Ford has just landed a solid punch in the battle to win over police departments in the post-Crown Vic era. The automaker announced the sale of 500 new Police Interceptor models (a mix of sedans and SUVs) to the Chicago Police Department. The 2013 Interceptor is responsible for the addition of 230 jobs at the Torrence Avenue plant, which is conveniently located in Chicago.

Okay, so the location of the plant likely made the CPD’s vehicle of choice a foregone conclusion, but the latest PI models may also help the department in terms of its fuel expenditures. With an expected fuel economy gain of 25 percent compared to the now-defunct Crown Victoria, and gas prices expected to get much uglier than they already are, the more efficient Interceptor’s arrival is nothing if not timely.

Some municipalities worry that the new Police Interceptors won’t match the old Panther-platform cars’ toughness when it comes to handling the rigors of police use, but Ford counters that its new PI models, a Taurus-based sedan and Explorer-based utility variant, are designed specifically for police work.

The automaker worked with the LAPD and and Michigan State Police to certify the the new vehicles for patrol duty. Departments can choose from a normally aspirated 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 or the turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5 with 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.

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