By on June 13, 2018

Image: Ford

As you learned here, the 2020 Ford Explorer adopts the rear-drive platform found beneath the upcoming Lincoln Aviator, as well as the luxury division’s top-flight engine. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 of unspecified power will appear under its hood and mate to a 10-speed automatic, a source tells us, while the 3.3-liter V6 found in the F-150 replaces the current 3.5-liter unit. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder carries on unchanged for thrifty buyers.

Oh, and there’ll be a hybrid version, too. Ford’s only willing to talk about the electrified Explorer at this point, and on Tuesday it made the unusual choice of debuting the 2020 Explorer in fuel-sipping felon catcher guise.

Enter the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid.

As you can see here (or can’t, as the case would be), the creases and curves of the 2020 Explorer aren’t exactly bathed in bright sunlight. Ford’s going the striptease route for this reveal. Naturally, we lightened the provided photos for your benefit, though the difference isn’t exactly, ahem, night and day.

Image: Ford

Regardless, the new Explorer’s shortened front overhang and trimmer, more angular proportions aren’t entirely hidden from view. Like with the Aviator, Ford’s CD6 platform allows for a more upscale, almost Range Rover-esque profile.

And what of Ford’s first front-line cop SUV hybrid? Plenty of expectations, but few specifics. The automaker won’t even describe the engine, nor the output or battery capacity. Instead, the Blue Oval boys want to discuss the police department’s budget.

Having these things in a law enforcement fleet stands to save the operator $3,200 per vehicle in annual fuel costs, the automaker estimates, thanks to the model’s projected combined fuel economy of “at least” 24 mpg. That’s a 40 percent improvement from a contemporary Police Interceptor Utility equipped with a 3.7-liter V6, Ford claims.

To put that fuel economy figure into context, the thriftiest Explorer currently in Ford’s stable is the front-drive 2.3-liter civilian model, which returns 22 mpg combined. Adding all-wheel drive — standard on cop variants — drops that figure to 21 mpg.

Image: Ford

Further fuel savings come from the hybrid’s ability to power all accessories via its lithium-ion battery when the vehicle isn’t in motion, like during a stakeout or while sitting at a speed trap. Ford made a similar claim last year when it debuted a “pursuit-rated” Fusion hybrid. Given the automaker’s decision to chop all sedans from its portfolio (the Fusion Hybrid and Energi might last the longest of them all), having a hybrid cop SUV is essential for preserving the brand’s green street cred.

Ford says the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid, when equipped with a Class III tow package, should be able to haul around up to 5,000 pounds.

That’s the entirety of what we know about this vehicle’s specs, though Ford’s making one new feature available to law enforcement buyers. The Police Perimeter Alert system places the blind-spot monitoring system on sentry duty, scanning 270 degrees of the vehicle’s perimeter to pinpoint potential threats. Motion of surrounding objects is analyzed to determine a threat level, with the  activity displayed via the vehicle’s instrument cluster.

“When suspicious behavior is detected, the vehicle automatically sounds a chime, rolls up the windows and locks the doors,” Ford claims.

The 2020 Explorer, in both cop and civilian guise, rolls out next summer.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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35 Comments on “Night Moves: Ford Unveils 2020 Explorer Under Cover of Darkness...”


  • avatar
    roadscholar

    I miss the days when I didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction every time I saw an Explorer coming my way.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I’m with you on that. Crown Vic’s were easy to spot a mile away since cops were the primary buyer and in my area taxi’s are either yellow or orange.

      A rear drive platform should decrease repair costs. I am assuming that it still is a unibody?

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      As do I. By the end of the crown vic era, you could pretty much assume cops would be driving them. Nice not to have civilian vehicles mixed in (for the most part).

      Thankfully, here in Michigan, highways are almost exclusively patrolled by State Troopers which have a giant meatball top and center. Some of these black explorers that local cops use with lighting behind grill with non existent domes or domes that mimic luggage racks are just not fair lol.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The other day I saw a guy in a Silverado get nailed by a NYS Police Explorer that looked like it had about 10 miles on the odometer. It was in a construction zone, Yahtzee! In NYS that’s double the points and double the fine. Cha-ching!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      We have double the fines/points in a construction zone too. I’m all for it because there are many incidences of road side crews and traffic control personnel injured or killed by inattentive drivers.

  • avatar
    asphaltcowboy

    If Ford is going all-in with their trucks (currently good) and C/SUVs (currently mediocre) for the NA market – the new Explorer better be top of class! (less wasted interior space and better interior fit quality).

    Still – I would hold off on buying Ford shares.

