Here's another reason to keep your eyes peeled for law enforcement driving the 2014 Ford Police Interceptor Utility: the automaker announced that the Explorer-based police vehicle will now be offered with an optional twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6.

Previously, the lone engine offered in the police-spec Explorer was a 3.7-liter V-6, which offered 304 hp and 279 lb-ft of torque. According to the Michigan State Police, that was enough power to move the Police Interceptor Utility from 0-60 mph in 7.96 seconds and attain a top speed of 132 mph.

2013 Ford Police Interceptor Utility rear three quarter 300x199 imageAlthough Ford says law enforcement users gave the PIU so equipped "very positive feedback," Gerry Koss, Ford's fleet marketing manager, notes the EcoBoost engine has been "their number 1 want in the Police Interceptor Utility."

As such, the twin-turbocharged, direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6 is now offered in the Police Interceptor Utility as optional equipment. Frankly, we're surprised it wasn't initially, given the Taurus-based Police Interceptor sedan is already offered with the EcoBoost V-6, and the civilian-grade Explorer Sport crossover is also available with the engine. As is the case in the Police Interceptor sedan law enforcement can pick up, the Police Interceptor Utility's Ecoboost V-6 is rated at 365 hp and 350 lb-ft, is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and only available with all-wheel-drive.

According to Bill Gubing, chief engineer for the Police Interceptor line, the new engine option is lockstep with Ford's strategy "of offering a choice of either sedan or utility vehicle based on a common platform, and sharing a large amount of common components, including powertrains, brakes, wheels/tires, seats, and maintenance items." Law enforcement fleets that already own EcoBoosted Police Interceptor sedans may be more interested in springing for the EcoBoosted Police Interceptor Utility despite a higher price tag, as it could allow for a streamlined, simplified parts inventory.

The addition of the EcoBoost engine to the Police Interceptor Utility is not the only recent enhancement Ford's made to its law enforcement product line. Weeks ago, the automaker announced a new "rear surveillance mode" feature for the 2014 Police Interceptors. By tapping into rear parking sensors, blind-spot detection sensors, and the rear-view camera, the system can alert officers within the vehicle to lurkers approaching from behind the vehicle.

Source: Ford