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How do I take a fire engine to ride in SimCity 4? AFAIK it is possible to take control of almost any vehicle in the game, but I can't find how.

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Do you have the rush hour expansion? – Aaron Kurtzhals Jan 12 '13 at 2:35
No, I have not. – Ivan Jan 12 '13 at 3:46
Then you can't take control – user28015 Jan 12 '13 at 6:07
Well, even though I have never actually installed the expansion, it seems that it is included in the deluxe edition. – Ivan Jan 13 '13 at 5:48

To directly control and drive vehicles, you'll need the Rush Hour expansion pack. If you have that installed, the game will occasionally give you various optional missions to complete using those vehicles, which upon completion will net you rewards such as improved mayor rating or extra cash. There's also a free driving mode which allows you to drive around the city in a vehicle freely.

In the original Sim City 4, you can't do any of that. What you can do is dispatch fire engines and police in response to fire, caused by disasters or the lack of fire station coverage around the city, and riots or acts of crime.

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Why downvote? This is a correct answer... – Ender Jan 12 '13 at 11:33
"There's also a free driving mode which allows you to drive around the city in a vehicle freely" - so can I free-drive a fire engine without the Rush Hour expansion pack? – Ivan Jan 13 '13 at 4:28
@Ivan No, you can't. It's not terribly exciting anyway - if you notice, cars have a tendency to pop in and out of existence in Sim City, and large cities can have terrifyingly bad traffic. – Private Pansy Jan 13 '13 at 4:35
Well, the fire car, though very rare to be offered for a mission, is somewhat fun actually: you can dispatch water on sims wandering around and see them getting excited :-) I used to like doing this in GTA 2 :-) – Ivan Jan 13 '13 at 5:56
It's all fun and games until someone crashes into the back of a cement truck that wasn't there two seconds ago. – Kyralessa Jan 14 '13 at 5:23

I've found it! It is a car-in-a-gift-stripe button under the microphone in "My Sim mode".

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