By on March 11, 2013

The Queen is dead and police departments across the nation have spent the last year searching for a worthy replacement for the old girl. My department has been a Ford department for decades. So long, in fact, that the mechanics at the municipal garage have been trained and certified as Ford specialists. Despite concerns about the reliability of FWD when it comes to taking the abuse of patrol work, there was never any real question as to whether or not we would give the new Ford Police Interceptor Sedan a try and …

I’m sorry. I can’t finish the rest of this review using the phrase “Ford Police Interceptor Sedan.” I’ve never heard another cop call his car a “Police Interceptor.” The CVPI was always a “Crown Vic,” even after Ford dropped the homage to Her Majesty from the trunklid. The new car is a Taurus.

After a brief orientation, I was allowed to back a new Taurus out of the Technical Services garage for my road test. It was the equivalent of learning to swim by being tossed into the deep end of the pool. It forced me to immediately confront one of the car’s biggest shortcomings. The view out of the rear window is terrible, possibly the worst of any car I have ever driven.

Ford offers a rearview camera, which my department took at a fleet bid price of $240.  It’s cheaper than the audible alert system at $295. Municipal bean counters are encouraged to pony up for one or the other. The extra cost will pay off in the avoidance of all of the minor fender benders that will undoubtedly occur if officers are left to fend for themselves.

My department also purchased the BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) which also helps compensate for the Taurus’s lack of visibility in return for $475 of the taxpayer’s dollars. BLIS should be helpful while making emergency runs, provided that officers don’t become too dependent on it.

I retrieved my gun-belt in order to better simulate the experience of uniformed officers. When I got back in I was faced with the Taurus’s second noticeable flaw as a police vehicle: It’s too small for a man of… comfortable proportions.

Actually, that’s not exactly right. First of all, I’m hefty but I’m nowhere near the biggest guy at my department. In most respects the Taurus has plenty of room. The seat adjusts six ways from Sunday. The steering wheel telescopes in addition to tilting, a huge improvement over the Crown Vic. The Taurus also includes adjustable pedals. Headroom was fine and I didn’t feel crowded to my left by the door.

The problem was to my right. I’m right handed, as is most of the population. My holster was pressed against the seat-belt latch, which was in turn pressed tight against the metal side of the aftermarket console that contains the police radios and switch gear for the lights and siren. The pressure forced the end of my holster, which is an unforgiving lump of high- impact plastic, to dig into my leg.

This situation exists because Ford won’t admit the obvious. Their brochures claim that the Taurus has the same amount of space between the seats (nine inches) as the outgoing Crown Vic. Potential buyers are told that old consoles and equipment will be a direct fit, enabling cash- strapped departments to save money by recycling equipment.

Unfortunately the Taurus really doesn’t have nine inches to spare. The internal width from door panel to door panel is four inches less than in the Crown Vic. You can’t lose that much overall lateral space and then waste nine inches in the center of the car. Something’s got to give and unfortunately what gives is my sciatic nerve.

The fix would be relatively easy. The aftermarket needs to develop a console package that is seven inches wide instead of nine. The extra inch gained on each side would make all the difference in the world. It could even remain nine inches wide in front of the seats to accommodate equipment so long as it tapered down before it reached the seat-belt latch. Whether the market will respond remains to be seen and for now the vendors are only building too- large consoles built to Ford’s specifications.

Other than the pain in my leg, the driving experience was fine. Handling and braking felt much better than in the Crown Vic. Ford pushes the AWD system as a standard option, although they will give customers a $650 credit if they choose to special order a FWD car instead. The use of an actual column mounted shifter is a nice touch, especially compared to the fake column shifter mounted on the dash in a police- package Dodge Charger.

The car I drove had the standard 3.5L V-6. It growled when prodded instead of delivering its power with the muted roar of the Crown Vic’s V-8. The base engine has more than enough grunt for a police car, with a top speed of 131 mph according to testing by the Michigan State Police as opposed to the 150 mph top speed of the Ecoboost turbo version.

Performance measures are interesting but real life isn’t television. Most beat cops spend less than fifteen minutes out of an average eight hour shift running with lights and sirens. The rest of the time a police car is just a car, driven at normal speeds to the next report call, rolled slowly through dark alleys, and left idling for hours at a time. Fuel economy is more important these days than power and the standard powertrain strikes a good balance between the two.  A top end of 130 mph is more than sufficient. Anything more is just asking for trouble in these litigious times.

The stereo sounded fine for a base factory unit. SYNC is a $295 option, and one that my department didn’t spring for. I doubt that many municipalities will, but it’s the only way to get a 3.5 mm AUX jack. That’s a bit irritating. A patrol car is a cop’s home away from home for 40+ hours each week. An AUX jack is a quick and easy way to enjoy satellite radio or listen to an iPod. Yes, the total integration of these features through something like SYNC is desirable to Ford’s civilian customers, but simple solutions are best when dealing with fleet vehicles. A CD player is standard.

As I got out to take some pictures of the car, I noticed another problem: the front doors only open to a little over 45 degrees. A nylon retaining strap prevents them from opening any further. According to the brochure, this is to “help them swing out just right in the rush of a moment.”  The restricted opening of the front doors wasn’t as much of a problem when entering the car as it was on exit. Unfortunately, fast exits are often required from a police vehicle and attempts to exit quickly through the tight opening while wearing my gunbelt resulted in me banging my various pieces of equipment on the door frame and edge of the door.

By contrast, the rear doors open to almost 90 degrees. That would be great for loading a prisoner in the back, except that the minimal amount of legroom left over after a barrier is installed would probably qualify as a cruel and unusual punishment.  The aftermarket has responded with a sort of dogleg shaped barrier that is designed to be placed so that the driver’s seat can have full range of travel while bending in a manner that limits the front passenger seat’s travel, but allows more foot room in the rear passenger side for a prisoner’s legs. This solution will work if only one prisoner is transported at a time.

Perhaps a second prisoner can ride in the trunk. (I’m kidding.) A full- size spare hides under a flat panel, giving the Taurus a flat load floor that extends all the way to the rear seat. An optional sliding tray for mounting radio repeaters and other equipment keeps those vital and relatively fragile pieces tucked up under the rear decklid where they won’t be damaged by officers tossing heavier equipment on top of them.

I took a moment to sit behind the wheel of a marked Crown Vic after I returned to the garage. It felt enormous after the Taurus. I asked a technician how much of the equipment, besides peripherals like radios and flashlight chargers, could actually be switched between the old and new cars. He thought about it for minute.

“The lightbars are the same,” he replied. “But you have to get different brackets for the new cars.”

And the consoles? Nope. They’re too different. The Tauruses have to get brand new ones anyway.

So what’s my final verdict? I think that the engineers charged with turning the civilian Taurus into a police car did a good job, given the platform that they had to work with. Fleet pricing for the models purchased by my department comes to $26,659, which seems reasonable. (Additional equipment, such the new consoles that Ford claims we don’t have to buy, runs the tab up quite a bit higher.) Handling and fuel economy are far superior to the Vic. The power from the base V-6 is better than the old V-8. Departments above the Mason- Dixon line will definitely appreciate the AWD.

But problems and limitations abound. Some of them, such as the atrocious view out of the back window and the tight space for prisoners in the back, are inherent to the design of the car itself. They can be overcome with technology, but at a price. Some of them are simply inexplicable, like the narrow opening front doors. Law enforcement can’t possibly be losing that many driver’s side doors to oncoming traffic to justify limiting the door’s travel as much as the strap does.

But the most severe limitations come from Ford’s refusal to admit that the Taurus is what it is: a smaller car than the Crown Vic. You can insist that everyone call your Taurus a Ford Police Interceptor Sedan, but that doesn’t mean that the laws of physics will play along with the charade. There’s no excuse for Ford’s failure to admit that a nine inch console won’t fit into the Taurus without intruding into passenger space and working with the aftermarket to develop a narrower alternative that works.

The Crown Vic came to dominate the police market because its rivals forfeited the field. Both Dodge and Chevrolet are back in the game now and they should smell blood in the water. The Ford Police Interceptor Sedan has a lot of strengths, but Ford’s failure to admit its weaknesses and engineer better solutions to them will hurt its market position as the other cars are given chances by more agencies to prove their reliability.

