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CHP Shifts To Ford P.I. Utility for Patrol

May 31, 2012  | 

Photo: California Highway Patrol
Photo: California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol will shift to Ford's Police Interceptor Utility SUV as its primary patrol vehicle when it begins replacing aging Crown Vics in its fleet.

The P.I. Utility was the only vehicle that met the agency's specifications for payload capacity and provides versatility in handling a variety of missions including traffic enforcement, event security, and facility protection, state officials said.

Assistant Chief Erik Knudsen told the Los Angeles Times the agency preferred the P.I. Utility over the crop of new patrol cars because "the design of the new sedans is becoming smaller and lighter."

The state agreed to purchase the new enforcement vehicles from Folsom Lake Ford. The contract allows for the purchase of P.I. Utility SUVs for $26,578 and Ford P.I. sedans for $23,242. The state's Department of General Services will acquire the vehicles.

The all-wheel-drive P.I. Utility, which also arrives in a front-wheel version, has a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the P.I. Utility is 6,300 pounds, which measures its curb weight plus maximum payload. Curb weight in 4,630 pounds.

"The CHP does need payload capacity of 1,500 pounds," said Eric Lamoureux, general services spokesman. "The sedan doesn't meet the capacity."

The sedan has a GVWR of 5,700 pounds and a curb weight of 4,310 pounds.

Lamoureux said the agency's new patrol car must be able to transport 459 pounds of installed equipment such as a prisoner cage, lightbar, push bar, gun tub, in-car video system, fire extinguisher, and communications gear. The agency also required 880 pounds for a driver and three passengers; 96 pounds for safety equipment; 87 pounds for stored CHP equipment; and 55 pounds for a full-size spare tire.

The department plans to begin purchasing the vehicles in October after testing four vehicles and completing a fleet utilization study. Gov. Jerry Brown has instructed state departments to eliminate under-utilized vehicles from the fleet as a cost-saving initiative. As a result, some officers may lose take-home vehicles, especially if they aren't using them for enforcement.

The dealer agreed to deliver two P.I. sedans and two SUVs for the CHP's own regimen of testing that includes a five-mile high-speed run (at 125 mph); 90-0 mph braking; and a timed road course.

The agency typically replaces about a third of its 4,000-vehicle fleet each year. The agency's marked enforcement units include 2,300 sedans and 140 all-terrain vehicles.

By Paul Clinton


Ford P.I. Utility (photos)

California Governor Curtails CHP's Purchase of New Patrol Vehicles

CHP Adopts Kawasaki's Concours 14P Motorcycle

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Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

jason v @ 5/31/2012 8:02 PM

So whats the mpg, is the chp going to blow the fuel budget with the new tanks and looks like speeders will be able to see those black and whites a mile away

Sarge_64 @ 5/31/2012 8:03 PM

Outstanding news! We just switched to the Utilities as well, and couldn't be happier so far. Having an agency as large as the C.H.P. pick them makes me feel that much more comfortable in our decision. I think the Ford PI Utility is going to very soon start being the dark horse in the new war for police car domination.

Hardware @ 5/31/2012 11:46 PM

Actually the Utility gets better MPG than the current fleet of Crown Vic's. On paper it's 1 mpg better, but mine does 4 mpg better highway.

Det 1 @ 6/1/2012 9:02 AM

Ever been involved in a pursuit driving an SUV?...That can get hairy very fast...Hopefully this is just a supervisor and commercial enforcement vehicle...

[email protected] @ 6/1/2012 1:00 PM

Gee, Didn't go for the Made in Austraila "Chevys" with the 3 month waiting period? Damn good choice! As for spotting them, most drivers are too preoccupied texting or talking to notice. I've seen them unaware of a code 3 responder on their rear bumper. As for pursuits, play it as it rolls.

Tim in Sac @ 6/1/2012 11:41 PM

Something our agency found out about the Ford PI sedan. When the car is fully equipped and loaded with two officers and their gear it is overweight. Something Ford did not consider when they did away with the CV.

TIM @ 6/3/2012 7:13 PM

With the recent death of a NYSP Trooper driving an SUV, agencies might well rethink their choice of SUVs for Patrol vehicles.

Sarge_64 @ 6/4/2012 9:51 AM

Det 1, this isn't classified as an "SUV". It is considered a crossover, and is fully pursuit rated. I've driven them on high speed test tracks, and they handle better than the CVPI's did. Obviously, it still has a high CoG (no denying the laws of physics), but they are just fine for pursuits.

