Spy Shots: Lincoln Aviator and Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid SUVs

May 30, 2018 by Ryan ZumMallen, @Zoomy575M

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.

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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.

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  • 2020 Lincoln Aviator. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • 2020 Lincoln Aviator. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
  • 2020 Ford Escape. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
The photographers also captured interior photos. The design and layout largely stay true to the concept version with premium metal fittings including a dial in the center console to control vehicle settings. Buttons to put the transmission in gear sit above the dial. A large 12-inch touchscreen is mounted in the dashboard.

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.

The company plans to produce a plug-in hybrid version of the F-150 light duty pickup. Spy photographers saw that vehicle testing in early 2017.

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.

Read Next: First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado a Step Up from Previous Truck

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