David Hester is a detective with the Lexington, KY Police Department by day and night. He drove a Crown Vic for work, but “does not suffer from an overabundance of Panther love.” 

 

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194 Comments on “Cop Reviews Cop Car: 2013 Ford Police Interceptor Sedan Taurus...”


  • avatar
    jz78817

    somebody forgot to close a strikethrough tag.

    • 0 avatar

      I will say this: If I ever got arrested, I want to ride in comfort and luxury. Many cop cars are much too small due to the partition in the back. If I get locked up, I demand either a Taurus/MKS, 300 or BMW 7.

      Rear Seat entertainment package would be nice.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I know a cop who responded to his rear seat passengers’ complaints by playing a tape of the 1960s song “I Fought The Law And The Law Won”. That may be the only rear seat entertainment you’re going to get.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Better than a buddy of mine, his version of entertainment was to armor-all the back seat then hall arse over speed bumps and train tracks on the way to the station.

          • 0 avatar
            Compaq Deskpro

            I have had a cop tell me personally that when the guest of honor mouths off he slams the brakes and he bangs his head on the partition.

      • 0 avatar

        For such a gigantic car, it’s amazing that EVERYONE reached the same conclusion about “lack of interior space” and disappointing FWD.

        The problem is that this is nothing more than a big car riding on a small car’s chassis. Unlike the 300c, nothing in the Taurus seems to fit just right.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          I can only imagine the lack of space in the back seat!

          After a loaner car I was driving was involved in a T-bone with a transit bus, the responding cops graciously offered me a ride to work in their CVPI. (Car was undriveable, no airbags, just a small “klonk” to my head from the top of the door and some seat belt bruises, which paramedics stated wasn’t a big deal–my decision for medical attention.) I was in behind the driver, and I had to turn almost sideways to fit!

          IIRC, Panther taxis weren’t exactly spacious in the back seat for the same reasons if a divider was present. (At least the seat was cloth, so you didn’t slide around, unlike the hose-out back seat of a cruiser!)

    • 0 avatar

      NYSP uses three cars…Crown Vic, the Charger, and the Holden Chevy. I was curious about the Holden, so asked a Trooper I’m friendly with “You are starting your shift. There are three keys on the desk. Which one do you take ?” He replied, the Charger, because it has the best seating for someone wearing full gear. He said all three cars are about the same otherwise, but the Charger was the easiest to get in and out of….

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    You may want to start looking at Tahoes or Expeditions.

    The front wheel drive overhang is going to bottom out where older driveways intersect the street, not mention pot holes. In a city like New Orleans with terribly maintained streets, the front end and drive train will definitely be hitting the asphalt at speeds above 25 mph.

    The horizontal engine layout will be a maintenance nightmare for service departments. Three of six cylinders are crammed against the firewall. Hopefully, the alternator is located at the top of the engine versus being crammed down below the rear cylinders – between the exhaust manifold and front axle assembly.

  • avatar
    Maxseven

    The use of the strikethrough device is cliche.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    One of the major gripes in the Ford Taurus–and its platform-sibling, the Lincoln MKS–is how thick the center console is. Even I was bothered by it when I test-drove the latter, and I don’t wear a holster on a thick belt. You’d think Ford would have corrected this on the Police Interceptor model…

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Agreed. That center console literally pushed us into an Accord for less money and similiar feature content, except we didn’t get the 6 and the trunk is slightly smaller due to a lower lid height.

      Even the 2012 Fusion seemed “roomier” in the driver seat.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        The police spec console actually looks slightly better than the retail spec one — it’s roughly the same width, but the police console appears to be significantly lower. The retail one hits the seatbelt laterally but rises above it by 2-3″.

        And texn3 — the Fusion (at least the outgoing one) is definitely roomier. I rented them back-to-back and was amazed at how much more comfortable the smaller car was.

        The odd thing is, the earlier 500/Taurus interior had a narrower console, in what is essentially the same car.

      • 0 avatar
        chas404

        I sat in the front right seat of a nicely optioned rental. very nice looking car and nice interior. but i hated the squat windows etc. and i am 6 foot 3 and felt uncomfortable up front. the rear. no way.

        fwd cop cars to me are silly.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      yup, I am 6’3″ and less than one minute in the car at the auto show was all I needed to know that the Taurus was a no go.

      Not only is the console wide, its tall too.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        My one time in the current Taurus gave me claustrophobia. How that car would work as a surveillance platform is beyond me. I’d worry about the Pharoahs hooking the back of the car to a post, it’s so easy to sneak up on it.

    • 0 avatar
      kjb911

      you should try my 2012 focus if you want to see a wide console the SE and S got a more awkward styled version with the parking brake located lower and the Congolese in a straight alignment with a useless change holder on the side where the brake is located on the higher trim levels it’s the only negative I find with the car besides that I love it when I had a Taurus as a loaner while my car was being srrviced I kept feeling that the focus was a tighter fit and wider console but it could have been just my perspective

    • 0 avatar

      I wrote it off almost immediately after sitting in it with the doors closed at a car show. I’m not a large guy (6’2″ 170lbs) but I felt cramped in the front of it, never did check the rear seat room out.

      Shame as it looks great, but if I can’t feel comfortable driving it, it doesn’t make the cut.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I just got back today from taking a weekend run from Dallas to Chicago and back again in a rented Lincoln MKS (based on the Taurus) and was very disappointed in it. I’m a little overweight (5’11″, 205lbs with all the excess over my belt buckle), and even I found the seat belts hard to buckle. One of my car mates is 6’1″ and around 350 lbs and couldn’t even use the seatbelt at all and rendered the center console unusable on his side. I also don’t see how any prisoner could fit in the back seat after a barrier was installed. I barely fit back there even with the front passenger seat halfway back. I won’t even get into how noisy and rough it road (for a Lincoln) because that doesn’t apply to police cars.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “The view out of the rear window is terrible, possibly the worst of any car I have ever driven.”

    Amen to that, I rented one of these bricks on wheels in December and quickly came to the same conclusion. The visibility, overall, is poor regardless of which window you are trying to peer out of (A, B & C pillars more suitable as bridge supports). Additionally, the horrific torque steer under full throttle reminded me of GM’s pathetic A-bodies (Century, Cutlass, Celebrity, etc.) from circa 1982. I considered it dangerous.

    This is a really awkward car, I give it a “full-turd” rating.

    • 0 avatar
      yesthatsteve

      I was behind a civilian Taurus yesterday, and my first thought was “How the hell do you see out the rear window?” My 1st gen xB & my wife’s 2nd gen Odyssey seem to be better than most newer cars in this regard, and we’ve had a variety of other cars as rentals in the last few years. None of them had what I’d call “good” visibility. Hell, the Prizm I drove before the xB was better than most of the rentals we’ve seen.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      We tend to forget that the limited rear view is an ongoing trend in cars as people step down from their SUVs (which BTW nearly all suffered from piss-poor rear visibility); hence, the rear-view camera systems.

  • avatar

    Officer Hester, thank you for writing.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Police Spec Tahoe. As Panther Love slowly fades away, I see more Tahoes on the streets and I’m starting to really like ‘em. They might be the best in class, even if they suck down fuel like a Crown Vic.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Police Departments appear to be replacing Crown Vics with Tahoes around here too. I see Chargers, Impalas, and Ford Explorers too, but very few police Tauruses.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I have to ask. Any one who’s been to Britain or other parts of Europe has seen the Opel Astra diesel as the Police Car as the municipal choice. Having owned a similiar Saturn Astra for five years now, it blows my mind to think of being a Cop on the beat in one of these. A Taurus would seem a massive improvement in size.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        As mentioned above many depts in my area replaced Chargers with Tahoes for their lower cost of operation when they could no longer get Crown Vics. According to the Data I’ve seen the Police Interceptor Sedan out sells the only other vehicles broken out as police only models. the Police Interceptor Utility and the Caprice PPV. That being said I’ve still only seen a few of them around here and see more of the Utility but very few of the PPV. The Charger has all but disappeared.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Thank you for the excellent practical review. I can see how the space limitations can be worked out, if anyone cares to, but the visibility problems are frustrating and I have heard them regarding other sedans as well. I wonder if it is simply as a result of styling imperatives or from something else.

