Look Out! Ford Introduces All-New Police Interceptor Utility

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

Ford has readied an all-new Police Interceptor Utility vehicle for the 2020 model year. If you’re used to keeping an eye out for Crown Vics or Dodge Chargers, consider yourself warned.

Custom tuned for law enforcement, this pursuit-rated SUV is essentially a modified version on the next-generation Explorer, which is set to go on sale later this year. To better serve municipalities across the country, Ford’s latest Police Interceptor Utility incorporates numerous special features and a handful of thoughtful touches to make living with a badge just a little easier.

One of this new model’s most important improvements is found under the hood. A standard hybrid powertrain will be offered, something that has the potential to save taxpayers money in fuel bills every year.

If they’re not running at redline in hot pursuit of scofflaws, police vehicles spend untold hours idling in order to power radios, emergency lights, onboard computers and other crime-fighting hardware. This is the perfect use case for a hybridized drivetrain.

The one found in this new Police Interceptor Utility vehicle is centered around a 3.3-liter gasoline V6 and an advanced lithium-ion battery, a pack that does not intrude at all into the vehicle’s interior. For municipalities that prefer something more conventional, a non-hybrid powertrain with that same engine is offered, as is a muscular 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that should deliver around 400 horsepower (that’s what it’s projected to provide in the related Lincoln Aviator luxury SUV).

SEE ALSO: 2020 Lincoln Aviator Debuts With 600 Lb-Ft Turbo PHEV Drivetrain

All powerplants matched a 10-speed automatic transmission. Full-time intelligent all-wheel drive is standard across the board as well.

When it comes to dollars and cents, Ford’s latest police-ready model is projected to arrive with a combined fuel economy rating of 24 miles per gallon, a 41 percent improvement over today’s interceptor utility equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine. That gain could reduce fuel costs anywhere between $3,500 and $5,700 annually per vehicle, figures based on gasoline prices between $2.75 and $4.50 per gallon. Naturally, powertrain is better for the environment as well since it has the potential to greatly reduce CO2 emissions.

But don’t think you’ll be able to outrun this new cop car because it’s a hybrid. According to Ford, in recent testing by Michigan State Police it was the fastest model evaluated, with the fastest zero-to-100-mile-an-hour acceleration, fastest overall lap time and fastest average lap time. It delivered the greatest top speed as well, maxing out at 137 miles an hour. The only vehicle that proved to be quicker was the new Police Interceptor Utility powered by the 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

For added safety, this new vehicle meets 75-mile-an-hour rear-impact crash standards thanks to additional safety-cell construction and an underlying architecture that’s made largely of high-strength boron steel. It can also drive right over curbs up to eight-inches high, tackle a foot and a half of water at 15 miles an hour or 10 inches of H2O at 40.

The 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicle also features standard LED headlamps, reconfigurable steering-wheel switches and a Class III receiver that allows it to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Explorer Set to Debut on January 9

Further simplifying things, this law enforcement-focused SUV features heavy-duty cloth covered front seats for long-term durability. The side bolsters have also been reduced for greater comfort and easier ingress and egress. Remember, officers wear bulky utility belts and carry lots of gear on their person. The rear bench and floor are covered in vinyl for easy cleanup.

Further enhancing safety is available driver-assistance technology like pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. This feature can be disabled at the push of a button, so officers can still take advantage of vehicle-immobilization techniques as required.

The 2020 Police Interceptor Utility aims to build on Ford’s dominance in the law-enforcement field. Currently, the blue oval accounts for two-thirds of police-vehicle sales in the United States. This new model should help it continue outpacing rival automakers in this department.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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