The Indian police might not have the most glamorous job but the police cars have surely evolved from what they were a few years ago. Let’s take a look at the cop cars of Indian police, both from the past and the current ones, too.
While the hugely popular MPV has been replaced by the more premium Innova Crysta, the Innova still goes strong as a police vehicle. It’s used in multiple cities, has loads of space inside, and true to its brand, will continue to offer niggle-free service for longer than you and I can imagine. It’s a step up from the Qualis but is a clear direction change that the Indian police has taken, by using faster, more road-oriented vehicles in the city, like the Innova.
The only petrol off-roader in the segment is still the PCR vehicle for a lot of states. Robust mechanicals mean the Gypsy has a good reliability record, while servicing one isn’t an issue, either. Police is unlikely to go hardcore off-roading but even if they have to, the Gypsy is unlikely to have a problem in obliging. It’s a bit of a disappointment on the road, which makes it fall short of the perfect police vehicle crown for India.
While the Tavera was touted to be a slightly more premium offering in comparison to other UVs like the Bolero, the lower end versions found their use as police vehicles. A lot of space inside, and improved on-road dynamics made the Tavera a good choice, before the police got MPVs as their urban patrol vehicles.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
Positioned below the Innova, the Ertiga is the only popular MPV in the Indian market. It has a good amount of space inside, but is more car-like, and can be very useful in intra-city chases, patrolling, too. It can also seat seven, and both engine options (petrol and diesel) can manage decent speeds.
The first generation Reva, or the Reva-i, was one of the first electric cars sold in the country. And while still a niche market, it made all the right sense for one of the best planned cities in the country to adopt it. It was used by Chandigarh cops, but with the electric Verito (called e-Verito) and Reva e2O out, they can move to better, more powerful options.
Tata Safari Storme
Rival to the Scorpio, and one of the first Indian SUVs, the Safari has a huge following. It also boasts a very comfortable ride, and can handle long distance cruising well. With a powerful engine under the bonnet, the Safari Storme isn’t slow, and if you’re on the wrong side of the law, seeing one in your rear view mirror isn’t going to end well for you.
Both the Indigo and the sub-four-meter Indigo eCS have been used as police vehicles. Although ancient by today’s passenger car standards, the cars are spacious and boast very comfortable ride. Based on the Tata Indica, which was Tata’s first hatchback, it’s surprising how well sorted the ride is. Good for helping those in distress, but not for ferrying lawbreakers, because the latter don’t deserve the kind of comfort.
Tata Sumo Gold
Still in service, the Sumo Gold gets a more powerful engine (3-liter unit making about 85 PS and 250 Nm), has a better interior, but the same ability to travel fully laden, and be on duty for long hours. The old-school silhouette goes well with the strong look a police vehicle must have.
One of the most successful UVs in the Indian market, the Bolero is a popular choice for the police. It can handle bad roads easily, has the ability to handcuff and load goons at the back, and is drivable on the road. Like the Sumo, the Bolero’s old-school styling still works very well for the look.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
Topping the list among UVs is the Mahindra Marksman, used by Mumbai Police. The bullet-proof vehicle can carry a total of six occupants, has 360-degree visibility, and boasts multiple firing points and even a machine gun mount.
The Marksman is anything but ordinary, but the RZR takes it all to a different level altogether. The Polaris RZR S 800 is an off-road machine that can gobble bad/no roads at disturbingly quick pace. With an 760 cc engine that makes about 53 PS, the ATV can do 0-100 in just 4.5 seconds. It can seat two, which is okay, considering the vehicle is for surveillance, and can be a nightmare for those breaking the law.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
The compact SUV is used as a highway patrolling vehicle. Adequately powerful and decent to drive (for an SUV), the EcoSport can take pothole-filled bad roads, long highways with sweeping bends, and even city roads. It’s the only compact SUV that’s used by police at present, and that must make Ford very proud.
Far from the utilitarian UVs, the Scorpio brings more speed and comfort. It can do a fair bit of off-roading, but more importantly, it’s easy to drive and won’t give up if it comes down to chasing the lawbreakers.
Mahindra Scorpio Getaway
While it wasn’t a commercial pickup per se, the Scorpio Getaway offered the goodness of the Scorpio but with a loading bay at the rear, and the lack of rear-most seats. Robust and desirable, the Getaway doesn’t feel out of place among more basic vehicles but can catch faster thieves. And comes with the added ability to recover more stolen goods, contrabands, etc.
Used as an interceptor vehicle, the Enjoy does a good job, as it provides a lot of space inside (even with the speed-sensing equipment inside), an airy cabin, and a not very high buying price. The RWD layout like that of the Innova means the steering remains free from disturbances caused by power delivery, but has enough power to keep up.
A few years down the line, with both models out of production, the Mahindra Invader was used. Based on a shortened Bolero, the Invader was more modern, looked slightly better, and had a slightly better ability to travel on the road.
Unlike in the developed countries where a lot of cop cars are sedans, we’ve moved away from them. The Accent was one of the popular choices, and was ubiquitous in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Fast and great on good roads, but the Accent suffered couldn’t carry a lot of occupants, nor was it the weapon of choice to attack bad roads in.
When Mahindra launched the Thar, it looked like the perfect replacement to older vehicles, and even the less famous versions like the Major. And as it turned out, multiple state’s police officers are now running Mahindra Thars, in the DI avatar. While it still resembles the good looking MM540, with leaf springs all around, it has a better ability to handle horrible roads than the more-premium CRDe version.
With the ability to go almost anywhere, the Jeep proved to be a great vehicle for the police forces. Easy ingress and egress ensured carrying arms and even riot shields wasn’t a problem. While these didn’t have the luxuries of AC or road-going suspension but it was made for the job, and they seldom disappointed. Both the CJ3B and the MM540s were used. On the negative side, the speed and the dynamic abilities were limited.