    I know I am already sick of the high-beltline, small-glass look. Why?

  • avatar
    Mike

    A good read, and a thorough review. Thank you.

    I cannot help but wonder if those front door straps are made of nylon specifically because the limitation keeps the lawyers happy but it would be easy for an officer to “modify” if they so wished.. Is there a secondary mechanism to stop the door at the normal point?

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I traded my 08 GTI for a ’11 Taurus SEL, got it at a great price and it was a nice comfy car. But, you get this feeling on being in a bunker, for all the back glass does – it could be sheet metal. MPG was 24-24.6 most of the time and it was a quiet ride. BUT, I had issues with the transmission, if you drove it kinda hard, then it shifted fine. But, start off easy and it seemed to go 1,2…5? and the bog between gears was awful. I took it back to the dealer twice within a 2 week period. The first time they claimed they adjusted something in the transmission, the second time they kept it from Monday till Friday – and then after I called I got these 3 calls from them, 10-15 minutes apart:
    1 – we can’t find anything wrong, 2 – well the transmission guy can duplicate it, but he’s the only one, 3 – the tech now thinks its software, OK I say, fix what you can I’m picking it up tonight, I did and traded for a 2012 Camry. No problems now.
    Good luck with the Foad, my experience wasn’t good.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      There have been alot of complaints with Ford’s automatics having the same behavior, I noticed it alot in the Fusion SELs I rented but not in the Sport model I test drove (which shares the same transmission with the Taurus).

      Again, people complain about the Accord only having 5 speeds and not the latest, greatest tech but the auto in our Accord shifts when you want it too and holds a gear when you want it too.

    • 0 avatar
      SkookumFord

      The slow-shifting is indeed a software problem. Ford tuned it for fuel economy and did a poor job of it. An SCT tune on my SHO fixed all of my transmission issues.

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like a typical Ford transmission to me. My Contour did ok if you hammered it through all 4 gears, but left to its own devices was a slow and befuddle lump of aluminum. My Explorer is better, but still is easy to catch it flat-footed and its an old design.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        And as I’ve stated on this forum before, what in heaven’s name is with those wussy tones for seat belts, key-in/door-open, lights-on warnings on any Ford product circa maybe mid-to-late aughts?

        (At least the Lincoln equivalents are somewhat less laughable, but the MKZ that I sat in at the auto show this year was still a little shop of horrors! E.g., those PRNDL buttons running down the left side of the center stack are an INSULT to the ’50s-’60s Mopar pieces that Ford was obviously attempting to imitate!)

  • avatar
    cgraham

    Ford Police Interceptor Sedan: F-PIS? How apropo for something that is going to have the effin piss beat out of it every day.

    Good read though! I’ve always found police cars interesting (from the front seat anyway).

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The problems that you identify appear to be “first generation” type problems. The Taurus has had it’s current body style for what, 3 years now? When did they start phasing out the Crown Vic, 2011? I would have thought that these issues would have been resolved by now. I personally preferred the “bubble” design of the Ford 500/ and 2008 Taurus. It had much better visibility than the newer one. Even the trunk seemed bigger. The older style had more interior room, was lighter, and I think it even was more aerodynamic, though I wouldn’t swear to it.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Good point. The Taurus should be up for a complete redesign, provided Ford wants to sell cars this size to retail customers. It’s stale, its underpinnings are antediluvian, and its styling has aged like milk. They’ve been pitching them with little success for four years now, and the platform dates back to the ’90s. They’re in the fumbling around stages of developing it for law enforcement use now? I guess that means they intend to stay in the lowest commodity car business, in spite of their delusions of premium pricing.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I have to agree on the 500, people called it “underpowered” and “bland” but I’ve found them to be tastefully styled, roomy, really good trunk space and I can actually see things when backing up.

      At the same time, the Ford 500 was based off a Volvo platform so I can only guess that Ford had to think up a new platform once they quit working with Volvo. The 500 was a step in the right direction though, save for the face-lift.

      The new Taurus looks bigger than the 500 from what I’ve seen, but a bit more narrow and “sleek”.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    A co-worker has a two-year-old Taurus, just like this. Not only are the windows bunker-quality, but I was shocked at how high the dashboard is to see out of the windshield!

    I compare this to my 2012 Impala, and I’m cautiously concluding that the venerable old W-body is the better car from several respects as a more spacious interior and larger glass area.

    Thing is, I like the Taurus and briefly considered one last summer, but the visibility was an issue for me, having only one good eye, which limits me for the safety of myself and my fellow drivers. In other words, a new Camaro, sadly, wasn’t on the list!

    Since when is it fashionable to need cameras and back-up sensors to see out of a car, after all, we’re not driving nuclear submarines!

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      “Since when is it fashionable to need cameras and back-up sensors to see out of a car, after all, we’re not driving nuclear submarines!”

      As a magical cure for design flaws.

      Our local cops have a couple of these, and with the lightbar on top it just looks silly to me. I will never understand why they quit making the Crown Vic.

      John

      • 0 avatar
        bizzarodave

        My understanding is that the tooling was completely worn out and would have required all new dies and other special tools to continue production. I also believe the CVPI as designed wouldn’t pass the new rollover regulations that were a factor in the death of the Ranger. Add to that the need to close assembly plants and it may be easier to understand why the CVPI went away.

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          Yeah, new rollover regulations. You can probably place a lot of blame on them for little windows, high beltlines, and thick pillars. Maybe if you can see out of the frickin’ thing you can do a better job of keeping the shiny side up….

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Stability control was also mandated, of which the Panthers had none.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The CVPI far exceeded roll over standards IF the dept saw fit to spend the extra couple hundred dollars on the integrated roll over protection. My understanding was a combo of worn out body tooling and not meeting pedestrian safety standards.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      @Zackman

      At my previous job I worked with 3 different law enforcement outfits that had a mix of Impalas and Crown Vics. If you were to compare a Crown Vic to an Impala of similar age and mileage the difference was night and day. The Impalas just looked worn out. Inside, outside, engine bay, etc. Some of the guys I talked to said they seemed to have more mechanical issues as well. Cops tend to be very hard on their vehicles and the Impalas weren’t up to the task.

      I’m not sure how your beloved Impalas would stack up against a Taurus or Charger but I think the CV had em beat for police duty.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        dts187:

        I pretty much agree with you. I’m 62, thus through the years, I have gotten much easier on cars. I’m not a geezer, per se, but just a cruiser, never have been a hot-rodder, so perhaps that’s the difference.

        RWD vs. FWD appears to be a more durable drivetrain. I wonder if that’s also true of B-O-F vs. unibody?

        FWD is a more efficient setup, but for a police dept., I would think durability would win out, but when you don’t have a choice, what do you do?

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Had a 2011 off-rental Impala as a loaner from the dealer from which I bought my car for a week while waiting to have paint-protection film installed. I agree with your statements about outward visibility being head and shoulders over most, with two exceptions:

      1. The back seat center headrest is HUGE! Couple that with the almost useless little ovoid non-OnStar/auto-dim rearview mirror (the one with two map lights built-in) out of the old Cobalt, and you can’t see for crap out the back! (Again, remember that this car was a fleet special, so no OnStar, and the base radio without XM capability or CD-MP3. It DID have the factory remote-start, though!)

      2. The “C”-pillar windows aren’t a real help for the large-ish blind spot back there.

      At least the windows on the NEW Impala look as big as the tried-and-true W-Body!

  • avatar
    prndlol

    The Crown Victoria passenger volume is 107.5 cubic feet, while the current Taurus is 102.2. Is the less than five percent difference in space really that dramatic?

