When Ford introduced its Police Interceptor based on the Taurus, it said it had another vehicle in the works that "would share most parts with the Taurus and be available in a utility version." Speculation was that it would be a Flex based on the component spec, but according to The Detroit News, it turns out the as-yet-unseen 2011 Ford Explorer has got the nod.
Ford won't say much about it at the moment as it hasn't been announced officially, but it is understood that the model will be pursuit-rated and pack all-wheel-drive. The latter distinction arguably puts it atop the category: there is a pursuit-rated Chevrolet Tahoe that many police forces already use, but it's only two-wheel-drive. The four-wheel-drive Tahoe, also already employed by rural and urban forces, isn't pursuit-rated.
Ford hasn't given a timeframe for when the police-spec unibody Explorer will be here, but in addition to its arrival giving units like K9 and SWAT a better mobile command post, it ought to help Ford's efforts to maintain its 70-percent share of the police market after the current Crown Victoria-based PI goes out to pasture. Hat tip to Matthew.
[Source: The Detroit News]