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California Highway Patrol chooses the Ford Explorer to replace the Crown Vic

The California Highway Patrol is in the market for a new fleet of police cruisers and with the Ford Crown Victoria out of production – the CHP has announced that they will beginning using the new Ford Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility next year.

The announcement by the California Highway Patrol to replace their fleet of Crown Vics with the new Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility may come as a surprise to many, considering the deep pool of new cop cars on the market. Unfortunately for the Ford Taurus-based Police Interceptor, the Dodge Charger Pursuit and the Chevrolet Caprice PPV, the CHP now requires that their vehicles be able to carry four fully equipped officers. Four officers and their gear can weight up around 1,700 pounds and no option in the new lineup of cop cars offers a weight rating to carry those loads. However, the Ford Explorer can easily carry that load so the new Police Interceptor Utility got the thumbs of from the CHP.

Due to the requirements of the CHP cruisers to carry such a large load, the group considering new models only looked at the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV. The Dodge Durango Pursuit was not considered because it arrived too late and the decision process was too far along to squeeze in the Dodge SUV. The Police Interceptor Utility bested the Tahoe PPV in the majority of the testing procedures so the CHP board has decided to pick the Ford Explorer as the next highway cruiser.

The California Highway Patrol plans to order around 1,800 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles in the next two years as they slowly phase out the Crown Vic sedan. In addition to the highway patrol officers using the Explorer based police vehicle, this may encourage other departments within the state to also go with the Ford SUV. While the CHP will not be using the Taurus SHO-based Police Interceptor as a cruiser, they may purchase some of these sporty sedans for administrative use.

In the battle of the modern police vehicles, the announcement of the California Highway Patrol picking the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is a massive win for Ford Motor Company. Ford has long been the dominant force in the world of police vehicles and the CHP could lead the way for other police departments around the country to make a similar decision.

It will be interesting to see if the California Highway Patrol adds other vehicles to their fleet over the next year as, while the Ford Explorer is nimble for an SUV – it still falls short of the higher performance police sedans. While the average speeder cruising along a Cali highway at 10 miles per hour over the post speed limit shouldn’t be any problem for the Explorer, how well will I perform in higher speed chases? The old adage “you can’t outrun the radio” generally proves to be true but the bottom line is that the CHP does get involved in high speed chases. The roomy Explorer is nowhere near as nimble (especially at very high speed) as the Taurus based cop car or the Dodge Charger Pursuit so it stands to be seen how well the Interceptor Utility will be able to run down a new sports car blasting down the highway at 100+. Some “fast and furious” type may find that the Explorer is a shade easier to elude than was the Crown Vic but the CHP does have motorcycles as well so those could be their ace in the hole for catching speed freaks.

Source: Motor Trend


Anonymous (not verified)    May 30, 2012 - 12:18PM

It's about time the CHP gets some new cars. I've heard that their current cars are falling apart and putting the safety of the officers that protect us at risk. I think it's crazy that V6's on an Explorer outperform the V8's on a Crown Vic.