For three decades, the California Highway Patrol has used the Ford Crown Victoria sedan as its primary patrol vehicle. In 2013, the CHP switched to Ford’s Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility. The “PUV” sports new safety and handling features and more cargo space and looks strikingly different from what California motorists are used to seeing.
Comparing the Crown Victoria to the Police Interceptor Utility
Additional weight capacity
CHP vehicles designated for patrol duties must accommodate an additional 1,500 lbs. of equipment, including radios, weapons, and four fully loaded officers averaging 220 lbs. each. Some of the additional gear includes:
Police-programmed electronic stability control
Unlike the Crown Victoria, the Police Interceptor Utility is equipped with electronic stability control specially programmed for law enforcement. The system aids the driver in slippery or aggressive driving situations by automatically braking and adjusting the throttle to prevent oversteer or understeer and keep the vehicle under control.
Sources: California Highway Patrol, Ford Motor Co. Graphics reporting by Rong-Gong Lin II and Lou Spirito