By on March 11, 2010

When Ford announced that it would be building an “all-new” Police Interceptor model, speculation was rampant. At the time, we noted:

GM went to Australia for their police-duty RWD platform, might Ford do the same with a Falcon-based interceptor? Or is this the prelude to Panther 2.0? Or, as common sense seems to dictate, is the Interceptor “all new” simply because there’s just never been an Interceptor based on this Taurus before? If Ford is really engineering a dedicated fleet vehicle for US production with no civilian counterpart, they’re as crazy as GM is.

Against all odds, common sense won out (damn you Alan Mulally!). The Detroit News reports that the new Interceptor will debut tomorrow, and that it will be based on the Taurus’ D3 platform. Which gives us less than 24 hours to speculate about which engines will be turning which wheels, and whether Ford and Chevy’s FWD-RWD cop car flip-flop will favor one automaker or the other. Oh yes, and mourn the eventual passing of the Panther platform, now that there’s no hope of a police duty-inspired update. Actually, some of us might need to take our time with that last one…

UPDATE: Bonus police-duty Taurus gallery!

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44 Comments on “New Ford Police Interceptor Will Be Taurus-Based...”


  • avatar
    jems86

    “Which gives us less than 24 hours to speculate about which engines will be turning which wheels, and whether Ford and Chevy’s FWD-RWD cop car flip-flop will favor one automaker or the other.”

    I believe it will be AWD FTW!!

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Sure hope it has a beefy transaxle.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    That picture of the old Taurus cop car just sums up the whole situation perfectly. What a roach that car was. What a roach the new Interceptor will be.

    Love the little cut-outs in the nose intended to help keep that thing from overheating.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The engine is less important in a police car than general sturdiness, repair and maintenance costs and downtime.

    How will Ford toughen a FWD car for police duty? Police cars are often slid over high curbs on the frame rails. A unibody car doesn’t have them. Maintenance and repair costs will be unmanageable.

  • avatar
    starbird80

    Funny, I was just thinking about the old Taurus police package last night. I saw a couple show up in the back lot of my local dealership, and wandered inside to ask a salesman if one could be special ordered.

    “Sure, I think we can do that,” he replied. The other salesman nearby gave us the evil eye and said, “no, actually, I don’t think we can.”

    Soon came rumors of fleet managers being sweet-talked into ordering “sample” vehicles for “security” businesses. Not much later, ads in the back of the buff books from a few dealers offering to order for anyone, even going so far as to offer airport pickup.

    It’ll be interesting to see if something similar happens with this police Taurus. Especially if AWD is involved.

    Back in the day, C&D tested a police Taurus. IIRC, it handled better (or at least had higher cornering limits) than the contemporary SHO, but didn’t match top-end speed.

    Always wondered if one could order the police package on a wagon. Never saw one in the wild. Obviously won’t be an option this time around.

  • avatar
    441Zuke

    good enough for robocop good enough for me

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Oh goody…another FWD poo-box that will break within 50K miles.

    Cops didn’t like the Intrepid (full trans rebuilds at 30K miles)
    Cops didn’t like the 1st gen Impala (many issues)
    Cops don’t like the new Impala (too small, issues).
    And the Charger is a joke (poor head room, unreliable)

    The Tourass will be no different.

    NOTHING Ford makes can match the Panthers in terms of cost of ownership, (extremely low) cost to produce, ability to reuse expensive components, (low) cost of operation, durability, reliability, and ease of making repairs.

    The only thing that will come close is the new Caprice…and with it’s combination of a bullet proof powertrain and RWD…GM will own the market…

    As is so often lately, Ford has made a very poor decision.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      Silvy, are you actually praising Ford’s Panther platform?

      You may want to rethink this post and edit it. After all you’ve got a Ford bashing reputation to protect.

