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2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid will nab baddies and return 24 mpg

Orders continue to grow for the hybrid Police Interceptor.

The long, green arm of the law.

When it comes time for police departments across the US to retire a fleet of patrol cars, Ford hopes they take a greener approach. It's one of the reasons the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility comes with a standard hybrid engine. Thus far, it appears the added efficiency is growing on many.

The automaker said on Wednesday that it's received 2,600 orders for the Police Interceptor Utility (PIU) Hybrid. The police vehicle is based on a 2020 Ford Explorer but houses numerous differences to ensure it's ready for duty. Unlike the civilian Explorer, the Police Interceptor comes standard with a 3.3-liter V6 hybrid engine. While departments can swap out the hybrid powertrain for a regular 3.3-liter V6 sans electrification or a more powerful twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, the hybrid makes up 17 percent of orders thus far.

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Back in May, Motor Authority reported Ford had received 1,000 orders for the hybrid model and 8,000 orders total for the new PIU. Now, the automaker has tallied over 15,000 orders. Hopefully, the hybrid figures continue to climb because we found during testing the hybrid performed very well. With official EPA fuel economy estimates, the 2020 PIU will return 23 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Ford said that's 41% more efficient than the outgoing PIU with the 3.7-liter V6 and it could save between $3,500 and $5,700 annually in fuel costs.

The hybrid system hardly puts a damper on performance. During testing, the only police vehicle that was quicker than the PIU Hybrid was another Ford police vehicle: the PIU with the optional twin-turbo V6.

The first PIU models began arriving at departments last month, while the first PIU Hybrid models will show up this fall.