I'm sure I'm not the only one that's wondered how a police car is different than a regular car. Are they really souped up vehicles that can outrun anything or is that just a rumor the police spread?
All police cars are based on standard models of automobiles except for when military vehicles are converted for used by the police. There are no auto manufacturers that only make police cars. Instead the manufacturers will make special police versions of certain auto models. Sometimes police departments will purchase regular vehicles and customize them for a certain use.
The most common police cars in North America is the Ford Crown Victoria, Chevrolet Caprice, Chevrolet Impala and the Dodge Charger. These cars all fit the typical police auto profile of a large car with plenty of trunk space, large back seat and large engine. In different parts of the country trucks and SUVs may be used as police cars as well. Sports cars are used as chase cars by some police departments. In Italy there are a few police Lamborghinis. These cars are usually used as a public relations tool and many were originally confiscated during drug raids.
Police automobiles need to take more abuse than the average car. It needs to be able the very limits of its performance such as chasing suspects at more than 100 mph, be able to handle rough terrain and being rammed into or being used as a battering ram. On the other hand the police vehicle could spend all day idling in one spot or cruising at low speeds. The car needs to operate perfectly under harsh summer heat, frigid winters, rain and snow. It also needs to be able to turn on a dime and jump into hot pursuit in a second.