If you watch your rear-view mirror for the the grille of law-enforcement or yourself work in the field you know the landscape of black-and-white vehicles has been changing dramatically in the last three years.

More and more, police fleets are converting to medium and large sized SUV’s over traditional sedan cruisers as the large rear-wheel drive cars have been gradually disappearing from the order lists.

And given a choice between many of the new front-wheel drive based sedans, first responders are choosing utility vehicles over sedans for their extra space as well the additional safety of a larger vehicle.

The rear cargo hold gives much more flexibility for a variety of tactical equipment scenarios and purposes like K9, swat, highway, and investigations. Rear seat area for customers is also larger and offers easier ingress and egress.

Ford has been out front with their Explorer based Police Interceptor Utility which has become a common sight on highways and in cities in a very short time. With all-wheel drive and car-like handling dynamics, Ford sells more of the utility than the Taurus based Police Interceptor.

Offering a fire-breathing 365 horsepower EcoBoost twin turbo V6 for 2014, the Ford utility beat out SUV competitor Chevrolet Tahoe at the Michigan State Police performance testing. The Tahoe which is larger and has a V8, still gives truck-like knuckle handling.

Compared to the V8-powered Chevrolet Tahoe, which posted a 0-60 mph time of 8.22 seconds, the EcoBoost Ford Police Interceptor utility hit 60 mph in 6.28 seconds. The Ford utility is also available with a naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 which accelerates from 0-60 in 8.02 seconds, still beating out the V8 Tahoe.

Dodge is also entering the field with the 2014 Durango Special Service. With both a V6 and V8 powertrain to choose from, it may well offer a competitive vehicle to the Ford, though it wasn’t part of this year’s testing by the Michigan State Police.

Like the others, the Durango Special Service comes with a host of mechanical upgrades for durability and upfitters to install the various equipment packages needed by first responders. The third row seat is deleted to make room for storage and gear.

While Dodge and Chevrolet remain committed to providing a rear-wheel drive sedan to the market with their Australian made Caprice and the Charger Pursuit, Ford is for now sticking with a pumped up Taurus with either a standard V6 or EcoBoost turbo engine.

Given the large scale move to SUV’s by a larger and larger majority of police fleets, Ford’s lack of a rear-wheel drive V8 sedan may become less and less a deficiency.

For a more in-depth review and photos, see ActivityVehicle.com