    • 0 avatar
      panzerfaust

      Most of the patrolmen I’ve talked to like their Chargers, and I don’t understand at all the poor headroom comment, the Charger has a higher roofline than the Impala or the Crown Vic, lots of head and leg room.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Damn Z71!!!!……I agree with almost everything you said until “As is so often lately, Ford has made a very poor decision”.

      Ford has been doing the right things as of late so I find this poor decision unbelievable. So much for Ford being serious about wanting to keep the law enforcement business. The Taurus might be acceptable to mall cops but that’s about it.

      The folks at Chevy must be celebrating because IMHO Ford just ensured the new Caprice will be the overwhelming police favorite.

      From Fords own site:

      Providing Police Vehicles for More Than Half a Century

      Ford Motor Company is the only vehicle manufacturer that has continuously offered a police package in its lineup since 1950. While other manufacturers have come and gone with police entries applied to front-wheel-drive cars and unibody rear-wheel-drive cars, we continue to offer the market’s only standard V-8, rear-wheel-drive and body-on-frame vehicle—the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.

      The predictability of rear-wheel driving is a benefit our law-enforcement customers value. The body-on-frame means the car’s chassis components (steering, suspension) are mounted to a frame, not to the car’s body, which is important for the heavy-duty driving often associated with police work. Body-on-frame construction also helps keep repair costs down and contributes to the longevity of the vehicle.

      http://www.ford.com/about-ford/heritage/vehicles/policecars/673-police-cars

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Z71_Silvy, maybe they should switch to Toyota Camry.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I think this will heavily favor the RWD GM platform as police agencies have always resoundingly preferred RWD. Their argument has been the better high speed RWD handling and the fact that all officers are trained on RWD cruisers. You usually only see FWD police cruisers in urban areas and not on the freeways.

    What about the company whose name I’ve forgotten that is producing a police cruiser designed only for that purpose?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      I doubt that the police know their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to vehicle dynamics. I think that they just feel more macho to have their big ol’ Panthers lurking in doughnut shops across the land.

      Unless your cops are a lot keener than the ones around here, I’ll bet that they forget whatever they learned at “high speed training” within a year, if they ever get it in the first place.

  • avatar

    Since it will most likely use most of the SHO go fast parts, selling a fleet version will increase profitability on the SHO. My bet is that it’ll come standard with AWD (helps to take sales away from Chevy’s police Yukons). The Taurus is built on Ford’s sturdiest passenger car platform (well, except for the Panther) so it may be up to police duty and jumping curbs.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      AWD with a transverse setup is a call for fail. If the transfer case of that thing is not strong enough, you have a very expensive repair ahead.

      My bet is they will be FWD only. Maybe they’re going head on to compete with the Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      AWG also carries the mpg and weight penalty… but probably has still better mpg compared to panther ,,, can anybody confirm?

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I have doubts about a front wheel drive patrol car, however the current Taurus is not the same as the old one, and it hasn’t been out long enough for most of us to make any judgements about its long term reliability.

    However, as I read this I now see why my local PD chose to order a Carbon Motors E7.

  • avatar
    George B

    The police Taurus will be a decontented Wal-Mart version of the Taurus. Lowest price, Always! Front wheel drive, steel wheels, normally aspirated 3.5L V6, 6 speed automatic with column shifter, and vinyl seats. “Interceptor” may get slightly better exhaust system.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Sorry to burst all your bubbles but here is the 2010 Police Vehicle Test Results:

    http://www.policemag.com/Blog/Vehicles/Story/2009/11/Michigan-State-Police-Release-Vehicle-Test-Results.aspx

    srogers, here is a lot of info you need to catch up on:

    http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123–16274–,00.html

    Start with – 2010 Competitive Evaluation Vehicle Dynamics Testing

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      I clicked on the policemag site and the first thing that shows up is an ad touting “increased revenue”. Forget “to serve and protect” and replace it with “to pick your wallets clean”.

  • avatar

    I’d buy that for a dollar!

