By on April 6, 2013

My takedown of the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan Taurus generated almost two hundred comments. Having recognized what the people want, I immediately began scheming for rides in the Ford’s two major competitors in order to give it to them. An E-mail, followed by a visit to the municipal sales manager at Lexington’s Freedom Dodge- Chrysler- Jeep- Fiat and I was provided with a 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit for a weekend evaluation.

Mr. Jim Sawrie is the cop car guy at Freedom Dodge and generally keeps a demonstration unit on hand equipped with a center console, protective barrier, and a lightbar. He stripes his demo cars up in various ways, even aping the decal package Lexington PD uses a couple of years ago. He gave his current model a pretty basic decal job, plain enough that you wouldn’t think it would ever be mistaken for a real police car. So, of course, when I stopped to take photos of the car near downtown Lexington I was approached by a guy who wanted to know which Federal alphabet agency was represented by the acronym DEMO.

“DEMO? Why, that’s the Department of Energy Military Operations Command. The “C” is silent and for your safety and in the interest of National Security, you need to move along…”

I can’t really blame the citizen for his concern. Even in refrigerator white and with minimal markings the Charger screams “Official Government Business” as loudly as the Crown Vic ever did. “Beautiful and intimidating,” was how the supervisor in charge of the fleet of Chargers being run by a neighboring agency described it when I called to get his views on the Dodge’s long term durability.  Compared to the plain- Jane styling of the Caprice and the bulbous, dog-with-it’s-butt-in-the-air look of the Taurus, the Charger’s long, low, and wide profile definitely has the most character.

That exterior design helps make the Charger’s interior a much more comfortable place to get to the business of police work, especially compared to the Taurus. I donned my gunbelt and spent much of a Saturday morning driving around with it on. The center console Mr. Sawrie had chosen to install in the car was fairly wide, starting at 11 inches wide at the base of the center stack and tapering to 9 inches wide by the time it reached the area of the seatbelt buckles. Even with a full gunbelt, I had plenty of room without the console pressing in on me, although a slightly narrower console wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Note to equipment vendors: Just because you have the space doesn’t mean you have to fill it.

The extra space makes entering and exiting the front seats of the car very easy, particularly when doing so quickly. Both the front and rear doors open 90 degrees, further than the doors on a Crown Vic and much further than on the Taurus with it’s nylon retntion strap that retards the opening of the front doors. Getting into the backseat is very tight, particularly for a prisoner with his hands secured behind his back. The Dodge’s low roofline is the main culprit here, particularly the way it slopes sharply back towards the “C” pillar. The routine admonition given to prisoners by cops all over the world to “Watch your head and knees” becomes more meaningful when herding perps in and out of a Charger instead of a Crown Vic. Seriously, jailbirds. Watch your heads.

The interior was quieter than I expected, even at highway speeds when air turbulence around the exterior spotlight mounted on the “A” pillar and around the lightbar tends to create a lot of wind noise in marked police vehicles. I was also surprised by the visibility. I had expected that the Charger’s low slung roofline would create a driving experience similar to that of the Taurus. That wasn’t the case at all. While blindspots still existed, particularly with a protective barrier installed, I never felt closed in and blind the way I did when driving the Taurus. Parallel parking, even without the benefit of a rearview camera, was fine.

Controls for the HVAC and stereo were handled primarily through the Uconnect touchscreen, although there were redundant controls for both mounted below. A USB outlet and auxillary port are standard. I found Uconnect to be easy to learn without resorting to the owner’s manual. The car was equipped with optional Bluetooth and paired quickly and easily with my Samsung phone. An option like Bluetooth is probably not taken up by most departments, but perhaps more of them should consider it. Like it or not, fair or unfair, the simple reality is that the cellphone is a vital tool to most patrol officers and one that will be used while driving. The nature of the job will simply require a certain number of distractions to the driver and any technology that can reduce those should be embraced, even if it costs a bit more per unit.

