GOLETA, Calif. -

The California Highway Patrol has replaced the old Crown Victoria patrol cars in the Coastal Division with new high performance SUV's.

Officially they are called Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles.  They are about 1000 pounds heavier than the sedans they replace, but, under the hood they have a 300 horsepower engine.

On the freeway at El Capitan west of Goleta, inside the unit Officer Jonathan Gutierrez showed its punch.

"I'm going up hill  and it lets me reach 65 miles an hour with all the vehicles on the road,in a matter of seconds," said Gutierrez.

He also said the vehicle has been built with new technology that helps it respond better in high speed turns, or pursuits.

It also has statewide versatility, in virtually all weather conditions.

"So you're gonna have Lake Tahoe, there it will definitely be used for the snow. Places like Bakersfield, where they may have to use it in the sand. Then you have places like Santa Barbara where you have nice weather, but it does rain here and when it does it rain,  it rains a lot.  It will definitely help us through the rainy situations," said Gutierrez.

Some of the functions are also activated manually and with voice commands including turning emergency LED lights on and off, or talking to a dispatcher.   

The CHP has been rolling out these units in each division to go with new radio communications systems.