And so it is with great interest we read the news today that Ford has released official EPA-certified fuel economy figures for the new Interceptor. The base model equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 18 miles per gallon city / 26 highway, while the twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is rated at 16 mpg city / 23 highway. Finally, the Interceptor Utility (read: cop-spec Ford Explorer) powered by a 3.7-liter V6 returns 16 mpg city / 22 highway.
We scoured through official specs and data from Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge to produce the comparison table above. As you can see, the new Police Interceptor from Ford is not the precinct captain of fuel economy, not even when comparing the V6 EcoBoost model against its V8-powered competitors. The acceleration numbers, meanwhile, were all taken from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Annual Law Enforcement Vehicle Test and Evaluation Program for 2012 models. Based on their results and the official EPA numbers that we found, the Chevrolet Caprice PPV V6 looks like the best combination of both quickness and thriftness. One thing, though, is for certain: No matter which model they choose, police forces everywhere should be saving lots of fuel compared to the aged Crown Vics in their fleets now. Learn more in Ford's official press release after the jump.
EPA fuel economy ratings confirm new Ford Police Interceptors are the most fuel-efficient police vehicles in Ford's history
Fuel economy at idle improves 35 percent on the Police Interceptor sedan and 32 percent on the Police Interceptor utility vehicle
Law enforcement agencies stand to benefit from significant fuel efficiency
DEARBORN, Mich., March 16, 2012 – With experts predicting fuel prices are headed for record highs this year, the fuel efficiency of the new Ford Police Interceptors has the potential to help America's cash-strapped cities reduce their fuel bills.
Ford engineers tuned the all-new Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicle models to save fuel even when they are standing still, with no sacrifice to pursuit performance.
The city and highway fuel economy ratings for the new Police Interceptors have increased by an impressive 25 percent over the retired Crown Victoria. But many law enforcement vehicles spend the majority of their lives idling, and that is where the new models can provide even more fuel savings.
"Our latest fuel-efficient V6 engines deliver on our promise for increased performance and improved economy, while providing government agencies with a money-saving solution," said Bill Gubing, chief engineer of the Ford Police Program.
Top fuel economy and performance
The Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicle that are now being delivered to law enforcement agencies are available with efficient powertrain packages that provide more performance and better fuel economy, and are paired with standard and exclusive all-wheel drive for optimized traction and control.
The base 3.5-liter V6 in the Police Interceptor sedan delivers 288 horsepower and EPA-certified fuel economy of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway. Compared to the Crown Victoria – America's top-selling law enforcement vehicle for the past 15 years – the Police Interceptor sedan offers an improvement of 4 mpg city and 5 mpg highway, and 38 more horsepower
The optional EcoBoost® 3.5-liter V6 in the all-wheel-drive Police Interceptor sedan is rated at 365 horsepower and is EPA-certified at 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway. In recent Los Angeles Sheriff's Department testing, the EcoBoost Police Interceptor beat all competitive police cars from General Motors and Chrysler in 0-60 mph acceleration tests
The Police Interceptor utility is built with a 3.7-liter V6 rated at 304 horsepower. The EPA rating of 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway is best in class, topping the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV. The Police Interceptor utility easily out-accelerated the V8-powered Tahoe in the LASD tests, reaching 60 mph in 8.4 seconds compared with 9.5 seconds for the Tahoe
Fuel-sipping while idle
A recent study of police car use in Ottawa, Canada, showed the average police vehicle idles for up to 6.7 hours in every 10-hour shift. And, according to Police Fleet Magazine, the typical police vehicle wastes half a gallon of fuel for each hour it idles.
For example, a 35 percent fuel economy gain during idling for a government agency with 100 vehicles would save taxpayers $153,300 per year with gasoline prices at $4 per gallon, if the vehicle idled for a minimum of three hours per day for two shifts.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine in the Police Interceptor sedan uses 35 percent less fuel idling than did the 4.6-liter V8 engine in the Crown Victoria. The 3.7-liter V6 in the Police Interceptor utility uses 32 percent less fuel when idling than the Crown Victoria's engine.
"Our extensive experience with the Crown Victoria and feedback from our Police Advisory Board helped us develop the next-generation Police Interceptor to be a no-compromise vehicle that can easily be outfitted to meet the needs of individual agencies," said Lisa Teed, Ford marketing manager for Police Interceptor.
Under the hood
All three Police Interceptor engines feature double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and Ti-VCT, or twin independent variable camshaft timing, plus several other high-tech features that improve fuel economy at idle and at speed without sacrificing the performance that is required by law enforcement.
An example of how Ford engineers improved the fuel economy of both Police Interceptor models, beyond the powertrain changes, is outfitting the vehicles with EPAS, or electric power-assisted steering. The old-style hydraulic power steering system found on competitive police vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Caprice PPV and Dodge Charger, forces the engine to work harder – and waste fuel – at idle because the pump runs whenever the engine does.
When a Ford Police Interceptor is idling, no energy is consumed by the steering system until an officer turns the steering wheel. Other fuel improvements come from optimizing the energy consumed by the air conditioning compressor and alternator.
Working with Ford's Police Advisory Board, which consists of law enforcement professionals from the United States and Canada who contributed to the development of these vehicles on attributes such as safety, performance, durability, driver comfort and functionality, the new Police Interceptor vehicles are purpose-built to meet the requirements of this demanding industry.
To learn more about the performance results for the Ford Police Interceptor, visit http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=35655.