The car I drove was equipped with the 5.7 L Hemi V-8 and included cylinder deactivation. If anything the cylinder deactivation programming is over- aggressive. It seemed as if everytime I glanced at the instrument cluster, the computer was advising me that I was in ECO mode. The transition between four and eight-cylinder operation was relatively seemless and definitely makes a huge difference in fuel consumption. I averaged 15 mpg over 168 miles of driving. (I simulated the time spent idling in a normal patrol shift by leaving the engine running every time I got out to take photos of the car.)

That’s actually pretty good for a police car, particularly one with the 370 horsepower of the Charger’s Hemi V-8. Put your foot in it and all attempts at ECO management vanish with a roar. Testing by the Michigan State Police recorded a top speed of 152 mph. I believe it. In fact, the Hemi might be too much. Had I been given a Charger instead of a Crown Vic when I first hit the streets at age 22, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here to write these articles today.  For most departments the 292 horsepower 3.7 L V-6 and a top speed of 141 mph would probably be a better choice.

Power is routed to the rear wheels through a 5 speed automatic, which includes Chrysler’s Autostick system. A column mounted gear selection lever is a welcome touch although it makes using Autostick almost impossible. The selection buttons for up and down shifting are mounted on the shift lever, which puts them in an awkward position for use during performance driving. I tried Autostick out on a twisty road near my home and found it nearly impossible to use while maintaining control of the wheel.

Control is definitely something you want to maintain. Overall the Charger is incredibly stable, but the Hemi will sneak up on you. The Crown Vic doesn’t particularly like to be hustled through the curves and responds with a certain amount of float and instability. Consequently you’re more aware of your speed as you approach corners in a Crown Vic.

The Charger hugs the road much better and builds your confidence until you glance down at the digital speedo readout as you enter a curve and HOLY CRAP THAT’S TOO FAST! I can report that the brakes  and the traction control work very well and kept me from having to have any awkward conversations with Bertel and Mr. Sawrie.

At least the bill wouldn’t have been too high. Fleet price for a Hemi powered Charger Pursuit starts at $23,585. For reference the most comparable civilian trim level, the Charger R/T, has a base MSRP of $29,995. For the budget minded municipal fleet manager, the V-6 powered Charger Pursuit starts at $21,949, undercutting the price of the cheapest Ford by $790.

Cheap is not usually considered a compliment and Dodge has a reputation, probably undeserved, for poor quality. My own agency’s experiences with Pentastar products has been negative. We were all issued Fords when I started in 1997, but the last of the old Diplomats had only been retired a couple of years before. No one I know who had the misfortune to have been issued one has anything good to say about them. When the previous generation of police Chargers hit the streets in 2006, we actually bought a few of them for use by detectives. Three out of eight developed transmission problems in the first two years of service.

Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial

With that track record in mind, I called a nearby agecy that has switched exclusively to Chargers and asked how their cars have held up. The sergeant in charge of the fleet, Mister “beautiful and intimidating,” reported that their experience has generally been positive. One unit had gone through three motor mounts in six months, but my source felt that was more an issue of operator error than a failure of the car. Front ends tend to need replacing around 75,000 miles. Unlike Lexington’s experience he’d only had to have two transmissions rebuilt and both of those were in cars that had done over 120,000 miles. He only had one of the new generation of Charger in his fleet, but it seemed to be holding up as well or better than the older cars.

His major complaint was that the Chargers cost more to repair than the Crown Vics did. That’s probably going to be a complaint with all of the new generation cop cars, however. The second-best thing about the Crown Vic, after it’s size, was it’s simplicity. In a fleet maintenance situation simplicity usually equates to “cheap to fix.”  All of the new models are significantly more complex.

Still, Dodge’s quality problems seemed to have mostly been resolved, at least in my source’s experience. The testimony of one fleet manager may not be evidence of a turnaround in and of itself, but it appears that the Charger has made significant inroads into the police market in Central Kentucky.

The introduction of the first generation of Charger was the first real challenge to Ford’s domination of the police market in a decade. The second generation appears to be better than the first, while still undercutting the price of the Taurus. I concluded my review of the Taurus by noting that the competition was nipping at Ford’s heels. I was wrong. With the new Charger, Dodge has passed them.

Freedom Dodge of Lexington, KY provided the vehicle and one tank of gas for this review.

