So what is the baddest ass new police cruiser on the market? While we all decry the passing of the beloved Panther, it was a bit past its prime. So which cars are cops going to want in the future?
The Michigan State Police have taken that question live every year since 1974 with a more or less scientific analysis of the various (American) police cars available. The trials consist of four drivers, a slew of cars, and seven tests: braking, acceleration/top speed, vehicle dynamics (handling), ergonomics, communications, and EPA fuel economy.
The complete vehicle evaluation report hasn't yet been released, but based upon the acceleration, braking, and vehicle dynamics rankings, Ford's AWD, EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6-equipped Police Interceptor looks like an absolute monster. Bad guys beware.
At 1:35.55, it was the fastest in the vehicle dynamics course, trailed by the 6.0-liter Caprice, which turned in a respectable 1:35.92. The EcoBoost Ford also cranked out the fastest 0-60 and 0-100 times — 5.75 and 13.77 seconds, respectively — by a long shot, although its 150 mph top speed trailed the Caprice's 154 mph.
The EcoBoost's braking was slower from 60 mph than it's normally aspirated 3.7-liter sister and, a little surprisingly, the 6.0-liter Chevrolet Caprice and the 5.7-liter Hemi-powered Dodge Charger. But overall, the AWD EcoBoost kicked ass.
The clear lagger in the group in terms of performance was the Chevy Tahoe with the tried and true 5.3-liter V8, although it did better than the 3.6 Impala in overall braking distance. It's big, heavy, and not all that nimble, but its value probably comes into play outside of hard performance numbers, where a department just wants something big and durable that can fit lots of stuff inside. Think mountain town. Also, some departments just like SUVs better, efficiency be damned.
Then again, part of the allure of the EcoBoost Ford is that although it's a bit more trim than police cruisers of past years, it gives the promise of being able to squeeze more out of a gallon of fuel than the older-style models — an important consideration in today's tight budgetary climate. (The Tahoe still gets 15 mpg around town and 21 mpg on the highway, but it's a Tahoe, and that's a lot better than Tahoe's got back in the '80s.)
In its test, the Michigan State Police compares EPA numbers, although they're realistic about the fact that heavy-footed police driving might yield lower stats.
The real question is, if you were a police chief, what would be your ideal cop car? The EcoBoost Ford for its performance? The 6.0 Caprice because it has a huge engine? Maybe the Tahoe because it would fare better in a car-elk collision? Tell us what you think.
Image credit: Michigan State Police