How many cops does it take to choose a new police car? In California, the answer is four. But this is also a trick question, because the California Highway Patrol didn't choose a car to replace its aging Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors – it chose an SUV. That's right, Cali 5-0 will be rolling in the Ford Explorer starting this fall.

According to Motor Trend, due to the CHP's requirement that each of its cruisers be able to carry four officers plus all their equipment, none of the three police sedans currently on the market were even eligible for consideration. Only the Ford Police Interceptor Utility, as the Explorer-based pursuit vehicle is known, and the Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle are able to carry the roughly 1,700-pound payload that CHP requires. According to the report, the Explorer out-performed the Tahoe in testing by the L.A. County Sheriff's Office and the Michigan State Police, however Ford won the CHP bid by virtue of having the lower price.

Motor Trend says the contract is good for some 1,800 Explorers over the next two years, although the the CHP may also be buying some sedans to use for "executive vehicles." As CHP is one of the major players in the police vehicle market, its decision to adopt the Explorer carries considerable weight with other agencies – meaning that Ford has to be happy with how things are shaking out in the post-Crown Vic world.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      Leather Bear
      • 2 Years Ago
      Don't really care which new patrol vehicle the CHP chooses. I just want them to make up their minds so I know which set of headlights and running lights I need to recognize coming up behind me at night! The current Crown Vic's are pretty easy to spot.
      Brett Fisher
      • 2 Years Ago
      The: it needs to do everything, all the time, everywhere idea of highway patrolling.
      Zoom
      • 2 Years Ago
      The police do no need such massive vehicles. In most countries they do just fine in small hatchbacks. Why do they need a vehicle capable of carrying 7 people when they usually just have one. The PD could buy two small cars for the price of one Explorer. Such a waste.
        Luke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Zoom
        Do you have proof to back up your costs? Or you just spouting whatever helps make your point, regardless of accuracy?
        Aaron Koehne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Zoom
        things are done very differently here in the U.S. than in most other countries
      SteveW
      • 2 Years Ago
      So I guess there is no funding issues in California. Lets cut more school teachers jobs and buy the CHP new vehicles......
        imag
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SteveW
        Is this a joke? I'm not a big fan of the police, but they do need new vehicles sometimes. It's not like this is some grand extravagance. The fuel economy on the Exploder isn't much different that that of a Crown Vic. If you really want to know more about the CA budget, check this out. It's pretty eye opening: http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2010/CaliforniaBudgetBites/100329_budgetmyths.pdf
      Bob
      • 2 Years Ago
      So a state that's flat broke just elected to replace all of their police vehicles with ones that are larger, more expensive, and less fuel efficient. Got it.
        ngiotta
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bob
        True, but there's a reason why the CHP was one of the only CA agencies that hasn't been furloughed.... they MAKE money for the state by writing chicken$h!t tickets to the same people that pay their salaries. Make no mistake, they aren't there to serve or help-- they're there to collect. As far as the "less fuel efficient" argument goes, I agree that a sedan would have been more efficient than the Explorer. The Explorer on the other hand, is 32% more efficient than the current Crown Vic's (source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/03/ford-chevrolet-dodge-police-cars/1#.T8WmHEVYs64) and is only 3% less than the Taurus.
          jeremy.buttgereit
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ngiotta
          Do some freakin' homework ngidiotta!! The money from the tickets that CHP write go to the city or county where they are written, not the state. CHP have always been professional and there for me when I needed them. (Broke down car and an accident) Don't do stupid stuff and you won't get a ticket. They're there to protect us from people like you!!
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bob
        Bob, you act is if they just chose to wastefully spend the money on replace cars for no reason. Police cars need replacing, probably sooner in a dept like the CHP. Fact of the matter is they were likely going to be having to purchase these 1800 vehicles over the next 2 years anyway. Just so happens this is the option they went with.
        Jason
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bob
        Umm, both the Crown Vic and the Explorer get the same 19MPG average, although the Explorer is +1 in the City, and -1 on the Highway compared to the Crown Vic.
      T
      • 2 Years Ago
      This will sure make the bad guys happy. It will be pretty easily to outrun an Exploder.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seriously? What the hell are they hauling around that amounts to 1,700lbs? They could have done just fine with the availible sedan choices but since it's not their money what do they care.
        j_pe3
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        This makes sense to me. My dad is a cop in South Florida and he told me the police package Tahoe was cheaper and has around the same fuel efficiency of the police package V8 Dodge Charger. They decided to buy the Chargers because people would think they were spending a ton of money, when in fact it was the opposite.
        ken
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        No. Dodge Charger, Caprice, or Taurus are just too small to carry all sorts of modern equipments.
        Aaron Koehne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        officers who are fully equipped tend to have 15-20 lbs. added to their normal body weight....I'm 170 average, so if I were fully equipped I would probably weigh between 190-195 lbs., multiply that by 4 and you get about 740-780 lbs., and then there's the new radio/computer system designed by Rockwell Collins that they started going to in 2009, and the trunk carries the majority of the electronic equipment (as you can find here: http://www.wb6nvh.com/CHP2009/CHP2009.htm) so that there would be more room in the front seats...but there's more stuff that also goes in the trunk, such as cones, flares, fire extinguishers, engine fluid removal material, medical equipment, riot gear, accident investigation gear, mechanical gear, and a few other things....and it can all add up to almost 1700 lbs. in payload, and the Taurus P.I. can only take 1200 lbs.
      futuramautoblog
      • 2 Years Ago
      No wonder CA is broke.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @futuramautoblog
        [blocked]
        brandon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @futuramautoblog
        Why are these two comments getting down ranked? They are both very valid comments. I swear 90% of the people that read this site are idiots.
          jtav2002
          • 2 Years Ago
          @brandon
          Why are they idiots? For actually reading? They picked the cheaper of the 2 options that met their requirement. How does that make for a "no wonder CA is broke" comment? If you want to make the argument they dont need that requirement that might be valid and thats a different story.
      imoore
      • 2 Years Ago
      "As CHP is one of the major players in the police vehicle market, its decision to adopt the Explorer carries considerable weight with other agencies ." In the early 1970's, the Alabama State Troopers employed AMC Javelins as patrol cars. They didn't care much about California's influence back then, and they still don't care today.
        8up1977
        • 2 Years Ago
        @imoore
        And decisions made in Alabama have weight just exactly.... where?
      ThinkAboutIt
      • 2 Years Ago
      This ties in perfectly with the change from "to serve and protect"(patrolmen) to the new hidden slogan "to harass and control"(police). Now with a more menacing vehicle and 1700lbs of ammo.....
      Rick C.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Look at the positive side. No more speed traps. Hiding one of these pigs behind a bush is going to present a challenge.
      That Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      In a related story....the CHP is now accepting applications for 15 positions as full time mechanics. The failed D3 Taurus and failed Taurus Wagon...err...Explorer whill make pitiful police vehicles. They are significantly less durable than the Crown Vic and will be far more expensive to maintain/repair/etc.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        Not sure what the point in mentioning the CV is when comparing any new vehicle choice. It's a moot point. Not like they're choosing this over a CV seeing as, you know, the CV isn't available anymore.
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