• Mar 19th 2010 at 3:00PM
  • 83
It used to be that every full-line American automaker offered a version of its mainstream full-size sedan to make it appropriate for police duty. By the time 1996 rolled around, the Chevrolet Caprice, which was the last would-be competitor to the standard-setting Ford Crown Victoria, was discontinued, leaving the lucrative police market to the Blue Oval Boys.
The automotive industry took notice, and plans began in corporate board rooms to remedy that situation, and even a few new entrants – most notably Carbon Motors – sprung up with promising designs that eschewed the mainstream production-based sedan design.

In 2005, Dodge rolled out a factory police package for its full-size Charger sedan, and for the first time in a decade the Crown Victoria faced some stiff V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive competition. Then in 2009, Chevrolet announced that its new Zeta platform Caprice would be returning for the 2011 model year packing a strong 6.0-liter V8 of its own.

How would Ford answer this newly mounted competition? Would the aging Panther-based Crown Vic finally get an update? Nope. Instead, Ford just recently announced that it would soon offer a highly ruggedized version of its most recent Taurus sedan, optionally equipped with the stout 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine powering all four wheels as seen in the revived Taurus SHO.

We decided to see for ourselves how the three new competitors stacked up against the old guard Crown Vic on paper, and as you can see, there's little to separate each offering on the spec sheets. It should prove interesting to see how police agencies react to these choices, especially since reliability and durability will be mostly unknown factors for the first time in ages. See for yourself.

Ford Crown Vic Ford Taurus Dodge Charger Chevrolet Caprice
Availability Forever Late 2011 2005 - Present 2011
Type Four-door, body on frame Four-door, enhanced unibody Four-door, unibody Four-door, unibody
Engine 4.6L V8 3.5L V6
Twin-turbo 3.5L V6
5.7L Hemi V8 6.0L V8
Power 250 horsepower 263 horsepower
365 horsepower
368 horsepower 355 horsepower
Torque 297 lb-ft 249 lb-ft
350 lb-ft
395 lb-ft 385 lb-ft
Fuel Economy 14 City / 21 Highway 18 City / 28 Highway (2010 Ford Taurus FWD)
17 City / 25 Highway (2010 Ford Taurus SHO AWD)
16 City / 25 Highway 15 City / 24 Highway (2009 Pontiac G8 GT)
Driveline Rear-Wheel Front or All-Wheel Rear-Wheel Rear-Wheel
Shifter Column Column Column Console
Wheels 17-inch steel 18-inch steel 18-inch steel 18-inch steel
Brakes Four-Wheel Discs Four-Wheel Discs Four-Wheel Discs Four-Wheel Discs
Cop Brakes Y Y Y Y
Cop Suspension Y Y Y Y
Cop Cooling Y Y Y Y
Seats Front - Cloth
Rear - Vinyl Bench
Front - Cloth
Rear - Vinyl Bench
Front - Cloth
Rear - Cloth Bench
Front - Cloth
Rear - Vinyl Bench
Interior Volume 106.4 Cubic Feet 102.3 Cubic Feet 104 Cubic Feet 112 Cubic Feet
Trunk Space 20.6 Cubic Feet 20.1 Cubic Feet 16.2 Cubic Feet 18 Cubic Feet
Special Features
Overwhelming Ubiquity

Tough as nails

Capable of withstanding 75-mph rear impact
Seats with downsized lateral bosters, cut-outs for utility belts


Safety Canopy® side-curtain air bag

Rollover protection system

Customizable steering-wheel switches

Rear doors swing 71-degrees

Capable of withstanding 75-mph rear impac

BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System)

Cross Traffic Alert

Rear View Camera System

Reverse Sensing System
160-mph (certified) calibrated speedometer

AM/FM radio with CD player, changer controls, four speakers and clock with auxiliary audio input jack

Load-leveling, height-control shock absorbers

Independently switched red/white LED dome lamp
Seats with downsized lateral boosters, cutouts for utility belts

In-dash touch-screen computer technology

Driver information center in the instrument cluster with selectable speed tracking feature

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      clear winner is, crown vic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Funny this article came out today, Town Police Chief and I were just tallking about this. The deptartment is looking to purchase a pair of new cars, and while in all likleyhood they'll be crown vics, He's looking into the new Carbon Motors offering for future purchases. It has alot of useful features most people who don't use them all day think about, like seats designed for utility belts, bullet resistant doors, computer built into dash rather than hovering over the passenger seat, etc.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Where does durability factor into the equation? Or repair costs? Lets drive them all over a curb at 35mph and see how the list resorts itself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If cost were really a big deal (I sincerely wish it were), then we should just have an exemption on crash test standards and CAFE requirements for police vehicles.

        Cops could keep on driving new Crown Vics long into the future.

        The only downside is used police cars couldn't be resold to the general public.

        Another cost saving option would be to have precincts keep their cars for longer...sure they put on a lot of miles and hours idling, but there aren't many parts on a Crown Vic that can't be replaced -- and a full rebuild would cost plenty less than a brand new car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think one of the biggest differences is it will be available in AWD. I bet cops in the north will be really happy about that.

