• Sep 20, 2010
2012 Ford Police Interceptor testing – Click above for high-res image gallery

Michigan law enforcement officials have gathered to run a rodeo with the Ford Police Interceptor, Dodge Charger Pursuit and Chevrolet Caprice police car. The last horse standing will be trying to slide into the spot left by the Ford Crown Victoria, which sold about 50,000 units per year before going out of production. Ford doesn't have the inside line on replacing its standard bearer, though, because the Taurus-based Police Interceptor is front-wheel drive, and that makes some officers skeptical.

An officer's remark that "It is a whole different driving system" symbolizes the wariness, with concerns not only about cost and complexity, but just being able to drive the thing in the way officers are accustomed. The competition is rear-wheel drive, and in the case of the Caprice – which ran the police fleet show until it went out of production – there's more interior room. All the cars have their give-and-take, although the Ford is the only offering with all-wheel drive. Final results from the weekend's testing will be announced in December.



Photos by Steven J. Ewing / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]


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  • 54 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hasn't anyone noticed that the Charger in the pictures is the new bodied, new interior 2011 model fully revealed?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Unfortunately the Aussie Falcon which is the logical competitor to the Commodore based Caprice is not suitable for the US market, because the work that was underway to prepare it for markets like the US was killed by internal politics at Ford. The preliminary work was already well underway and you can see that by looking at the Falcon dashboard, which is already setup to have the steering wheel on either side of the car.

      Ford have never wanted American customers to see what they sell in Australia, as I think it might well show up the local products engineering teams and make it very uncomfortable for them.

      Dan
      • 4 Years Ago
      One wonders if Ford should've kept Mercury around purely as a dumping ground for cars that it doesn't really want to modernize, but still sell in adequate numbers. That way, it doesn't devalue the 'Ford' brand but instead takes a damaged brand and reuses it in a way that (at least) won't damage anything else.

      - Keep Panther around as the Grand Marquis
      - Call the old Ford Focus a Mercury Tracer
      - I'm sure the Ranger could be called something...

      Perfect for fleet sales and people looking for bottom-dollar transportation...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorta makes sense, but it might confuse people, as Mercury was typically upmarket of the Ford brand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The big problem with a switch to a FWD car, for most departments, is that it requires the officers to be retrained. Maneuvers that work in a RWD don't always work in a FWD/AWD car and vice-versa. Therefore, not only do they have to factor in the cost of the vehicle, but also the cost of retraining the officers.

      This is why I think the Caprice and Charger will have an edge. Officers that are used to the Crown Vic can easily transition without much in the way of training.

      Where Ford might have an edge, though, is with the new Explorer. The major competitors pursuit rated SUVs are only available in RWD. An AWD pursuit rated SUV means departments wont have to decide between buying AWD/4x4 utility models and pursuit capable models. With the Explorer, one vehicle can cover both tasks...making the decision easier and saving money.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They're out testing at Grattan Raceway today. Three haulers arrived with a bunch of them yesterday afternoon just as we were wrapping up our club track event.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the Ford Taurus is a great car for regular people to buy, but I am not so sure about using it for police work. The Crown Vic, while old, worked for a lot of officers. I would rather see a Falcon be brought here. The RWD Falcon is better suited.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford has always been a company unsure of what to do with a successful vehicle. From the original Mustang to the first generation Taurus to the recently cancelled Ranger, if something sells well you can bet that Ford will find a way to screw it up.

      Right now Ford is in for a BIG surprise. I live in Canada, land of snow. You know... that one place where an FWD or AWD cop car might make sense. Yet all I see in police lots is Chargers and the occasional Impala. I think the Taurus (at best) will be fighting those Impalas, not the Charger. Take into account that Dodge can also sell a fuel miser V6 and AWD version of the Police Charger and that destroys.any advantage that the Ford has.

      Not only that, but all those Taxi fleet sales and Limosine company sales will likewise be gone. People forget sometimes, but the ancient Lincoln Town car is THE Limousine. What's gonna replace it? The MKS?

      Well, at least this will give Dodge better sales. I like to see everything as positive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm confused, is Ford's interceptor FWD or AWD?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Both. It can be had either way.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Base models are FWD, optional AWD. EcoBoost model is AWD-only of course.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It comes in both:

        "The base engine will be available with front- or all-wheel drive, while the top-end models with the turbocharged engine will only use all-wheel drive."

        That quote is from a previous article on the Interceptor that was on autoblog. If you click on the Ford Police Interceptor link it says it there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I believe it's FWD standard, and AWD if you get the EcoBoost (i.e. "pursuit") model.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And now the marketing fluff collides head-on with real-world evaluation.

      The MSP and LA County testing courses are the current litmus tests for manufacturers hoping to woo public safety agencies. A good showing here means the orders start rolling in for next year's fleet. Or in the case of the police-spec Intrepid a few years back, the brakes catch fire and potential customers flee as though the interior is infested with bedbugs.

      With 2 new players arriving next model year, the results from these tests will be very interesting indeed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The last horse standing will be trying to slide into the spot left by the Ford Crown Victoria, which sold about 50,000 units per year before going out of production."

      This statement makes it sound like the Crown Vic Police Interceptor has already ended production, which it hasn't. The Crown Vic PI production has been extended until the end of next year so that there is no gap between that an the new Taurus and Explorer Police Interceptors.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why on earth is a RWD police cruiser "necessary"? To shave those 0.2 seconds off the 0-60 time? Maybe the complaining officers should go drive a Focus RS and then try and make the same statement with a straight face.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Jason

        What does a Focus RS have to do with ANYTHING? Seeing as the Crown Vic isn't exactly fast and the Charger is really the first quick 4 door police have used, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.There's going to be a handling advantage to the RWD. Something probably just a bit more important than straight line speed. Besides, as far as straight line speed goes, all 3 of the cars with top engine choices should be able to run to 60 in under 5 seconds anyway, I highly doubt speed would make them choose one or the other. Thanks for playing though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The same reason so many fought ABS. Change is bad.


        Though I am curious as to how well FWD cars hold up curb jumping, where is about the only place I see RWD having an advantage. Inclement weather and FWD should be much better overall.

        A couple local forces here use Intrepids and the like, so its not like law enforcement has a problem with FWD
        • 4 Years Ago
        RWD in police vehicles is not a necessity for better 0-60 times. To the contrary, the current RWD Crown Vic has acceleration that could nearly be measured with a sundial. But in terms of durability there is a significant advantage. FWD cruisers have been attempted for quite some time now, and thus far no-one has built a drivetrain that can take the abuse. In a pursuit situation, it's not uncommon to be bounding over curbs, rough pavement, and possibly off-road. Try that in a FWD Impala - let alone a Focus RS - and it's not long before the front wheels are pointing in 2 different directions, and your picking up a trail of assorted parts with a broom and dustpan.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jason: The issue is durability and ease of repair. Police cars get abused, and the old panthers are dirt simple to repair.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nobody should be surprised.

      GM will likely own the law enforcement market now with the new Caprice must as Ford has owned it since GM discontinued the last Caprice. My how the tables have turned.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not to mention that they offer the only pursuit rated utility, although I'm sure the Durango could be made to handle as well as the Tahoe, perhaps with slightly less forgiveness for abuse.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They may. They're building a police Explorer, but that doesn't mean it will be a pursuit vehicle. So far the 2wd Tahoe was the only one able to be pursuit rated. All others- Expedition, Explorer, Supercrew, 4wd Tahoe, and 3/4 ton 'Burb are all SSV's. For some light reading on the subject...
        http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123--16274--,00.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        Isn't Ford going to produce a pursuit rated Explorer?
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