  • avatar
    Commando

    Police departments are NOT the general public. They will not be bullied into accepting change to something that works perfectly well. Chrysler tried to keep them by moving them into Dippys. Didn’t work. Gm tried to keep them by moving them into new gen Impalas. Didn’t work. Now Ford? Aint gonna happen. PLUS all those Iranians pushing taxis around ain’t gonna buy into it either.
    Too bad Carbon Motors s still in the vaporware stage.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      I don’t think the cops are going to use their weapons to demand that Ford keep building the over-the-hill Panther. The space utilization and overall efficiency of that ancient platform is horrible. The gas tank position ain’t so great either.

      If Ford stops offering the current Police Interceptor then the cops will have no choice but to pick something else. This will probably mean Ford looses some market share, but they have probably figured out that the lost market share isn’t enough to keep them building that old dinosaur anymore.

  • avatar
    also Tom

    I can’t remember a review of the new Taurus that didn’t mention a surprising lack of interior space. Given that and the sight lines, how do these things work as police cars?

  • avatar
    obbop

    Refurbish old Checkers?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Just because it will be based on the D3 platform, or even on the Taurus, doesn’t mean it will have the same body, interior space, or styling of the current Taurus. The 2008/2009 vintage Taurus was absolutely huge inside, with great visibility all around, handled well, and was genuinely quick. Consumers of course ignored it because the styling was about as plain as could be.

    If DetNew’s scoop is correct I’m anticipating a bodystyle more similar to the Ford 500 and last year’s Taurus than the new one, with vinyl or heavy duty cloth seats, column shifter, and some heavy duty oil and tranny coolers with extra skid plates underneath.

    Given that the Chicago assembly plant currently makes the Taurus, the Lincoln MKS, and is going to make the 2011+ Explorer as well, I’m imagining Ford will set up a separate line for these cars, then again, I don’t know what kind of capacity Chicago has, maybe it is capable of putting out 200,000 plus vehicles a year.

    I’d like to hear from any current or ex-policemen on the board: how often do y’all actually take your cars over curbs, off the road, or do other things that could genuinely damage a unibody car, but a BOF design would be good with? From my limited observations it seems that the vast majority of officers never come anywhere near a high speed chase or have to hop curbs and drive through corn fields.

    Just as a lot of people are giving up big SUVs and trucks as daily drivers, I have a feeling a lot of police departments are going to be looking at the roles and situations their vehicles are involved with in a day to day basis, and cutting back to more efficient vehicles for those officers whose roles aren’t likely to place them in a situation where the vehicle would be subjected to severe duty conditions. It’s also worth noting that the NA 3.5 V6 produces more hp than the 4.6 V8 in the Vic, and nearly as much torque. Then again, power in a police vehicle is becoming increasingly
    irrelevant, as it doesn’t matter if you can outrun the police cruiser, you can’t outrun the radio, traffic and security cameras, choppers, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Building the new Police Interceptor using the body tooling from the 2009 Taurus would be a brilliant move. Those tools surely didn’t get worn out, and the prior generation car did an outstanding job of space utilization.

      Too bad so many buyers shun the practical and go for the silly.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “If DetNew’s scoop is correct I’m anticipating a bodystyle more similar to the Ford 500 and last year’s Taurus than the new one,”

      If that’s true…that would add yet another dumb decision by Ford.

      There is no way Saint Al can/would justify a completely unique body and interior…just for 40K or so cars a year being sold at $23K a piece (and that’s being very generous..both in price and units sold).

      AWD would be a dumb decision as well. AWD for the few times a winter it MAY help is not worth the reliability headaches and the yearly hit in fuel economy that PDs would see. A set of snow tires make much more sense than some silly, mediocre AWD system.

      But…it would further cement that Ford isn’t making a dime on the failed D3 platform. Everything that has ridden on that terrible platform has failed miserably…from the Five Hundred (<–correct spelling) to the MKTaurus, to the Flex to the MKFlex.

      Chevy will rule the police world once again. Ford just can't compete with something that good and thought out.

