jonnyd330 Reader
5/9/19 9:55 a.m.

So I have been looking for a low budget, $10k-14k, reliable SUV with low maintenance. I was pretty much set on 2010-2012 Lexus RX 350's and have been looking for one in my area. I have 90% of them are FWD and the AWD ones are pulling a premium. I would rather have an AWD so it got me looking at other options again.

I saw an episode of Donut Media on the Police Explorer and since those are mostly AWD and there are a ton of them I started checking those out too.

What are the pro/cons of these things? Do they still have the exhaust leak into the cabin or was that resolved with the recall? Curious if anyone bought one here. Reliability? Where to find the police auctions? 


Tom_Spangler PowerDork
5/9/19 10:04 a.m.

IIRC, the exhaust issue was mostly if you were sitting around idling for long periods of time. Something cops do, but the rest of us, not so much.

Brett_Murphy UltimaDork
5/9/19 10:06 a.m.

I seriously considered trying to find a Tahoe SSV at one point in time- the Forestry Service and other groups like that use them. The ones I saw had similar miles to the police vehicles, but seemed to have lower hours idling, if that makes sense.


RevRico PowerDork
5/9/19 10:14 a.m.

Google your county and state, separate searches, with the term police auction.

You'll be amazed at what comes up. Locally to me, not many interceptor SuVs have come through, but at the big state auction every 2 months, there's usually a good amount, averaging $7k sale price. 

In backwards, electronic-phobic Pennsylvania the state auction manages a spreadsheet of everything that is going up, and also has sales records so you can get an idea price wise. My county auction has one of the local auction companies handle it, so no historical sales data, but they usually have a list of vehicles with vins available a week or two before the sale.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/9/19 1:07 p.m.
JohnInKansas SuperDork
5/9/19 1:37 p.m.

I've pinged my wife (ex police officer) on retired cop cars before and she's always talked me out of it. Generally she says they tend to be rode hard and put away wet. LOTS of idling (many depts don't have separate fleets for each shift, so car gets off night shift and goes right back out for day shift), punctuated by occasional high speed, high RPM, aggressive driving. Fairly regularly abused by all. Repairs in her dept were pretty much just getting it good enough to function. A 5 year old, 40k mile cop car may be pretty tired.

That being said, she always said the interceptor Explorers were the fastest thing on the force (mid 20teens) by a long shot, so there's that. 

Do it and report back to us. For science.

nimblemotorsports New Reader
5/9/19 2:30 p.m.

I almost bought a couple of the explorer police units.  They really are not like civilian ones, very basic interiors, trim, wheels, etc, and you get holes all over after they remove lights,

and you need to repaint them.   But if you are just looking for something to tow things (my case),  an ugly stripped down truck is an option.

You might look at a  volvo xc90, they even have the v8 version, but the T6 probably best choice.


rattfink81 New Reader
5/9/19 2:35 p.m.

I have spent many hours in the explorer from sitting idling to high speeds. It’s no Crown Vic but better in my opinion then the Taurus it’s based on. 

 I like explorer over the Taurus in terms of interior size as I actual fit and can get in and out without looking like clown car. The seating position is more comfortable for me also. From my understanding they share the seem basic platform but It seems the Taurus have more issues with transmission and suspension but that may have been early production issues as we got a few batches of the Taurus before the explorer.  

They make ample power as we have the n/a version. The brakes and suspension seem up to patrol duty so normal driving shouldn’t be a issue. 

If I was in the market for a not so full sized suv I would consider one for the right price. 

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
5/9/19 2:43 p.m.
Tom_Spangler said:

IIRC, the exhaust issue was mostly if you were sitting around idling for long periods of time. Something cops do, but the rest of us, not so much.

This, but the leaks were caused by creating ports for equipment wires. The way ford handled it was to maximize possible locations that wires could be more safely run. I would be cautious as to where equipment was located and make sure any holes created were plugged up nice and tight. I wouldn't really let that deter you from purchasing, though. Officers I've talked to tend to like the Taurus for the lower center of gravity and high performance handling. If that isn't your concern, the Explorer will probably be your jam. I often search on 

jonnyd330 Reader
5/9/19 6:18 p.m.

Good advice here, I didn't think about some of this. Seems like it might make sense to know the history of what the truck was used for. I found this really nice blue color truck at a local dealer lot but it has the eco boost 3.5L. Haven't seen that color before looks good with the steelies.


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/9/19 6:39 p.m.

In reply to jonnyd330 :

That blue is the famous Michigan State Police Blue. It may be used by others but is certainly used by MI. It will be easy enough to tell.  If it is, it will have undercarriage rust like youve never seen in Florida.

jonnyd330 Reader
5/9/19 6:42 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

Ha, good to know. Maybe I will avoid that color then. ;)

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/9/19 6:46 p.m.

It's a great shade of blue. Some other areas might use it too. 

Floating Doc
Floating Doc Dork
5/9/19 7:43 p.m.

Right up the road from you. I bought a couple of cars there back in about 2002.

Tampa Machinery Auction

There's some state owned explorers selling on the 11th.

Appleseed MegaDork
5/10/19 12:06 a.m.

Police spec SUVs go for stupid money. 2-4 x what a Crown vic does, and almost double what Taurus and Charger squads go for.

As for long hours idling and other abuse, I'd rather have a high mile, high time squad with records and regular upkeep, verses a low mile, zero maintenance civilian heap.

jonnyd330 Reader
5/10/19 1:47 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

sadly they are not late model explorers for sale on sat otherwise I would check it out. 

penultimeta HalfDork
5/10/19 7:16 a.m.

I've never owned an ex-police vehicle, but have ridden in a few. None of their owners seem to have any more issues with them relative to their civilian counterparts. 

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