Ford Police Interceptor

Run Run - the interceptors are out!!!

In Dubai, I never got a chance to see a police chase and so my perception about the actual application of police pursuit vehicles was a myth. Now, I won’t say it’s a bad thing to not have criminals around, but if you are a fanboy of a hit like “Fast and Furious” or the Bourne series, you would certainly think about it. Irony is we always end up seeing the cops having a tough time chasing targets. Lately, Ford invited us to the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi for the regional launch of the all new 2013 Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility vehicle. Building on more than 15 years of undisputed leadership in the police pursuit vehicle business, and working hand-in-hand with its Police Advisory Board of law enforcement professionals, Ford introduced the all new Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility to further grow its legacy of leadership in this segment which they started with their benchmark product, the Crown Victoria.

Honestly, I didn’t hope to be in one of those pursuit cars before the event - not in the back seat of course. But I was keen to check what was inside, assuming a walkie-talkie, a few extra navigation displays, focus lights, etc. The day started with a presentation which took us through background of pursuit cars in the US and Middle East, some testimonies from law enforcement authorities and finally the product overview. Ford specially engineered and designed the new Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility, working with its Police Advisory Board, consisting of law enforcement professionals from the United States and Canada who provided feedback on attributes such as safety, performance, durability, driver comfort and functionality. Input was also received from police authorities from around the Middle East.

The cars were revealed and it was a Taurus and the Utility Explorer in pursuit uniforms. For Taurus, the base 3.5 liter V6 engine delivers 288 horsepower. The new sedan replacement can offer better mileage with an extra 38 horsepower compared to the Crown Victoria. The optional EcoBoost 3.5 liter V6 is rated at 365 horsepower.

The utility is built with a 3.7 liter V6 rated at 304 horsepower. All of them come standard with all-wheel-drive. Front-wheel-drive configuration is optional. The new Police Interceptor models come with a 6-speed automatic transmission with calibrated shift points for maximum acceleration.

Brakes have been increased in size and performance. The standard 18-inch steel wheels are vented, designed to work in concert with the enhanced brake system. The cooling package is purpose-built as well, featuring a 50% higher-capacity radiator.

There are loads of safety features unlike regular cars - ballistic door panels to protect from gunshots on front doors and the anti-stab plate seat backs (to protect the occupant) were the highlights. The car can withstand a 120kph rear collision.

What’s not in a regular car?

In the front seat, lower bolster is removed to better accommodate officers’ utility belts. The cars are equipped with a column shift specially designed so the console area is free for the ever-increasing amounts of aftermarket police equipment necessary for officers to do their jobs. The pursuit line up comes with a feature called Ford SYNC - Ford’s exclusive, hands-free information system which has the potential to be customized and remapped to work specifically with police aftermarket equipment such as lights and sirens, allowing officers to focus on the task at hand.

Driving Impressions

Our agenda started in the North part of the Yas Marina F1 track. 120kph was the speed limit allowed and so we knew it was not the speed to be tested. We were supposed to drive the cars in order: Crown Victoria, the new replacement Sedan and then the Utility. After my lap with a Crown Victoria, I wondered how they still had productions “on” till late 2011. It basically served the purpose of a police car but was certainly ineffective for a hard core chase. The EcoBoost Taurus was the star with 365hp to offer. On slaloms, the car was very effective with its AWD ability to keep things in check and did well on track. Surprisingly, the Utility explorer felt a bit lighter than it looked. One of the possible reasons could be that both the Sedan and Utility in this particular line-up share a common platform. Anyway, it did reasonably well in twists and corners.

Next on schedule was a drive on the slippery wet course. After my Toyota 86 drive in here, I wanted to make myself control it better - that didn’t happen againL. I felt this exercise was just a gimmick effort because where in Dubai will you find a wet road? We followed the same order starting from Crown Victoria to the Utility. Crown Victoria was surprisingly fun with a rear wheel drive plus outwards tail most of the time. Might be the reason Taurus was introduced. Taurus pumps up quick and with an impressive traction discipline it barely ignored my track. I hardly noticed anyone hitting the red cones on track with a Taurus. But the surprise package was our Utility. It did well on the wet surface in corners, slalom and on sudden brakes - not the best but considering its size, it was impressive.

At the end of the day, I think Ford has read exactly what is needed in a pursuit car that is reasonable and effective. It serves the purpose of local authorities here to pick the villains and I hope to see these cars out soon. On a different note, I wonder if they have plans to launch an upscale vehicle, like a Lamborghini with a big label “POLIZIA”.

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