I thought I was caught.
As you know from yesterday, I am not a speeder. I’ve received my fair share of speeding tickets in my life, and I don’t want to receive any more. I rarely drive faster than 5 mph over the limit, which is the bane of existence for my lovely wife.
Last week, though, I thought I was going to get lit up, because a police vehicle had suddenly changed lanes directly behind me. I wasn’t speeding, but I was towing a trailer that had an expired registration and non-functional lights. I thought I was had. But then the “police vehicle” changed lanes again and passed me.
It turns out the Ford Explorer wasn’t a police vehicle at all—it was just an Explorer.
Who would’ve guessed that a family SUV would become the new face of police cars?
The Ford Crown Victoria, though discontinued in 2011, is still the reigning champ when it comes to police cars. The natural instinct when seeing one on the road is to instantly slow down and check the speedometer. That torch, though, is being handed over to Ford’s SUV.
There are other cars vying for a place in police fleets around North America. The Dodge Charger and Ford Taurus each offer Police Interceptor versions, but the front-wheel-drive Taurus and the cramped Charger aren’t ideal candidates. The Explorer offers all-wheel-drive capability, plenty of space for cops and perpetrators alike, and menacing looks that will strike fear into the hearts of drivers everywhere.
A 3.7-liter 305-hp V6 is standard, with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter 365-hp V6 available as an option. All police Explorers get AWD, 18-inch steel wheels, larger brakes, beefed-up springs, heavier-duty engine cooling, reinforced subframe and engine mounts, and a self-cleaning backup camera.
But it gets even cooler. Car and Driver says:
Among other cop-specific powertrain calibrations is Pursuit Mode, which makes the Interceptor Utility drive angry. Really, it’s a sport mode for the six-speed automatic that activates when an officer floors the throttle, jams the brakes, or takes a hard corner. Plus, it’s programmed to handle flawlessly executed 180-degree reverse J-turns like you see in the movies.
This is the police car of the future. If you don’t want to see one in your rear-view mirror, drive the speed limit. And make sure your trailer is registered.
What police cars are most common in your area?