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136 Comments on “Cop Drives Cop Car: 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Remember the old saying to always give the people what they want… but always leave them wanting more.

  • avatar
    dbcoop

    The Crown Vic’s may be cheaper to maintain but a V6 Charger is going to get better fuel economy (especially on the highway.) With 300HP V6’s now commonplace I can’t imagine how a police department can justify the Hemi outside of certain niche applications.

    • 0 avatar
      oldgraygeek

      I drove a Crown Vic police car 60,000 miles before I bought my Charger Pursuit. Even with the Hemi, the Dodge gets about 15% better mileage under the same right shoe.

      Yes, I agree that the Hemi might not be necessary… but I’d bet that 90% of the Pursuits ordered are the V8 model anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        Plus the Charger is gorgeous in comparison. Even having lost the spoiler and “sport” look to some extent, the Charger turns my head whether in uniform or not. In fact, I;’m surprised at how quickly the white charger became associated with a patrol car in my mind.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The hemi is used because of durability and cheap to replace/repair. The hemi is a brilliant motor, it’s dirt cheap for Dodge to manufacture and they get to charge a premium over the pentastar. I know the hemi still has the cast iron block, and I believe it has aluminum heads. It would be nice to see a special iron head edition for applications such as police/duty vehicles and an all aluminum head/block edition for the regular retail vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’d say why not just standardize the engine with iron heads and block and make a durable beast… how much weight would the iron heads put on the engine vs alum? I would imagine not much.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          I’ve heard going all aluminum could save as much as 100 lbs, which would be a great way to improve weight distribution. The other more expensive but stronger weight reduction solution would be to goto compacted graphite.

      • 0 avatar
        dbcoop

        Modern naturally aspirated engines are pretty much maintenance free for the first 100k miles. I haven’t heard of any durability issues with Pentastar V6. I’m afraid the argument that pushrod V8’s are simpler to maintain just doesn’t hold water anymore. Especially not in the era of $3.50/gallon gasoline. I’d love to see the mix of V8’s vs V6 order numbers for police Chargers. I’m willing to bet 90+% are V6’s.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      As I understand what I’ve read about cop car fleets, the most important figure isn’t the actual fuel consumption on highways or roads, but rather the fuel consumption when idling or driving really slow.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        *Diesel cop cars*

        I was just thinking about that big Hemi engine probably being overkill, but not in the way most people are thinking. If a perp got an old Mercedes 240D, or a Dodge Ram diesel, he wouldn’t have to outrun the cops at all. All he’d have to do is put his foot to the floor on those diesel engines and he’d leave the cops behind in a cloud of black soot that would look like a destroyer escorting a convoy away from a pack of U-boats. Even if you couldn’t outrun the cops in the Merc or the Ram, you could jump out and hoof it and the cops wouldn’t be able to run after you with the case of black lung they got from following you.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          I’ve seen plenty of old Mercedes diesels (heck, even a modern Bluetec once) belch out smoke, but never a Cummins diesel Ram.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            What? Old Cummins with the mechanical injection bosch pumps belches like hell if you just turn the pump up a bit, even more modern ones will spew black smoke after some “tuning”.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I’ve never seen an UNMODIFIED modern diesel engine blow smoke.

            I’ve seen plenty of diesels blow lots of smoke, but its usually driven by the kind of jerk who routes the exhaust through the bed (thereby destroying much of the truck’s utility) and who jacks up the truck be a couple of feet (destroying what was left of truck’s utility).

            I’m a big fan of diesels, and have even owned one. But people like that soot up the reputation of Herr Doctor Diesel’s invention and mean that I have to explain that most diesel engines and diesel drivers keep their equipment in good repair and tuned to avoid dumping second hand smoke all over the roads.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            @Luke42
            That we can agree on. But somebody claiming that they never seen a cummins blowing smoke seems a bit like somebody blowing smoke. I’d imagine that the cummins is the most commonly tuned diesel in america. In my neck of the woods, located across the pond from the american woods, the most commonly tuned diesels are all german and most are pretty clean modern DPF units with a 10-20% power bump. Old school soot-a-plenty mechanical engine tuned to bits are mostly Mercedes, but I’ve seen an old skoda/VW with a mighty big turbo and plenty of fuel leave a soot cloud the size of Belgium.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            This puzzles me, since I see a lot of older Rams spewing black smoke while under hard acceleration. A couple of these trucks are owned by employees of the dealer I bought my car from and they are amazingly quick for a large pickup. One of those trucks is a middle 12 second ET ride. There’s a current generation one that kills mosquitoes over a wide area if he turns up the tuner to “kill”.
            All of them sound great.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Perhaps Bimmer TDs weren’t a good idea, RE: Carbon Motors is apparently DOA.

          Sorry to sully the site with the “J-word,” but: http://jalopnik.com/is-carbon-motors-dead-465692494.

  • avatar
    noreaster

    What did you think of the trunk? Adequate?

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      I would say so. It’s at least as roomy as the Taurus. Liftover height would be better since the Charger sits so much lower than the Taurus. A trunk tray for mounting radios and other equipment is available, although the car I drove didn’t have it.

  • avatar
    oldgraygeek

    I ordered a 2012 Charger Pursuit for my business, equipped exactly like the one you tested (except no protective barrier or light bar, of course).
    It’s a truly fantastic automobile. Almost too powerful, even (especially?) for an ex-cabbie like me. Great brakes, sticky tires, buckets of horsepower, and the suspension is tuned tightly enough to handle it all.
    I’m getting 18 mpg overall, and I’ve averaged 26+ on long highway trips… with the cruise control set on 88 mph. Your mileage may vary.

    If your business qualifies for a Chrysler Fleet account, I recommend it highly.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Yep, the silhouette is enough to spell cop-car to a lot of people. I had the misfortune of being issued a large white Chevy I think, from an obscure government in a very rural area during the 55 mph speed limit days. I was two hours from anywhere. I would customarily fall in behind a semi-going 65 which was the general practice in those days, but in the Chevy, everyone would instantly slow to a crawl. It didn’t help that I customarily wore aviator glasses at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Back in the mid 80’s I worked for a Tier One supplier who had “company cars” available for employees with business off-campus. We mostly had Chevy Celebritys in the motor pool, but every so often I would end up with the last remaining Impala in the fleet. It was a dark blue sedan which was so plain it had dog dish hubcaps and black wall tires. It looked to the untrained observer like an unmarked Pennsylvania State Police(PSP)car.

      On two lane roads my experience was similar to yours. EVERYONE would slow down and it was a PITA parade until I switched roads. On four lane roads, I eventually came to realize I could (and did) have a lot of fun impersonating a cop car. More than once I passed a legitimate PSP cars (going the other way) at a high rate of speed, they never even looked twice at me. In 1984 55 MPH America, that was GREAT!

      Sadly, the Impala was rotated out of service with our motor pool, and I was relegated to a Celebrity for the rest of my working days there. Press checks at the corrugated printing facility were never the same for me after that…

  • avatar
    AFX

    “The testimony of one fleet manager may not be evidence of a turnaround in and of itself, but it appears that the Charger has made significant inroads into the police market in Central Kentucky.”

    …Or as Roscoe would say “COO COO COO, I LOVE IT I LOVE IT “.

    The police in my area seem to be going for the new Chargers over the other two brands. They’ve got a few unmarked all black Chargers that look especially sinister, especially with the black wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      In the town I live in, the Charger has now pushed the last Crown Vic to the trash heap. The first ones were Hemis and now it seems like it’s split 60/40 in favor of V6’s. A friend of mine drove one for the last year he worked as a Toledo cop and he liked the Charger a lot.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Small town I live in just bought 3 of them with the V8. Complete overkill, but I want one so badly. I saw one punch it responding to something, and holy crap that engine. I could still hear that thing roaring a 1/4 mile away. I was surprised, even new Mustangs and Camaros I’ve heard gunning it aren’t that loud.

    Also, the red led rectangle in the back actually flashes along with the lights. These things are very cool, but I do agree that these cars could inspire mischief and get some cops in trouble.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I love the updates to the Charger’s general fit and finish and the interior updates, but the exterior is just too overstyled for my tastes.

