2020 Ford Explorer Again Appears in Cop Clothing

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2020 ford explorer again appears in cop clothing

After rocking the same design with only minor alterations since 2011, Ford will soon debut an all-new Explorer. Arriving this year as a 2020 model, the model adopts the modular CD6 platform shared with Lincoln’s Aviator, making the new version of the venerable SUV rear-drive biased once again. New powerplants are also on the way.

Before we lay eyes on the new ute, however, Ford wants to show us, once again, the Explorer’s law enforcement brother: the Police Interceptor Utility, which the company first revealed under the cloak of darkness last June. We now have light. A wildly common sight on North American roads, the new version of the copped-up Explorer is all about nabbing bad guys … and saving departments money. The vehicle you see here arrives with a standard hybrid drivetrain.

It’s a pursuit-rated vehicle, so the hybridized rig isn’t a slouch. With standard gas-electric operation and all-wheel drive, Ford wants this vehicle to be the reason agencies around the country ditch their Chargers and Tahoes.

In Michigan State Police testing, Ford claims the hybrid Police Interceptor Utility ran away from the pack, besting even V8 offerings from other brands. The new rig beats the outgoing 3.7-liter model by 1.1 seconds in a 0-60 dash, and by 4.7 seconds in a run up to 100 mph. Top speed is 137 mph. The automaker states that in terms of 0-100 acceleration, lap time, average lap speed, and top speed, the eco cruiser can’t be beat. Well, except by another, hotter variant of the same vehicle.

While remaining stingy with specs, Ford says the standard setup is a 3.3-liter dual-injection V6 coupled to an electric motor and a 10-speed automatic, leaving the system’s combined horsepower and torque a mystery. The vehicle can also be ordered with the 3.3L sans electrification, or with the twin-turbo 3.0-liter Ecoboost V6 found in the upcoming Explorer ST and Aviator. The 3.3L found in Ford’s F-150 makes 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, while the twin-turbo Lincoln generates an even 400 hp and 400 lb-ft.

In hybrid guise, the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery doesn’t consume any additional cabin space, nor will it electrocute nearby fish while traversing 18 inches of water at 15 mph.

Speaking of green, Ford’s banking on departments wanting to save some. Citing an estimated combined fuel economy of 24 mpg, Ford claims the Police Interceptor Utility, in normal fleet duty, stands to save departments $3,500 a year in fuel costs (based on pump prices of $2.75 a gallon). If fuel prices climb, and yours truly sure hopes they don’t, the savings will obviously be higher.

As you can see in these front-angle-only images (and the artificially lightened ones we published in June), the 2020 Explorer doesn’t entirely depart from the previous model’s familiar shape. However, the revamp has lent the vehicle a slightly more athletic stance. Its face now has more in common with the refreshed Edge. Meanwhile, there’s a host of technological advancements designed to help protect officers, which we detailed in the earlier piece.

The release of new images of the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility comes five days before the 2020 Explorer’s pre-auto show debut in Detroit on January 9th.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Jan 05, 2019

    Yup. Got zapped and followed by an NJSP version yesterday, marked. Sadly it had HID lights, so it was the first cop car I've ever seen that didn't have base halogen lights....the night profile is civilian. He followed up for 5 miles or so, rolled by, and seeing a middle aged couple ignored us further....

  • Mpzz Mpzz on Jan 06, 2019

    How many times are cops going to need to go 137mph? Most cops worry about being comfortable and having enough room for two people in front along with all the equipment that rides up there with them. And a body on frame vehicle is always going to stand up better to the beating a police car takes than a unibody. The Tahoe wins on every functional level, with the price being the only limiting factor.

  • Parkave231 Doghouse engines always make me (I'm sure unreasonably) uncomfortable. Obviously they work, and the covers are obviously designed to contain noise, heat, and belts that may fly off of a machine turning at 2,000 rpm. Still, it's *RIGHT THERE* next to your legs.
  • Michael Dalia My first car was a 1966 Pontiac Lemans. I also owned a 1972 Catalina and an 1988 6000LE. Currently I drive a 2007 G6 GT convertible which which I love and probably will have until I can no longer drive. Pontiacs are great!
  • Damage The mobile TV is a hoot. There wasn't a single thing on TV in the 70s that was good enough to justify the trouble and expense of putting a TV in your truck.
  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
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