Ford Motor Company has revealed its new Police Interceptor utility. The SUV, along with the new Taurus-based Interceptor sedan that Ford unveiled earlier this year, will replace the Crown Victoria Interceptor sedan when it ceases production in late 2011. The utility reportedly gets at least 20 percent better fuel economy than the Crown Vic, and sports a variety of other features that Ford hopes will make it the vehicle of choice for car-shopping police forces.

The SUV has a 3.5 liter V6 engine (the Vic has a 4.6 liter V8) which delivers at least 280 hp. It has a six-speed automatic transmission that combines lowered initial gears for peppier acceleration, with higher gearing for improved efficiency when cruising at lower rpm’s. As compared to Ford’s civilian SUVs, the utility has larger, higher-performing brakes, a beefier alternator, and a larger radiator. Its AWD drivetrain also features a water-cooled power transfer unit.

Like the new sedan, its interior features front seats designed to accommodate utility belts, and a column-mounted shifter that frees up space in the console area. The back seats are upholstered in easy-to-wipe-down vinyl, and fold flat to provide extra cargo room. The rear cargo space is designed to carry loads of up to 800 pounds (363 kg.).

Some of the vehicle’s other features include side-curtain air bags, curve control technology to lessen the chances of highway flip-overs, the AdvanceTrak system for minimizing wheel slip, and the Blind Spot Information System that uses radar to detect vehicles in the driver’s blind spot, and alerts the driver to oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking spot. All of these features, incidentally, are available on Ford’s regular vehicles.

The utility also has re-mappable steering wheel controls, which allow officers to create custom controls such as voice-activated lights and sirens. Sounds like fun.

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