After nineteen years of production, the reign of the Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptor came to its end. 2011 marked the end of Ford’s dominating era in law enforcement vehicle production. Loyally, we all threw our hands in the air and cried foul, even though we knew the P71 was outdated, underpowered, and overworked. Nonetheless, we loved the classic Interceptor for what is was: dependable and legendary. Now that the dust has settled, we’ve accepted the fact that the P71 has earned its long overdue retirement.
This, of course, created an immediate problem for the law enforcement industry. With the legendary P71 no longer available from the factory, on which new vehicle do we mount flashing blue lights? But Ford, once again, was way ahead of us.
The 2013 Ford Police Interceptor has been met with great expectation. There is, however, no way to avoid the fact that it’s really just a Taurus on steroids. Still though, Ford promises that this new car will run circles around the old P71. On paper, this seems to be true. The 2013 Interceptor includes upgraded brakes and suspension, external oil and transmission coolers, heavy duty wheels, performance tires, sub-frame connectors, a 220 amp alternator, and the 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost motor that produces 365 horsepower. The new Interceptor also comes standard with all-wheel drive, a first in the American law enforcement vehicle market. In addition, Ford proudly states that our nation’s officers will be much safer in the new model. Side air bags, a 75 mph rear-crash rating, and level 3 ballistic doors are all included for the 2013 model year.
Walking up to the test vehicle was much like walking up to a regular Taurus; the subtle intimidation exuded by the old P71 was nowhere to be found. Aside from the black grill and driver-side spotlight, our all-white 2013 model didn’t demand our immediate respect for the law enforcement world. Inside, however, was classic police car. The familiar rubberized floor, center console equipment mounting plate, dash-mounted truck release, and spotlight controls were are perfectly placed and ready for service.
Out on the road, the 2013 Interceptor showed off its multiple-personality engine. At cruising speeds, the variable valve timing V6 barely sipped any fuel from its tank. From a dead stop, however, the 365 horsepower EcoBoost motor moved us from 0-60 in just over 6 seconds. Economy and power are both staples in the theoretical patrol car. Now, with Ford’s new interceptor, you can have the best of both worlds. The police package tuned suspension is adequate for such a heavy vehicle, but we feel that the ride could still be stiffened further to reduce body roll and increase front-end grip. However, this current suspension setup does provide a comfortable ride under typical driving conditions.
Will the 2013 Ford Police Interceptor be an adequate replacement for the legendary P71? We say yes and no. This new model is a fresh concept in the law enforcement world. The all-wheel-drive system will undoubtedly prove valuable in regions where snow and ice are probable. The cost of maintaining and repairing an all-wheel-drive patrol car, however, will be much higher than the classic front engine/rear drive system. For the police department seeking a classic tried-and-true design, the Dodge Charger Pursuit Package will be the new best option. But for those willing to test the waters of potential progress, Ford’s new Police Interceptor may prove to be, yet again, a revolution to the law enforcement industry.