    Fingers crossed to hoping that the next generation tones it down a little, otherwise when it comes time for my next car, I’ll probably go down the Infinity G series sedan hole. Yes, I know they are not the same size, but there are not a lot of affordable sporty RWD sedans out there anymore to choose from.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      If Dodge dropped the coupe pretensions, silly Ram grille, and had nicer tailights they could have a very good car I think.

      That and if they called it “Monaco”, this new Charger is not and never will be the Chargers that Chrysler wants us to associate with it, same for their goofy Dart.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Very nice in white. In my area of SJ they all come with the ever so friendly monochrome black paint scheme with black windows to boot. I think its the police state package.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      A couple of weeks after the new Charger was released I’m coming into the city of Albuquerque on I-40. Cruising over the limit, by myself but still cars passing me. Suddenly, brake lights, brake lights everywhere, and the sea of cars starts to part. I continue rolling forward but naturally with much heightened awareness.

      I see a black Charger ahead with deeply tinted windows. I tap my brakes and I start to see the profusion of antennas bristling from the vehicle. It has no markings but the windows being limo black everywhere but the windshield gives a pretty good indication. Definitely a Hemi judging by the rumble. As the Charger was traveling under the limit I got the chance to pass one of New Mexico’s finest. Police state package indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        nickeled&dimed

        If NM is ordering these things in black, they NEED the limo-black tint, and probably also the Hemi V8 to drive the AC! Black cars in Albuquerque tend to become ovens.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Last night I was getting gas at a Thortons in Louisville. Two police cars were to my left close to pumps and a taxi pulled up to the door. All were Crown Vics. I took a picture with my phone because I know these sights are on their way out.
    The Crown Vics are so iconic, there is a sense of loss to their departure. But these Chargers take away any sadness. I can’t think of anything else that could fill the spot as well.
    The Taurus isn’t exactly a chip off the old block. It lifted and tried to look good, but its heart and drive were never in the right place. They may not be blood related, but Vic is retiring, and the new buffer son-in-law, Charger, fresh out of the academy with just as much dedication and purpose as the old man ever had, is ready to take over.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    If it’s good enough for Special Agent Gibbs and NCIS, it’s good enough for the local county mounties, too.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I remember hearing of maintenance issues with the brakes on the earlier models. Hemi + bad brakes sounds like a real deal killer, but that was cost and frequency of brake work, not performance. Did they upgrade the brakes for the hemi? Also, while perps aren’t entitled to head and leg room, it looks like the maximum for rear passengers is two. I’ve seen four guys stuffed in the back of a Crown Vic. Is that a problem, or do you foresee a return to separate prisoner transport vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The break pads they put on were so powerful that they didn’t last long. They fixed this with less powerful pads, and in 2009 they put beefier calipers and bigger rotors that absorb heat better. Vics have big dinner plate rotors and a squashy petal, so they can go a very long time on brakes. The Chargers took some work to get there. Remember, Chargers only came out in 2006, no one gets it perfect the first time around.

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      I’m not sure how the brakes compare as a package to, say, the brakes in a Charger SRT. My literature describes them as “heavy- duty.” I will say from, ahem, personal experience that they will keep you out of a ditch should one happen to jump out and surprise you.

      As for rear seat passenger space, it’s tight back there. I had a bit of trouble wriggling myself in and out to test it without having my hands cuffed. It’s a problem with the Taurus as well, so it’s not like that should be a deal breaker between either of those two cars. I haven’t driven a Caprice yet, so that’s something I’m definitely wanting to check out when I do.

      I work for an urban department and we run at least one paddy wagon on each shift. Ultimately it’s not going to be an issue for us, but having a dedicated transport vehicle would be a huge investment of resources and manpower in a smaller, rural department. I can’t imagine how you shoehorn a suspect over 6 feet tall and/ or over 300 pounds into either a Charger or a Taurus, but I suppose rural departments figure it out.

