2013 Ford Police Interceptor Test Drive – Video

AutoGuide flashes the lights and sounds the sirens on Ford’s new Police Interceptors

2013 Ford Police Interceptor Test Drive – Video

Admit it, you like to play police officer. The thought of tearing around the streets in heavy-duty hardware no civilian can buy and setting off sirens is something every grown man and possibly even some grown women fantasize about.

FAST FACTS

1. Like the Crown Victoria, both new Police Interceptors meet a 70 mph rear impact test.

2. Front-wheel drive is offered as an option, though Ford is emphasizing AWD.

3. Both the sedan and sport utility are built at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant.

4. Unmarked packages are available which add full wheel covers, regular center consoles and delete the Police Interceptor exterior emblems.

5. Compared to the Crown Vic, the Taurus Police Interceptor gets 25% better fuel economy and 35% better fuel economy when idling.

6. A deflector plate protects the sedan’s underbody from unwanted debris and obstacles.

So when you’re presented with the opportunity to screech tires and play with said siren, it’s an opportunity you simply can’t pass up. Recently, AutoGuide got a chance to sample Ford’s latest police offerings and here’s what we thought.

A NEW VEHICLE FOR A NEW ERA

Make no mistake, as beloved as the Ford Crown Victoria was by law enforcement agencies, it was in car terms, ancient. Its styling hasn’t really been changed since 1998 and the basic underpinnings date all the way back to 1979. Yet the car’s simplicity and its rugged, body-on-frame construction made it the ideal vehicle for police use.

Its successor, save for the Police Interceptor name and four doors, has little in common. In fact, Ford’s approach is to actually build two Interceptors on the same platform, one as a conventional sedan, the other as an SUV, with the goal of offering potential agency customers perceived greater flexibility.

“This way, it offers a great deal of standardization when it comes components, providing fleets with minimal downtime and cost for servicing,” says Ford commercial vehicle program manager David Shuttleworth.

The bigger question is, how will both vehicles hold up in terms of durability? Traditionally, vehicles that use unibody construction and front-drive based architecture haven’t faired too well under extreme use, which many police cars are subjected to.

Ford Taurus Police Interceptor wheel

Nonetheless, Ford has worked closely with the Police Advisory Board (which is made up of serving law enforcement officers from across the US and Canada), to come up with a package that should deliver the goods. Key features (on both the sedan and SUV), including standard heavy-duty 18-inch steel wheels and special pursuit rated tires, front and rear disc brakes that are some 60 percent larger than those found on comparable civilian models, a heavy duty suspension, plus heavy duty cooling and electrical systems, the latter with 220 amp alternators to run the required police equipment.

CROWN VIC CARRYOVER

And speaking of police equipment, a primary consideration in both the sedan and SUV new generation Police Interceptors was that a space of 9-inches be incorporated between the front seats for the console mounting plate. This enables aftermarket police console equipment to be fitted with ease and even transferred from existing Crown Vic cruisers to the new Police Interceptor with minimal hassle (a major trump card, especially in view of the smaller budgets many agencies have to work with these days).

Ford Explorer Police Interceptor SUV interior

There are also standard stab-proof seats with heavy-duty cloth upholstery, cutouts for an officer’s utility belt and six-way power adjustment for the driver’s chair. Other concessions towards police use include standard rear vinyl bench seating, rubber floor coverings and rear doors that open 71-degrees (wider than civilian models) to aid ingress/egress.

From behind the wheel, much of the switch gear is familiar to anybody who’s driven a recent Taurus or Explorer, with a big chunky steering wheel and spoke mounted buttons that can be hooked up to any manner of equipment, whether it be lights, sirens, speakers or even canine door releases.

The biggest change, however, concerns the column-mounted shifter for the six-speed automatic transmission (necessary to clear space for the console plate) and extra storage space on the top and right side of the dash for mounting radar equipment and weapons. There’s also a stout sliding tray in the trunk designed for mounting electronics gear and a small, lockable storage compartment as well as a full-sized spare tire.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

In terms of interior room, the new sedan is actually smaller in nearly every dimension compared to the Crown Victoria, save for front legroom, while the SUV, befitting its taller sheetmetal, provides significant gains in cabin volume. One issue we found was that fitting a partition screen in the sedan would likely eat up interior space (our test victim didn’t have one). As a result, perhaps Ford would be wise to offer an extended wheelbase version of the sedan down the road using the D4 chassis (Flex, Lincoln MKT). It’s interesting to note that Ford did offer a stretched Crown Victoria, while Chevy’s new Caprice comes in long wheelbase form only.

