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Ford’s Chicago-built 2016 Interceptor Utility comes equipped for the pursuit

Just ahead of its reveal the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, Ford has released details on the refreshed Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility vehicle. While a refresh of the police vehicle seemed inevitably to follow the announcement of the civilian Explorer’s 2016 refresh, the upgraded Interceptor brings more than just a new look.

In 2000, Ford created its own police advisory board, a rotating panel of experts in the law enforcement community. This group provides the automaker with feedback from law enforcement agencies and pilot tests many of the vehicles intended for service.

Some of the changes based on this feedback include an enhanced electrical system to more efficiently distribute the load for the equipment outfitted by each department (computers, radar, etc.), a liftgate release mechanism with a 45 second timer, and a rear view camera with a washer as standard.

Under the hood, the standard powerplant for the Interceptor Utility will be a 3.7-liter six-cylinder engine that puts out 304 horsepower and 279 pound-feet of torque. The 3.7-liter Ecoboost V6, which provides 350 hp and 350 pound-feet of torque, is also available. Either one you choose has a standard all-wheel drive system that rides on a fortified, heavy-duty suspension to deal with the rigors of police service.

A new addition to the standard six-speed transmission is a Pursuit Mode that switches things automatically when aggressive driving situations are detected. This is determined by sensor in the brake lines, as well as accelerometers noticing rapid forward and stopping movement. Once it kicks in, the system puts the fuel saving on hold for more power aggressive power mapping and ups the performance of the transmission, minimizing the delays between, say, rapidly reversing then switching to drive again in a pursuit situation.

Chicago was not an arbitrary choice for the reveal. All Interceptors come out of Ford’s Chicago assembly plant, where they then travel down the block to Try Design and Manufacturing, a Ford subsidiary, for its law enforcement upfitting.

Based on the Explorer, there are other available technology packages on the vehicle, like Ford’s SYNC system, BLIS blind spot and cross-traffic detecting radar system, and a reverse sensing system. One option we regular folk don’t get is the ballistic shield upgrades to driver and passenger doors, which we guess isn’t that big of a letdown unless you’re The Punisher.

There’s no specific date as to when the 2016 Interceptor Utility will be offered to different departments, but as the previous one was so incredibly popular amongst law enforcement groups, we won’t be surprised if precincts across the nation quickly move to upgrade their fleets.

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Alexander Kalogianni
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex K is an automotive writer based in New York. When not at his keyboard or behind the wheel of a car, Alex spends a lot of…
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