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Yes…especially when any of that space ends up compressing room in the seat. If you’ve never tried fitting yourself into a car wearing the full police duty belt that holds a radio, a collapsible baton, handcuffs, a pouch for nitrile gloves, OC spray, a cell phone, a flashlight, a patrol rifle magazine, two pistol magazines, and your duty sidearm then it might be hard to realize how a guy with a 34″ waist ends up being as ponderously huge as the 400 pounders on fatty scooters in Wal-Mart when it comes to getting into and out of a vehicle. Don’t forget you’re wearing all of this in combination with body armor which reduces your flexibility and makes you at least one shirt size bigger.

      That interior space also needs to accommodate a laptop, a dashcam system, and in some instances a long gun of some type…either a shotgun or a patrol carbine. Trunk mounts are fine and dandy if you have all the time in the world to deploy the weapon, which usually isn’t a description that fits most gunfights. It needs to be readily accessible to be useful.

      The Vic with all this loaded in it was pretty snug. Just big enough to allow you to get into and out of the car without catching the crappy department-mandated Serpa holster on some bit of the car and ripping it off the el-cheapo anchors when you had to get in or out in a hurry chasing some ne’er-do-well. Shaving down 5% when there was maybe only half of a % of spare really does result in a significant pain factor.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I would expect so. Packaging is almost completely subservient to styling these days. Given its inferior packaging, the Taurus would need a significant advantage in raw passenger volume to match or exceed the Crown Vic in terms of usable passenger space.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Sitting in a Crown Vic is like sitting on the edge of a bed with a steering wheel floating in front of you. Sitting in a Taurus is like sitting in a phone booth inside of a foxhole. The difference is night and day.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I wouldn’t worry much about the strap limiting door travel. Officer Bob will simply cut them. We manage buildings, and some of those buildings house law enforcement personnel. The damage done by those who feel they know better is amazing. Breaking down doors, jimmying door locks, tampering with HVAC equipment, etc. Trust me, the strap does not stand a chance.

    The biggest drawback in my opinion of the Taurus is that for such a large car on the exterior, the interior feels small. The space utilization is poor and no spin can change that.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    You’ve got a future in this game, methinks. Clear and concise without the artificial irony so en vogue with certain writers. That said, I find I cannot look at the FWD replacements for the Cruisers as anything but Clown Cars. They just don’t convey the gravitas I associate with Police Cars. I am curious about one aspect of your profession. Since you’re the best organized and communicative local street group, why any need for speed? I’ve never known a car to outrun a radio. Aren’t societal mores changing to the point of discontinuing the high-speed chase except in rare instances? What is your own departmental policy?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I can’t speak for David’s department, but in Pittsburgh the policy is to discontinue pursuit after X speed and X distance for liability reasons alone (I believe the speed threshold is 80, not sure about the distance).

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        That seems reasonable. The Cowboys in our part of rural Oregon coast routinely chase everybody for miles, through various jurisdictions, without any ramifications. After one recent chase, I made a point of checking the blotter in our local paper to see the original crime – probation violation. Like killing ants with sledgehammers.

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      Our chase policy is fairly progressive, whch is to say that it’s restrictive. No more than two marked cruisers plus K-9 and a supervisor for a maximum total of four. We don’t do O.J.- esque parades around here. We’re also pretty quick for a supervisor to terminate a pursuit. There’s no speed limit that requires an automatic cessation of a pursuit, but if it breaks a hundred, it will almost always be called off.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The neighborhood policeman likes the ease of entry of the Tahoe over the new Caprices too. And he’s not a big guy but does own a Silverado.

    I know how you feel having carried my concealed carry in racebucket seats. It hurts!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      From a space point of view, I’d think the Tahoe would be a fine choice. While the mileage is relatively poor, the durability and ease of repair would offset that I would think. The biggest drawback would be the high speed handling. Even with suspension upgrades I’d think that a Tahoe would be much more of a hazard at pursuit speeds.

  • avatar
    west-coaster

    Judging by the one photo of that center console, it would seem that the two radios could be moved forward into what appear to be two blank spaces.

    Then, perhaps a creative fabricator could take a Sawzall to the part of the console that’s limiting space for the gun belts. Yes, you’d lose the cup holders, but I would think improved comfort would make it a good trade-off.

  • avatar
    Fenian

    The town next to me just picked up two Explorers for police duty. Being on a modified D3 platform (D4), I’m not sure if it would really address the space issues that the Taurus suffers from. Any thoughts?

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    The rear visibility in many new cars, notably the Taurus, Camaro and Chrysler big cars, is terrible. But this one could be an occupational hazard! An extra piece of tech (and expense) to compensate for a design flaw due to over-styling (big pillars and high belt-line)?

    Such a large car with so much wasted space. I want to like the Taurus, especially the Ecoboost SHO. But at least a Chrysler 300 feels like it has more space, even though it commits many of the same offenses as the Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Frequently police cars have to be piloted in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. Lack of visibility leading to dependence on rear-view cameras is going to lead to somebody getting run over by a cruiser and then the department having to write a big check.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The Robocop prophecy is fulfilled. I understand they’re using the new Taurus as police cars in the remake due later this year as well.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That’s fitting…we’ve had quite a few SUX6000′s introduced in the past decade…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Which one do you think is the most direct 6000SUX clone? I think it is currently between the Jaguar XJ and the Lincoln MKZ.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Looks wise, I agree with the XJ, but it has to be an “American Tradition”, so that’s out.

          I think if you consider the intended context of the original movie, the Escalade is the 6000SUX of this generation.

          The Escalade is probably the closest to managing 8 mpg as well.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I could see MKFusion, I’m not seeing an XJ.

          I also could see 98-02 Saab 9-3 five door hatch.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          XJ doubters need a refresher on the 6000 SUX: http://www.flickr.com/photos/80643375@N00/4013154660

          v. http://www.araba.cc/araba-resimleri/jaguar-resmi/2010-jaguar-xj-3.html

          Jaguar went so far as to copy the tail lights. This eyesore was definitely penned by a Robocop fan.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Bean counters rule! When the Taurus’ complex mechanicals and body structure start generating significantly higher maintenance and repair bills they’ll put the kibosh on buying them damn quick.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      What is complex about the Taurus’ 1999 body structure? The strut front suspension is about as simple as things get. Whether or not it will prove durable under an over two ton fleet car is another thing, but there’s nothing particularly complex or expensive about a FWD, naturally aspirated Taurus. The turbo AWD one would be pure comedy, were it not on the backs of the public to pay for such folly.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        CJ – when was the last time that you replaced an alternator or rear spark plugs on FWD Ford with a V6?

        Personally, I’d rather work on a Tahoe than a Taurus.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Spark plugs are 100,000 mile parts now, thanks to EPA emissions certification requirements. I have a hard time relating to the idea of police fleet managers ever worrying about replacing plugs, since I live in a state where the CHP doesn’t even have its own service department. They keep cars only as long as they’re covered by warranty, 50,000 miles in the case of the CVPI.

          Layout is no guarantee of serviceability when it comes to Detroitus anyway. My friend’s Explorer Sport Trac’s plugs started backing out the other day. It is a longitudinal-engined pickup with a V6, but the right bank of plugs were so buried by heater plumbing and other less easily identified obstructions that it took two mechanics hours to get the job done. These were guys who build really cool street machines too, not complete clowns.

        • 0 avatar
          d524zoom-zoom

          Young and Slow your are right as rain

  • avatar
    jco

    i can’t help associating the Taurus police car with rent-a-cops. it just does not have the same ‘presence’ as a crown vic or even a charger. that being said, our force has these with push bars and black steelies. it’s a slight improvement I guess. although i can definitely see a lot of northern municipalities being okay with AWD. during our last 10″ snowfall here, I definitely saw a few Crown Vics struggling a bit while dealing with traffic mayhem.

    the new charger is a very solid looking cruiser. is it bigger on the inside?

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      In Portland, Maine they’re driving AWD Taurii now. They also have some new Explorers. State Police are also buying Taurii and some unmarked Chargers. I recently saw a beige unmarked Charger with someone pulled over. Most people would never guess it’s a cop car. State Police also have some Mustangs in their fleet.

      In South Portland (next door to Portland) they’re buying Chargers now. It’s weird to see the fragmentation that’s occurring since the Crown Vic is no more. Previously pretty much every department around here used Crown Vics. Now it’s a mix of Ford and Dodge. Haven’t seen any local departments driving the Caprice yet although Westbrook and Windham do have some Impalas in their fleet so maybe they’ll be buying the Caprice.

