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The best-selling police vehicle in America will soon be faster than ever.
In head-to-head testing, the new Ford Explorer-based law enforcement vehicle will be the fastest cop car on the street, according to new preliminary test data from the Michigan State Police based on a 32-lap dynamics test.
“The fact that a big SUV can smoke a Hemi Charger around a racetrack is pretty ridiculous, said Chris Terry, Ford product communications spokesman. “The 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility is a beast.”
“When a car blows past you at 120 miles an hour, you need to get that person off the road as quickly as possible in the interest of public safety,” he said.
The Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tests establish benchmarks that law enforcement agencies all over the country use to evaluate vehicles.
The Dodge Charger had the quickest acceleration at lower speeds — 0 to 20 mph, 0 to 30 mph, and 0 to 40 mph. But the Ford Police Interceptor had the best times going 0 to 50 mph, 0 to 60 mph and 0 to 100 mph.
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A heavy SUV going faster than a fast sedan in a pursuit ratings test is notable, Terry said.
Michigan State Police drive test data measured time down to hundredths of a second. The results show the Ford Police Interceptor Utility had an average lap time of 1:36:47 while the Dodge Charger finished second at 1:37:11.
Precision drivers, whose outcomes determine the official claims of all 2019 police vehicles sold, tested the Dodge Charger, the Chevy Tahoe, the Dodge Durango, the Ford F-150 Responder and the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Speed charts showed the Interceptor reached 150 mph, the Charger reached 149 mph, the Tahoe reached 134 mph, the Durango reached 118 mph, the F-150 Responder reached 106 mph and the Fusion Hybrid reached 119 mph.
Ford dominates the police vehicle market, selling 65 percent of the 55,517 police vehicles in 2017.
“Ford has always had a strong presence with law enforcement and first responders,” said Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst at Ford. “Police Interceptor Utilities alone represent more than half of all vehicles sold to police departments across the country.”
Last year, Ford sold 33,075 Police Interceptors alone, up 2.7 percent from 32,213 in 2016.
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Police officials say speed capability is just one factor they consider when selecting vehicles.
Just like civilian buyers, police departments across the country are switching from sedans to SUVs.
“We’re transitioning from Dodge Chargers to Ford Explorers due to the increased level of comfort they provide to our officers and the ease of exiting the vehicle quickly,” Chief Jerry Dyer of Fresno, California, told the Detroit Free Press when reached at the Major Cities Chiefs Association convention in Orlando, Florida.
“Everyone in law enforcement is going with SUVs,” said Bill Dwyer, police commissioner of Warren, Michigan. “We need more room because of the computers in the cars now, equipment, cameras. The Explorers have more room.”
He added: “Speed is a major factor obviously for highway patrol, such as state police. The Explorer we have is a police package with a bigger engine.”
The police SUV, which mimics the design of the forthcoming 2020 Ford Explorer, will be delivered to law enforcement in the summer of 2019. Orders have already been placed.
The retail Ford Explorer is expected to be revealed to the public in 2019.
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-222-6512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid