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In some states, police officers can use unmarked police cars to enforce car safety and traffic safety. You could speed by one of these undercover cop cars without even knowing it! That said, most police departments use one of several common patrol cars–both marked and unmarked. Here are the most popular police cars for unmarked patrol vehicles.

Ford Police Interceptor Utility / Ford Explorer (2012-Present)

This Ford Police Interceptor Utility is a very popular model for unmarked police cars | Ford Motor Company
Unmarked Ford Police Interceptor Utility | Ford Motor Company

The most common police car is actually a police SUV. According to USA Today, Ford’s Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility has been America’s favorite police car since 2017.

Many unmarked police cars are easy to spot, because of their basic color choices, lack of chrome, and steel rims. But Ford’s entry-level Explorer also rides on steel rims. Making undercover Police Interceptors even harder to spot, Ford has introduced “no profile” light bars mounted to the windshield of its most recent Ford Interceptor Utility vehicles.

Ford’s Police Interceptor Utility is far from the only police SUV. Other SUVs used as police departments’ interceptors include the Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) and the Dodge Durango Pursuit.

In addition, you may be caught speeding by a pickup truck! Some police departments are pressing Ford F-150 Police Responders into duty, others are opting for the Ram 1500 Classic Special Service.

Dodge Charger Pursuit (2006-Present)

These Dodge Charger Pursuit Vehicles are common undercover cop cars | Stellantis
Unmarked Dodge Charger Pursuit Vehicles | Stellantis

Dodge introduced its retro-styled four-door Charger in 2006. The large sedan was an instant hit with police departments. Dodge sold more than 2,500 Chargers to police departments in 2006, this number jumped to 8,000 in 2006.

The Dodge Charger Pursuit continues to be one of the most popular police vehicles in the United States. Now that the Chevy Caprice Patrol Vehicle is discontinued, the Charger is the only sedan still available to police departments.

With its distinct “crosshair” grille, Dodge Chargers are relatively easy to identify, even as undercover police cars. Unlike the Ford Interceptor Utility, Dodge offers no civilian Charger with simple steel rims. Therefore, any stripped-down Charger is a potential unmarked police car.

Ford Taurus (2012-2019) and Crown Victoria (1992-2011)

This unassuming Ford Taurus Police Interceptor is an unmarked police car | Ford Motor Company
Unmarked Ford Taurus Police Interceptor | Ford Motor Company

One of the most popular police cruisers of all time is Ford’s Crown Victoria sedan. During the 1990s and early 2000s, this sedan was ubiquitous as a taxi cab and police car. Many undercover police cars were Crown Victorias and most longtime drivers can recognize them instantly. Though highway patrol Crown Victoria Police Interceptors are rare these days, some local departments still have Crown Vics in their fleet.

In 2011, Ford finally retired the Crown Victoria. Many police departments bought Ford Taurus sedans instead. Though Ford also retired the Taurus police interceptor in 2019, many of them are still on the road. Because the Ford Taurus is smaller than the Charger, they can be especially tricky to spot when used as unmarked police cars.

Next, find out whether your state allows unmarked police cars or read the tricks to spotting an unmarked police car.

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