welcome to the united states, where the 301-hp v-6 toyota camry thrives and a 470-hp jeep wrangler on 35-inch mud-terrain tires reaches 60 mph quicker than a ford mustang mach 1. it's all screaming bald eagles until one ends up stolen, racing, and weaving between traffic like a drunken three-ton bowling ball. sure, helicopters are fast, but somebody’s got to meet ol' breaky mclawlaw when their crime spree comes to a crashing halt. so what’s the best car for the job?
although the law enforcement profession is far more dynamic than just high-speed emergency responses, many departments require their vehicles to meet what’s called a "purchasing spec." vehicles must meet certain requirements to be eligible for patrol but still have enough performance to be effective when responding to more dangerous situations.
the michigan state police (msp) have published their preliminary results from their police vehicle testing at grattan raceway in southwestern michigan. msp troopers put four motorcycles and 11 vehicles through a series of track tests including acceleration, top speed, distance to top speed, braking, and lap times to make performance comparisons to help municipal, county, and state police departments in all 50 states decide on what fits their needs the best.
the all-wheel-drive 2022 ford police interceptor utility (fpiu), with its 400-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter v-6, remains the quickest police vehicle sold today, getting to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and 100 mph in 13.5 seconds during msp testing. it reached its top speed of 148 mph (also the highest of the vehicles tested) in 1.6 miles. although that's not as quick as the wrangler 392, its 36-mph deficit in top speed would allow the explorer to catch up to it. the ecoboost fpiu was also 0.7 second quicker to 60 mph and 0.6 second quicker to 100 mph than the 380-hp dodge charger pursuit rear-wheel-drive v-8 sedan.
the rear-drive v-8 charger pursuit hit its top speed of 139 mph in under a mile, the shortest of any vehicle tested this year. although not stated in this year's preliminary results, last year's charger pursuit also posted the best turning radius, which is often a major first part of responding to an emergency.
the msp also got their hands on a ford mach-e police prototype vehicle. according to the msp, this police version has all-wheel drive and 480 horsepower, so it’s basically the ford mach-e gt with red and blue lights. it reached 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and hit 100 mph in 11.9 seconds. ford says the street version should hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, but it's safe to assume the police-going version's slower acceleration is due to added equipment. it took more than two miles for it to reach its top speed of 124 mph. the more civilized 346-hp all-wheel-drive mach-e 4 we tested did the 60-mph leap in 5.1 seconds.
the msp told us that after 18 miles of lapping the mach-e gt’s battery had dropped to 30 percent, which they said is a good start for electric vehicles. but today's infrastructure still needs a boost in chargers and charging time for evs to act as a complete replacement for patrol duty. the msp also told us that many of their new ford explorer fpius are the 318-hp hybrid versions, which get the highest epa-estimated city fuel economy among this year's police vehicles tested at 24 mpg.
the ford f-150 police responder pickup reached 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and 100 mph in 14.3 seconds. that's still slower than the quickest pickups we've tested, including the last-gen f-150 with the high-output 450-hp twin-turbo v-6, but the trucks we test don't have push bars on the front. unlike the explorer fpiu, the f-150 responder has a 400-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged v-6 with 500 pound-feet of torque. it reached its 120-mph top speed in a little over a half a mile. that's a big improvement over the 370-hp f-150 police responder offered last year: that one had a lower top speed of 105 mph and took 6.6 seconds to reach 60 mph.
the msp also told us they expect more fully electric police vehicles next year, as more automakers continue to focus their efforts on a battery-powered future. a more in-depth look at the msp's testing data will become available later this month.