The US police car market has opened up following the retirement of the long-serving Ford Crown Victoria, and SUVs are muscling in.
Until production ended in 2011, the Ford Crown Victoria – a V8-powered, rear-wheel drive, body-on-frame sedan – was the leading choice for police units in the market for a law enforcement vehicle. This was despite it being on sale since 1983.
Since its demise, though, several options have been developed for police by the three major US carmakers.
Ford offers the ‘Police Interceptor’ in Taurus-based sedan and Explorer SUV body-styles (pictured top); GM offers the Australian-built Holden Caprice-based PPV (Police Pursuit Vehicle) sedan and Chevrolet Tahoe SUV; and Chrysler has its Dodge Charger-based police sedan and Dodge Durango SUV.
Ford says their Police Interceptor sports utility vehicle (pictured above) now accounts for over half of the year’s total police fleet orders, and that most officers choose the SUV when given a choice between it and the sedan.
According to US data, to the end of July, Ford sold 7288 Police Interceptor SUVS, compared to 6046 Taurus-based sedans.
Ford fleet brand marketing manager Jonathan Honeycutt told the Detroit News in a recent report, “It’s not a fad, this is where the industry is moving.”
According to the report, US police officers believe SUVS are more efficient, roomier and safer than sedans.
The Police Interceptor SUV has previously only been available with a 227kW/378Nm 3.7-litre V6, however a 271kW/475Nm turbocharged 3.5-litre ‘EcoBoost’ V6 has just been made available, leading Ford to believe SUV sales will continue to grow even further.
Ford’s Interceptor sedan also comes with a choice of engines and drivetrains – a 3.5-litre front-wheel drive V6 or all-wheel-drive versions powered by the same engines found in the SUV – depending on patrol requirements.
GM’s Caprice-for-police (pictured above) is built by Holden in Adelaide, however, despite being significantly more advanced than the ancient Crown Victoria, the Caprice failed to outsell the Ford upon its release. To add further insult to injury, the Interceptor sedan also out-accelerated the 265kW/521Nm 6.0-litre V8-powered Caprice at a testing day held two years ago.
Ford also claims its Interceptor SUV betters its Chevrolet Tahoe rival in areas such as acceleration, braking, handling and fuel consumption.