Back in October Ford gave us a sneak peak and shared some police-department test results for its latest police pursuit Interceptor vehicle, which is based on the forthcoming 2020 Explorer. To review, the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility’s standard drivetrain is a 3.3-liter V-6 hybrid. Optional engines include a non-hybridized 3.3-liter V-6 and a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V-6. All are mated to a 10-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
Ford claims the hybrid’s electric gear fits outside the passenger and cargo area, exacting zero penalty in utility, and improving performance and handling (with the low-mounted battery improving weight distribution). Recapping the performance figures, Michigan State Police testing recorded a top speed of 137 mph for the hybrid and 149 mph for the EcoBoost, with 0-to-60-mph taking just 7.8 seconds for the hybrid, 7.3 for the 3.3, and 5.8 for the 3.0-liter EcoBoost. Overall performance was deemed superior to even the V-8 competition from Dodge and Chevy. A standard hitch with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds is retained.
The cats are still very much IN the bag on 2020 Explorer powertrain specifics for another week or so, but Bill Gubing—chief engineer for Explorer—was willing to talk about the police-grade upgrades. The engine is upgraded for pursuit duty and when its controller senses pursuit driving, it engages special tuning optimized for quicker throttle response, transmission logic, and reduced concern for fuel consumption. And no, this computer flash will NOT be available to civilians.
A Ford-exclusive feature is structural reinforcement to withstand a 75-mph rear impact. A structure of round and square high-strength steel tubing bolts to the rear half of the vehicle, adding about 180 pounds. (The federal standard is 50 mph.)
The interior is almost entirely de-chromed, a tiny 4-inch radio display screen leaves plenty of space for laptop screens below, while featureless and speakerless door panels provide easy cleaning and optional level-3 or level-4 ballistic protection. Automatic dual-zone climate controls allow continued cooling during engine-off hybrid operation.
One cool police feature leverages the rear parking and blind-spot warning sensors to provide a 270-degree Police Perimeter Alert feature that warns the officer of anyone approaching from behind, turning on the rear camera and sounding a warning chime. A modem and two years of complimentary Ford Telematics service aids with vehicle usage and location tracking. The rearview camera can also be switched on at any speed for monitoring traffic behind.
Burn a strong image of that grille into your memory banks, as it’s likely to show up in your rearview mirror sooner or later (Ford claims to have captured 65 percent of U.S. police vehicle sales in 2017).