A while back we conducted a Vehicle Dynamics Training Program for a Law Enforcement Agency in Massachusetts. One of the training vehicles was a Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicle – SUV. Not that I am a skeptic BUT I never thought you would ever use the words Police Packed SUV and pursuit in the same sentence. But after working with and testing this vehicle we have to change our thought pattern.
Our opinion of the Police packed SUV’s changed (dramatically) while conducting a Skid Pad test of the vehicles. The goal of the Skid Pad test is to measure the handling and cornering capability of the training vehicles. The theory behind the testing is, that a trainer should know the vehicles capability before judging the drivers capability.
To determine the vehicle/driver performance capabilities we measure the vehicles Lateral Acceleration, which is expressed in G’s. The higher the G’s number the better the vehicles handling characteristics, the number is used as an objective evaluation of a vehicle’s handling capability. During the Skid Pad Test all vehicles were equipped with on board computers measuring Lateral Acceleration.
Back to the Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicle – While driving the the SUV through the Skid Pad the G Meters produced impressive handling numbers. If you did not know what type of vehicle the numbers represented you would assume it was a non SUV police packaged vehicle. The SUV produced an impressive .9 G’s on the Skid Pad.
In our opinion Skid Pad numbers are ok – but the proof of emergency maneuvering capability comes by measuring the vehicles performance while driving through a lane change exercise. This type of an exercise supplies the driver and the vehicle with a limited amount of time and distance to get out of trouble. The Ford Utility Vehicle produced impressive numbers. The vehicle went from a peak of .9 G’s moving to the left and in approximately .4 seconds produced .85 G’s moving to the right.
When time permits we will put together a white paper on the vehicle response data we produced from the training program.
As a side note – From our days working with Mercedes on their armored vehicle program we understand the concept of a purpose built vehicle, and in my opinion that is what the Ford Utility Vehicle is – a purpose built vehicle for the intended mission. When that oh stuff moment comes – this is the vehicle you would want to be in.
This is what the Ford web site writes about the Police Interceptor Utility
Now, police agencies that require special interior and cargo capabilities can have those capabilities without sacrificing police-rated performance. The Police Interceptor Utility model is built for full pursuit applications. It is the first-ever Ford pursuit-rated utility model available for police work. You’ll enjoy the same power, performance and protection as the Police Interceptor sedan but with increased interior versatility.
We have not driven other police -packaged SUV’s, so this is not meant as a comparison – or as a criticism of the other vehicles.
Web sites of interest