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Toyota Prius Gets Facelift And All-Wheel Drive For 2019

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2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e, in snow

The iconic hybrid car gains some off-road capabilities.

Toyota used the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil the updated 2019 Prius, which brings a refreshed exterior styling and, as a first, all-wheel drive.

According to the Japanese automaker, the Prius models with AWD-e technology is one of the most fuel efficient all-wheel-drive cars available in North America, with an estimated fuel economy rating of 52 mpg city, 48 mpg highway and 50 mpg combined that’s just two mpg lower across the board than the front-wheel-drive Prius.

The all-wheel drive system uses an independent magnet-less rear motor to drive the rear wheels when more traction is needed rather than an extra driveshaft and center differential, but only up to speeds of 43 mph (69 km/h). The system switches to front-wheel drive beyond that.

The Prius also benefits from a few styling tweak and interior upgrades for the 2019 model year, but not enough to make it less polarizing to look at. It comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense P safety suite, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist and dynamic cruise control.

The AWD Toyota Prius will be sold alongside the standard FWD Prius variant and Prius Eco model.

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e, in rain

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e, interior

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New Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid Is Ready To Fight Crime

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New, 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUV

When the all-new Ford Explorer suits up to protect and serve…

Ford has revealed the new Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid, its latest crime-fighting SUV for law enforcement officers in North America and possibly elsewhere.

Based on the 2020 Ford Explorer, the Police Interceptor Utility promises added protection for those in the line duty while also delivering better fuel mileage and reduced emissions than its predecessor. It features a Police Perimeter Alert system that not only provides 270 degrees monitoring around the vehicle, but can also analyze the movement of bad guys; can automatically secure the vehicle by locking doors and rolling up windows; and create motion trails on perpetrators outside so that officers can track their movements.

On the mechanical front, there is an optional hybrid powertrain that delivers an estimated fuel economy rating of 24 mpg combined rating, which is a a whopping 41 percent improvement over the 3.7-liter gas engine under the hood of the previous Police Interceptor Utility.

Interceptor Utility Hybrid also has better acceleration than the old 3.7L-engine equipped model, reaching 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) 1.1 second faster and shaving an impressive 4.7 seconds off the 100 mph (161 km/h) sprint.

According to Ford, the hybrid Utility could save up to 1,276 gallons (4,830 liters) of fuel per year in regular operations, a figure that’s based on 4.9 estimated hours of idling per eight hour shift, with two shifts daily.

A 3.0L EcoBoost and 3.3L V6 are available for state authorities looking for something more bit more old school. All three engine options are mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission and a permanent all-wheel drive system.

Other mechanical highlights include an upgraded cooling system, specially tuned brakes, cop-spec steel wheels, and additional reinforcement to help it withstand eight-inch curb impacts and high-speed crossings over medians and railroad tracks. It also meets 75-mph rear-impact crash standards and can wade through 18 inches of water.

New, 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUV, officers

New, 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUV, on duty

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Porsche 911 Hybrid Will Have Mild And Plug-in Hybrid Versions

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New Porsche 911 Carrera_4S, side view

The new 911 was designed to support various forms of hybrid technology.

The Porsche 911 hybrid is still a few years away, but when it eventually hits the market, it will be offered with both mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains during its planned seven-year life cycle.

In an interview with Autocar, Porsche’s sports car development boss August Achleitner revealed that the eighth-generation 911 (992) has been future-proofed with a series of engineering measures that allows it support either hybrid tech.

“We’ve taken the experience we gained with hybrid versions of the Cayenne and Panamera, as well as the 918 Spyder, and applied it to the new 911,” Achleitner stated. “In the future, this will allow us to offer it with pure-electric capability.”

To provide room for the battery and electric motor, engineers tweaked the 911’s updated 3.0L six-cylinder and eight-speed automatic transmission to allow a disc-shaped electric motor to be housed within the rear section of the transmission. The new gearset is actually 100 millimeters shorter.

Achleitner didn’t provide any performance details about the hybrid powertrain, but he did hint that the Panamera S E-Hybrid was used as a reference. And although Porsche has no plans for a fully electric 911 anytime soon, the 911 hybrid will be able to travel several miles in electric-only bode.

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Hybrid Cars

Next Jeep Grand Cherokee Will Offer Three Rows Of Seats, Plugin Hybrid

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Jeep Grand Cherokee Wheel

Jeep’s popular midsize SUV will be smarter, more practical and more fuel efficient.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has traditionally been a two-row, five passenger vehicle, but that’s going to change.

Sources that spoke with The Detroit News have revealed that the fifth generation Grand Cherokee will be offered with three rows of seats for the first time in model history. 

Jeep could retain the midsize proportions of the Grand Cherokee and squeeze the third seats behind the second row, which would make them ideal for small children but uncomfortable for normal-sized adults.

Alternatively, the company has at least considered providing two distinct versions of the SUV, a five passenger setup with midsize proportions and  a seven passenger setup with a stretched wheelbase to better accommodate a third row.

As another first for the nameplate, the new Grand Cherokee will also offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain and autonomous driving technology.

FCA will convert an idled engine in Detroit to assemble the SUV, as well as revive the Mack Avenue Engine II, which hasn’t been used since 2012.

The plant will create 400 new jobs.

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