      One solution might be to have at least one car in the fleet that doesn’t have a protective barrier at all that can be used to haul cooperative XXXL perps, with the suspect sitting on the passenger side rear and another officer sitting beside him behind the driver, ready to jump in and control the suspect if he decides to act out. That’s how we transport “persons of interest,” who aren’t yet under arrest in our unmarked cars. You still tie up two officers, however, and if the guy is intent on fighting you all the way to jail it won’t work.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        I was thinking what you said about “low lift-over height”, and I thought of a good place to put them, but somebody’d probably sue the depatment if you did that.

      • 0 avatar
        Ben

        When it comes to rear passenger space the Caprice does a very good impression of a stretch limo, it has acres of leg room compared to the Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        oldgraygeek

        I’ve compared my brakes side-by-side with a Charger R/T, and the rotors are much bigger… especially in the rear. My local Dodge dealer had a special-order Pursuit sitting on their showroom floor for a week, and they concluded that the calipers are probably unpainted Brembos.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          That’s doubtful Brembo SRT-8 calipers are too exotic for fleets and not really needed, fixed calipers with multiple pistons have more to do with the finer points of braking than outright brake performance.

          A big rotor is what you need, and it looks like Dodge did just that, 350mm rotors vs. the civilian 320mm rotors, surely squeezed by an easy to service sliding cast iron caliper. The SRT-8 brakes are a bit bigger than that rotor wise.

          I bet the cop brake parts are an inexpensive upgrade for anyone with a civilian version with a need for high speed pursuit braking performance.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Perps may not be entitled to lots of head and leg room, but I would think if it is harder to “encourage” an uncooperative suspect into the car, that could be a personal safety risk for the officers.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Keep in mind that not everybody who get thrown back there actually deserves to be there. There are way too many cases of cops being a-holes and arresting people they shouldn’t. And should any of you be driving 30 over the limit, you could end up there as well – all while they tow your pride and joy to the impound lot with nary a care for any damage they do to your property…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    They could have given you the HID projector headlamps…

    But really, I can’t see any disadvantage to the Charger other than the fact that its unibody structure will be harder and more expensive to repair than the body-on-frame Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis. I don’t know what the statistics are for how often police interceptors wind up in accidents, but it’s probably cheaper to buy the Chargers than to upgrade to body-on-frame police vehicles like the surely-more-expensive Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and the Ford Expedition/EL

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Unibodies are okay if they are good unibodies. Unlike the Impala, and like the legendary 70’s Dodge police cars.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Yet the truth being if your involved in an accident you will more than likely suffer far less injury in the Impala which I’d stake real money on being far rigid and safe.

        • 0 avatar
          manny001

          Chargers have the best crash ratings with a fraction of a difference over the second place car while the difference is huge with the 3rd place car but of course the 2nd place car is a Chrysler 300 that has the exact same body (Ram’s have it as well compared to other trucks).

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The 3.6L and the 8-Speed would be much more efficient and still have plenty of power. I recommend, however that the highway patrol version should have the non-turbo engine from the Fiat 500.

  • avatar
    MK

    Those are easily one of the best looking new full-size cars on the road today, my limited seat time showed that it drove and rode well too. When my wife’s SUV dies this is her next car for sure; and while I’m not a big fan of touchscreen interfaces as long as there’s redundant knobs and buttons that’ll work.

    The price is right, they’re styled well and with usable Interior And Exterior room, plus the most distinctive nighttime taillights in the motoring world today.
    Well done chryco!

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I like the 300 more and I wasn’t a fan of the first generation car. Between the subtle restyle, the vastly improved interior and the Pentstar V6 being enough power, it’s a car I could see having and I never thought that about the first car, except the SRT. The new SRT is even more desirable.

      Sounds like the Charger might fill the Crown Vics shoes a bit better than the old Crown Vic. Except the whole cheap to run because we’ve made a billion of them department.

  • avatar
    ant

    Dodge and Chrysler burned their bridges with me a long time ago. But I have to admit, them chargers sure do look nice.

