Also known as "Police Interceptor Utility"
The California Highway Patrol takes a different approach to placing police cruisers in service. Dealer delivered police package Crown Vics are significantly modified to meet safety and performance requirements.
This 2008 Capitol Weekly article by John Howard briefly explains the process:
The CHP modifications include special radios, lights, speaker horn, bumpers, computers, electronics, racks, shielding and other gear.
The labyrinth of electrical wiring alone is impressive. Each car has some 550 feet of wiring snaking through the frame, or under and around the interior fixtures. Special fuse boxes are designed to handle the power load. Wiring harnesses used over the past three decades are displayed on a wall in the work area, showing the increasing level of complexity, as the gear became more sophisticated.
Body-on-frame Unibody SUV will replace body-on-frame sedan
CHP requires that the vehicle carry all of the law enforcement gear plus four fully-equipped officers. That translates to a payload of 1,700 pounds.
Ari Bloomekatz, writing in the May 26 Los Angeles Times, shared this interview
CHP Assistant Chief Erik Knudsen said the SUV best fit the agency's needs because it had enough payload capacity to accommodate several adults and all the radio gear and other equipment required.
"The utility is probably going to be our primary vehicle," Knudsen said of the Explorer. "The Crown Vic had a much higher payload capacity than all these new sedans coming out. Unfortunately the design of the new sedans is becoming smaller and lighter."
The Explorer Police Interceptor offers all-wheel drive and has a payload of 1,700 pounds, Knudsen said, adding that it also performs well at high speeds and in wet weather. It gets about 16 miles per gallon on city streets and 21 on the freeways, a little better than the Crown Victoria, according to Ford's website.
Scott Evans expanded in this Motor Trend article:
While the old-school, body-on-frame Crown Victoria may have been a rolling tank, the suitors to its throne are all modern unibodies. That may make them lighter and safer, but it doesn't increase their carrying capacity.
In fact, it seems to have lowered it, because while the Crown Vic had no trouble carrying all the CHP's gear, the Taurus-based Police Interceptor Sedan, Dodge Charger Pursuit, and Chevrolet Caprice PPV all lack the necessary payload capacity.
Evans provides a detailed description on the evaluation, vetting and CHP purchasing process.
In 2000, CHP was considering Volvo S70 police package sedans, but the then Ford-owned manufacturer was phasing those vehicles out. CHP was not interested in a station wagon version.
But Volvo representative Richard Cook insisted that a CHP bias against the Volvo and other issues sank Volvo's prospects of displacing the Fords.
The officers see the station wagon as a "soccer mom's car for hauling kids around," he said. "It doesn't give them that macho image."
"You mention station wagon and they cringe. You mention sport utility vehicle and they get really excited," Cook said.
Carl Ingram (2000 May 28) "CHP to Stick with Ford Pursuit Cars." The Los Angeles Times
Mike "FossilMedic" Ward
5/27 update: Ford Explorer is unibody, like the Ford Taurus. (Thanks, Jesse).
The unibody sedans were about 500 pounds short in payload capacity.
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