Peering into the rearview mirror you catch that dreaded red, white and blue flashing as if you’re front row at a Bruce Springsteen concert—the thought of which sounds awesome, the reality of which is not. We’ve all been there: our hearts racing; our minds flustered, desperately seeking a believable excuse: “My wife is having a baby!” or “In Germany ve call zis ze autobahn.”
Officer Tenover gives you a ticket regardless. But what vehicle is he driving? Not long ago it would be the eminent Crown Vic, and more recently perhaps a Dodge Charger or a Chevy Caprice. Odds are though, in 2015, it’s a Ford SUV.
Battling for police fleet supremacy, the Blue Oval announced today that its modified Taurus and Explorers have reached 61 percent U.S. marketshare, up from below 40 percent just three years ago, according to the latest registration data from Polk/IHS Automotive, with the SUV outselling the sedan.
The cops in America have spoken; their heart resides in Dearborn.
Ford says that the “Police Interceptor Utility is the only pursuit-rated midsize utility available to law enforcement.” (Chevy sells a version of the full-size Tahoe in law-enforcement trim as well.) Both sedan and utility feature all-wheel-drive as standard, but the Taurus and Explorer Interceptors do differ slightly from the production versions, often boasting ballistic door panels, police-tuned stability control systems and suspension that’s more applicable to catching bad guys than soccer games. Then there’s the brakes that are larger, and the subframe and powertrain mounts that are strengthened.
The switch from sedans to SUVs by police have been driven by the same reasons everyday buyers cite; more space and taller ride height. Few sedans offer the seating width of the old Crown Vic, and police often seek out seats designed to handle utility belts chock-a-block with gear.
Motorists are often on the look for potential cop cars. More than ever, it’s the Fords we need to watch, lest you end up with a visit from Bruce. This time, however, he won’t be driving a Crown Vic.