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The Big Three Plan For Life After The Crown Vic Police Interceptor


After the last Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 rolled off the assembly line in 1996, Ford's Crown Victoria Police Interceptor began a fifteen-year run as America's de facto squad car. But all good things must come to an end.

When the final CVPI is built in September of this year, police departments across the U.S. will suddenly be faced with a decision familiar to just about every American family: Which new four-door sedan to buy? Because their needs are similar in many respects--ability to carry passengers and their gear; reliability under extreme use; cost-efficient maintenance--we'll conduct the search for a new cop car standard in the same way an average family might look for their new transportation workhorse.

To get started, let's create a list of goals. First and foremost is performance. Speed and handling might not seem like obvious deal-breakers when choosing a new family car, but ask any red-blooded American sixteen-year-old kid--in fact or at heart--what he or she wants. And since today's newborn baby is tomorrow's sixteen-year-old, there's no shortage of families with teenagers about to get their driver's licenses.

Preference will be given to rear-wheel-drive V-8 powertrains. After years of watching back ends fishtail during police chases in movies and on TV, front-wheel-drive cop cars just won't cut it. Sorry, Impala. Out of necessity, we will also consider all-wheel-drive V-6 platforms. Otherwise Ford moves from industry standard to forgotten memory, and we simply can't have that. They are, after all, the only ones who didn't take bailout money from the government in 2009.

Next is the ability to carry passengers and gear. Back seat and front must be able to accommodate more than one person, and equipment of varying shapes and sizes has to fit in the trunk.  Passenger comfort isn’t paramount, at least in the back seat, but there should be adequate legroom front and back.

Then there’s reliability under extreme use. Cops and families rely on their cars to start when it’s thirty below zero, to run for hours through stop-and-go traffic in positive triple-digit temperatures, and to tolerate thousands of miles of abuse at every point on the thermometer in between. And really, who do you think is harder on a car, a trained police officer or a sixteen-year-old who just got his or her license?

Finally, maintenance and repairs must be cheaply and easily performed. Again, who's harder on a car, a cop or a sixteen-year-old? Even though they want their police forces to catch the bad guys, taxpayers don't want to spend more than they have to on oil changes and the inevitable repair jobs.

Although European manufacturers build wonderful police cars, this last requirement eliminates them from our search. Anybody who's had the wheel bearings replaced on their Mercedes E Class, a tuneup performed on their Jaguar XF, or even just had the oil changed on their Audi A4 understands why. Japanese models weed themselves out because of maintenance and repair costs combined with payload capacities. Besides, what self-respecting American police department would drive a fleet of foreign cars? So we'll limit ourselves to choices built here in the good old USA.


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Comments (13)
  1. You realize that the Charger is built in Ontario and for now the Caprice will be imported from Australia, right?

    Also, in 2009 the NYPD ordered 40 Altima hybrids and added them to their fleet.
     
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  2. yep the Caprice is Australian.
    Also its interesting that the Commodore (or G8 in USA speak) wasnt considered, it is used extensively here in Oz as one of the cars of choice for our law enforcement officers. with the same 6l V8 as mentioned above, some have also been specially tuned by HSV. Then you have the Falcon, with its Boss engines as boosted by Tickford and these are big hitters too. They are smaller than the Caprice / statesman, but are quicker and the smae size as the Taurus
     
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  3. Yeah....I love the line "Besides, what self-respecting American police department would drive a fleet of foreign cars?"

    But one is made in Canada and the other Australia. Time to get a clue?
     
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  4. I love this line "Besides, what self-respecting American police department would drive a fleet of foreign cars? So we'll limit ourselves to choices built here in the good old USA."

    One mentioned is made in Canada and the other in Australia. Come on now...let's get a clue.
     
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  5. Guess I should have said "built by manufacturers headquartered here in the good old USA." Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for setting me straight.
     
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  6. Someone please tell me what is so wrong about making a V8 rear drive car nowadays? Sure, body-on-frame construction has been around since horse and buggy days, but Ford has had the Crown Vic well sorted for years, and it just kept getting better. One of the safest, most reliable cars made, and they axe it. It's not the 'weight' excuse, many SUV's weigh more. It's not fuel economy, SUV's have the same engines with aerodynamics of a brick. It's just cheaper to weld up a bunch of sheetmetal panels to make a unit body frame, but the key word is 'cheap'. Ford has nothing to lose by keeping the CV going, it's more than paid it's dues, made back any development costs in spades, all they need to do is the yearly minor upgrades and make a profit.
     
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  7. It IS weight and it IS fuel economy. Until recently, CAFE favored trucks, while squeezing cars to be more and more fuel efficient. That's why station wagons died out in favor of SUVs.
     
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  8. @James Michels
    I have one very simple question:
    How could you possibly leave out the Carbon Motors E7??
     
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  9. Good question. I strongly considered including the Carbon Motors entry, but finally decided to leave it out. Went with the Big Three exclusively instead. Mainly because repairs and maintenance seemed easier for vehicles with their established nationwide infrastructure. But, again, good question. Maybe I'll do a story devoted to the Carbon Motors police vehicle. They certainly deserve some attention.
     
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  10. Uh, because the E7 is vaporware that may or may not ever make it into production?
     
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  11. This is a terrible piece of writing. Police departments have much HIGHER requirements for police pursuit vehicles than any family would think of. Like rear-end crash survivability, so it can be rear ended at 60mph+ and not burn to the ground. Curb strike, where the suspension has to survive hitting curbs at speed. And, most "family sedans" are NOT RWD and have not been RWD for ages, with the honorable mention of the Chrysler 300.

    Cops are looking for low maintenance costs, good durability, solid handling, and these days, improved fuel economy.
     
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  12. which is where the Commodore / Falcon / Caprice comes to play. they are all considered Family sedans, with beefy 6l V8's (and more in the tricked versions), and they are used here in Australia and have been for as long as i can remember as Police and emergency vehicles.
     
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  13. which is where the Commodore / Falcon / Caprice comes to play. they are all considered Family sedans, with beefy 6l V8's (and more in the tricked versions), and they are used here in Australia and have been for as long as i can remember as Police and emergency vehicles.
     
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