DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s next-generation Police Interceptor hybrid utility -- based off its upcoming 2020 Explorer -- is expected to get an EPA-estimated rating of 24 mpg combined when it becomes available to police departments this year.
The vehicle, which has been spotted virtually uncamouflaged during testing, was formally unveiled Friday. It sits on a new rear-wheel-drive platform and is expected to be faster than the outgoing model.
"Our Police Interceptor Utility's standard hybrid powertrain provides the potential for significant fuel savings with improved performance and no tradeoffs in safety or interior passenger or cargo space," Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager, said in a statement. "It's a win-win-win formula for law enforcement."
The new Interceptor hybrid's mileage figure is 41 percent better than the current utility, which features a 3.7-liter gas engine. Ford says the hybrid technology -- which allows the gas engine to shut off for long periods while idling -- can save police departments between $3,500 and $5,700 per month in gasoline over the outgoing model.
It's powered by a standard 3.3-liter hybrid engine. A 3.0-liter EcoBoost and 3.3-liter V-6 engine are optional. All come with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Ford did not provide powertrain figures.
The new model has added cargo capacity but roughly the same passenger volume as the outgoing model.
Ford has long dominated the police vehicle market and accounts for nearly two-thirds of all police vehicle sales in the U.S. In 2017, the Explorer-based Interceptor outsold all other police vehicles combined, Ford said.
Despite its popularity, the outgoing model has faced some safety questions.
Police agencies in 2017 reported several crashes believed to be linked to carbon monoxide exposure.
Those problems, Ford said, stemmed from modifications agencies made to the vehicles after they left the factory. The automaker has since offered to cover the costs to repair those police vehicles.
In November, NHTSA closed an investigation, without seeking a recall, into nearly 50,000 Interceptors over reports of sudden brake failures.
The probe, opened in April 2015, was prompted by reported incidents of front brake hose failure in 2015 Interceptors used by the Sacramento Police Department, in California, in its pursuit-driving training program. NHTSA had not confirmed any incidents of failures caused by overheating in vehicles outside the training program.
Ford is billing the new model as a better-performing vehicle that's safer for officers. And it's outperforming the competition.
According to testing by Michigan State Police, the new Interceptor hybrid had the fastest 0-to-100-mph acceleration, fastest lap, fastest average lap and highest top speed, at 137 mph, vs. the competition.
Chevrolet Tahoe-based police vehicles did not complete the State Police tests because of overheating. General Motors engineers elected not to retest the vehicles until they have isolated and corrected the problem, the police said.
The consumer version of the next-generation Explorer will be unveiled Wednesday in Detroit, ahead of the 2019 auto show.