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The Most Popular Police Car Is…

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.

An EcoBoost Explorer that does zero to 60 in under six seconds? Now that’s a cool police car. Find a Ford Explorer for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. Hmm, wonder how much the turbo model costs. A tuned and stripped out one, lifted with mud tires sounds like a fun proposition.

  2. The Taurus is complete garbage as a police car. The AWD is nice but they are too small. Try transporting a prisoner over 250 lbs in one. We got five as test vehicles and we flat out ruined out them all in 6 months. A rookie drove one through a fence at 40 mph and took the entire roof off. Had 650 miles on it.

    • We had several test vehicles and they’re pretty great cars.  Try transporting a large prisoner in the back of a CVPI?  That stinks too.

      The only problem with the PI Sedan is that the transmissions on early versions weren’t up to the punishment the 3.5L ecoboost could dish out.
      Our State Patrol wen’t almost entirely with the PI sedan.

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