      My dad was an OPP officer for 30 years and typically had a Crown Vic if he brought a car home. The OPP did drive the old style Caprice but I don’t think they really were loved like the CV. Especially the late 90s re-design. My dad called that Caprice the “turtle car”.

      Anyway, I enjoyed reading this review. I don’t plan to ever be a policeman, but it’s fun to read about Police cars. Hopefully Ford fixes the space issues because having things dig into you all day would be pretty crappy.

      • 0 avatar
        TCragg

        Speaking of the Ontario Provincial Police, since the demise of the P-71 Crown Vic, the OPP seem to be favouring the Tahoe over all others, at least in Southwestern Ontario. I have seen some of the newest Chargers, as well as a few Tauruses, but they are vastly outnumbered by the Tahoes. There are still a lot of CVPIs around, but since the OPP only keeps cars for 2-3 years, they’ll all be gone soon.

        • 0 avatar
          86er

          Makes sense; the old Vic has way more in common with the Tahoe* than the Taurus.

          *which I would add has a Police Pursuit version that is lower than the standard model

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The Charger is definitely the most intimidating of a all cop cars even the CV. When you see one you just get overcome by the thought, “Please mister policeman, please don’t arrest me”. I usually end up looking at the speedo and realize I’m now going 5-10mph below the limit. A phenomenon I don’t experience with a CV.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    It remains to be seen how the police or civilian spec cars will hold up over time, but I wonder if part of this is to deliver a capable but less robust and more fragile platform to departments to ensure more frequent resale?

    Panther was alot of things, but durable was certainly one of them. I’ve seen seven year old Audis hit the junkyard for issues with the transmission or differentials not worth fixing (although those were of the 95-00 MYs and this was years ago). Could this be the future for the police spec AWD?

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Good point. Sometimes there are vehicles that we expect to be really durable but are not. Other so called “frangible” designs, like turbos, sometimes surprise with better than average lifespans. It makes sense that the more complex the design, the greater likelyhood of failures. Then again, cars are way more complex yet they are much more reliable…like your Audi example, the cost of repair will be what dooms the vehicle to the crusher. Kind of sad when you see fairly new cars in the junkyard that look solid, yet you know a 6K repair lurks within….

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Strikes me as a case of planned obsolescence. Some cars today have such complicated designs that literally one piece of plastic can snap inside of a component and effectively doom it.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    For the love of God, can we please stop the stupid strike-outs? I know, ya’ll are trying to be funny and all, but really, you are writers, if you can’t be funny by writing stuff, it’s no less funny by doing the strikeouts? I lost count how many reviews and articles I’ve seen with this “non-style” and it’s awful. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Actually, if you look at the Ford sales chart you’ll see that the police unit sales are broken out from the Taurus and the line item is, “Police Interceptor Sedan.”

      http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Dec12sales.pdf

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Officer Hester’s department needs to check the “chrome tailpipe surround” option on their next fleet order. The exhaust cutouts make them look miniscule.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like knowing that their tax dollars are going to be used on back-up cameras, just because Ford couldn’t be bothered to design proper a rear window?

    I never did understand why Ford refuses to call these “Tauruses”, dumb marketing department.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I would imagine to help distinguish them from the regular retail Tauruses once they hit the auctions. Badging them the same hurts average resale prices when you have a glut of beaten, miled up fleet specials hitting the streets in a few years at 50% the value of a clean retail model coming off lease at the very same time.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lets assume this model came out in 2008 and 5yr/100-120K models are hitting the auction, how much would you pay for one?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Whatever they end up going for, I’m sure as a percentage original price it will be lower than the Crown Vic was.

          Ex-police CVPIs with 100k miles were still ripe for another 300k miles or more of taxi service.

          These, I’m not so sure.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Is this model actually equipped with “snap on, FLY-off” plastic wheel covers? A non-bolt-on design is just damn dangerous, especially if these cars are involved in high speed, heavy-duty aggressive driving situations.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I wish I could truly understand why Ford didn’t just keep producing the Crown Vic for fleets and make it more efficient. I guess the economies of scale just couldn’t work. The N/A V6 and a 6 speed auto would have done wonders for the Vic.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Ford wanted it dead for years, they see it as why invest tens of millions to sell roughly 35K units annually?

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Probably similar reasons for GM to stop producing the Caprice. They want to close an old assembly line that can only make one type product of relatively small volume and/or margin. For GM it was a more obvious decision at the time. More Tahoe/Suburban production was needed and changing over the Texas factory was relatively simple. In Ford’s case I think its more about “One Ford” and getting rid of an aging single market platform.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    @David Hester

    Re: Holster. See Robert Farago, he has one you can do contortions in, but it may not be regulation.
    ;-)

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    My local Sheriff’s Dept seems to favor GM products and they have been running around in Impalas for a long while now. So I am not so sure the FWD not begin durable is as big an issue as we might think.

    Sajeev, I am also kinda in your neck of the woods and I too see more Tahoes in service as of late. Perhaps that is a just a stop gap between the older Impalas dying out and before the Chevy Caprice err PPV are actually bought and put into service?

  • avatar
    CrapBox

    Are the cars too small or the cops too large?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Probably a mix of both.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        What 28-cars-later said. Plenty of cops could stand to go on a diet…but as I mentioned earlier, even a fit cop with his full Batman utility belt full of necessary items is huge around the waist and often finds bits poking into him when he sits in a seat that’s not designed to comfortably handle fatty-scooter riders.

        • 0 avatar
          David Hester

          I could admittedly stand to lose a few pounds, but how are you going to make tall officers shorter? One of our sergeants came by the garage while I was messing around with the car and sat down behind the wheel. He’s about 6’5″ and it was kinda comical to watch him fold himself in.

  • avatar
    david42

    Excellent article. I’d love to see a similar one about the Caprice.

  • avatar
    stroker49

    How can it come it is such a hassle to find a good police car in the USA, and why it has to be RWD and preferably B.O.F? In the rest of the world any suitable car can be adapted. Here in Europe you can see Opel/Vauxhall, BMW, Volvo, VW, FIAT you name it. Most of them FWD and none of them B.O.F. I think that from north of Finland to south of Spain and over in Romania the conditions differs as much as from Long Island to Ancorage.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So are these things designed to be worked on at all? That’s a stuffed engine bay.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      This being a fleet car thats a good question, but most modern cars are never designed to be serviced (and some even designed to discourage it), they’re designed to last a long amount of miles with little to no service.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Lol what? That’s a bit generalized. And wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Care to correct me?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’d argue that German cars these days are NOT designed to go a long way with little maintenance.

            I think that all cars are designed to be maintained, even though they may not have the amount of space you would like to work on them. Cars are getting smaller, with smaller engines. An easy way to shrink a car is to take away extra space under the engine.

            The days of the 3 feet of empty space in front of the engine in a Fleetwood are over.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I have to agree with you, when I said “maintenance” I more-so meant repairs. Modern cars are largely pretty easy to maintain save for propeitirey bits (BMWs mostly) and “sealed for life”.

          And you are right about modern German cars, they’re pretty terrible as far as longevity is concerned.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It seems to me that a passenger version of the Ford Transit Connect would be a perfect police car. It is simple, has plenty of room up front (and in the back) and has sufficient but not too much power.

    Otherwise the MV-1 uses a lot of Ford Parts and the 4.6L:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV-1

    Now for the highway patrol, I would suggest something like a Mitsubishi i-MMiEV.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Rear visibility would still be an issue. I’m a bit surprised that Ford didn’t resurrect the old 500/Taurus body for police duty. Bigger cabin, better visibility, and the tooling is already paid for.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        May have had something to do with the Volvo sale, didn’t Ford let Volvo retain its IP in the sale?

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        I was wondering why they didn’t do that, perhaps the 500 had the same FMVSS compliance issues that the Panthers did.

        It would be tough to cut the roof off a Flex and turn it into a sedan, but that might address the back seat and visibility issues.

  • avatar

    Boy, that police car seems to be chock packed with electronic devices that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation says are “inherently distracting”.

