2013 Ford Police Interceptors; photo courtesy Ford Motor Company. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Michael Schlee
2013 Ford Police Interceptors
The 2013 Ford Police Interceptors have their work cut out for them. They are set to follow in the footsteps of arguably the most successful police car in North American history. It is like being the first-line centre for the Edmonton Oilers in the fall of 1988 after “The Trade”. Although if they turn out to be the automotive equivalent of a Mark Messier, that will be a success for Ford. The Panther-based police vehicles (i.e. Crown Victoria) sold by Ford over the past 33 years were always popular and more or less dominated the market in the past 15 years. Can these newcomers continue this trend?
The vehicles in question are officially called the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan and Police Interceptor Utility. Astute readers of Autos.ca may recognize them as the Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer, which they are to a degree. However, they have been modified to meet the demands of day-in and day-out police duty. Ford’s goal was to meet or exceed the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in every key specification. The new Interceptors feature brakes that are 60 percent larger as well as specially made tires and steel wheels that can take a 64 km/h (40 mph) direct curb hit if a pursuit takes them off-road. Underneath there are skid shields to protect the chassis from dangerous debris found during those inevitable off-road excursions. Both vehicles also feature heavy duty suspensions, heavy duty oil coolers, heavy duty transmissions, and heavy duty electrical systems.
2013 Ford Police Interceptors; top photo courtesy Ford Motor Company. Click image to enlarge
Ford has made all-wheel drive standard on both vehicles, but still offers front-wheel drive as an option to police forces. Maintenance costs aside, having all-wheel drive on Police cruisers in many parts of Canada makes a lot of sense since snow dominates our winter months. Further enhancing safety and performance, the Sedan and Utility come standard with traction control and stability control specially programed for police duty. Topping off the electronic aids is anti-roll control for the Interceptor Utility.
To meet the needs of law enforcement, both vehicles also require modifications to their interiors. Column shifters were mounted in both vehicles, as this was a big request from police agencies that need the centre console open for computer mounts and other gear. Speaking of the centre console, the front seats are spaced nine inches apart just like they are in the old Interceptor to make switching over console-based equipment seamless. The rear doors on the Sedan now open to 71 degrees, 10 more than normal, and the rear seat has been moved back to aid with ingress and egress of “passengers” in the Taurus. The ignition keys are not chipped, so it is easy for departments to cut multiple fleet keys. Other cool add-ons include optional ballistic front door panels, standard anti-stab plates on the back of the front seats, a rear trunk-mounted tray for easy storage of electronic, and a locking trunk box for seized weapons or drugs in the Sedan.
Now that we have pored over the features and specifications, on to the real question: how do they drive? Ford laid out a test course for us to drive, which included a straightaway, emergency lane changes, long continuous radius corners, sweeping corners, and a panic stop. First up for me was the Utility. This vehicle comes equipped with Ford’s 3.7L V6 producing 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Ford did not provide curb weights of these vehicles, but expect them to weigh more than their pedestrian counterparts due to the heavy duty upgrades and additional equipment.