The Ford Police Interceptor Utility is the most common patrol vehicle in the United States. From 2013 to 2019, this police SUV was based on the Explorer available in FWD or AWD. From 2020 until now, it is based on RWD/AWD Explorer. But the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is only available as an AWD with advanced torque vectoring.
2012-2019: AWD bias FWD
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The fifth generation Ford Explorer is a front-wheel drive (FWD) SUV with all-wheel drive (AWD) available. The Ford Police Interceptor utility based on that is only available as FWD biased AWD.
The fifth generation Ford Explorer actually shares the chassis with the Ford Taurus sedan. Both vehicles have a transversely mounted engine and a transaxle to drive the front wheels. Ford built an AWD system to transfer some of the power to the rear wheels.
This transverse engine layout is one reason Ford can’t offer the Police Interceptor and Interceptor Utility with the V8, like the Crown Victoria Interceptor they replaced. Instead, the police department can choose between a naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 or a turbocharged 3.5-liter “EcoBoost” V6.
2020-present: AWD bias RWD
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Ford unveiled the sixth generation of the Explorer SUV for the 2020 model year. At the same time, it unveiled the new Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility.
The old Explorer-based Interceptor was so popular that Ford completely discontinued the Taurus-based version. But with the upgraded Explorer as its platform, Ford was able to build an even more impressive Interceptor.
For its sixth generation, the Explorer returns to a more traditional front-engine, RWD chassis. Civilians can order this new Explorer as RWD or AWD. The Interceptor version is only available as AWD.
Ford’s AWD SUV is a very capable Police Interceptor
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FWD SUVs, even with AWD upgrades, have not historically been recognized for their performance. But technology has come a long way. Ford uses advanced torque vectoring to make its Police Interceptor Utility capable on the road, and off.
Even in the pre-2020 Ford Interceptor Utility, the AWD system can deliver 100% of its power to one wheel. It can then use its ABS system to prevent other wheels from spinning out of control. This makes it highly capable off-road, even in slippery conditions.
The Ford Interceptor Utility also uses torque vectoring when needed for road work. Police cars often have to accelerate from rest to catch speeding suspects. This may be a problem for FWD SUVs. For this reason, Ford engineered the Interceptor Utility to direct all of its torque to the rear wheels every time it starts from a standstill.
The Interceptor Utility also enjoys suspension-oriented brakes and shock absorbers. The whole package is very fast for an SUV. The Michigan State Police actually tested the latest Ford Interceptor Utility’s 0-60 time at 5.5 seconds. That makes it the fastest mass-produced pursuit vehicle.
Next, learn about the evolution of 4WD vs. AWD or watch the Ford Police Interceptor Utility review in the video below:
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