Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility

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.