-motor base model of the Cybertruck will allegedly achieve 250 miles of range or more on a full battery, with a 3,500-pound payload limit and 7,500-pound towing capacity–all for basically the same price as the entry-level Model 3 and Model Y. The dual-motor version of the truck, which is supposed to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds, will eventually cost $49,900. The three-motor model will supposedly have a 500-plus mile range and 14,000-pound towing capacity. The first two versions are set to go into production in late 2021 .
The Cybertruck will also reportedly offer great off-road prowess thanks to adaptive air suspension and up to 16 inches of ground clearance. Adding to the adventure, Tesla’s website is showcasing the truck with an exclusive trailer and other camping equipment, hinting the company will also sell accessories.
VW ID. Space Vizzion
The rollout of Volkswagen’s ID. Series–yes, it has a period in the name–continues with the global debut of its seventh member: the Space Vizzion concept, a wagon version of the all-electric ID. Vizzion it revealed at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Like the original Vizzion, the Space Vizzion is based on the company’s modular electric drive matrix. Volkswagen said the concept wagon would have an 82-kWh battery pack that will travel an estimated 300 miles and have the horsepower equivalent of about 340 horses when configured with its 4Motion all-wheel drivetrain.
The Space Vizzion’s exterior styling boasts a stark white and black contrast and a lot of lighting features, including special effects when it’s powered on and off. Its low-slung hood is an obvious nod to optimized aerodynamics. Wild lighting also dons the interior along with a 15.6-inch touchscreen that “hovers” in the middle of the cockpit.
2020 Land Rover Defender
Two decades ago, Land Rover retired the Defender from its sport-utility vehicle lineup, leaving a gap in the lineup. Now, it’s reviving the legendary nameplate.
The all-new 2020 Defender debuted globally in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show and made its first North American appearance this week in Los Angeles. The new Defender comes in two sizes: a two-door 90 or a longer, four-door 110. It can be powered by either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine or a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that will use a mild hybrid system to improve fuel efficiency. A plug-in hybrid will eventually join the lineup.
The Defender will also feature multiple trims, including the base, S, SE and HSE. The top of the line X and limited-run First Edition will also be available. A pop-up jump seat in between the drive and passenger seats can be added as an option in either configuration.
Different “packs” such as the Adventure pack or the Explorer pack can be layered on top to further customize the Defender to the buyer’s lifestyle. Land Rover also created 170 Defender accessories that can be purchased a la carte. The larger 110 will go on sale this coming spring and the 90 will follow later in the summer. Price starts around $51,000.
2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP
Mini debuted its fastest Cooper yet, the John Cooper Works GP, a two-seater based on the Mini 3-door built for racing enthusiasts. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo boosted engine paired with an eight-speed sports transmission, the JCW GP delivers 306 horsepower (75 horses more than the standard JCW model) and can move from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. During testing, it completed a lap on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife in less than eight minutes beating its predecessor by 30 seconds. The new JCW GP also features a high-performance braking system and a rigid body structure, engine and suspension connection. Exterior styling includes a roof spoiler, front and rear aprons and flared carbon wheel arch covers. The mighty compact will have a limited run of 3,000 models.
2020 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring
The Lincoln Corsair SUV, which replaced the automaker’s MKC and went on sale earlier this year, now has a plug-in hybrid powertrain option that offers a 25-mile range on battery alone. The plug-in powertrain option is the second to be added to the lineup behind the Aviator Grand Touring. The Corsair uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with two electric motors and an electric all-wheel-drive system that delivers a combined output of 266 horsepower. There are five standard drive modes on the Grand Touring: Normal, Conserve, Excite, Slippery and Deep Conditions. Two additional modes–Preserve EV and Pure EV–help the driver toggle in and out of battery mode to either re-charge or keep it running on electric power only. The Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring will go on sale next summer.
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime
Toyota continues to widen the appeal of its fifth-generation RAV4, which was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. The company is adding a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the lineup dubbed the RAV4 Prime. The compact SUV will be powered by a specially tuned 176-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine–the same as its hybrid counterpart–that’s boosted by a pair of electric motors. It will also the same electric all-wheel-drive system as the hybrid. The powertrain will deliver a combined 302 horsepower–83 more than the current RAV4 hybrid–and travel 39 miles on battery power alone. The RAV4 Prime will be available in two sporty trims: SE and XSE. The RAV4 The RAV4 Prime will go on sale this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced.
2021 Aston Martin DBX
Aston Martin revealed its first SUV, the DBX, after a century of manufacturing performance-oriented sports cars and grand tourers. Priced at an astronomical $189,000, the DBX will offer buyers a combination of sportscar driving characteristics and off-road capability. It will be powered by a 4-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine that delivers 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
The powertrain features a cylinder deactivation system that will enhance fuel economy, and its all-wheel drivetrain has active central differential and an electronic rear limited slip differential for extra control in varying conditions. The DBX also boasts a convenient 40/20/40 split in the rear seats for flexible cargo carrying as well as 22.3 cubic feet of truck space behind the second row. With the rear folded, storage expands to 54 cubic feet.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
Did you know that when the Corvette debuted in 1953 it was only available as a convertible? The hardtop convertible model of the new Chevrolet mid-engine Corvette Stingray took up prime real estate under the bright lights of the LA Convention Center. Its two-piece hardtop can be activated at up to 30 mph and retract in as few as 16 seconds thanks to six electric motors. Like the Stingray coupe, the convertible is powered by a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine that delivers 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission for super-fast shifting and superior power transfer.