The List: Top Cop Cars

Did you know that close to 10,000 of the Chevrolet Caprice police cars that’ll be patrolling American streets in 2012 are actually Australian imports? Aussie car manufacturer Holden (a subsidiary of General Motors) takes the Holden Caprice and simply rebadges it with a Chevy emblem, fits it with one of several police package options and ships them to eager American police forces. Americans buying American brands via Australia is an interesting proposition, and given the economic pressure created by the high Australian dollar, it’s one that is slowly tapering off. Since the demand for cop cars in the U.S. is about 70,000 units per year, that means those brave men and women who keep our streets safe will need to look elsewhere for vehicles to help them keep the peace. Allow us to recommend five stellar alternatives to the Caprice. 5 – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X If we’re going to import our cruisers, let’s pick a more badass one to import. Like this one. More colloquially dubbed ‘Evo Ten,’ the Lancer is a beast. It’ll chase anything, is super manageable and doesn’t use a lot of fuel given the 2.0L four-cylinder engine. But the turbocharger, the 291 horsepower that it generates, and the low weight of the car means it’s agile. The real world translation of that is officers can get in and out of tight spaces fast when patrolling. Because it’s four-wheel drive, it’s great in the snow so it would even work well in the winter. Lastly, it’s reasonably priced. 4 - Porsche Panamera Turbo S Another import, but a bit roomier. For police departments that need a lighting fast four-seater that handles equally well on highways as on curvy country backroads, this is the vehicle. Once that turbo kicks in and all 550 horses are working under the bonnet, it’s not long before top speed of 190 mph is reached. It’d be great in Nevada or Montana or any place where the cops literally have to run people down. It even has enough room for the cage for the prisoners. 3 – Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 The New York State Police made a huge deal a while back when they started using Camaros for highway patrolling, but theirs were terrible because they weren’t anything beyond the normal Camaros. They were somewhat quick, but a cop car should be stupidly fast. Enter the ZL1. With a 6.2L V8, this mean machine produces 550 horsepower. It’s ideal for highway and long stretches of pavement where the police really need to put the hammer down. It’s also one of those cars you can see working with any sheriff’s department. Just picture a deputy hopping out of this, clicking his boots and adjusting his ten-gallon hat. 2 – Ford SVT Raptor Truly American built, this 4x4 will work in any condition or terrain. It has a foot and a half of suspension travel, which when coupled with its huge motor (6.2 L, putting out a whopping 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque) means the Raptor is essentially Baja-ready. Which means it’ll be easy to chase down the bad guys across the desert or on asphalt. It’s fast and nimble enough to plow through woods and not let the criminal get an inch on you. It’s not a four-seater, so it’s not great for prisoner transport - unless you’re going to strap them onto the roof - but it’d be great for more tactical purposes and pursuits. 1 – Cadillac CTS-V Wagon This is a real paddy wagon. It’s American-made so those with the badges driving it can have pride about that fact. With its supercharged V8 (providing 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque) it’s faster than just about anything it’ll end up going against, topping out at close to 200 mph. Since it’s a wagon, you can fit the perps in the back and still have room for some extra gear. It’d be best in any city that doesn’t have potholes, since it’s got low profile Pzero Nero tires on it and they’d be blowing out all day long in a city like Los Angeles. Click here to see more Police cars.  Contributor: Kelli Ambrose