Hello, Officer: Ford Announces New Police Interceptor For 2011

Illustration for article titled Hello, Officer: Ford Announces New Police Interceptor For 2011

Before you ask, no, this isn't it. But an all-new Interceptor is set to replace the old-and-busted Crown Vic, and it's likely to be rear-wheel drive. Get in the car, perp.

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Confession time: A few us have driven a Police Interceptor. One of us even owns one. Some of us, on the other hand, have barely even sat in one. (There was that one time with the live chickens and the three hundred pounds of prime rib, but for legal reasons, we're not allowed to talk about it.) So from a personal standpoint, we can't really explain why we dig this, or why it gets us excited, or why it makes us want to get all Good Cop/Bad Cop and go hunt down some junkie fool with a dirty mouth and blood on his mind.

The skinny: The next Interceptor arrives in 2011. Ford claims it will be engineered and built in America, and that it will offer better fuel efficiency, quality, safety, and performance than the current Crown Vic. (Given that the Crown Vic was designed when Calvin Coolidge was in diapers, none of this should difficult.) Further details should arrive in the first quarter of 2010.

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The speculation: For starters, the picture above is the Ford Interceptor concept first shown at the New York auto show in 2002. That car was based on the '03 Police Interceptor; it sported crush-resistant bumpers, push bars made of reinforced steel, eighteen-inch alloy wheels, and a 4.6-liter, four-valve V-8 that produced 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. As you might guess, it is not what Ford is unveiling next year.

What's actually on the way? Our bets are on a rear-wheel-drive ass-hauler based off the Australian-market Ford Falcon. There's a slim chance that it could be Taurus-based, but durability issues would likely preclude that from happening. Note that all of this comes on the heels of Chevrolet's Caprice announcement. Nothing like a good cop-car shoot-out, is there?

[Full press release here: Ford]

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DISCUSSION

Being friends with a local police chief, and working as a mechanic, I've had the opportunity to drive some of the current cop cars - Having driven the impala, the explorer, the cvpi, and the charger (well only the cop spec hemi),

I can say that the cvpi is by and large the most comfortable of all and probably the best all purpose cruiser. That said, the Charger is an amazing cop car with its power and handling. The Impala, well, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

But the biggest reason the CVPI has had such staying power is because of the fact that lightbars, cop electronics, and such that were bought in the early-mid 90's are still useable. Most agencies just don't have the money to spend on everything new all at one shot. This is actually one of the reasons why the PA State Police stuck with the CVPI even with the advent of the Magnum and Charger.

The other big variable that has helped the CVPI stay so popular is that they are dirt cheap compared to the other cop cars out there - a cop spec ecoboost taurus (yes, this was the initial proposed CVPI replacement) was going to cost close to $40k - enough outrage from law enforcement - and a new Interceptor wasn't just inevitable, but a good decision from Ford.

Local muni's can buy CVPI's for around $16-17k - a hemi charger is in the mid $20k's, with a v6 charger around $18k. Factor in repair costs like wheels - $100 for a CVPI, $250 for a Charger. It's no surprise that the CVPI has become the staple that it is.

Heck, some of the cop spec car prep companies have been trying to sell Ford Edge's as cop cars - but the take rate has been low.

Unfortunately, the best analogy I can come up with is a computer one - you use Windows, and in order to keep going with a new computer, you have to buy a whole new set of software - do you buy another pc and all the software, or do you go mac? #policecars