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Charting the Five-Ohs: Next-gen Cop Car Comparo

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Charting the Five-Ohs: Next-gen Cop Car Comparo

by Jeremy Korzeniewski (RSS feed) on Mar 19th 2010 at 3:00PM

It used to be that every full-line American automaker offered a version of its mainstream full-size sedan to make it appropriate for police duty. By the time 1996 rolled around, the Chevrolet Caprice, which was the last would-be competitor to the standard-setting Ford Crown Victoria, was discontinued, leaving the lucrative police market to the Blue Oval Boys.

The automotive industry took notice, and plans began in corporate board rooms to remedy that situation, and even a few new entrants – most notably Carbon Motors – sprung up with promising designs that eschewed the mainstream production-based sedan design.

In 2005, Dodge rolled out a factory police package for its full-size Charger sedan, and for the first time in a decade the Crown Victoria faced some stiff V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive competition. Then in 2009, Chevrolet announced that its new Zeta platform Caprice would be returning for the 2011 model year packing a strong 6.0-liter V8 of its own.

How would Ford answer this newly mounted competition? Would the aging Panther-based Crown Vic finally get an update? Nope. Instead, Ford just recently announced that it would soon offer a highly ruggedized version of its most recent Taurus sedan, optionally equipped with the stout 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine powering all four wheels as seen in the revived Taurus SHO.

We decided to see for ourselves how the three new competitors stacked up against the old guard Crown Vic on paper, and as you can see, there's little to separate each offering on the spec sheets. It should prove interesting to see how police agencies react to these choices, especially since reliability and durability will be mostly unknown factors for the first time in ages. See for yourself.



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