There is a new vehicle that you should keep an eye out for when you're going a little too fast down the Interstate. Ford's Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility was the bestselling new law enforcement model in the country last year, and signs show that won't be changing anytime soon.

Ford sold 14,086 Interceptor Utilities in 2013, up 140, according to USA Today. Overall, the brand's police sales were up 48 percent, and they were enough to boost the company's law enforcement vehicle market share by 9 points to nearly 50 percent.

The success comes just a few years after it made the decision to finally retire the long-serving Crown Victoria-based cruiser for two more modern vehicles. "We had to reinvent the category," said Chris Terry of Ford Communications to Autoblog. The automaker had to convince police departments that a unibody chassis without a V8 could perform better than a model that had been a law enforcement staple for years.

The keys to the transition have been the Utility's space, performance and standard all-wheel drive. The truck's extra storage space has been welcomed by officers who are being asked to be first responders in many situations, and the EcoBoost version has been the fastest in its class the last three years of testing by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department. Plus, even in places that don't experience much inclement weather, the added traction from AWD is an advantage.

According to Terry, when Ford introduced the new emergency vehicles, it expected sales to be split roughly 50-50 between the Explorer and Taurus. But at times it "has run as high 70 percent Utility." The company appears to have read the market well. As more law enforcement agencies drop their aging Crown Vics, the Blue Oval has replacements at the ready.


