Ford has unveiled images of the new Interceptor Utility vehicle that is scheduled to debut Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show, showcasing the model's innovative Surveillance Mode system and specially engineered six-speed transmission.
What is it?
The Interceptor Utility vehicle launched in 2012 and has since become the best-selling police model in the country.
Ford tapped an advisory board of police officers to get input for the new 2016 model, which has two engine options that have both been calibrated to pass requirements from the Michigan State Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The Interceptor Utility can be equipped with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine producing 304 horsepower and 279 pound-feet of torque or a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that generates 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
"Our Police Interceptor Utility is the best-selling police vehicle in America because we have a unique relationship with our customers," Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford North American marketing manager for police vehicles, said in a statement. "By listening to the Ford Police Advisory Board, we have engineered a vehicle that officers love."
Both the utility and sedan versions of the Interceptor have standard six-speed transmissions with a Pursuit Mode specifically designed for police situations. During "aggressive" driving, the transmission will automatically switch from regular operations to Pursuit Mode based on how the driver is braking and accelerating.
The 2016 Interceptor Utility gets a refreshed front and rear design as well as new headlights and instrument panel. Enhancements to its electrical system will ensure that electrical loads are more efficiently distributed, according to the automaker.
Most fascinating feature?
With the new utility model, Ford is the first automaker to put a Surveillance Mode system in a production vehicle. The technology senses when someone approaches the rear of the Interceptor, automatically closing the driver's window and locking the doors for safety.