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The Aspen Police Used Volvo XC90 Police Cars

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author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2017

In today's world of modern police cars -- where everyone is driving either the Ford Police Interceptor, which we call the Explorer, or the Ford Police Interceptor, which we call the Taurus -- it's nice to see the occasional situation where things get shaken up a bit. Like, for example, in the ski town of Aspen, Colorado, where the police used Volvo XC90 police cars for years.

I'm not making this up, and this was not some weird special circumstance. In fact, I'll never forget when I saw my first XC90 police car in Aspen. It was 2006, and I was visiting Aspen for the first time, and there it was: an XC90 with a light bar and an "Aspen Police" logo on the side. I assumed this was some weird one-off situation, but then I saw another, and another, and I stumbled across the town police station, where three or four of them were parked.

Naturally, this has to be one of the weirdest police cars in the United States, though it isn't necessarily the weirdest in the Colorado mountains: When I was younger, the police department in nearby Vail, Colorado, used Saab 9000 police cars. And before the XC90, Aspen used a fleet of Saab 9-5s, which are easily viewable with a quick Google search. Saab 9-5 police cars! In America!

I often wondered why Aspen and Vail used these unusual (and expensive) police cars, and I've developed a few theories. One is, of course, that these towns are overflowing with far more resources than they need, on account of being incredibly wealthy places with just a couple thousand residents, so they've decided to flaunt it a bit. Another theory: The rich locals were tired of riding in the backseat of shabby Ford models when they got arrested, so they petitioned the town managers to get nicer vehicles.

Unfortunately, this whole "Swedish police car" thing eventually came to an end: Vail ditched its Saab police cars over a decade ago, and Aspen finally ditched the XC90 a few years back, likely because the closest Volvo dealer was over 3 hours away. Although I wouldn't be surprised if Aspen has now switched to the Ford Explorer, they were using the Toyota Highlander Hybrid during my last trip through, in 2013 -- still an unusual police car, and still an interesting sight to behold. But not quite as interesting as a Swedish car with a turbocharged 5-cylinder.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Aspen Police Used Volvo XC90 Police Cars - Autotrader