  • avatar

    I predict that most of the major departments will migrate to the RWD Charger and GM products.

  • avatar
    davejay

    Okay, what do we know about the D3 platform:

    #1: the cars built on it have been very, very reliable (check out Consumer Reports ratings for the Five Hundred/Taurus and the Freestyle/Taurus X.)

    #2: the platform can handle a roomy sedan configuration and a really roomy minivan configuration, and the tooling exists for each.

    #3: the reliable, cheap to maintain and powerful Duratec V6 (in various configurations) has been used in the D3 platform.

    Really, the front-wheel-drive aspect of this is the only potential stumbling block, and the platform has FWD and AWD configs — it’s unlikely they’d go to a RWD variation, but it’s not impossible. I think this is a winner.

    • 0 avatar
      Hoser

      They can have my AWD/CVT Five Hundred when they pry it from my cold dead hands. Better rear seat room than a CV, more trunk space than the CV, the same AWD system as the Volvo XC90, High 20′s hwy mileage. They fixed the “just adequate” 3.0 with the 3.5 in the Taurus.

      The people who say the Taurus can’t hack it have probably have not driven one.

  • avatar
    Garak

    I hope they build them sturdy enough. FWD mail vans such as Transit Connects and VW Caddies tend to fall apart before 100000km, and I’d guess the police in the US drive their vehicles a bit harder than postal workers.

  • avatar
    newcarscostalot

    The cops around here are switching to the Charger. No GM in sight unless you count Jail/Prison Vans or County Suburbans. There are still quite a few Crown Vics tooling around.

  • avatar
    James2

    HNL is different. I would estimate half of the “fleet” consists of privately-owned vehicles (HPD subsidizes the officers for the use of their vehicles). So, you will see Altimas, 4Runners, Mustangs, Chargers, etc. all with a magnetized blue light on the roof (but otherwise no decals, identification, etc). At first HPD denied the use of FWD vehicles but caved in as the number of RWD cars commercially available dwindled. Some of the cops splurge and get those skinny LED light bars.

    The official fleet is mostly composed of Crown Vics, but I’ve seen an occasional Lumina and Impala –and HPD is trying out (horrors) a Camry Hybrid. For show-off purposes they have one Camaro IROC-Z.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Man if you were going for WIN in the pic selection, the Robocop Taurus is an absolute need. Like this one :) http://allegedlylegit.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/robocop-taurus.jpg

    Back on topic. I think this move is going to give this market to Chrysler and GM (when the Caprice arrives).

    A FWD car is this duty suffers more than a BOF RWD one. The transverse configuration is not very maintenance friendly (with a V6), the front bearings will suffer after an encounter with a curb.

    I guess the IRS RWD cars will suffer from the hub bearings too and also the suspension bushings.

  • avatar

    I was once told by a retired cop….NEVER, EVER buy a used cop car. Period.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    A couple of months ago, I had the misfortune to hit a deer in my ’95 Mercury Mystique (since replaced with a Saab 9-5). I live off a lonnng driveway, down a fairly steep lane with a curve at the bottom; it’s nigh on impossible to plow. Blizzaks keep my cars zinging up and down sans problems even with 7″ of snow or wet ice.

    At any rate, I clobbered this poor deer, called the cops. “Is there $1000 worth of damage?” “I don’t think it’s possible to damage this car that much.” They said to head home and they’d take care of the hapless ruminant. So, off I go – this is about 11pm.

    2am I get a call: A cop wants to come ask me some questions. OK, sure. It’s a dispatcher lady; I head over to the front door, and I’m saying, “You should tell him not to come down; he’ll never get back up the driveway. I’ll go up to meet -” and down comes the Crown Vic through 5″ of snow.

    Long story short, 20 minutes later he’s got the Vic stuck solid. He was hanging out in my driveway until about 4am, I guess. In the morning there were a lot of really thick tire tracks wiggling around the lane up the hill. Seems like the tow truck had a bit of a job getting out of there too.


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