      Oh, and what's the difference between "enhanced unibody" and unibody?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry, the Crown Victoria was the one that had the "Capable of withstanding 75-mph rear impact" part under it, but the Taurus also meets that spec.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My Department has a few CVPI and we needed to install a gas tank liner so the car would not catch fire in a hard rear end crash. I now drive a police package RT charger and with the displacement on demand we see much better mileage than the CVPI, more room, and cool ESP. As for do we need a 370 hp sedan? If you are running traffic and are parked and car goes by at,70..80..90 plus. You DO need all the power you can get to catch the speeder from a dead stop. Also we need the room at a larger car. The trunk of my police charger is full, i mean maxed out, with equipment and a mobile command center to run a work place or school shooting from the car. SO, some here talk the talk about what WE need to keep THEM safe, but most dont have a clue..Police Officer/Detective
        • 5 Years Ago
        The reinforced the frame when compared to the civilian model. Check out the special features where it says "Capable of withstanding 75-mph rear impact."
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope to see the Caprice as the"next" cop car. The Crown Vic is just two old and boring, the Taurus is just plain out ugly, (In my opinion), and I just don't think the Charger will really have such a huge impact. I think and hope the next cop car that most stations use will be the Caprice. Anyone care to disagree?
        • 5 Years Ago
        1. The Taurus is not ugly.
        2. Cop cars aren't supposed to be pretty.
        3. The Charger has already made a big impact for the amount of time that they have been available.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What's "enhanced unibody"? Is that just marketing-speak for "unibody, but we know you don't like unibody but we'd still like you to consider our car anyway"?

      BTW AB, if you google for enhanced unibody, it only shows up in very few places, one of which appears to be another site stealing your story:

      • 5 Years Ago
      I disagree,

      First, the Chevy's parts will be more expensive since they are for a police only unit and won't see the economy of scale that either of the other two will enjoy. This will make them less desirable for the police departments out there.

      Second, few people chose to buy Town Cars and Crown Vics at the end because they were so dated they were no longer attractive to anyone. It didn't hurt sales of them 15 years ago when they still owned the police market and sold the standard version for the public.

      Not only that, but they did at least change out the grille and wheels so that they do differentiate at least some from their civilian counterpart.
        • 5 Years Ago
        IIRC, the Caprice is essentially a LHD Holden Statesman, and is also sold in the Middle East as the Caprice, so the economy of scale is still there. Also, the same engine is found in the Camaro and Corvette, if my memory serves me correctly on that one as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Police need a vehicle that steers itself, maintains the speed limit, and works its own turn signals...

      as the officer talks to his mistress on his cell phone.

      If you have police in your town, you know what I'm talking about.

      Give cops compact station wagons and save us taxpayers some dough. I honestly don't care what cops want. We should give them what they actually need.

      Power corrupts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LOL @ the "ECO BOOST" getting the same HWY mpg as the Hemi and only 1 mpg less in the city.

        • 5 Years Ago
        The Hemi has MDS, so on the HWY its running on 6 cylinders. And like mentioned above, AWD does have an impact on fuel economy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All the Charger cop cars around me are V6 models. As someone said above "Cities and states are all broke, so their police departments are also broke", so the more expensive engine options are irrelevant.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, the Ecoboost is paired with AWD so you won't get you stuck in the snow, and the Taurus still is faster.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And linear power delivery...
        • 5 Years Ago
        This EcoBoost engine runs on regular gas and is HP rated running on it.
        • 5 Years Ago

        That's the idea, and it still applies. That same Hemi in an AWD 300C gets 16/23. The Taurus also gets its highway mileage with cylinder deactivation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Who knows what axle ratio the 'interceptor' version of the Ecoboost will have?
        2.77 might not be fast enough for the pissing contest, 3.16 & 3.39 are available.

        The Hemi, when updated for VCT & dual runner intake manifold got an axle ratio ratio change to the taller, 2.82 to 2.65. So for 'cop' duty, is the axle ratio changed back to 2.82?
        and the 'awd' Charger, doesn't that still use 3.07?

        The Ecoboost in the SHO takes premium, but the Hemi takes mid-grade.
        What does it matter, the police are still going to put regular in it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was going to post the same thing. I thought the whole point of this EcoBoost exercise was to 'offer V8 power at V6 mileage', which is clearly not the case. Now you're stuck with a pressurized engine that requires synthetic oil to run properly, and (as far as I know) premium or mid-grade gasoline. Why not just keep it simple with the 5.7L and throw in a small battery pack to assit the car when idling for long periods?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Awesome Blues Brothers reference: "Cop brakes, cop suspension..."
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about the 3.5 V6 Charger? IIRC, it's only the pursuit Chargers that have the V8, and the 3.5 V6 is positioned against existing Crown Vics.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd say choice has alot to do with location.
      In the northeast where we get snow (like 8 feet worth this year in NJ), the awd would have a clear advantage. Wouldn't hurt either on cold rainy days. I think it's border line ridiculous that the townships need request civilians with 4wd help get cops to work.

      But i be the taurus will cost the most, so down in the southern states, i'm guessing the charger or caprice would do fine.
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