With its sights set on the law enforcement market, Ford has unveiled its latest Interceptor at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Powered by a 3.7-liter V6 or 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, the new all-wheel drive 2016 Police Interceptor Utility packs a number of clever features designed to help officers better deal with the specific challenges faced in the course of day-to-day patrol work.
The first of these is called Surveillance Mode, which warns the car's occupants when someone is approaching from behind and automatically raises the driver's window and locks all the doors – a feature that Ford claims is an industry first.
After feedback from those who bought the previous Interceptor, Ford has also added a remote tailgate release that unlocks the boot for 45 seconds before automatically re-locking it if unopened. Although these features may sound like small things, Ford has focused on responding to feedback of the police forces that forked out for the previous model.
Despite being a police car, the Interceptor is still fitted with some of the tech from Ford’s ever-growing of suite of driver aids. Blind spot warning, cross traffic alerts and reverse parking sensors are all available as options, while the brand’s SYNC system allows officers to control a broad range of the car’s functions with their voices.
There are two powertrain options for the new vehicle, including an EcoBoost engine for officers who want a bit more power under their right foot. The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V6, producing 304 hp (227 kW) and 378 Nm (279 lb.ft) of torque, while a 3.5-liter EcoBoost offers an extra 61 hp (45 kW) and 96 Nm (71 lb.ft) over the standard motor. All-wheel drive is standard on all Interceptors, while a specially calibrated automatic gearbox puts all that power down.
This specially-calibrated gearbox features one major nod to the Interceptor's intended market in the form of its Pursuit Mode, where the gearbox automatically detects aggressive driving and, when engaged, holds onto gears for longer. Pursuit mode is even calibrated to perform a J-turn, so drivers can accelerate hard in reverse, swing the car round and take off facing the right direction.
Supplementing Ford’s recalibration efforts are reinforced subframe mounts, heavy-duty powertrain mounts and larger-diameter springs in the suspension, all designed to make the Interceptor tough enough for pursuit duties, while boron-steel reinforcements in the car’s a-pillars improve structural rigidity.
The job of stopping the Interceptor falls to a set of brakes that Ford describes as “designed to withstand excessive use,” with extra cooling provided by the car’s 18-inch wheel design. Even the Interceptor’s tires have been specially designed to survive the rigors that police life will throw at it – Ford claims that some cars will cover over 50,000 miles (80,467 Km) per year.
Ford will build the Interceptor Utility in Chicago, before sending it to Troy Design and Manufacturing – one of the US giant’s subsidiaries – where the Interceptor is fitted with its lights and police liveries.