When it comes to iconic police cars, few in the history of the automobile rival the beloved Ford Crown Victoria, cherished by police departments everywhere for its comfort, versatility and indestructible reputation.
Department mechanics loved the cars, too, since spare parts were both cheap and ubiquitous, thanks to the Panther platform’s popularity among taxi fleets and car services, too.
Nothing lasts forever, and Ford has built its last Crown Vic. For law enforcement, the car has been replaced by two vehicles, one based on the Ford Taurus sedan and a second based on the Ford Explorer SUV.
Bad news, Chicagoans: Mayor Rahm Emanual has announced that the city will buy some 500 new Ford Police Interceptor Sedans and Utilities, representing the largest law-enforcement order of the new vehicles to date.
It’s a win for Ford’s Chicago assembly plant as well, since both the sedan and utility vehicle are built at the plant. The city of Chicago stands to realize significant savings in fuel costs, since the new Ford police vehicles are up to 20 percent more fuel efficient than the model they replace.
Ford offers its Police Interceptor Sedan in front-wheel-drive, powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 good for some 263 horsepower, or in all-wheel-drive, powered by an EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 that produces “at least” 365 horsepower. The Police Interceptor Utility gets a 3.7-liter, 300 horsepower V-6 powering all four wheels.
For police duty, both front and rear seats have been revised for maximum occupant safety. Ford’s new police vehicles also come with the latest in safety advances, including an optimized AdvanceTrac ESC system, a blind spot alert system, cross-traffic alert and a rear view camera system.
We’re not sure when Chicago will begin to take delivery of its new police cars, but if you’re traveling through the area you may want to familiarize yourself with the new vehicles' shapes. That Taurus or Explorer closing on you at warp speed may not be as innocent as it first looks.