One of the Group members asked “what would be my version of the top three vehicles – good question. Before answering the question a simple review;
You are in an armored vehicle because bad people want to do bad things to you. So with that said keep in mind that the basic purpose of an armored vehicle is to absorb the initial burst of fire and maintain the capability to drive out of the ambush. There is other criteria such as longevity, threat level, the environment they are moving through. All together they could be the subject of a book (that was blatant self-promotion – I have a book coming out shortly with armored vehicles as chapter).
So all that to say, that, in my opinion there is no top three – The best way to pick vehicles is to select the best vehicle for the intended mission. These are my opinions
For high risk environments an Armored Suburban is my choice. They have a huge payload capacity which means they can accept high levels of armor. We (VDI) use armored Suburban’s in the Armored SUV program. Before we ran the armored Suburban’s through the program we thought it would be a good idea to find out there limits. (If you don’t know what the vehicle can do how do you know what the driver can do?). With a fairly sophisticated computer installed in the vehicle Joe,Larry and I played with tested the armored Suburban, and walked away impressed at what it can do, especially in the “Oh my God I’m going to die mode. So if I had to pick one nonmilitary vehicle to driving in a hostile environment it would be an armored suburban. Also from our Executive Vehicle survey the number one armored vehicle used by all groups was the Suburban.
My next car would be the factory built Mercedes S Class Guard Car. I am a bit prejudice; years back I was a consultant to Mercedes. As a consultant I had the opportunity to visit the manufacturing facility, test them, and conduct many product demonstrations with them, and in my opinion they are an incredible feat of engineering. The Mercedes- like other OEM’s are built from the ground up to be armored cars. It’s not a modified suspension – transmission – frame etc. it’s all designed from the onset to be used with the additional weight that comes with armor. Again from our Executive Vehicle survey the number one armored non SUV vehicle used by all was the Mercedes.
The 3rd vehicle is not a vehicle; it is the process of armoring small light weight vehicles. In some environments armoring small vehicles is a necessity. In particular Mexico where blending in is important. This is an article I did a few years back that explains the process, http://securitydriver.com/04/armoring-small-vehicles/