Ford Taurus and Explorer Police Interceptors

While police departments lament the passing of the Ford Crown Victoria as their police interceptor of choice, they can at least take heart that Ford's replacements, new police cars based on the Ford Taurus and Explorer, have been validated by the Michigan State Police, one of two key validators for police departments nationwide.
The new police cars replace the Crown Vic and Mercury Marquis, which went out of production earlier this month. Ford discontinued the vehicles because of toughening economy standards, which make the large rear-drive sedans too big of a minus on Ford's Corporate Average Fuel Economy rating.

The new pursuit-rated Ford Police Interceptors come standard with all-wheel-drive. The Sedan (Taurus) is available with a 3.5-liter Ti-VCT flex-fuel V6 or 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. The Utility (Explorer) has 3.7-liter Ti-VCT flex-fuel V6 engine producing 300 hp. Front-wheel-drive configuration is optional.

The V6 powertrain portfolio of engines on Ford's Police Interceptors provides greater fuel efficiency to assist government agencies in reducing their operating costs. Specifically, the smaller-displacement engines provide increased performance and capability when compared to the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI) 4.6-liter V8. The highly efficient 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers at least 280 hp in the sedan. An all new EcoBoost V6 twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engine is also available, producing 365 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.

Ford interceptor interior

The Taurus and Explorer have a tough act to follow when it comes to police business. Not only have cops liked the spacious front-seats and V8 power of the Crown Vic, but fleet managers loved the body-on-frame engineering of the car, which made part replacement and other maintenance on the cars economical. With body-on-frame, bumpers and other frequently damages parts can be taken off and replaced. With the unibody designs of the Taurus and Explorer, parts are more integrated and so replacement is more expensive.

Taxi fleets, especially in New York City, have liked Crown Vics for the same reason. Cabs, though, have been diversifying for some time and now include everything from hybrids to minivans. Some taxi operators have long bought ex-police cars at auction.

Because Ford has lost its advantage with cops, GM and Chrysler have been making inroads with the police market. Dodge, for example, has been successful in selling its Charger sedan police package to law enforcement. GM has launched an all-new 2012 Chevy Caprice PPV police car, as well. [See TRANSLOGIC 55 for a closer look at the new Chevy cop car.]

Ford, in announcing the validation of the new vehicles, made a point of saying that the Explorer out-performed the Chevy Tahoe, which is offered to law enforcement in a police package. "We are pleased that the performance of the Police Interceptor Utility was validated because it provides more choice for law enforcement agencies," said Lisa Teed, Ford's marketing manager for the Police Interceptors. "They can be assured that whether in slippery conditions like snow or in pursuit situations the purpose-built Utility will deliver."

Officer protection is obviously a priority for police departments. Ford claims its new Police Interceptors are the only vehicles certified to pass 75 mph rear collisions. Ballistic door panels to protect from gunshots are available on the driver or passenger doors. Safety cell construction helps direct the force of a collision around the occupant compartment. Crumple zones help absorb and dissipate the energy of a crash.

Rigorous testing was conducted to ensure the new Police Interceptors could handle the demands of around-the-clock law enforcement duty. In addition to the certification testing designed by the Michigan State Police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will conduct its vehicle tests in November to further evaluate the durability and capability of police vehicles under the most extreme conditions.

Click the image below to watch TRANSLOGIC 55: Chevy Caprice PPV for a look at Ford's competition: