Most of us have all heard the saying that it is not so hard to outrun a cop car, but it’s impossible to outrun their radios. It looks as if the California Highway Patrol is taking that to heart, as it chose the Ford Explorer over the Taurus and Charger Pursuit Car as the replacement for the outgoing Crown Victoria police cruiser. According to the CHP’s representatives, the reasoning for choosing an SUV over the uni-body vehicles is payload capacity, as the CHP can hauls up to 1,700 lbs of people and gear in its vehicles at any given time.
The only two other vehicles that gave the Explorer any competition were the Chevy Tahoe Police Package and Dodge Durango Special Services. The Durango never got a chance, as it was too late for it to receive a pursuit rating in time and Chrysler never submitted a bid. There is no indication on how the testing panned out between the Explorer and Tahoe, but the CHP chose the Explorer based on a lower bid, so chances are that the Tahoe outperformed the Explorer, but was simply too expensive.
Now, don’t start thinking that this is any old Explorer that you can run down to a local Ford dealership and pick up. Ford removed the standard 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and dropped in the 3.7-liter V-6 borrowed from the F-150 that produces 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The standard 3.5-liter engine gets the Explorer to 60 mph in an acceptable 8.3 seconds, so we would figure the extra 12 ponies and 23 pound-feet should cut that down to about 8 seconds.
Yeah, the Explorer PPV is no speed demon, but as we said before, it is much harder to outrun a radio signal than it is a cop car. So this choice was more of a combination of cost and utility than pure speed. Besides, most highway patrols have special pursuit vehicles just for those pesky high-speed pursuits when patrol cars and radios just aren’t enough.