There is an intrinsic quality about people. In the back of our minds, behind all of the logical reasoning and good ideas, we all have this voice that we really should never listen to. This voice is always taunting us with the allure of some incredibly fun, yet generally bad, idea. And when we get into a car, the voice always seems to whisper, “Go faster.” Thus we find ourselves in a serious predicament. Do we ignore the posted speed limit and give into our id’s desires? Or do we play it safe and lead a nice, slow, boring life? What is that voice telling you right now? Exactly, we all choose to go faster.

All car lovers, regardless of their vehicle of choice, ache to step on the throttle. And it is this desire that brings them all to the electronics store to choose the one required item for going fast: a radar detector.
Radar detectors work by searching for radar beams that are reflected off of the cars ahead of you. By seeking out the places in which other cars are being checked by radar, the unit can warn you of upcoming speed traps long before you enter into the cop’s range.

However, cops aren’t the only ones using radar technology. Stores with automatic doors and commercial locations use radar as well, so driving through a city with your radar detector can yield a constant barrage of annoying beeps and braps as your radar detector constantly warns you about these “danger zones.” But Escort, with its Passport 9500i Radar Detector, decided that a peaceful drive through the city doesn’t have to be anything but, well…peaceful.

As a new radar detector user living in Los Angeles, I had high expectations when I opened the leather trimmed case that contains Escort’s top of the line unit. However, I was instantly overwhelmed by the tiny instruction manual as I often found myself confused by the complexity of the tiny unit. Clearly, the 9500i was not for first timers. So, naturally, instead of taking the time to understand the manual, I decided that the best way to learn would be cruising around on the road.

As I drove around the streets and freeways of Los Angeles, I found myself checking to see if the unit was still turned on, as it hadn’t made a peep. Then, finally, a warning tone, followed by an announcement of the band of radar detected and a flashing message that tells me my current speed. I slowed down and searched all around the car, but couldn’t locate a cop – my first false alarm.

A few days later, the unit beeped in the exact same location and I realized that the the signal appeared to be coming from the local grocery store. A couple of clicks of the button on the cigarette lighter adapter, and the Passport had used its GPS signal to store this location and that particular radar signal into its memory so that it would never worry me again. Beautiful.

This process continued on for weeks, until that glorious day of silence came. By this point I had stored most of the locations along my common routes that caused the unit to give me a warning. But I still hadn’t heard a signal caused by the police. Then one night, as some friends and I were cruising on the streets at a speed that would make that voice in the back of our heads proud, we got our warning: one of the passengers yelled, “Cop!” I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late, that siren song was playing in our ears and those dreadful red and blue lights were flashing in the rear view mirror.

As I pulled over, I glared ruefully at the silent Passport sitting calmly on the windshield (don’t worry, we had taken it down by the time the officer had gotten to our car). After a less than pleasant chat with Officer “No Fun”, he returned to his squad car and returned to his patrol. My friends and I were stunned – we hadn’t received a ticket. It turns out that though the cop knew we were speeding, we slowed down too fast for him to follow us and determine our speed. Moreover, he didn’t have a radar gun, so the 9500i was not to blame. But what good is a radar detector if the police aren’t going to play fair and use a radar gun? Two words: “Road Trip.”

Cruising outside of the city is really where the Passport begins to earn its keep. On a trip to Santa Barbara, my friends and I were startled by a rumbling brap followed by a feminine voice announcing “KA band” emanating from the radar detector. Though we instantly slowed down, we didn’t see a cop for almost a mile. A short while later, this process was repeated, though with a slightly shorter warning before seeing the squad car. Overall, on that trip alone, we received four warning tones with an average of about a half of a mile warning.

Finally, I understand the true purpose of the Passport 9500i. A radar detector is not a synonym for police detector. Only your eyes are good for that. Moreover, having a radar detector provides the driver with a sense of security, one that can be quite misleading while zooming around a city like Los Angeles where the police just don’t use radar that often on the main roads. However, if you find yourself out in the middle of nowhere itching to jam on the throttle, a radar detector is a necessity.

To that end, Escort’s Passport 9500i is the Kobe Beef of radar detectors. Though it is a superior device, it’s true worth cannot be appreciated by an inexperienced consumer. While its design is straightforward and practical, the sheer number of functions can be overwhelming to those just hoping to dodge some tickets. However, learning how to use the Passport will help you to avoid some of those pesky speeding traps. At times I wished I knew the direction from which the radar signal was detected like the Valentine One sports, however, I soon grew accustomed to trusting the signals of the 9500i. Overall the Passport 9500i is an excellent device though I wished that the suction cups held the device on the window a little better.


  • Blistering All-Band Protection
  • 360-Degree Radar and Laser Detection
  • Blistering All-Band Protection
  • New Variable-Speed Radar Performance – View Video
  • New GPS-Powered Truelock™ Filter – View Demo – View Video
  • New Mark Location Features – View Demo – View Video
  • New Speed Alert™
  • New Crystal-Clear Voice Alerts
  • New Intelligent Volume Control
  • User-Selectable Preferences
  • High-Resolution Display
  • 5 Levels of Brightness Control
  • Completely Immune to the VG-2 “Detector-Detector”
  • Mute, AutoMute & SmartMute
  • Built-In Earphone Jack
  • Safety Warning System
  • Comes Fully Equipped
  • Limited One Year Warranty
  • 2 Year Extended Service Plan Available

Free 30 Day Test Drive (when you order directly from Escort)

Manufacturer: Escort Inc.

Suggested Retail:$499.95

*Images and Features provided by Manufacturer