It's the 2020 Ford Explorer wearing a bit of body armor.
Update: Live photos from the Detroit Auto Show added to the gallery below.
The covers are lifted on Ford’s new crime-fighting machine for police officers around the country. The 2020 Police Interceptor Utility promises added protection for the boys and girls in blue while also delivering better fuel mileage and reduced emissions with its hybrid powertrain.
To address the elephant in the room, yes this is also the new Ford Explorer. Ford takes care not to mention the name since technically the new Explorer hasn’t been revealed yet. As such, there are quite a few details left to our imagination on this new interceptor but we do know it’s pretty badass, and not just because it’s black with a big push bar up front. It’s equipped with a Police Perimeter Alert system that monitors 270 degrees around the SUV and can analyze the movement of bad guys. It can also automatically secure the vehicle by locking doors and rolling up windows, and the system even creates motion trails on perps outside so officers can track their movements.
On the mechanical side, the interceptor gets an upgraded cooling system, specially tuned brakes, cop-spec steel wheels, and additional reinforcement to help it withstand eight-inch curb impacts and high-speed crossings over medians and railroad tracks. It also meets 75-mph rear-impact crash standards and can wade through 18 inches of water.
Gallery: 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility
Of course, the big news is the hybrid powertrain. Ford says the 3.3-liter hybrid setup returns an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined mileage rating. Compared to the current Ford Interceptor Utility, the company estimates police agencies could save between $3,500 and $5,700 on annual fuel costs per vehicle. Furthermore, Ford says testing done by the Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department showed the new hybrid Interceptor was faster than the outgoing model in all acceleration tests.
In addition to the hybrid arrangement, Ford will also offer standard powertrain configurations in its new Police Interceptor, including the 3.0-liter EcoBoost and a non-hybrid 3.3-liter V6. The 3.3-liter hybrid will be the standard setup, and all engines are backed by a new 10-speed automatic with full-time all-wheel drive.
Given the new Interceptor is built on the not-yet-revealed 2020 Ford Explorer, additional specifics such as power will likely come later. We don't have long to wait, because the civilian version of the popular SUV is scheduled to debut January 9.
Photos: Chris Amos Photography
All-New Ford Police Interceptor is the Future of Pursuit-Rated
Powerful yet efficient new powertrains and custom Ford technologies to help keep officers
safe build on Ford’s police vehicle dominance in North America
All-new 2020 Police Interceptor Utility, with standard hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain, will
save police agencies and taxpayers as much as $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs*
over current Police Interceptor Utility equipped with 3.7-liter gas engine
Technologies exclusive to Ford’s all-new Police Interceptor Utility – including Police
Perimeter Alert and Ford Telematics™ – help elevate safety and fleet management for law
enforcement officials across the country
DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 4, 2019 – Already accounting for nearly two-thirds of police vehicle
sales in the United States, Ford believes it has found the key to continue winning over the
hearts of the law enforcement community – even better-performing vehicles that keep officers
safer and save departments, and taxpayers, money.
Led by a new hybrid variant of its popular Police Interceptor Utility, Ford’s new lineup of pursuitrated
vehicles aims to build upon its 65 percent of U.S. police vehicle sales in 2017.
When the all-new Police Interceptor Utility takes to the streets in 2019, that lineup will include
Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, F-150 Police Responder, Expedition SSV, F-150 SSV, Transit
PTV and SSV Plug-In Hybrid Sedan.
Hybrid technology is ideal for law enforcement – and taxpayers – because of the potential for
significant idle-time fuel and cost savings. When police vehicles are stationary, a conventional
gasoline engine must run continuously to power emergency lighting, radios, computers and
other on-board electrical equipment. The Police Interceptor Hybrid’s powertrain allows the
engine to shut off for extended periods, powering the electrical equipment via its lithium-ion
hybrid battery, helping achieve significant reductions in fuel usage and CO2 emissions.
“Our Police Interceptor Utility’s standard hybrid powertrain provides the potential for significant
fuel savings with improved performance and no tradeoffs in safety or interior passenger or cargo
space,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. “It’s a win-win-win formula
for law enforcement.”
The all-new 2020 Police Interceptor Utility hybrid has a projected EPA-estimated rating of 24
mpg combined, a 41 percent improvement over the current Police Interceptor Utility equipped
with a 3.7-liter gas engine. Projections indicate the first pursuit-rated hybrid police utility will
save between $3,500 and $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs versus the current Police
Interceptor Utility*. If those savings were applied to every Police Interceptor Utility sold in 2017,
it would equate to between $118 million and $193 million*, or more than 43 million gallons of
In recent testing by Michigan State Police, the all-new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid had the
fastest 0-100 mph acceleration, fastest lap, fastest average lap and highest top speed of 137
mph, versus competitive police utility vehicles tested, including V8-powered entries. The only
faster entry was its cousin – Ford Police Interceptor Utility powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost®
And at Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department testing, the new Police Interceptor Utility
hybrid bested the outgoing 3.7-liter model in 0-60 mph by 1.1 seconds and 0-100 mph by 4.7
seconds. It also turned a fastest lap time that was 2.4 seconds better than the 3.7-liter and
fastest average lap time that was 1.7 seconds better.