On Ford’s police spec SUV, however, installing bulky partitions simply isn’t an issue. Our test example sported a heavyduty cage, which still yielded plenty of room for both officers and rear riders.

Ford Explorer Police Interceptor SUV

STANDARD ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE

Given that most law enforcement agencies seem to prefer rear-wheel drive vehicles, it would appear that Ford’s D3 platform would seem to offer a disadvantage. However, the Blue Oval is betting, that by making all-wheel-drive standard on its new Police Interceptors this should help address those shortcomings. The system in question uses a torque sensing Haldex coupling to transmit/alter torque between the front and rear wheels. Considering that both vehicles weigh in excess of 4,000 lbs, the AWD system, in conjunction with standard stability and roll control, plus traction control, provides a decent amount of traction and delivers predictable handling in all but the most adverse conditions.

Ford Taurus Police Interceptor lights

Even though we didn’t get a huge amount of time to put both vehicles through their paces, during our stint on a marked autocross style track, both vehicles demonstrated surprisingly good handling qualities. The steering is nicely weighted and responsive through the corners, enabling fast entry/exit with minimal body roll, aided by the AWD system. The SUV is particularly impressive considering its extra height and actually begs you to be pushed harder.

Braking? What can we say; considering panic stops will be rather routine in service conditions, anchor power is impressive and probably the strongest suite in each of these vehicle’s performance arsenal.

In terms of acceleration, with standard V6 power (the sedan comes with a 3.5-liter engine making 288 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, the SUV with a 304 hp and 280 lb-ft 3.7-liter unit), it’s gutsy and AWD really helps mask the deficiency in displacement and lower rpm torque output on the sedan (compared with the Vic). Both engines and the six-speed automatic bolted behind them have specific calibrations for police use and gear shifting is sharp and crisp, particularly in speeds one through four.

READY FOR THE ROAD

Ford Taurus Police Interceptor lightbar

One of the biggest challenges facing any law enforcement agency often concerns the bewildering array of equipment available through aftermarket up-fitters, which can often add considerable time and complexity to the ordering process.

Ford has attempted to take much of the pain out of this by offering what’s called a Ready for the Road package. This includes plug and play lighting elements and mounting solutions, such as standard dual integrated flashing lights in the head, tail and center high mounted stop lights, a rear console mounting plate, trunk circulation fan (to keep electrical gear mounted in the back reasonably cool), pre-wired fittings for grille lights, sirens and speakers, an in-trunk mounted cargo distribution box with dual 50 amp battery and ground circuits, plus a Whelen CenCom light controller, relay and siren amp.

Other options available include ballistic door panels, hidden rear door lock plungers and inoperable interior handles to keep the bad guys in place.

THE VERDICT

Considering that we can’t actually buy one of these vehicles, it’s hard to analyze one in terms of pricing and features. Still, a couple of things that do bear mentioning about Ford’s new Police Interceptors, are the fact that fuel economy is said to be improved by 25 percent over the Crown Victoria and idling fuel consumption by 35 percent.

Ford Taurus Explorer Police Interceptor

Both new Police Interceptors are E85 capable with their standard engines, while for the sedan, Ford will also offer a version of its 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, which generates 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. How this engine will go down with law enforcement agencies remains to be seen, especially since turbos bring added complexity and often, questionable durability – not something most agencies want to deal with. Nonetheless, the EcoBoost provides spritely performance for pursuit work (estimates place 0-60 mph times of under 5.6 seconds) and if the F-150 EcoBoost torture test is anything to go by, some of those concerns will likely prove unfounded.

Considering that the police car market now has a raft of new competitors, including the Holden sourced Chevy Caprice 9C1 and revamped Dodge Charger Pursuit, it will be interesting to see if Ford’s non-traditional approach will enable it to maintain a stranglehold on the police car market.

  • Brian Blair

    Damnit! It’s stinks having to learn how to look out for a new set of headlights, and vehicle shape! The Crown Vic was so easy to spot!
    However! It is a nice little car! Very cute! lol

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked