Do you remember when every police department used the Ford Crown Victoria as its police car of choice? Back then, it didn’t matter where you went, throughout the U.S. or Canada: If you ran afoul of the law, you’d get pulled over by a Ford Crown Victoria. You’d ride in back of a Ford Crown Victoria. You’d hide your head from the media as you got out of the back of a Ford Crown Victoria. Well, those days are long gone: The Crown Victoria is canceled, and the most popular police car is no longer even a car.
That’s right: Although the Ford Crown Victoria has been replaced with a seemingly endless stream of police-car options — the Dodge Charger, the Chevy Caprice, the Ford Taurus, the Chevy Impala — the most popular police vehicle isn’t a car at all: It’s the Ford Explorer. Or, to put it into correct Ford language, the “Ford Police Interceptor Utility.” See the Ford Explorer models for sale near you
Although I don’t have data on exactly how many Police Interceptor Utility models are sold compared to rivals, USA Today reported its status as the most popular police car in 2014 — and police website APBWeb reported the same thing last year. In fact, says APBWeb, Ford owns an impressive 61 percent of the police-vehicle market share when you combine the Explorer and the Taurus — an impressive number, especially considering the naysayers who insisted Ford would lose out on the police market with the cancellation of the Crown Victoria.
A more pressing question for automotive enthusiasts: Which engine are police departments choosing? Although just about any powertrain is a step up over the Crown Victoria’s old, inefficient 4.6-liter V8, departments have two choices when they get an Explorer: a regular ol’ 304-horsepower 3.7-liter V6, or a monstrous 365-hp 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 — the same engine that brings the Explorer Sport civilian model from zero to 60 in 5.7 seconds.