As expected, Ford has debuted the 2016 Police Interceptor Utility at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Based on the freshened 2016 Ford Explorer, the 2016 Police Interceptor Utility has been adapted for use by police and law enforcement and developed “with input from the Ford Police Advisory Board to handle the extreme rigors of police duty”.
The Police Advisory Board was created by Ford to refine and develop future products that meet the needs of law enforcement agencies. The board was created in 2000 and consists of a rotating panel of 25 experts from the law enforcement community. The group has supplied Ford with customer feedback and served as a pilot group for products, programs and services.
So, what does the 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility bring to the table? A lot, actually. The most noticeable differences include a new front and rear design, new headlamps, and a new instrument panel. Interior and exterior dimensions remain the same for the 2016 model, but the 2016 Police Interceptor Utility goes beyond cosmetic updates.
For instance, an enhanced electrical system distributes electrical loads more efficiently, while available Surveillance Mode technology warns the driver when someone approaches the rear of the vehicle. Upon detection, the driver’s window automatically raises and all doors lock. Ford is the first manufacturer to bring this innovative feature to market.
As a direct response to customer feedback, Ford added a liftgate release switch, accessible to occupants in the front. It allows the rear liftgate mechanism to remain unlocked for 45 seconds before timing out, permitting officers to access the cargo area.
A rear camera with washer is standard for the 2016 model with a 4-inch screen in the center stack. As an option, the view from the camera can be seen in the rearview mirror.
The 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility comes standard with Ford’s 3.7-liter V6 producing 304 horsepower and 279 pound-feet of torque. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 good for 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque is optional. The choice in powerplants allowing agencies to select the engine that best meets their patrol requirements. In addition, the Police Interceptor Utility has standard all-wheel drive designed to deliver low-speed traction and high-speed handling and stability.
“From the heavy-duty suspension and powertrain offerings, to the unique steering and transmission calibrations, Ford Police Interceptor Utility is built to provide any law enforcement agency a vehicle ready to meet extremely demanding needs,” said Arie Groeneveld, chief engineer for the new Police Interceptor Utility.
Ford says that both engines have been calibrated to meet extreme test requirements defined by the Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Tests include aggressive driving on road courses and racetracks, braking and acceleration, top speed and city pursuit testing.
Meanwhile, the standard six-speed transmission features a unique Pursuit Mode specifically programmed for law enforcement use. The gearbox automatically switches from normal operation designed to save fuel to Pursuit Mode when it detects aggressive driving situations based on brake line pressure, deceleration and lateral acceleration rates.
Once in Pursuit Mode, the upshift and downshift performance of the transmission is optimized for aggressive driving, returning to fuel-save mode when it senses the aggressive driving is complete. The software is tuned to perform a reverse J-turn, which is when a reversing vehicle is spun 180 degrees and continues, face forward, without changing direction of travel.
In addition to unique cooling systems designed for extreme use, Police Interceptor also features custom-developed brakes designed to withstand excessive use. The 18-inch steel wheels have high venting characteristics to help cool the brakes.
The vehicle has been designed to stand up to the demands of police work, with heavy-duty powertrain mounts, reinforced subframe mounts and unique hubs and bearings. Larger-diameter springs are used in the suspension. The upgrades help ensure every Police Interceptor model can handle the extreme rigors of law enforcement work. Even the tires were specifically designed to meet durability and pursuit standards, with some departments logging as many as 50,000 miles per year.
We should also mention that the unibody structure of Police Interceptor Utility features boron steel in the A-pillar and a hydroformed, high-strength steel tube that runs the width of the vehicle to improve structural rigidity.
“Our Police Interceptor Utility is the best-selling police vehicle in America because we have a unique relationship with our customers,” said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford North American marketing manager for Police Vehicles. “By listening to the Ford Police Advisory Board, we have engineered a vehicle that officers love.”