It’s no secret that Ford has been making the best-selling police vehicles since 1996. Just looking at the overabundance of Ford Crown Vics in police fleets around the United States confirms this reality. But vehicles based on Ford’s Panther platform, the one underpinning the Ford Crown Victoria and its siblings from Mercury and Lincoln, have been discontinued, leading the Blue Oval to overhaul its offerings for the boys (and girls) in blue. And it’s those new police vehicles that recently outshines the competition from Chevrolet and Dodge in testing.
Specifically, the Ford Police Interceptor sedan (a Taurus for police use) and the Ford Police Interceptor utility (an Explorer for the cops) — both powered by Ford’s 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 engine — beat the Chevrolet Caprice V8 and Hemi-powered Dodge Charger (for the sedan) and the V8-powered Chevrolet Tahoe (for the utility) in instrumented acceleration tests, which were conducted by the Michigan State Police.
The 2014 Police Interceptor sedan with standard all-wheel-drive and EcoBoost power accelerated from 0-60 mph in a brisk 5.66 seconds compared to the 6.04 seconds for the 5.7 liter Dodge Charger with Hemi power and optional all-wheel-drive and the 6.01 seconds for the Chevrolet Caprice with the 6.0 liter V8 engine. The gap in acceleration times widens even further in 0-100 mph tests: the Ford Police Interceptor took 13.5 seconds in running from 0-100 mph compared to the Dodge Charger’s 14.70 seconds and Chevrolet Caprice’s 14.35 seconds.
|MEASUREMENT||FORD POLICE INTERCEPTOR SEDAN 3.5L ECOBOOST V6||FORD POLICE INTERCEPTOR SEDAN 3.7L V6||CHEVROLET CAPRICE V8||DODGE CHARGER 5.7L HEMI|
So it’s clear that Ford’s for-police sedan offering is simply faster to 60 and 100 mph, but how about The Blue Oval’s police-tailored SUV? The story is nearly the same, as the Ford Police Interceptor utility (read: SUV) with all-wheel-drive and 3.5 liter EcoBoost power left competitors in the dust — posting a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds and 0-100 mph time of 15.51 seconds. By contrast, the Chevrolet Tahoe with the 5.3 liter V8 engine posted a 0-60 time of 8.22 seconds and a 0-100 mph time of 21.95 seconds.
While the ability to accelerate fast might bring certain bragging rights to car enthusiasts, it’s an important validation of best-in-class performance that has the potential to improve public safety.
“Agencies tell us if the bad guys see the police vehicle quickly close in pursuit, they’re less likely to try to run. If this can help reduce the number of high-speed chases, then we could improve public safety on our nation’s roads”, said Bill Gubing, Ford chief engineer.
|MEASUREMENT||FORD POLICE INTERCEPTOR UTILITY 3.5L ECOBOOST V6||CHEVROLET TAHOE 5.3L|
According to Ford, its Police Interceptor utility (the SUV) “is proving particularly attractive to agencies that could use the added space and versatility it provides”. Mr. Gubing states that the Michigan State Police tests prove that police agencies don’t have to sacrifice performance for the additional space and functionality Police Interceptor utility delivers. That winning combination has resulted in 60% of Ford Police Interceptor sales being for the utility vehicle, and 40% for the sedan.
Ford also has something for police customers that don’t need all the power and speed offered by the Interceptor utility and its 3.5L EcoBoost engine. These customers can opt for the base Police Interceptor utility with the 3.7 liter naturally-aspirated V6, which is still faster than the V8-powered Chevy Tahoe. Ford’s Police Interceptor utility with the 3.7L V6 posted a 0-60 time of 8.02-second (to the Tahoe’s 8.22 seconds) and a 0-100 time of 21.0 seconds (to the Tahoe’s 21.95 seconds). Broadening Ford’s police vehicle lineup is the recent addition of the non-pursuit-rated 2.0 liter EcoBoost-powered Special Service Police sedan. Announced in September, Ford’s new offering introduces a highly fuel-efficient sedan for law enforcement agencies that don’t need to chase bad boys all day long.
The Motrolix Take
Ford’s value message with its 2.0 liter I4 and 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost engines is one of balancing the need for speed in pursuit-rated vehicles with fuel savings. The Blue Oval states that “switching from traditional V8-equipped police vehicles to powerful but more efficient Ford EcoBoost V6 vehicles achieves” that goal.
But don’t take Ford’s word for it. The Michigan State Police instrumented tests just proved this to be the case.