  • avatar

    Large SUV’s did not have the handling precision to be law enforcement vehicles. One quick turn and the dogfight is over with a stolen Corvette.

    • 0 avatar
      St.George

      You can’t out run Mr Motorola!!

      How often are the cops involved in car chases with stolen Corvettes? Basing a fleet purchasing decision on a statistical improbability sounds like a poor idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Statistically the risks of anything resembling a high speed chase involving police greatly outweigh any perceived benefit of catching an alleged criminal.

      The best metaphor I can compare it to is the war on cannabis. Aggressive enforcement causes more harm than good. (And this is coming from a guy who has never smoked pot!)

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      akear-

      That’s what Police helicopters are for. Even if that particular department doesn’t have one…there is usually one in a nearby law enforcement agency.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        In the state of Minnesota, there is one law enforcement agency that has a helicopter and that’s the Minnesota State Patrol.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          Yep, even Minneapolis doesn’t have a helo. The metro area uses Trooper 5 and Trooper 7.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            I believe they have a Trooper 8 too. And they spend the vast majority of their time in the metro although I’m guessing one of the birds is up north.

            And Minneapolis is a fake big city. They don’t need a chopper at all lol.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Police are better off avoiding pursuit as a litany of dead bystanders can attest and many states have instituted policies calling for limiting the time an officer can pursue a vehicle.

      Besides your argument using a Corvette is about as illogical as saying “One quick turn and the dogfight is over with a stolen F1 car”.

      Practically no police department is going to equip its general fleet with vehicles that can hang with a Corvette so again its a moot point and as others have pointed out the Motorola and well sorted tactics are much better at stopping a fleeing suspect that playing adult cops and robbers ( as are technologies that allow police to mark or disable a fleeing vehicle ).

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        If a police officer dies in a crash while chasing you in NYS, you’ll catch a manslaughter charge. This law stems from a crash around 15 years ago when an officer perished while he attempted a high speed pursuit in either a Tahoe or Suburban, I forget which.

    • 0 avatar
      road_pizza

      Your average cop is far more likely to get into a pursuit with a clapped out 15 year old Malibu or Accord than they are ANY Corvette.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Tough to tell much from these pics. I see shorter front overhang and front axle moves forward by a foot or so, but sort of looks like the outgoing model in most other respects.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Ford is not going to mess with success. The current Explorer is popular despite its age and its overall exterior look is still pretty good. Just needs some new details to freshen it up (looks like it is getting hexagonal grille similar to Ranger and more angular headlights) and a new and better interior.

  • avatar

    Sometimes cops need a little excitement.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    38 MPG combined for pursuit rated Police Ford Fusion Hybrid. 58% plus better fuel efficiency.
    So much better than SUV.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Did Ford ever fix the carbon monoxide leak that was sickening and killing its customers driving the Exploder?

    Found
    On
    Road
    Dead

    They should do a EcoSport Vindalu Police Pursuit Edition for poorer municipalities. You’d literally see parts and components and other Ford 3rd-world supplier sh!t flying off the EcoSport as it chases anything quicker than a Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      $19 lease at your Greater Calcutta Ford/Tata/Lincoln Dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Ford didn’t have a CO leak, after market mods did. But, yes, Ford addressed it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Ford has had a series of carbon monoxide leaks in many of its vehicles, for many years now, including the Explorer, and recalls have followed.

        Ford has been in the midst of a quality control and reliability meltdown over the last 6 years, with the most credible and broad-based rankings placing them at the bottom quartile of vehicles in terms of reliability, and in recent years in the bottom 10% (barely ahead of Jaguar/Land Rover), and these problems involve major systems, and not quirky electronic issues.

        Ford makes some reliable and good vehicles, but those represent the minority of its vehicle portfolio.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        Brn CO was found in civilian models too.

        It’s a critical design flaw in Ford’s part. Their level of incompetence is nearly as high as Tesla’s.

  • avatar
    brettc

    If only Hank Schrader had the perimeter warning system when Tuco’s cousins were sent to kill him in the mall parking lot. Nah, it probably would have still played out the same way.

    I had no idea you could buy one of these things with a 2.3 for an engine option. Learned something new.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    So Ford, in their infinite stupidity, decided it was a good idea to reveal their second most important product behind the Fseries, as a fleet model that people cannot buy.

    Further, why would they spend all that time and energy redesigning the Explorer when the end result looks exactly the same as the current one? So we will have an all new Explorer that’s as bland as a bowl of cold oatmeal.

    Brilliant furniture guy, brilliant. Mark Fields would have never let this level of incompetence happen.


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