Ford Introduces an 'Industry First' Hybrid Pursuit-Rated Police Vehicle

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Being first is a tricky business. As we all know, Columbus was the first to discover the Americas but we also all know that is an utter falsehood. In addition to people already living on the continent, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Viking and Chinese sailors made the trip by boat long before Spain was even considered a country. However, Columbus is the smug-looking gentleman getting most of the exploratory credit in Western textbooks.

It’s a similar story with Ford’s new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. The automaker is calling it the “first pursuit-rated hybrid police car,” but that’s a little like saying you are the best athlete in a sport you also invented.

There doesn’t seem to be any official guidelines on what makes something a “pursuit-rated” vehicle. Ford says it means the car is certified by police agencies to be tough enough to handle police pursuits for longer periods at different speeds and over obstacles (such as curbs and flooded intersections). However, there is no clear maxim of what that entails between departments and no minimum requirement.

Typically, pursuit cars are any versatile platform already in an automaker’s law enforcement fleet that boasts the best acceleration. The vehicle is then equipped with some additional safety features, a light bar, upgraded brakes, suspension, and the hardware necessary to let it idle all day as the officer kills time between speeding violations. Automakers have been calling regular patrol cars “pursuit vehicles” for decades.

Pursuit is actually a term more synonymous with Chevy’s fleet offerings than Ford’s. Had Chevrolet bothered to designate its Tahoe Hybrid Special Service Vehicle differently, perhaps General Motors would be the one bragging about having the industry’s first hybrid police car.

Furthermore, some departments have already been making use of hybrid vehicles for a while. The NYPD uses the Toyota Prius for traffic and parking enforcement. It has also repurposed the occasional Ford Fusion Hybrid for light patrol duty — which is exactly what this new Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is. But the NYPD doesn’t bother calling its hybrid cars “pursuit vehicles” because it knows they won’t be nearly as fast as the Taurus-based Interceptor Sedan, with its 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6.

This is just another opportunity for Ford to announce how progressive and technologically superior it is. Hats off to it for producing a police package on a platform that could save departments serious gas money, but using careful wording to make it seem like it was the first to develop a hybrid cop car is a little grimy.

Ford’s new hybrid “pursuit vehicle” comes with the standard Fusion Hybrid’s Atkinson-cycle 2.0 liter inline-four and 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, and will debut in Los Angeles and New York City — where we’ve already seen them for years.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Rday Rday on Apr 10, 2017

    I think Ford must be smoking some dope. the police market seems to be suv's instead of police cars. Surely ford must know that but again...they didn't almost go broke by having good smart men at the tiller. we need Toyota to come up with a hybrid suv that will really get everybody's attention. I don't think the Highlander is big enough but maybe one of the larger models would do. And everyone knows that if toyota does it, it will be done 'right'. But the asians have not grasped the 'large vehicle market in the US' very well.

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 11, 2017

      Lol, wow. Man I hate this Ford-biased website. Its like nobody gets they are the devil. Praise be to our Lord Toyoda.

  • Shaker Shaker on Apr 12, 2017

    "Pursuit-Rated" Bench seat up front?

  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Bd2 Man, Anal sure has been busy...