Ford is on its way to unveiling their brand new Explorer, an SUV that’s been a staple in their line-up for what seems like ever. In its current form, the 5th-generation model has served the Blue Oval since 2011, with the upcoming version having it step down after 9 years in production.
While the Explorer has undergone numerous iterative year-on-year improvement to mask its age, its modernity is indeed starting to sag. Looking fresh on the outside wasn’t a big ask for it, and its long service life made it a prime candidate for duty in law enforcement.
In recent years, it has been known more as the default choice for police departments in the United States, already comprising of two-thirds of new police vehicle sales there. It’s fitting then, that on cusp of Ford revealing its all-new replacement, it would come in the form of this Police Interceptor, replete with menacing bull bars, full black exterior with ‘Police’ side decals, and flashing blue/red lights.
The all-new Explorer doesn’t bring to the table a long list of noteworthy or particularly bold design changes - for all intents and purposes, it looks like a typical Ford SUV from 2019. Instead, here Ford is keen to highlight the SUV’s improvements under the skin as well as its hybrid powertrain. A much more efficient replacement to the petrol swilling 3.7-litre V6 that powered the outgoing car.
This particular Explorer shown here is also pursuit rated, meaning that it doesn’t skimp on speed and acceleration. Ford is remaining tight lipped on the exact specifications, but concedes that the electric drive system assists a 3.3-litre naturally aspirate V6 and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
While this should be the most conservative with its fuel reserves, especially in town, it’s the system output and torque figure that should be the most useful in high speed police work. Having said that, it’s not the only configuration Ford is making available to law enforcement. Alternatively, the same 3.3-litre engine can be had without the hybrid system and a gutsy 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 is also available. In its most potent configuration, it can even out-sprint some V8-powered pursuit vehicles in active service.
According to the projected numbers, the hybrid Explorer-based Police Interceptor boasts a 41 percent improve fuel economy over the current units equipped with the aforementioned 3.7-litre V6, potentially saving the police departments - and taxpayers - millions (between $118m and $193m if applied to 2017 sales) or “43 million gallons of fuel”.
“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.”