Not even lousy weather could take the warm and fuzzies off of an opportunity to climb behind the wheel of not one, but two different Police Interceptors (that’s fancy police jargon for cars, I think) on a closed course and driving them like I stole them.
Thanks to Ford Canada, I had just that chance on a cold, grey day in April.
A Police Interceptor is so much more than just a regular car with stripes and the word “Police” written on it. It’s beefed up, reinforced, and reconfigured. It’s heavy duty. Impractical for the average civilian, but just what the long arm of the law needs when fighting crime and taxiing perps to the slammer...or whatever else it is that the police do.
I listened with keen interest when one of the cars’ developers walked us around the Taurus-based Interceptor. Many of the changes on the sedan were ported over to the SUV, Ford Explorer-based Interceptor.
Let me digress for a moment here. I can’t help but find it funny that, just like the Ford police cars currently being phased out (the Crown Victoria), the new police car is built off a car old people seem to adore. I think Ford has done a stellar job restyling the new Taurus to be more youthful, but retirees seem to love big cars, and the Taurus is a really big car. Anywaaaay, back to the story...
In addition to fitting the cars with heavy duty brakes, transmission, and other tweaks to handle the extreme duty and always-on life of a police service vehicle, some more subtle changes are made. There are no carpets — to help make cleaning easier. The seats are sculpted — to make sitting in them with a utility belts comfortable. The trunk has a lockable box for evidence and can be fitted with a roll-out tray to hold the plethora of electronic devices the modern cruiser uses to “bust” dirtbags, and whatnot.
The best part? Police Interceptors are built to intercept bad guys — and sometimes that means driving really, really fast. I know what you might be thinking — that because the Explorer is roughly the size of a living room, and the Taurus is the automotive equivalent of a 4:30pm dinner reservation at Ruby Tuesdays for sexagenarians, that these police versions can’t maneuver around a tight course. But Ford was so confident they could, they were going to give pack of civilians a chance to find out themselves.
But first, Ford allowed us to climb aboard and play with the lights and sirens.
“BWOOOP-BWOOOP!” “WEEEOOO-WEEEOOO!” Eat your hear out 3 year olds!!! I played that siren like a freakin’ rockstar until my ears bled.
Once I swabbed the blood out of my ears, I climbed aboard the Ford Taurus and Explorer-based Interceptors for a couple “hot laps” (which means “going hard”, or “givin’ ‘er” — ever notice that automotive talk often sounds really filthy?) around the track. I even got to do so with a real auto journalist, Mike Schlee (see his detailed write-up here).
So how was the drive? I’ll spare you the incoherent automotive blithering I subject my wife to and just tell you that the Ford Police Interceptors are serious performance machines, and they are immanently capable of driving at the limit. The drives were pedal-to-the-floor, steering-wheel-wrenching, break-pad-mashing, FUN!
Check. That. Box.
Then, I went back to work and typed numbers and formulas into totally different boxes for the rest of the day.