Ford Explorer Interceptor Chosen by California Highway Patrol

Until recently the traditional choice for police cars was very simple: almost always a Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptor, but with the legendary cop cruiser out of production, forces across the country have had to turn elsewhere, diversifying the pack.

Among the enlisted: the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Caprice. Both cars were popular for having rear-wheel drive setups — something noticeably absent from Ford’s full-size sedans. In an effort to combat that, the company released two new police-specific vehicles to replace the outgoing old faithful.

As you might have read in our review, the two replacements are an all-wheel drive Explorer and Taurus. Most recently, the California Highway Patrol announced that it will fill out its fleet exclusively with the new Explorer Interceptors. Why the choice for such chunky wheels? Apparently police forces have found that the Crown Vic replacements aren’t always capable of carrying the cop’s equipment. In fact, none of the sedans could.

With four fully-equipped officers and all their gear, the car needs to be able to carry abou 1,700 lbs, which the Taurus can’t. So, that means the choice to go with the Explorer a much simpler one.

Only two vehicles remained in the running: the Explorer and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV. While the Ford currently has the bid, its vehicle needs to pass a series of tests. If it fails, the department offers a 14-day period for the issue to be corrected.

The tests include being able to hit 60 mph in under 10 seconds, 100 mph in under 29 seconds, being able to run with a wide open throttle for 25 miles without damage to the powertrain and several others.

Should the Explorer Interceptor fail any of the tests, and then fail to be fixed in time, the contract will default to the next bidder — in this case Chevrolet, which is the only other option.

[Source: Motor Trend]