Good time to ask that question. Last week during a field test of new radar detectors I took along a 20-year-old Escort Passport
and ran it through the same tests.
The chart below compares it to the BEL RX65
, Escort 9500i
and Valentine One
at my Curve Test Site. Two of these have been tested
several times at the same location.
This 1980s-vintage Escort Passport was known as a hot performer. But to be fair, it was asked to accomplish a comparatively simple task: detect X- and K-band radar. It didn't have to detect Ka band, lasers or POP radar
nor was it required to be invisible to the Spectre RDD (radar detector detector).
With no need for complex multi-tasking, the old Escort Passport could devote all of its energy to sniffing out just two radar bands. This gives it a huge advantage over the latest radar detectors.
My Curve Test Site is designed to separate front-runners from the losers. The police radar vehicle is hunkered down in the middle of a plunging S-curve, picking off targets as they pop into view at about 650 feet of range. With the radar aimed at a sharp angle away from the target’s direction of travel and shooting off into space, there’s nothing to deflect the beam into the detector’s antenna.
Here, detectors that spotted the same radar at 5.3 miles at my Straightaway Test Site were lucky to detect it at a fraction of that distance.
I reviewed my 1991 tests of the Passport’s competition from BEL and Whistler and am confident that both would turn in similar scores if retested today.