Ford Police Interceptor revealed, set to hit the streets in 2011Fri, 12 Mar 2010
Ford's new Taurus-based squad car is set to go on patrol in late 2011, replacing the venerable Crown Victoria in police fleets across the country.
With EcoBoost V6 power and all-wheel drive, the new purpose-built Police Interceptor is a departure from the traditional rear-wheel-drive, V8 Crown Vics which have been a mainstay of police fleets for more than 15 years. It will be offered when production of the Crown Victoria ends late next year.
Ford has had the cop-car market largely to itself since the demise of the Chevrolet Caprice in the 1990s. But it now finds itself with renewed competition from Chevy, which is bringing a rear-wheel powered competitor to market in 2011, and Dodge, which has found a strong following among police officers with its muscle-bound Charger sedan.
The new Ford cop car gets two motors: the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost with 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 making 263 hp. They're paired with a six-speed automatic. The shifter is column-mounted. It comes in front-wheel and all-wheel drive models.
The squad car is also loaded with new features from the Blue Oval's technology bin, including Sync, blind-spot detection, cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera and standard stability control. It's also laden with safety technology, including a side-curtain airbag rollover-protection system. The car was tested by the Michigan State Police and the Los Angeles Country Sheriff department.
Additionally, the brakes are larger and work in concert with standard 18-inch steel wheels for ventilation. Engine cooling is improved, and the interior is redesigned from the street car. Most notably, the front seats have a lower bolster for officers' utility belts, and there's an antistab plate to protect front-seat occupants.
It's also easier to load perps into the backseat: The rear doors swing open 10 degrees more to accommodate entry and exit, especially in handcuffs.
The new vehicle does set up and intriguing choice for departments nationwide--the tried-and-true rear-wheel action with V8 power as an option from Dodge and Chevy, or the EcoBoost V6 with AWD.
Crime isn't supposed to pay, but the police-car market is an area to which all three of the Detroit-based automakers are paying increased attention for sales.
Ford also announced plans for another police option, a utility vehicle, to be revealed later this year. More details are expected soon.
By Greg Migliore