For almost three decades, seeing a Ford Crown Victoria on the road probably meant you were looking at a police car, either on patrol, idling above on overpass, or with its lights flashing in your rearview mirror. It was a solid cruiser that officers called a workhorse with acceptable speed. One Raleigh Lieutenant said, “[the Crown Vic] certainly has never been the fastest vehicle on the road … It’s a stable vehicle – corners well, handles well.”
Since 2011, when the Crown Vic was finally discontinued, police departments around the country have been sticking with Ford for most of their vehicles, but not in the way you might think. There’s a Taurus variant available for the law-enforcement segment, but the most popular new police transport is based on the Ford Explorer.
The Police Interceptor Utility dominates the market with nearly 50 percent of national sales. The Blue Oval sold more than fourteen thousand PIUs in 2013 alone. The reason officers are transitioning so well from the wide, low Crown Vic to the taller utility vehicle is largely because of the extra space, better performance, and standard all-wheel drive.
The cars come with police packages from the manufacturers that include heavy-duty brakes, superior electrical systems, and steel wheels among other things. When they add in radar equipment, cameras, radios, computers, and prisoner transport cages, that’s when some extra space becomes useful. Factor in as well that an EcoBoost engine delivers significantly better performance and fuel economy than the Crown Vic and the transition becomes even easier.
The Raleigh Police Department is in the process of phasing out its old fleet in favor of newer cars, and of the three new vehicles that are replacing the old stalwart, Ford’s Interceptor Utility is the most numerous. The department purchases between fifty and eighty new vehicles every year. Of the sixty-two purchased last year, most were Ford Interceptors. Of sixty-seven purchased this year, most were Interceptors again, and with next year’s expected order of sixty-some vehicles, about fifty are likely to be Interceptor Utilities. It certainly appears our boys in blue are sold, no matter how much they might claim to miss the Crown Vic.
Just a bonus fact: The blue paint seen on all Raleigh squad cars is a special mix that the department contracts out from local paint shops. The force buys the new cars from Ford in an all-white color scheme and then adds the blue and the badge after they’re delivered.
For more on the Raleigh Police Department’s transition, you can read these articles in the News & Observer. If you’re interested in the Ford Explorer without the lights and sirens, feel free to visit us at Leith Ford.