Ford unveils hybrid Escape for 2003 launch
Ford Motor Co. unveiled a hybrid-drive version of its new Escape sport-utility. The Escape HEV, scheduled to go on sale in calendar 2003, is powered by an electric motor linked to a four-cylinder gasoline engine. Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. will be the exclusive supplier of the nickel-metal hydride battery system, Ford said.
Mustang with a Bullitt
Ford also announced that it will produce the Mustang Bullitt GT, a performance model inspired by the 1968 Mustang Fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt. The car features a 4.6-liter single overhead cam V-8 producing an estimated 275 hp; suspension modifications for a lower, firmer ride; and exterior styling enhancements that include a rock-panel molding enhancement to create a low-to-the-ground appearance.
Leganza gets an update
Daewoo Motor America showed an updated Leganza and a new compact minivan scheduled to be introduced in mid-2002. The Leganza full-sized sedan will come with a 2.5-liter inline-six that produces 180 hp. It will go into production in April 2002. The minivan, based on the compact Nubira platform, will go into production for U.S. delivery in June 2002. Powered by an I-4, its target price will be around $16,000.
More power to Acura
Acura Division unveiled significant mid-cycle changes for the 3.5RL and 3.2TL lines. The 2002 3.2TL gets a Type S variant with a more powerful V-6 engine that turns out 260 hp and 232 pounds-feet of torque. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, stiffened suspension, bolstered seats and stability assist system with traction control. The 2002 3.5RL flagship gains 15 hp and 7 pounds-feet of torque, to 225 and 231, respectively, as well as wider tires, improved insulation, a stiffened suspension, thicker stabilizer bar and the addition of OnStar system. All models will arrive in the spring.
Limited-edition VWs bow
Volkswagen of America showed limited-edition variants of its New Beetle and Jetta lines. VW will build 5,000 copies of the 2001 Beetle Sport, which features a 1.8-liter turbo engine, 17-inch wheels, glass sunroof, leather seats with cold package and Monsoon CD stereo system, for $21,475 including freight. A 2001 Jetta Wolfsburg trim package goes on sale this month with a 1.8-liter turbo engine, sport-tuned suspension, leather steering wheel and shifter, 16-inch BBS wheels and sport seats, for $20,125. VW expects to sell 20,000 Jetta Wolfsburgs.