They only obstacle FoMoCo needs to still conquer with the Utility is to get people over the preconceived notions of it being a gas-guzzling, top-heavy SUV. It is neither.

YardCop @ 6/6/2012 12:21 PM

Well as usual the Gov. allows CHP to buy more new vehicles and keeps the CDC stuck using vehicles from the 80's & 90's, though we're suppose to reduce our aging fleet as well, talk about irony, maybe we'll get so "old" CHP vehicles and come into the 2000's.

Steve @ 6/6/2012 1:44 PM

Jason V, you must be a liberal, first the black and whites are exactly what you thought, they want to be seen as that is a deterrent, as far as MPG, as a former LE SGT and the father of a LE Deputy, I don't give a shit about MPG I am concerned with Safety first and formost. Officer are in the "Office 10-12 hours a day and I want them to be as comfortable as possible. It's time we quit listening to a bunch of liberals cry ing about how our police Cras look Intimidating and the like, as long as your not breaking the law Jason V you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Just be proud that your LE Community will still respond to those who don't like them, because that's their job, God Bless them and God keep them safe. Have a nice Day.

Aaron @ 7/7/2012 3:37 PM

Steve...I agree with you, MPG is not the highest priority when it comes to purchasing patrol vehicles...and I'll confess, I am a liberal...but I totally understand that cops need vehicles that can help them get the job done, I actually used to be a police explorer....the Crown Vic was pretty much the car that did what it needed to do...sure it was no Prius when it came to MPG, but its' simple yet rugged design, reliability, low cost and high availability replacement parts made it the top cop car of choice..although I believe Ford could have made it better by giving it a couple more updates, like making the Long Wheel Base version of the Crown Vic standard for the Police Interceptor model starting with the 03' CVPI (to provide more front and rear leg room), and giving it the more powerful 4.6L 3 valve VCT V8 with 290 horsepower and 320 lbs. ft. of torque along with a police-calibrated 5 or 6 speed auto starting with the 06' CVPI...I'm sure the cops would've clambered for that...but I really believe the Crown Vic, in it's recent form, was hung out to dry by Ford, as good of a car that it truly is, it could've been made better...but we'll have to wait and see what happens in a few years

MTH @ 7/18/2012 3:32 PM

Question to Sarge 64 you say you have driven these new vehicle on a test track at high speeds,what happens when you experience a blowout at a high rate of speed? consider the rollover rate of this vehicle! Is it topheavy with all the necessary police equipment? I would like to see a video of this vehicle going through the pursuit paces! This would make me a believer in this vehicle. How well does this thing survive in a front or rearend crash??? Let's see the video! Thanks from a former Deputy and race car driver........

ry_Socal @ 7/30/2012 12:01 AM

@MTH - Since Sarge 64 didn't answer, I'll attempt to. I just spent a week testing each of the Fords, and I was actually surprised at the Utility's performance. While I tested the standard motor offering for the sedan (and plan to purchase the Ecoboosts), the ute actually outperformed the sedan to 100mph (the sedan continued it's accel curve up to my test limit of 120 better though, at a diminished pace from about 85+, where the utility dropped off dramatically at 100mph.)

It was definitely a bit top-heavy, but it cornered better than any CVPI I've driven. The feeling of being way up there caused our eval team to want to corner slower though, and we had to force cornering at our target speeds.

Ultimately, it out-performed our CVPI in every test we gave it. It's passed all the standard crash tests for new cars, and has side impact/rollover curtain airbags. Both the sedan and ut have 75mph rear crash ratings, the same as the CVPI. You can look under the back seat (sedan) and under the rear deck floor (utility) and see a heavy 'X' brace, designed to beef up and transfer the impact.

I can't talk to the blowout question but it's not as tall as the old consumer offerings, so I imagine it would not be too severe. We did note that we had consistent right hand pull on max braking from high speed. Not sure if it was unique to our demo unit or a symptom of a design flaw.

ChristinaDraves @ 9/9/2012 12:41 AM

There is more foot room in my Jeep Cherokee than either of the new Fords. And trying to exit one in quick fashion is not as possible either.

After our initial delivery Im glad that the brass has made the decision that these will be our last unless they get larger next year.

ChristinaDraves @ 9/9/2012 12:44 AM

By the way... The Crown Vic has a payload capacity of 1100 pounds. About 70 pounds less than the new Taurus.

Aaron @ 1/9/2013 12:24 PM

@Christina Draves: I believe that's the civilian version of the Crown Vic you're talking about, not the police interceptor version...the police interceptor version has a 1500 pound payload capacity

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