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  • 56 Comments
      Love Great Danes
      • 9 Months Ago
      Wait, I'm American and its not my favorite. My favorite police car is the one that is not behind me!
        Dean
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Love Great Danes
        Those are definitely the best kind!
      jtav2002
      • 9 Months Ago
      Not surprising. I've seen a lot more of these popping up. Guess they like the compromise between utility but still having more of a car-like ride/handling vs what they would get with a traditional Tahoe or Expedition option. My local department had been running all Chargers for the most part but have added 3-4 of these over the last year. They had a few Expeditions as well however those wouldn't really get used as much outside of days where there was a lot of snow, whereas I see the Explorers in normal patrol daily. So much for some people thinking Ford would lose the market without the CV.
      dacelbot
      • 9 Months Ago
      Well this is good in that more officers can have 4wd since most departments couldn't afford a Tahoe for every officer(and obviously most officers don't need something that big and gas guzzling.) Where I live there's a few of these in CHP trim but no sheriff or town police models yet. They mainly still have Crown Vic's, with some Tahoe's, a couple Expeditions, a few Ram's and F150's, and maybe a few Chargers. Oh and the sheriff has a Ford Escape from a few years back. Despite that scene set in Mendo County at the end of. the Need for Speed movie, there really aren't very many Chargers. Which I like, as that's one of my least favorite sedans.
      funguy6713
      • 9 Months Ago
      I believe it. My town on Long island, NY is replacing all their car cruisers with these...
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 9 Months Ago
        @funguy6713
        Which town? Suffolk county police is all Taurus now, Nassau seems to be moving to Chargers.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 9 Months Ago
      Ford is America's Fleet Queen.
        merlot066
        • 9 Months Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        GM, Chrysler, and Mazda almost always have higher fleet sales rates than Ford, especially to rentals. Have a nice day.
          zoom_zoom_zoom
          • 9 Months Ago
          @merlot066
          Latest stats from Automotive New Website. % of sales going to fleets. 28% of Fords got to Fleet 26% of Chrysler 25% of GM 18% of Nissan 16% of Toyota 14% of KIA/Hyundai 2% of Toyota Have a nice day Ford apologist.
          zoom_zoom_zoom
          • 9 Months Ago
          @merlot066
          edit: 2% of Honda
      Hunter Smith
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think the Dodge Charger equipped with a Hemi is the best choice by far for a Police Car, especially one that has pursuit duty.
        merlot066
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Hunter Smith
        There is lots of empirical data which disagrees with what you think. Just saying.
      Rotation
      • 9 Months Ago
      So pathetic. The government wants all of us to buy more efficient cars but the police forces are buying SUVs. Come on. A Taurus is a large car. A cop should be able to fit all his gear in one.
        jtav2002
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Fuel economy between the car options and the Interceptor utility probably aren't that far off. Besides, the vehicles are often driven hard in route to calls and spend a lot of time idling, so it's not like they're getting anything near their best fuel economy much of the time.
          Rotation
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          While you're right about fuel economy driving with lights flashing to calls, that isn't most of what cops do. You just notice them with their lights on more often, but racing across town is only a small part of what they spend their time doing.
          jtav2002
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jtav2002
          I wasn't implying it was all of their job duties.
        dacelbot
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        The thing is most of those sedans have nearly equal fuel economy to the V6 Explorer, but don't offer AWD. Now if they were all buying Hummers or something I'd agree with you.
          jtav2002
          • 9 Months Ago
          @dacelbot
          For departments that have a lot of highway to patrol, or lots of rural roads, it's more of a difference. In areas with lots of stop and go city/like driving, it's less of an issue. So for many departments, the city mileage is what's going to be more prevalent, and a couple mpg's isn't going to make that big of a difference. Additionally, most cops I see on the highway aren't going the speed limit so achieving the top rating on the highway most times won't happen (not criticizing police, just making an observation)
        J W
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Big car, yes. That doesn't mean there is a lot of room in it. Spend some time with one, it's not as big on the inside as you'd expect it to be.
        Seth
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        The Explorer is more efficient than the crown vic it replaces. (20 city v 17 city) The Explorer AWD and Taurus AWD get the same mpg ratings That's no surprise as the Explorer is just the hatchback/wagon version of the Taurus (remember the ford Freestyle which became the Taurus X - re-branded Explorer) - so in effect both the 'sedan' and 'utility' are cars. Feel free to check out all the specs (they have an overlay photo here where you can see the utility as just a high roof sedan): http://www.ford.com/fordpoliceinterceptor/models/#/sedan/ Don't fall for the marketing - the Police SUV would be the Tahoe.
        carguy1701
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        'Do as we say, not as we do'.
        JaredN
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        The Taurus is relatively space inefficient -- there just isn't that much room inside, given the size of the exterior. The Explorer has more room and I'm sure it is a lot easier to get prisoners in and out of the Explorer's back seat than the Taurus. Also, the higher seating of the Explorer give the police officers added visibility.
      ctsmith1066
      • 9 Months Ago
      I'm not sure why cities feel the need to piss away so much money on these gas-guzzling police mods. Between the cars themselves, and and the amount of gas they consume, they cost the taxpayers so much more than the benefits they confer. Especially in cities.
        Generalhh
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ctsmith1066
        because of the gear they cary in a police car. I got a chance out of college to freelance with a company that installed computer systems and light bars on police cars. They got the cars prior to the partition being put in and got them back after the partition for the final fitting. Once you upfit these things to US standards. (Modified back seat, crap ton of gadgets, partition, safety features) it leave not much room. The dodge charges have the same problem and are still kind of snug.
        Sheldon
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ctsmith1066
        ^ Also, the Explorer Interceptor actually gets marginally better mileage than the outgoing Crown Vic.
      S C
      • 9 Months Ago
      Bu...bu...bu...but you NEED rear wheel drive to maintain supremacy in the cop car market!!! Ahhh, the plaintive cries of the Panther Mafia.....silenced...again!
      Mike Phillips
      • 9 Months Ago
      Not impressed, test drove one for our agency and was not impressed.
      Farmboy
      • 9 Months Ago
      My police dept back home got one fitted for police duty before it was officially announced, then they bought two more. I see them everywhere for police and regular people. Even a couple fire departments have them as vehicles for the chief. It's really the true successor to the Interceptor.
      BipDBo
      • 9 Months Ago
      This might be less an indication of the success of the Explorer and more of the failure of the Taurus. The Taurus is heavy, expensive, and perhaps more importantly, cramped. A very common complaint is that wen fitted out with the barrier wall, and all the equipment, the seat is slid forward, and the center control intrudes in such a way that it's just uncomfortable for an officer in full uniform wearing a utility belt. Because of this many departments which would have gladly retired their Crown Vics for another Ford sedan, have instead either switched to either the Aussie-GM sedan, or have begrudgingly shelled out more cash for the Ford SUV. The police duty bid is crucial to the success of the Taurus. I hope that the redesign reduces cost and takes police duty ergonomics more into consideration, rather than just design it for private use.
        JaredN
        • 9 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        A friend of mine is a reserve officer at a suburban agency. They bought one Taurus and he says that he simply can't fit in it. He's a big guy, but not huge.
        Muttons
        • 9 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Yet sales are up 31%. They hate it so much they are buying more of them?
          BipDBo
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Muttons
          The Taurus interceptor sales in 2013 were up 31% as compared to Taurus interceptor sales in 2012. The Crown Vic interceptor went out of production in late 2011. You would need to compare current Taurus sales to older Crown Vic sales to make that point. All this means is that police departments have been procrastinating replacing their crown vics with the new generation of all unibody options, keeping them going as long as possible. In the last year of Crown Vic production, 2011, Ford sold 46,725 of them, all fleet sales. I don't now what portion of that was for police and what was for other fleets like taxis, but I'd bet that much better than half were for police, a much larger number than 10,897 Taurus Interceptors sold in 2013.
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