A Used Police Car May Be the Best First Car
They are easy to repair, safe and far from flashy
So you are looking to buy your kid their first car, but you don't want to break the bank. Let me rephrase, you are buying your kid a car and there is absolutely no good reason to spend over $20,000 (arguably $10,000). In order to dance the line between cheap, safe and reliable (relative term), you need to look into the used sector and more importantly, a well-documented used sector.
If you are fortunate enough to live near police departments where they have an in-house mechanic and they regularly sell units up for replacement, then more power to you. If you aren't so lucky, it may be time to take to the internet and find yourself the perfect first car. Used police cars often get a bad wrap because they frequently live a hard life of idling all day and bumper car'esque pedal behavior from their drivers. However, a properly maintained police car is gold. They are safe, easy to repair and not particularly flashy. Over the past 10 years departments across the country have been flirting with different models, trying to find what vehicle works best for them. The result is a wide variety of used police cars, as you can see below:
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Chevrolet Impala
- Chevrolet Caprice
- Ford Crown Victoria
- Ford Interceptor
- Ford Interceptor Utility
- Ford Explorer (pre-Interceptor)
- Ford Fusion (choosing to ignore)
- Dodge Charger
- Dodge Durango
The list may be long, but finding the one in good condition and the right price is a lot shorter. That being said, if you can find your kid a Crown Victoria P71 with less than 125,000 or a Tahoe under 100,000, you are made in the shade. Both vehicles have reliable V8 power and relatively easy maintenance. I personally believe the Crown Victoria is a great vehicle for a first car as it has RWD, few traction control interventions and the iconic 4.6-liter V8. Having a RWD may not always be ideal, but learning the skill of driving a RWD car in all conditions is something everyone should have. Plus, if little Timmy decides to rip the bumper of the Ol' Vic, you can go to any junk yard and snap on a new one for $50. Just please don't let your kid tint the car and play dress up.
Now lets divert our attention to the Chevy Tahoe, but I have to warn you, these will come in around three times the average cost of a used Crown Victoria. That being said, getting a Tahoe for around $16,000 isn't bad when used ones normally go for somewhere in the $35,000 area. With a used Tahoe PPV/SSV, you get a 5.3-liter V8, possibly 4x4 capabilities, tons of trunk space and decent ground clearance. If you opt for a 2WD PPV Tahoe, you are going to get looks from just about everyone because the lower ground clearance and steel wheels of a pursuit rated Tahoe can be seen a mile away. However, god forbid your kid gets in a crash, the Chevy Tahoe has a solid crash test rating.
As time rolls on, the "new" Ford Interceptors are becoming more and more available on the used market. Some people have mixed reviews about them, but when it comes down to brass tax, they are the number one selling police vehicle in the country and they can withstand a 75 mph rear impact. If I were to hand my kid a set of keys, I would be fine handing over the keys to a Interceptor Utility. The vehicle comes equipped with a standard 305 horsepower, all-wheel-drive, enlarged brake rotors, massive alternator and anything else to keep your kid on the road.
Unfortunately purchasing the right used police car is very subjective and done on a case by case basis. That being said, weigh your opinion in the comments below, assuming that the vehicles in question have not been beaten to within an inch of their life.