WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com) — The California Highway Patrol has become the first law enforcement agency in the state to use the new faster, smarter and more fuel efficient Police Interceptor sports utility pursuit vehicle.

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Made by the Ford Motor Company, the SUV is loosely based on the Ford Explorer, but with a few extra high-tech add-ons.

“We have five radios in here, as well as a computer system for this vehicle,” said Officer Ming Yang Hsu.

CBS2’s Juan Fernandez reported that after the traditional Crown Victoria was phased out in 2011, the Interceptor sedan and SUV were put on the production line.

After careful study and consideration by the CHP, they decided the $26,000 SUV was the way to go.

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“We had to go with a bigger vehicle with a greater payload capacity. This vehicle met that specification with the lowest amount of cost to the state. With this vehicle, we can fit all our radio equipment, computer equipment, four officers and their gear,” said Hsu.

With new technology and four-wheel drive, CHP officers will have to take a four-hour training course to operate the vehicle, which will also be fitted with wraparound front bumpers used in pit maneuvers.

“All the techniques we were taught on how to control a vehicle are now going to be different. So we’re gonna have to change our way of thinking while we’re patrolling,” said Officer Kerri Rivas.

“We have defensive driving and collision avoidance driving because this vehicle operates differently,” said Hsu.

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The CHP’s West Valley Division in Woodland Hills has already replaced most of their Crown Vics with the new SUV.