Cop Car Showdown: Dodge Charger vs. Ford Crown Vic

Real cop cars have always been rear-wheel drive, four-door American sedans. The young upstart is the Dodge Charger and the fading champ is the Ford Crown Vic. Out of production since 2011, the Crown Vic still forms the backbone of many North American police fleets. Since all Ford has at the moment is the Taurus Police Interceptor and the Explorer, it looks like the future belongs to the Charger, but will it live up to the Crown Vic’s legacy? Here are a few of our thoughts:

  1. Exclusivity: The Charger has it here. The Crown Vic has served in every type of fleet imaginable from the U.S. to Canada, to Latin America, the Middle East and even Russia. For many though, the Crown Vic is synonymous with the other cars with lights on the roof – the yellow kind with meters on the dash instead of shotguns. Chargers, on the other hand, rarely show up as airport cabs.

  2. Longevity: With its separate body-on-frame construction (of the kind found on pickups), the Panther-platform Crown Vic was famous for strength, ease of collision repair and simplicity. It’s common to see Crown Vics with more than a half-million miles on them still going strong. The jury is still out on the unibody Charger, but it’s safe to predict that it won’t match the record of the Crown Vic.

  3. Menace: Tough as it was in service, the Crown Vic doesn’t really look very tough. The Charger, however, is just the thing to get perps in a compliant mood as soon as they see it in the rearview mirror.

  4. Performance: Crown Vics were generally equipped with 4.6-liter modular V-8s of around 250 hp. Even the V-6 of the Charger Pursuit cop car makes 292 hp. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 makes 100 hp more than that. In performance, it’s no contest.

  5. Perp Space: Cabbies love the Crown Vic because of leg and knee room. Felons love it for the same reason. The rear seat area is huge and the Crown Vic is wider than the Charger by several inches and longer by an entire foot.

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