“It’s got a cop motor, a turbocharged 3.5, it’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’ll run good on regular gas. Whaddya say? Is it the new Blues Mobile or what?”
When The Blues Brothers reached movie theaters in 1980, their Bluesmobile – a Dodge Monaco – was six years old. Now, the earliest of the Police Interceptor Sedans – aka the police version of the Taurus – are approaching that age, ready to be snapped up for cheap by ex-con musicians.
Should they make a Blues Brothers 2020, I imagine they’d be more likely to use a police-issue Dodge Charger. With its aggressive styling and optional V8, the Charger exudes menace. The high-waisted Police Interceptor isn’t without its charm, however, and it’s been a relatively popular police vehicle.
Police fleets are shifting ever more rapidly to SUVs though, including Ford’s own Explorer-derived Police Interceptor Utility. And with Ford’s recent announcement of the imminent axing of its sedan lineup, the Police Interceptor Sedan’s days are numbered. Ford had projected 75% of its police volume would go to the sedan with the remainder to the utility but in the end, the ratio was flipped. Last year, the Utility was the nation’s best-selling police vehicle with over 50% market share. Interceptor Sedan sales, in comparison, have plateaued despite Ford’s aggressive pricing and enthusiastic pursuit of fleet purchases as well as Chevrolet’s discontinuation of the Caprice PPV.
It makes sense, however, that police officers – with all of their equipment – would prefer an SUV, particularly one that’s just as easy to drive as the Interceptor Sedan (they share a platform, after all). The Interceptor Sedan – like the Taurus it’s based on – is hardly a bastion of space efficiency. With the divider up, occupants in the rear have very little legroom. At least Ford took steps to make the cockpit less confining than in the Taurus, moving the shifter to the column to free up space for a special console that houses various items of police equipment.
It’s not just the column shifter that differentiates the Police Interceptor Sedan from the Taurus. No Interceptor Sedan comes with the MyFordTouch system, nor do any offer keyless entry – just old-fashioned keys here. Mechanical enhancements include heavy-duty shocks and springs and improved engine cooling. And that Interceptor name means this sedan can withstand a 75-mph offset rear collision without bursting aflame.
The powertrain lineup of the police Taurus is slightly wider than that of the regular Taurus. There’s a choice of front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, the former available only with the 2.0 EcoBoost four-cylinder (known as the Special Service Police sedan) and 3.5 V6, the latter only with the 3.5, 3.5 EcoBoost and, not available in the regular Taurus, a 3.7 V6 shared with other corporate products like the Lincoln MKS.
Even the 2.0 four-cylinder is quicker to 60 mph than the old Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, even though its horsepower and torque figures are slightly lower (240 hp/270 ft-lbs versus 250 hp/297 ft-lbs). The 3.5 produces 288 hp and 254 ft-lbs; the 3.7 has 305 hp and 279 ft-lbs. The real hero is the EcoBoost 3.5 which well and truly puts the old Vic in the shade with 365 hp and 350 ft-lbs.
The venerable Crown Vic’s regular presence on American and Canadian roads for decades means it has become a familiar and respected part of automotive scenery. The Interceptor Sedan’s much shorter shelf life means these won’t get the opportunity to establish the same kind of reputation. Nevertheless, these are competent police cars, safer, better-equipped and more economical than the Crown Victoria Police Interceptors they replaced. No, there won’t be any rear tire-smokin’ chases in these, à la The Blues Brothers, but you could probably still have plenty of fun in one of these with the turbocharged 3.5 V6.
You’ll just have to install a cigarette lighter.
Photographed in Washington Heights, Manhattan, NYC in September 2018.