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There's A New Sheriff('s Report) In Town: 2011 Cruisers Compared

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On: Tue, May 31, 2011 at 1:02PM | By: Andrew W Davis

There's A New Sheriff('s Report) In Town: 2011 Cruisers Compared

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department just revealed its "Law Enforcement Vehicle Test and Evaluation Program [for] Vehicle Model Year 2011," and it is riveting.

Buried amid its 174 very dry-reading pages—in PDF format, thank God—are many fascinating facts, including that this test program is as old as I am. Yessiree, since 1974 the LACSD has been evaluating whatever vehicles were thrown at it to separate real "Special Service/Police" vehicles from pieces of something else.

This go-round took place at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Nov. 18, 2010 (gotta love the low-speed government reporting on high-speed vehicle tests), with vehicles from each of our Formerly-Big Three there to vie for the honor of scaring the crap out of you during future pull-overs.

According to the report, Chrysler, GM, and Ford all submitted vehicles in the “Police Package” category, which pertains to vehicles that have been “identified by their manufacturers as pursuit vehicles.” All were 2011 models, and all “completed the test satisfactorily, without incident.”

So, I just saved you 174 pages of rigorous reading, right? Oh. You want to know more. Great, now I have to read the thing. Let’s see… Ah! Here’s what they brought for the cops to run (so to speak):

Chevy topped the alphabetical order list with an Impala, an Impala E-85, a Tahoe, a Tahoe E-85, and its cops-only Caprice and—you’re already there, aren’t you?—Caprice E-85.

Dodge made do with three flavors of its super-new Charger Pursuit, or—to be more precise—one with a V6 and two with “Hemi” V8s, with the latter pair sporting different rear axle ratios.

Ford decided that they’d do away with any catchy model names and went with acronyms, “CVPI” and “PI”. The CVPI is, of course, the immortal Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, which has protected, served, and terrified “perps” for something like 70 years now.

[You’d think they could just preprint the Vic’s test sheets by now, but here Ford was a good sport and turned over two of them—with different axle ratios “separating” them—for this year’s testing.]

The “CV”-less “PI”, on the other hand, is a different story.

I don’t know if the other manufacturers’ reps exchanged heated words (or fists) with Ford over its sand-bagging the competition by withholding—and then submitting as “prototypes”—three Taurus-based “Police Interceptor” sedans and one Explorer-based “Police Interceptor Utility.”

Two of the Taurus sported the standard 3.5-liter V6, one with front-wheel drive and the other with AWD. The other was an AWD model, but with the turbocharged (a.k.a. “EcoBoost”) V6. The “PI Utility” had a standard 3.7-liter six-banger instead.

[Taurus Interceptors’ power figures shake out this way: 3.5-liter V6 (280 hp/250 lb.-ft.) and EcoBoost V6 (365 hp/350 lb.-ft.). The “Utility” 3.7-liter V6: (300 hp/280 lb.-ft.).]

Right, now I know you’re just dying to learn how all fared in the “Heat-,” “Mechanical-,” “Communication-,” “Ergonomic-,” “Brake-,” and “Fuel-Efficiency-” Evaluation categories, but I don’t have 174 pages to work with and I bore easily.

Instead, I’ll hit the highlights of the more important tests, including the “Acceleration-,” “Pursuit Course-,” and—my personal favorite—the “32 Lap High Speed Vehicle-” Evaluations.

“Spoiler Alert!” The Tahoes sucked on-track—they are truck-based SUVs, after all—while the V8 Caprices (6.0-liters, 355hp/384 lb.-ft.) and Hemi Chargers (5.7-liters, 370hp/397 lb.-ft.) went like stink. The Crown Vic held its own—as you might expect—while the V6-equipped cars and “Utility” SUV were all “fair-to-middling” as they used to say.

Except for one; the surprise winner of every sporty “competition” was the (Taurus) EcoBoost Police Interceptor. Not only did it show its taillights to the entire field in performance tests, it received very high marks in nearly every other category.

So, here’s what you need to know: Learn to identify the Ford Police Interceptor from every angle, in daylight and at night. Yes, it pretty much looks like every other kind of Taurus, but slowing down too often is far better than failing to just once.

Then again, learn all of them. Or just become a more law-abiding—and therefore safer—driver. Either way.

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dwalter | 10:10AM (Wed, Jul 13, 2011)

I think the Charger wins "Most Intimidating Looking"

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