As is the case with other Ford hybrids, there is simply no compromise in terms of functionality.
The Police Interceptor Utility platform was engineered around its lithium-ion battery, which does
not intrude into the cargo area, meaning there are no tradeoffs in passenger volume, cargo
volume behind the first row, cargo volume behind the second row or total interior volume – in
fact, most of these measurements improve over the current vehicle.
Using technology to keep officers safer
The all-new Police Interceptor Utility introduces a number of advanced innovations designed for
Factory-installed Police Perimeter Alert uses sensors to monitor an approximately 270-degree
area around the vehicle. It analyzes nearby movement to detect potentially threatening
behavior. When such motion is detected, the system automatically turns on the rear camera,
sounds a chime, rolls up the windows and locks the doors. Motion trails of the detected threat
appear on the digital instrument cluster so officers can monitor.
Ford also equips its new Police Interceptor Utility and Police Responder Hybrid Sedan with a
Ford modem and two years of complimentary Ford Telematics™ service that enables timely
feedback of vehicle usage and location to agency fleet managers.
“Officers take care of people in our communities, so we feel it’s important that our vehicles help
take care of our officers,” Tyler said.
Available driver-assist technology includes Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency
braking, which features Pedestrian Detection and forward collision warning. A unique disable
switch for law enforcement allows officers to temporarily override the system to perform
precision immobilization technique maneuvers when necessary.
Additional optional equipment includes Rear Camera On-Demand, which allows officers to view
behind the vehicle at the touch of a button, and a host of factory-installed and factory-sealed
wiring and lighting packages that offer agencies turnkey solutions.
Purpose-built features include heavy-duty cloth front seats with reduced bolsters for comfort and
easy entry and exit for officers. Vinyl rear seats and vinyl flooring enable easy cleanup. Anti-stab
plates in the rear of the front seat backs help protect officers from potential threats.
Three powertrain options for the all-new Police Interceptor Utility include a standard 3.3-liter
hybrid, plus available 3.0-liter EcoBoost® and 3.3-liter V6 engines. All are powered by a new 10-
speed automatic transmission and feature standard full-time Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and
deep snow/sand traction control mode.
Ford Police Interceptors remain the only vehicles in the world engineered to meet Ford’s
stringent 75-mph rear-impact crash standard. The federal standard for such testing is 50 mph.
Additionally, safety cell construction directs collision force around the occupant compartment,
and features advanced ultra-high-strength boron steel, crumple zones that absorb and dissipate
crash energy, and SPACE architecture that provides structural reinforcement and side-impact
Police Interceptor Utility is tested for enhanced police durability, including improved cooling,
specially tuned braking system, front-door tethers, and police-purposed steel wheels, tires and
hubcaps that are designed to withstand the rigors of a chase. The vehicle is also tested for
eight-inch curb impact, median crossing and 30-mph railroad crossing validation, and water
fording to 18 inches at 15 mph and 10 inches at 40 mph.
“Whether patrolling or sitting idle, the all-new Police Interceptor Utility will change the way
officers work,” said Bill Gubing, chief engineer for Police Interceptor Utility and Ford Explorer.
“Everything about it was designed for keeping police officers safe, comfortable and ready for
Other standard equipment includes Bluetooth™ pass-through commands to mobile devices, to
help officers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, low- and high-beam LED
headlamps, four user-configurable steering wheel switches, a Class III trailer tow receiver with
5,000-pound capacity and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
A proud history of outfitting law enforcement
The popularity of Ford police vehicles continues a history that spans nearly seven decades. In
that time, Ford has outfitted law enforcement with purpose-built vehicles based on some of its
most popular nameplates.
In 1950, Ford became the first manufacturer to offer a police package vehicle, focusing then –
as it does now – on safety, durability, performance and the attributes of being purpose-built and
upfit-friendly. The Interceptor name debuted on the optional 110-horsepower flathead V8 engine
By 1961, 58 percent of police vehicles in use in the 50 largest U.S. cities were Ford models. An
emphasis on delivering total performance – including driving dynamics such as acceleration,
braking and cornering – continued throughout the 1960s.
The Crown Victoria name was given to the Police Interceptor in 1983. Its available police
package featuring an optional 351-cubic-inch 5.8-liter high-output V8 helped make it the
preferred choice of municipalities across North America for decades.
Ford discontinued the once-ubiquitous V8-equipped Crown Victoria in 2011, and since then, its
new Police Interceptors – most notably, Police Interceptor Utility – have continued to refortify
law enforcement fleets. In 2017, Ford Police Interceptor Utility alone accounted for more than
half of all police vehicle sales in the United States, outselling all other police vehicles combined.