    • 0 avatar
      moedaman

      “Boy, that police car seems to be chock packed with electronic devices that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation says are “inherently distracting”.”

      Sadly, there are a number of cops who feel that they’re above the laws we mere mortals must follow. A women I work with had her police officer son at the office one day for lunch. He was bragging about how he could text while driving because the law excluded cops. This conversation happened about a week before some cop ran into a car, killing it’s driver. The cop was texting at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Yeah…that’s some BS. Most cruisers don’t have hands-free capabilities for cell phones, and yet cops are supposed to use their cell for a big chunk of their communications. They’ll write tickets for texting and then leave the stop and text behind the wheel. It’s nuts.

      Sadly agents of the state are often immune from rational scrutiny of issues, be they distracted driving ordinances or various regulations regarding firearms. The goose/gander rule in principle and in application would clear up a whole bunch of stuff.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    “The stereo sounded fine for a base factory unit…”

    Ok, my knowledge of police procedure comes from watching Adam-12 as a kid, but shouldn’t cops on patrol be listening to the police radio, not music?

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      I thought the same thing. All the patrol cars around here (LAPD, LASD, CHP) have no entertainment radio for the officers.

      Perhaps things are a little more relaxed in other places as far as that goes.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        Some departments I worked with had nothing, others had AM/FM. I never saw a CD player.

        I did notice that pretty much any car with had a radio had an FM transmitter in the cup holder or door card which was no doubt used with a smart phone or mp3 player.

        I can understand it. Especially for the guys in the Highway Patrol. You need some entertainment when you’re driving and sitting on the same stretch of road for a week at a time.

        • 0 avatar
          nikita

          In the bad old days, the CHP ordered cars without A/C, supposedly to encourage keeping the window open and listening to what is going on outside. They did special order white steering wheels as black ones were too hot to touch in the desert of valley in summer.

          The supposedly roomy 114″wb CV is tiny compared to a 122″wb late 1960′s Polara.

    • 0 avatar
      DrunkenDonuts

      “I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she’s filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I’m collating so I don’t see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.”

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      We’re allowed to listen to the stereo as long as it doesn’t interfere with our ability to answer dispatches. You get used to listening to both.

      With the advent of Mobile Data Computers, most non- priority calls are “silent dispatched” straight to the computer and not broadcast over the radio at all. The computer “bongs” when a new call is sent, you read the call, punch a button to acknowledge it, another to acknowledge your arrival on scene, and then another to clear yourself off the call when you’re done. The dispatcher doesn’t notify you by radio unless you fail to acknowledge the call through the computer in a reasonable time. You could take a dozen report calls in a shift and never actually talk on the radio.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        I used to design and implement the network communication for these systems. Some of the software was relatively simple and offered little more than assigning calls and acknowledge functions. I remember one very good product in particular that had integrated GPS that would automatically route to the call, show real-time location of other officers, and would even search state databases for names/addresses and provide details about prior incidents by that person or at that address. Doing this job is also what spawned my deep hatred of Panasonic Toughbooks.

        Working with the officers gave me a new respect for law enforcement. I was a bit of a hooligan growing up and didn’t have the best attitude towards the police after a couple encounters. While working with them and getting to know a few pretty well I realized most are just decent guys/gals who hope to do some good, make a living, and make it home at the end of their shift. Kudos to law enforcement officers who put up with a lot of shit for not enough money.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Round these parts in SW Ohio, we’ve got

    -One district that uses Tahoes and Taurii.
    -One that uses Explorers and Taurii.
    -One that uses the Chevrolet PPV.
    -And Cincinnati PD uses Impalas still.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    OMG look at the DLO fail when the rear door is opened!

  • avatar
    dts187

    Here in WV I’ve been seeing a lot of Chargers and new Explorers for police duty and only one or two Taurus that were in detective guise.

    I’ve not driven a new Charger but I wonder if the visibility is better or worse than the Taurus?

    Regardless of functionality, a Charger with a push bar looks like a menacing force cruising down the interstate.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxseven

      “Regardless of functionality, a Charger with a push bar looks like a menacing force cruising down the interstate.”

      I have to disagree. The Dodge Charger looks like a scaled-up Hot Wheels or Matchbox toy. Vulgar metallurgy, along with its gimmicky aesthetic flourishes, make the Charger rather juvenile in appearance. It is not intimidating in any way.

      If we lived in fantasy land, department issued Audi S8 cruisers would be far more bold and emasculating

  • avatar
    dolorean

    David, I feel for you. I’ve been in the Army now 20 years. For years, the Hummer was perfectly adequate for the amount of equipment I was required to wear. As an Officer, I always sit on the right of my driver. With the advent of the Up-Armored HMMWV and after market commuications systems came an upgrade in full plate front, side, and rear body armour, new personal comms, an additional M4 with six mags…etc. You name, I wore it and in the now very limited space within the TC seat, my whole body would literally be locked in a rigid seating position for hours, which becomes an added, unnecessary distraction. You can tell that no one actually sat inside with full body armour, weapon, and Kevlar before approving it for mass consumption.

  • avatar
    BigDuke6

    Cops have time to “enjoy satellite radio or listen to their iPod” during an 8 hour shift? I hope that’s only on break at the donut shop…..

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I wish our government agencies would take the same approach and try and reduce the costs of our police vehicles.

    Poor old tax payers.

    http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/what-makes-a-police-car-cost-120000-20130128-2dgcd.html

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I don’t understand all the concern about reliability and repairability. Police departments don’t keep these vehicles past 100 miles, regardless. Just about anything not made in the UK should be just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I beg to differ, the Pittsburgh City Police in fact keep theirs well over 100K, my brother’s patrol Impala is currently around 130K and on its third or fourth transmission.

      Municipalities who frequently flirt with bankruptcy (i.e. the City of Pittsburgh) tend to cut corners where they can or impose odd taxes/fines in order to satisfy their financial missteps (i.e. our 37.5% parking tax, while down from 66% in 2006, is still the highest rate in the US).

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        28-Cars-Later is correct on this one. It all depends on the budget. I’ve worked with some departments who hold onto cruisers until repair costs exceed their value. Others will order new cruisers at 60k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I’ve got a Vic retired from highway patrol with 116k, and it needed new control arms, shocks, springs (really), and the hubcaps have dents on the edge consistent with getting slammed into a curb. I bet I could’ve neglected that stuff if I just wanted a beater to chug around and it would have kept on going. I honestly am skeptical the Taurus can take it, and I am pretty much positive the twin-turbos will be blown by 50k at best.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Hey David – You need to negotiate a fee-for-comment deal. 129 and counting. Almost like Bertel starting out anything “GM today announced…….” or Baruth expounding “Vermouth McPanties and I set out………”

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    Great write up on the Police Taraus. The car magazines occasionally do police car reviews, but it is insightful to read a review written from a police officer’s point of view. The car magazines want to know how fast it goes and how it handles, but the officers who work out of the cars seem to care more about ergonomics and interior space.

    It would be nice if you could review some more of the new-generation police cars. It is understandable that you are limited by what your department has in its fleet. Perhaps you could do a short ride along with an officer from another agency that uses another type of car. For example, the Kentucky State Police has some of the new Caprices. Even if you don’t get to drive these vehicles, you could still get some impressions on how they measure up in police use.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    When GM dropped the Caprice in ’96, there were the same cries that the Ford was ‘not as good’. Some governments bought used Caprices, but they wore out quick, supposedly thinking they were good as new.

    Anyway, Ford would be better off pushing Explorers. My burb has a bunch of new ones and they have more room for equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Explorers of the period tended to be hit and miss IIRC (at least beyond 1996). Sites like carcomplaints.com rank the 2001, 2002, and 2004 Explorers as some of the worst vehicles of all time. Since we know cops beat their equipment far harder than civilians, think of the chaos at your local PD if Panther had been dropped in favor of Explorer.

  • avatar
    David Hester

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I thought I’d take a moment to address some points brought up in the comments in a single post.

