The Ambulance is an Emergency Vehicle that has appeared in every game in the series, except Grand Theft Auto 2, where it is known as the Medicar. Ambulances are usually found near hospitals and, in Grand Theft Auto III-era games, can be used to start the paramedic sub-mission.
The vehicle is invariably a van or truck-based emergency vehicle featuring red and white lights and sirens and a matching paint scheme (with the exception of GTA 1's Ambulance in Vice City, which features a green-white paint scheme) and complete with its letters on backwards. Throughout the series the siren sound has varied slightly, as has the design of the vehicle itself. If the player decides to go on a killing spree or get into a fight,so to say, and pedestrians are killed, an ambulance will arrive and two paramedics will get out and attempt to revive the wounded. Typically if paramedics are killed it creates more police attention than other civilians.
In all games between GTA III and GTA Vice City Stories, the player receives 20 points of health upon entering an Ambulance. In Grand Theft Auto IV, the player can even dial 911 to summon an Ambulance, from which the player can replenish their health for a price, or steal to regain some, but not all, of their health.
Ambulances in GTA 1 and GTA III through to GTA Vice City Stories are based on various generations of the Ford E-Series chassis, mainly the third and fourth generations, while the GTA London rendition is based on a European or British model, most probably a Bedford CA. Furthermore, the sound of the siren on each vehicle is distinct. The GTA IV version is based off the Pony but uses the front end of a Burrito.
Handling-wise, the Ambulance was originally average in GTA 1 and GTA London, featuring good acceleration and grip but average top speed, braking and handling. Their base export value in GTA 1 and GTA London is also considerably high: $1,400 in GTA 1 and £900 in GTA London; however, the vehicle, like other emergency vehicles, cannot be exported. From GTA III onwards, the Ambulance is fairly fast for its class and has decent brakes, but is very top heavy and unstable, making it prone to rolling over under rough cornering. In GTA IV, the Ambulance is surprisingly responsive for such a large vehicle, powered by a strong diesel engine. Acceleration is good, and the top speed is high. Handling is smooth, with soft suspension that may sometimes swing the Ambulance's wide body around corners. Braking is good and can stop the Ambulance in a fairly short distance, depending on the speed of the vehicle. Although an unconventional method of transportation, it is one of the best large vehicles to drive, especially if the sirens are turned on, as nearby cars will drive to the side to make way for the "emergency".
The Paramedic side-mission can be toggled on or off when driving the ambulance in all GTA III-era games. This mission requires the player to find, pick up and deliver patients to the hospital within a time limit, while endeavoring to drive as safely as possible (each bump further injures the passengers). With every level comes another patient to deliver, increasing the difficulty. Usually when the player beats level 12 the mission is complete (but can be carried on and replayed later) and a reward is achieved, e.g. infinite sprint or extra health.
- Ambulances featured between GTA III and GTA Vice City Stories feature a slightly altered "Star of Life", with yet another sexual innuendo of GTA; a sperm in place of the "Rod of Asclepius" symbol.
- In GTA III and Vice City, the ambulance has a very bad center of gravity, which can sometimes cause it to tip over onto its side.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV Ambulance's lights reflect on the ground as red and blue but there are only red and white lights on the truck.
- In GTA IV, cops will shoot at the ambulance if they hit a pedestrian or police officer with the vehicle.
- It is near impossible to damage the sound of the siren on the GTA IV rendition of the Ambulance. No matter how many times you shoot, punch, or hit the V-Bar on the roof, the siren will still function properly. Not even the APC's cannon can cause the siren to fail. However, the siren will malfunction if the vehicle is blown up, but even this is rare.
- In GTA Vice City Stories, when turning on the sirens on while performing a Unique Stunt Jump, a special siren can be heard.
- Paramedics will not rescue those who are drowned, decapitated, or burnt.
- In GTA IV, if a pedestrian is lying on the ground, injured, and the player calls an ambulance, when it drives up, the paramedic will inquire as to where the injured person is, in clear view of them. They will then get back in the ambulance and depart.
- In some GTA games, NPC paramedics are never seen transporting casualties on board their ambulance to the hospital. Instead, the paramedics will perform rescue on the casualties on the spot where they are lying. Even though if they do transport casualties, the ambulance with casualties on board will just drive around the road without even making effort to get to the hospital while abandoning the casualties after a while. However, transporting casualties on board the ambulance is still possible in the Paramedic side mission.
- Ambulances respond faster to situations relating gang conflict and gun battles compared to any other situations (they respond too when the player kills more than three pedestrians, but rather slowly).
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, if the player turns on the sirens in the middle of a slow-motion Unique Stunt Jump, they will sound normal and not slowed down.
- The Ambulance is one of the few already existing vehicles that appears in the trailer for GTA V. It is seen behind a burning police car, which bears close resemblance to the Police Cruiser in GTA IV.
- In Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas the Ambulance together with the Enforcer is the second most durable vehicle in the game as seen in the stats. The first is the Rhino.
In all its appearances, Ambulances, as mentioned, will be driven towards where multiple pedestrians are killed (by either the player or NPCs). In most games, Ambulances usually spawn at set locations outside hospitals; these locations are listed below.
- GTA III, GTA Advance & GTA Liberty City Stories
- Sweeney General Hospital, Portland View, Portland Island
- Carson General Hospital, Rockford, Staunton Island
- Hope Medical College, Pike Creek, Shoreside Vale
- GTA Vice City & GTA Vice City Stories
- Ocean View Hospital, Ocean Beach
- Shady Palms Hospital, Vice Point
- West Haven Community Healthcare Center, Little Havana (Vice City Stories only)
- Schuman Health Care Center, Downtown
- GTA San Andreas
- County General Hospital, Jefferson, Los Santos
- All Saints General Hospital, Market, Los Santos
- Crippen Memorial, Montgomery, Red County
- Angel Pine Medical Center, Angel Pine, Whetstone
- San Fierro Medical Center, Santa Flora, San Fierro
- El Quebrados Medical Center, El Quebrados, Tierra Robada
- Fort Carson Medical Center, Fort Carson, Bone County
- Las Venturas Hospital, Las Venturas Airport, Las Venturas
- Ivory Towers Drive-Thru Mental Clinic, Las Venturas (occasionally)
- Carl also obtains an ambulance in Las Venturas during the course of the mission Intensive Care
- Occasionally the Ambulance can been driven around San Andreas state. The fastest way to obtain a ambulance is to kill some pedestrians; an ambulance will spawn and you can steal it.
- GTA IV
- Westdyke Memorial Hospital, Leftwood, Alderney
- Bohan Medical & Dental Center, Bohan
- Schottler Medical Center, Schottler, Broker
- Lancet-Hospital Center, Lancaster, Algonquin
- City Hall Hospital, City Hall, Algonquin
- Ambulances can be obtained by dialing 911 and choosing ambulance by dialing 2 after the initial call.
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Like all other ambulances, they more than likely will be found at every hospital in Los Santos.
- The feature of dialing 911 for an ambulance may return in GTA V.
- Medicar, a car-based variant in GTA 2.