Ford Motor Co. is preparing to launch two new SUV models that will feature plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Spy photographers recently spotted prototypes of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator and 2020 Ford Escape undergoing testing near Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.
The photos provide the first on-road look at the production versions of both vehicles.
The Lincoln Aviator Concept debuted in March at the 2018 New York International Auto Show. The vehicle featured a twin-turbocharged engine with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will be available when the Aviator goes on sale in 2019, executives said.
The Aviator prototype seen in Dearborn shares the wind-swept silhouette that debuted on the concept version. It also has camouflaged panels obscuring the port where a charging plug could be located. The prototype sports a sticker reading “DEF fuel only,” insinuating a diesel-powered engine is under the hood. This is likely a decoy, photographers said.
The production Aviator will debut Ford’s new rear-wheel-drive SUV platform, called the D6 Architecture. The D6 will also underpin the next generation of the brand’s popular Ford Explorer.
The compact Escape crossover seen by photographers features a more prominent charging port panel above the front left fender. Currently a two-row SUV, the Escape may also offer a three-row version when the new model goes on sale.
The Escape is Ford’s top-selling vehicle outside of its F-Series pickup trucks. The automaker sold more than 67,000 Escapes in the first quarter of 2018, a 12 percent decline compared with the same period last year.
The electrification of its SUV models is part of Ford’s effort to introduce plug-in and hybrid powertrains to its light trucks—a category that includes crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks.
Ford intends to introduce seven electrified vehicles in the coming years, including a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles.