Ford Introduces Pursuit-Rated Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid
Explorer-Based Law Enforcement Vehicle Gets Hybrid Power Standard
Ford teased the all-new Police Interceptor Utility with hybrid power, the first pursuit-rated hybrid vehicle from the company. The Police Interceptor Utility’s hybrid system will be the standard powertrain—replacing the gas-only 3.7L V-6—although Ford confirmed the new SUV would be available with other engine options as well. We assume a powerful 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 will still be on offer. Unfortunately, the company wouldn’t cop to powertrain details of the new hybrid.
Replacing the outgoing Police Interceptor Utility, the SUV is likely based on the next-generation Ford Explorer, which will ride on an all-new, rear-wheel-drive platform. Ford representative Dan Jones wouldn’t confirm this, but he did say that police departments and government agencies make decisions earlier than consumers and the company wanted to be ready for this summer’s law enforcement bid cycle. Reading between the lines, we presume that means the Police Interceptor Utility was revealed before its Explorer platform-mate in order to drum up excitement from the boys in blue.
“We will have more to say about the Explorer at a later date,” Jones said.
Ford previewed the new Police Interceptor Utility with two shadowy photos that don’t reveal much. Up front, the Police Interceptor Utility gets the usual bumper bar, lighting, and siren accouterment. It looks like two-element LEDs power the more angular headlamps. In the past, it was easy to write off a following vehicle as a civilian if it had HID or LED headlamps. That won’t be the case anymore.
A side profile teaser lends more credence to the Police Interceptor Utility's rumored all-new platform. A shorter front overhang—dictated by a longitudinal engine layout and rear-drive–biased powertrain—stands in stark contrast to the outgoing Utility’s soccer-mom silhouette. An upswept beltline looks very Range Rover–ish as well. Many police officers bemoaned the loss of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which somehow offered plenty of “cool” in spite of its plebian roots. If the new PI Utility is as slick as these teasers make it appear, it might make the sting of the CVPI’s death go away.
With that standard hybrid powertrain, Ford says the new Police Interceptor Utility will offer an estimated 24 mpg combined, a 40 percent improvement over the outgoing PI Utility’s 3.7L V-6. Ford also claims that each hybridized Police Interceptor Utility would save law enforcement agencies about $3,200 a year in fuel costs, a number that adds up quickly when spread across an agency’s entire fleet. For example, if those savings were applied to every PI Utility sold in 2017, it would add up to at least 120 million bucks (and 43 million gallons of gasoline) saved.
The company also says the hybrid powertrain doesn’t infringe on passenger or cargo space. Furthermore, a Class III trailering system will enable a 5,000-pound towing capacity. Ford makes a federal case of safety, touting the Police Interceptor Utility’s 75-mph rear impact rating and Police Perimeter Alert, which protects against assailants sneaking up on a parked vehicle from behind. If the vehicle senses threatening behavior using its blind spot monitoring system, it chimes an alert, rolls up the windows, and locks the doors.
The Ford Police Interceptor Utility, likely a 2020 model, will go on sale next summer, and expect it to continue to be one of the most popular law enforcement vehicles.