The Ford Bronco Sport platform is the basis for the Maverick small truck that arrives for the 2022 model year. Expect the same engines. PHOTO: FORD

The Ford Bronco Sport platform is the basis for the Maverick small truck that arrives for the 2022 model year. Expect the same engines. PHOTO: FORD

The Auto Sleuth: Hot off the press news from the auto world

Maverick wait is nearly over, a new electric truck, an Audi rival to the Escalade + more

Following much teasing, Ford is close to releasing full details and images of its new compact pickup that arrives for 2022.

The Maverick, smaller than the midsize Ranger, uses the same platform as the recently arrived Bronco Sport (as does the Ford Escape). It’s also designed more for urban pursuits than rigorous commercial-grade tasks. Towing will be limited to 2,000 pounds (910 kilograms). Competitors include the Honda Ridgeline and coming Hyundai Santa Cruz.

The Mexico-built Maverick will be available in front- and all-wheel-drive and with the Bronco Sport’s 181-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder and the optional 245-horsepower 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder.

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Meet yet another electric truck 

Startup automaker Alpha Motors of California is getting in on the electric-pickup market.

The compact-sized, retro-styled Alpha Wolf and the Ace coupe will both head to market sometime in 2023. The Wolf will be available in front-wheel-drive using a single electric motor, or with all-wheel-drive version using a second motor in the back.

The Alpha Wolf is an electric pickup that comes in front- and all-wheel-drive models. Look for it for the 2023 model year. PHOTO: ALPHA MOTORS

The Alpha Wolf is an electric pickup that comes in front- and all-wheel-drive models. Look for it for the 2023 model year. PHOTO: ALPHA MOTORS

Power ratings haven’t been announced, but Alpha claims the Wolf will have a driving range of between 250 and 275 miles (400 and 440 kilometres), depending on drivetrain, and can accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in 6.2 seconds. Pricing starts at $36,000 in the United States.

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Wagoneers Ho!

In case you’re not aware, Jeep is expanding its lineup with an elongated Jeep Grand Cherokee that has three rows of seats. It’s also reintroducing the long-dormant Wagoneer brand for 2022 and positioning it atop the lineup.

Jeep is expanding its lineup with an elongated Jeep Grand Cherokee that has three rows of seats.

Jeep is expanding its lineup with an elongated Jeep Grand Cherokee that has three rows of seats.

Both the eight-passenger Wagoneer and ultra-luxury Grand Wagoneer are based on the Ram pickup platform. That places them in the same league as the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and their GMC and Cadillac counterparts, as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.

There’ll also be plenty of power to throw around. The base Wagoneer will get a 392-horsepower 5.7-litre V-8 and the Grand Wagoneer will get a 471-horsepower 6.4. A hybrid option is also in the works.

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Audi is prepping a rival to the Cadillac Escalade 

Of all the different utility vehicles in the brand’s arsenal, a big and brash model that can accommodate up to eight passengers is notably absent. Meanwhile the Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X7, Lincoln Navigator and the all-dominating Escalade rule this particular roost.

Rumour has it that the coming Audi model will be called the Q9 and will be built using the same platform as the Q7 and Q8 tall wagons. A turbocharged V-8 engine and an optional plug-in hybrid system will likely be offered when the Q9 arrives in late 2022. A similarly sized, albeit less luxurious Volkswagen-branded offshoot of the Q9 is also anticipated.

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The Defender gets a bit of a stretch 

The current version of Land Rover’s iconic off-roader arrived for 2020 as the four-door 110 model, followed by the shorter two-door Defender 90 for 2021.

The Defender 130 is a stretched version of the 110, pictured, to make room for a third-row seat. PHOTO: LAND ROVER

The Defender 130 is a stretched version of the 110, pictured, to make room for a third-row seat. PHOTO: LAND ROVER

Now comes word that a stretched four-door Defender 130 is expected sometime in 2022. Using the same platform as the 110, it will keep the same distance between the front and rear wheels. There’ll be room enough for a third-row seat, however, to allow seating for up to eight passengers.

Both the current turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines will likely be available, along with a 518-horsepower-supercharged-V-8 option for 2022.

Also rumoured to arrive in the next few years is a pickup that’s based on the Defender 130.

UPS AND DOWNS

Down: Computer chip shortages – The problem of computer chip shortages, which affects nearly every automaker, is resulting in plant shutdowns and massive cuts to production for key vehicles such as the Ford F-150. The chips – also called semiconductors – are in short supply due to COVID-19. Most are manufactured abroad in countries such as Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

Up: Solid-state batteries – Volkswagen is the most recent automaker to announce plans to install lightweight, fast-charging and range-extending energy sources in its electric vehicles by mid-decade.

Other solid-state advantages are that they are less susceptible to overheating than liquid-based batteries and cost about half as much to produce. Volkswagen has teamed up with QuantumScape of San Jose, Calif., to supply the batteries for its various models.

– written by Wheelbase Media

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