    First of all, some more thoughts on the view out of the rear window. Before I sent this piece to Bertel yesterday afternoon, I started thinking that maybe I was being too hard on the Taurus. I went to my local Ford dealer and found a civilian Taurus that was unlocked. I sat in it and adjusted the seats and mirrors for my driving position and decided that I probably hadn’t been hard enough on the lack of rear visibility. It is ridiculous how bad it is.

    I went across the street to the Chevy dealer and found an unlocked Camaro, which was previously the car with the worst view out of the rear window that I had personally driven. The chopped down, hot- rod looking Camaro has better visibility to the rear than the family sedan Taurus, IMO. The reason is that the Taurus’s rear end sits up too high. The Camaro’s butt is lower and you can see the road behind the car instead of the sky like you do in the Taurus.

    I also noticed that all of the civilian Tauruses on the lot, regardless of trim level, had little wide angle mirrors inset in the upper outside corner of the wing mirrors. They don’t help the view directly behind the car, but they help a lot to the sides. So why doesn’t the police version have them? A deeply cynical person might believe that Ford figures your various government entities will go ahead and pony up for the cameras and other electronic aids, since it’s not their money.

    I honestly believe that the camera is necessary to overcome the Taurus’s rear visibility problems caused by it’s “elevated butt” design. Like one of the B&B pointed out, the cars are going to be driven in heavy traffic and around pedestrians, so officers need all the help they can get for liability reasons. Unfortunately that means we’ll be shelling out about $735 a unit for the camera and BLIS to make up for the fact you can’t see out of the car.

    Next up, some commentators have suggested that officers can just cut or remove the tethering strap that limits the front doors’ travel to around 45 degrees. As I understand it, the tether is basically a tacit admission by Ford that the standard door hinges can’t stand up to normal wear and tear from beat cops. If that’s true, then the better answer is to design a stronger hinge that still allows the door to open all the way instead of limiting it as severely as the tether does.

    Until they do, officers wanting to remove the tether will be caught in a Catch- 22. If they remove the strap and the door is subsequently damaged, then they could face internal discipline for making an unauthorized modification if their administration hasn’t approved it. I would suspect that many administrators will be loathe to allow their officers to remove it because of fears that Ford will then use it as an excuse to deny warranty claims. Because of a half- baked engineering solution, frontline troops have to decide to either put up with the restricted door travel or risk internal hassles if they cut it and get caught.

    The tether is more than just an annoyance. It has the potential to be a safety hazard in a deadly force situation. If an officer gets hung up by it, either while trying to exit the car or while trying to seek cover in the car or behind the door while being fired upon they could be injured or killed. I can’t believe that the panel of police “experts” that Ford touts in their brochure signed off on the tether as a good idea. I imagine that Ford came up with it after the focus group work was done. At least I hope they did.

    Moving along, I would love the opportunity to drive the other police vehicles, including the Tahoe as Sajeev suggested above. I’ll be doing what I can to wrangle opportunities to drive Ford’s competitors and evaluate them from a line officer’s perspective by working my thin blue line connections as best I can to score seat time from local agencies who use other models. In the meantime, I’ve been given permission by my superiors to review some of my department’s other pieces of equipment which I’ll be looking to do over the next several weeks. I didn’t think to do it in my piece, but I owe a couple of people at my department some public appreciation. The Lexington PD fleet falls under the purview of Assistant Chief Robert Stack. Without his permission and assistance, this piece and any subsequent pieces I do using our vehicles wouldn’t be possible. Our Fleet Liasion, Neal Umberger, was also a great help and took time out of his schedule to answer a lot of inside baseball type questions regarding our fleet procurement policies and procedures. I appreciate both of their help.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      I’m a Ford guy myself and I have a thing for police package vehicles, but I’m not sure about this Taurus based Interceptor and this review really reinforces my doubts about it.

      Police officers have always prefered RWD cars since…. forever. The stereotypical police car was a large 4 door sedan with a V8. All the great and famous cop cars were this way… ’69 440 Polara? Check. Dodge Monaco? Yup. 9C1 Caprice with the LT1, uh huh…. Crown Vic, ditto.

      Also FWD police cars DO NOT have a good history. They have mostly been flops or “what the Hell were you thinking?” mistakes. Chrysler Corp tried pushing K cars as police vehicles in the early 80′s, no joke. Now granted, these weren’t true police package cars, they were more of a “special service” package and were not intended for pursuit duty, but nobody really paid attention back then. It just made more sense to get a 318 Diplomat. Chevrolet tried a FWD cop car back then too, with the Celebrity. Again, not a true heavy duty police car, but very few fleets took the bait and with the 2.8 V6, they were pretty feeble.

      Now Ford learned from those mistakes (and maybe it was Robocop)and produced the first true heavy duty police package FWD car in the Taurus. They made these in the 1st and 2nd generation Taurus. It really had a real heavy duty suspension, brakes, cooling, reinforcing and a 160 hp version of the Essex 3.8 V6. It performed well for the era too as it was just right there with the 350 Caprice and the then 351 powered LTD Crown Victoria. In fact you often see legit police Tauri in early 90′s movies. Chevrolet tried again with the Lumina, but it got humiliated by the Taurus in testing. Also unlike the Taurus, it still wasn’t a legitimate police package car and it only had use of the 3.1 V6. Not a hot rod this one.

      I make the Taurus sound good, don’t I? Throw it out the window. the police Taurus had a major sore point, the transmission. Use it in actual police duty and it’d crap out. It couldn’t handle the demand and abuse of police use. In fact the problem became so bad that Ford released conflicting information about the car and it’s usage. The first release was that Ford was suprised that the cars were being used in actual police duty and weren’t designed as such. Ford Fleet itself later rebuffed the previous release and did state that the Taurus was indeed a police package car. Eventually though, police officers learned that there was a right and wrong way to use the Taurus. The “right” was to use them as detective cars and in motor pools where the car wouldn’t get waled on, also as ‘clerical’ or supervisor cars. The “wrong” way was to use it like a LTD Crown Vic or SSP 5.0 Mustang. Funny how the Mustang was a “Special Service” package and thus wasn’t a heavy duty vehicle like the shoe box Crown Vic, but it still did well durability wise. Ford ran away from the police Taurus running and screaming when the new ‘oval’ Taurus came out in ’96. Perhaps That’s why Ford didn’t want to officially use the Taurus name for the new PI, too many bad memories from the first go around.

      There were also other issues that came up with the usage of a FWD police car. Of course one is repairing damage. It’s relatively simple repairing a damaged Crown Vic. Thanks to it’s body on frame design and sheer simplicity. The unibody FWD car, not so much. Often times in the Vic, you can fix it and you’re good to go with no issues, say an Impala though, you can do similar damage that wouldn’t faze a Panther based vehicle to the Impala and it’s ruined, especially if it’s hit in the front. Also working on a transverse mounted V6 in a packed engine bay is a pain, vs the Crown Vic where there’s room to work with.

      That’s why I question this new model, durability wise. I don’t see this one having the Crown Vic toughness, much less with the AWD and twin turbos. A police car HAS to be reliable and durable, no exceptions. I’m sure David Hester would echo that sentiment.

      • 0 avatar
        west-coaster

        You left one off your list of FWD police vehicles.

        Before the current Charger came about, there was the Dodge Intrepid. Never saw any around SoCal, but I know I saw them in news footage from other parts of the country.

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          There weren’t many because they really sucked for police use. A few small agencies near me used a few and found that they had the same tendency to grenade their transmission after ~ 100,000 miles that the civilian Intrepids did.

          • 0 avatar
            Joe McKinney

            The police Intrepid was only made for two years – 2002-2003. During this time they accounted for around 4% of the police car market. With the short run and low sales it is not surprising many people never saw them.

            A few years ago I had a conversation with a small town police chief who said he would not be buying any Chargers because of all the problems his department had with their Intrepids. I have also heard officers from other departments complain about the Intrepid’s poor reliability. Apparantly these were so bad some departments that had them were unwilling to take a chance on any other Dodge products. Then there were problems with the early Chargers that reinforced this bias.

