It seems the term "pursuit rated" is losing its mojo lately, leading to so-called chase-ready cop cars such as the Ford 2.0-liter EcoBoost Taurus sedan and now this Fusion hybrid. Efficient, sure, but cool? No police chase worth its salt has ever been set to the soundtrack of whirring electric motors and an Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine.
So it is better to think of pursuit ratings as a metric of a car's durability and endurance throughout the sort of hard use it might see in police hands, rather than as a stamp of approval for chasing down perps. The two agencies that evaluate cop cars' bona fides, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Michigan State Police, apply these ratings to cars that can smack curbs at highish speeds, ford (no pun intended) deep puddles, and pull off sweet J-turns. To its credit, Ford's 2.0-liter Taurus passed those tests, even though Ford didn't advertise that specific Taurus for pursuit duty; the four-cylinder Taurus even managed to outaccelerate the long-defunct Ford Crown Victoria. As an aside, we hope the Crown Vic isn't the baseline metric by which future pursuit vehicles are judged.
In any case, this Fusion hybrid, called the Ford Police Responder, is up to average patrol tasks with its heavy-duty suspension, underbody protection, neat steel wheels and cop tires, and "police tuned" brakes with massive 17-inch rotors. The interior, too, has been revised with seats friendly to cop utility belts, "anti stab" seatback protection, a rotary shift knob that upfitters can relocate from the center console to the dashboard, and a "pursuit mode" dashboard indicator.
Of course, the electric motor, the continuously variable automatic transmission, and the fuel-sipping four-cylinder gas engine are nowhere near as burly as the 365-hp twin-turbo V-6 available in the Taurus-based Ford Interceptor sedan. The combination is much more fuel-efficient, though-with Ford estimating it will earn a 38-mpg combined rating from the EPA-not to mention the hybrid's ability to shut its engine off when the vehicle is stopped. This is where Ford expects the hybrid will sell itself: by offering fuel savings for police departments, with the added flexibility of using the efficient patrol cars for the occasional quick response or perhaps a low-speed chase. Unsurprisingly, the LAPD is among the first outfits to order the Fusion hybrid, being no stranger both to eco-consciousness and to high-profile, low-speed car chases like, say, one behind a white Ford SUV.
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