CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ford is back in the police car business. And Kanawha County sheriff's deputies are impressed with the company's new Interceptor police cruiser.
"I think that they're better than the [Dodge] Charger. They handle great," said Sgt. L.S. Dietz, one of the first Kanawha County deputies assigned to the new car.
"It's like it's stuck to the ground," Dietz said. "It's great in the curves."
County officials recently bought 14 of the new Ford Interceptors at a cost of about $27,000 each. Four of the cars are on the road, with the rest to follow soon.
"If it's as durable as Ford says, it will be money well spent," said sheriff's department Capt. Sean Crosier.
From the 1990s and into the first few years of the new century, Ford had a practical monopoly on the police car market in the United States with their rear-wheel-drive police version of the Crown Victoria. Known almost universally to police officers as the Crown Vic, the car was rugged, fast and relatively safe in a crash.
Then, in 2006, Dodge came out with a police version of their fast and aggressive Charger. Sales of Crown Vics plummeted as police departments all over the country scrambled to equip their fleets with the new Charger.
"The Crown Vic was better in low-end takeoff," Dietz said. "When you hit 40 miles per hour, the Charger took off, and the handling was a lot better than the Crown Vic."
Happy with their new Dodge Chargers, Kanawha County stopped buying Crown Vics in 2007. Many police departments did the same thing, and Ford stopped making the Crown Victoria police car altogether in 2011.
But Ford engineers were already working on a replacement. The new Ford Interceptor is the first vehicle designed from the ground up specifically for police work.