        • 0 avatar
          Pursuit911

          The Intrepids and 2000-2004 Taurus’ were terrifically bad on motor mounts and engines blowing. Additionally, being FWD cars, they were ALWAYS going through transmissions. Hillsborough County Sheriff in Tampa, Florida had quite a few of each of them.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          They were used as police cars on the show “Viper”, right? I think they also used some Eagle Premiers with LH drivetrains, as well as some AWD drivetrain models when they were still kicking that idea around for LH.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        You’re right, I did forget the police Intrepid. This one was like the Taurus in the fact that it was also a purpose built police package car. With the 3.5 V6, it looked good on paper, but it was a complete disaster. The biggest issue for this car were it’s brakes. They quite literally caught on fire. There’s a story about a Tennessee park ranger having a police package Intrepid and he was just doing routine patrol duties and he pulled into the garage and his brakes were on fire.

        There are videos on youtube where the Intrepid was being tested against the other police package cars of the time and the videos quite clearly showed the brakes aflame. These cars were horrible police cars, though they still show up on ebay and cl from time to time more often then you think, usually with a ‘bad trans’ tag on it.

        It’s interesting to note the modern Charger. In Southern California, they do seem to be dropping off and it does seem fleets are returning to the Vic until they are all gone for good. In fact the CHP bought a bunch of CVPI’s and are keeping them mothballed until they are needed. However, when they are liquidated, the CHP will be transitioning to the new Explorer Interceptor, haven’t seen one yet though, all the CHiP’s are still driving Vics. The Charger seems to have durability and reliability problems too, I’ve seen plenty of Charger police cars on the back of tow trucks, unacceptable for a police department. Cops (for the most part) will put up with a slow squad car if it starts all the time. Cops ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT put up with a car that always craps out. Not good when an officer has an honest to goodness life threatening call to get to and the car will not start or the transmission grenades. The ’81 Dodge St. Regis was a hated car to be sure, it was too slow for the CHP, but even so it had it’s fans as it still had decent reliability, the first try Taurus not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Just wanted to chime in and say I loved the article. Nicely done.

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      Great article! I love it when a local boy makes good! What Lexington needs is to think local a little more with these.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/32596322@N06/5684491849/

      I’m sure Toyota will give you guys a local discount and parts and replacements are just up the road here in Georgetown!

  • avatar
    Tiger16

    I’m a freshman at Princeton and we recently got a few of the ’13s for our campus police fleet. Most of the existing fleet consists of the pre-facelift (civilian models converted) Taurus and ’12 Explorers though. They do look nice but still don’t have that aura of a police car quite like the CVs.

  • avatar
    Pursuit911

    I am 6’5″ and 280lbs……getting into the Taurus is like trying to stuff an elephant into a condom. Its VERY poor headroom for ingress/egress is a major pain in the event you need to bolt out on a foot chase! Many, many officers/deputies/Troopers are tall people and getting in is bad enough, let alone, getting out! Also, leg room is horrendous for all patrol cars if your tall, but the Taurus and Caprice take the cake. Your knees are a mere inch from the dash and GOD forbid you wreck, they will need to roll the dash off your legs. Realizing that fuel is a major deciding factor, they are building these cars smaller and smaller but yet calling them full size vehicles. People are getting taller and fatter and cars are getting smaller. Case in point….Bell Meade, Tennessee and Red Bank, Tennessee who are using VW Passats as Patrol Cars….Although small, they are nice and roomy, turbo diesel powered 300+hp and handle great! Upfit wise? Most everything that fits an Impala, will fit a VW Passat, with a few MINOR modifications for the cage

  • avatar
    Onus

    My local police department is getting Explorers. They have too much crap to carry and need the room. I do believe they will be getting some these from talking with maintenance guys.

    Usually i would say they were full of it but, i used to work on their computers, and cars and they can fill a crown vic trunk with ease.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I understand what you are saying about the console, but why such a huge console? In your pictures there is 2 items in the console and then 5 blank spaces not used.

    The only police car I spent time in (front or back!) was a CVPI with a smaller console that did not extend between the seats at all. The had plenty of space in the middle, and all the electronics fit fine up front, under the dash.

    What did take up plenty of space though is the in-car computer. I didn’t notice one in your pictures, so not sure if you use them. But I would imagine that is going to be a huge issue with the Taurus-based car. Will be hard to fit a laptop and mount and still leave room for a second officer.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      A lot of the mounts make a passenger a no go. Most of the mounts I’ve seen will actually warn against carrying a passenger or installing in a vehicle where the passenger airbag cannot be switched off.

      There are models that have a quick-release feature to remove the majority of the mount from the base to make having a front-seat passenger possible.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The current Taurus is one of the reasons I’m not rushing out and buying a different car. It’s rear and side visibility is terrible. The front seat is very confined with the outlandishly over sized center console(landing strip) and the roof line is low. Add to that far great complexity and the odd transmission shifting and my 2008 Impala with over 100K miles seems better and better all the time with a transmission that shifts right on time every time, a much slimmer center console and resulting greater front seat space, lower belt line for far greater visibility, simple controls and a time tested chassis plus 500 LBS less weight for a less top heavy lumbering feel.

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    The punch line in all of this is that all of these issues would be resolved if they would have used the old 500/montego/taurus/sable platform. The civilian console was narrower, the car had more room overall, and you could see out of it. What the new Taurus amounts to is a 4400Lb 4 seat car. it’s a pig, and a dysfunctional one at that.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      The RCMP around use a lot of marked Silverados, at least for highway patrol. I can’t speak for the way they are fitted out, but I would have to think the bulletproofness the CV had would carry over. V8, body on frame, mechanical transfer case. Any thoughts?

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        Of all the current crop of police cars, the Tahoe is the closest thing to the CVPI. Both have bof construction, rwd with a live rear axle, and a standard V-8 mounted in a longitudinal configuration. The Tahoe does sit higher than a CVPI or any of the other new-generation police cars, though the suspension on the police package Tahoe has been lowered to improve handling.

  • avatar
    cardudettac

    Lots of good comments and discussions here on this Police Interceptor.
    A few points:

    There have been no widely reported issues of turbo failures on the new Ford EcoBoost engines. This engine is performing very well and is now offered in many models, including being a top seller in the F150. This engine has been in the Taurus SHO since early 2009 and a quick search of the forums finds reports of many with over 100k trouble free miles. Many of these over 100k are tuned with well over 400hp on the dyno.

    The rear of the new Taurus was designed purposefully for policy duty. While Ford was designing this car, the reports began to flood in about officers being rear-ended in the Crown Vics with explosions and fires. Ford created the new Taurus to make a high speed rear impact survivable. This fact was discussed for few months in late 2008 during press design review.

    The new Taurus was also designed with larger hubs and control arms allowing high speed curb impact with no damage, which you can also find with a quick search.

    In the next year or two, the Taurus is due for a complete redesign and I expect that Ford will address the interior space issue while maintaining the safety aspects of the car. I also expect that rear cameras will be a requirement of autos by then.

    It will be interesting to see how these hold up. Many states and local government agencies are buying them. As I spoke to a Va state trooper, he loves his and actually bought his wife the retail SHO model.

    Like everything, time will tell. But, I think Ford made a great first attempt at replacing the Crown Vic.

    • 0 avatar
      bugmen0t

      Here is an idea, Ford, why not just, you know, make windows you can see out of? Then we don’t need these stupid cameras

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      Nothing cardudettac said is true.

      This is a very lame attempt at trying to make a DECENT replacement to the Crown Vic. It’s a last minute farce to turn the Taurus into the Taurus PI.

      A strap on the door and ugly hubcaps do not make a police car.

      It’s got horrid visability, egress is dangerous, reliability is not nearly as good as the Crown Vic, durability is not nearly as good as the CV, it’s far more complicated to work on and repair, etc.

      It’s a joke. And Ford is handing the market away…

      • 0 avatar
        cardudettac

        Google is your friend, and with some research, you can substantiate my comments back in March.

        8 months later and these PI’s are everywhere. Durability and reliability is proving to be off the charts.

        Ford’s warranty analysis also reflects the trend with very low claims. Those with the turbo option are also holding up well, and fleet MPG’s are going up.

        The new 2015 model is up for announcement/reveal in summer 2014.


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