    I really like the look of the wagons.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Wagons? Do you mean the Magnum? Sadly, discontinued several years ago. I think a Magnum on the current body (either Chrysler or Dodge) would be fantastic, but if they have plans to bring it back I haven’t heard about them.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        I was just thinking the other week that I haven’t seen a Magnum on the road in a long long time. I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody driving one, and they aren’t that old.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I think he means the Journey, which isn’t the same platform as the Magnum. I think the Journey is based on the short wheelbase minivan. A few Magnums WERE used by some police departments, but like the Pacifica, the Magnum had quite a few maintenance issues – black circles across the board by Consumers’ Reports.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      The Magnum was last made as a MY2008. I never liked the original front clip styling and didn’t really understand why it had to be unique vs. the Charger or 300. I believe the Magnum was sold in Europe as a 300 Estate with the same fascia as the 300 and looked slick. They finally refreshed the fascia for MY2008 and had it *almost* right just in time to kill it. Would love to see it come back.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Anyone else notice the $6,400 discount the government fleets get? Is it a return on our investment in Fiat? Are they making a dime at that price? If so, is CAFE standing between us and $23,585 Hemi Chargers in every driveway?

    • 0 avatar
      Bluto

      THANKS OBAMA

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      Pretty much all of that price difference comes down to content. An R/T is loaded up with stuff that the police version skips.

      • 0 avatar

        charging what the market will bear. Fleets buy in bulk and pay in cash. Customers buy one and the monthly nut is key, so they can charge more.

        There’s probably not more than $500 difference between fleet car with cop parts and civilian car with slightly better gadgets.

        Never confuse cost of production with sale price, especially where cars are involved.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Right – car companies spend a billion dollars to develop a platform/model, build the factory, and get Tue supply chain moving. Then make it back one car at a time.

          What that means is that the incremental cost of producing an additional car isn’t anywhere near the sale price.

          The accounting for this depends on predictions for the number of cars that they expect to sell.

          If a car sells beyond expectations over its 5 years, then those extra cars bring big profits. If they have to redesign the car before selling the break-even number of cars, its a big loss.

          These are big bets, and predictability is the key. And platform sharing (sharing engineering costs, supply chain, and factories) creates huge savings for low-volume cars.

          • 0 avatar
            CarnotCycle

            Usually fleet-buys for the local constables are done through local dealers – that’s where a lot of the discounts come into play. And that goes for pretty much every fleet buyer. Its why a lot of dealers have a dedicated fleet-sales guy.

            And I grew up in a small town, knew a lot of cops etc., and those deals are consummated in places like Rotary Club and the golf course much as anywhere else.

            For big PD’s like Chicago’s, God-only-knows the back-end shenanigans for those fleet-buy deals.

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        That’s a fair point, west- coaster. I just used base MSRPs for my article. Still, if you took a base Hemi Charger Pursuit at $23,585, added the “Street Appearance Package” AKA the civilian interior/ exterior upgrade for detective/ admin cars ($495), Convenience Group 1 which gets you an 8- way adjustable seats, inflatable lumber support, and adjustable pedals ($925), floor carpeting instead of vinyl($125), and threw in the Connectivity Group AKA Bluetooth ($395) and you’d be looking at $25,525 for what would essentially be a Charger R/T with a column- mounted shifter and no exterior HEMI badges. That’s still better than the advertised starting MSRP for a V-6 rental queen Charger SE of $25,995.

        Now deduct the incentives on a civilian Charger R/T, which the Dodge website shows to be $3,500 in my zip code, and you’re actually looking at $26,495 for a base R/T. So, apples to apples, the actual difference ($970) isn’t that great.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    I like the last round of styling updates to both the Charger and the Chrysler 300, especially the lower beltline in front — I’ve driven a Charger and not had that claustrophobic feeling I did driving a Magnum a few years ago. The Charger somehow looks better proportioned in the rear to me. The 300 looks like it was chopped off too short in back — but the Charger doesn’t. Is this just an optical effect caused by the different greenhouses and decklid shapes on the two cars? I can’t imagine the Charger is actually longer.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Charger IS longer than the 300 – by an inch. It’s the formal roof line on the 300 that shortens the rear deck, but the shorter sloping roof line on the Charger also pushes the rear seats forward compared to the 300, resulting in more trunk deck and less head and leg room in back. Funny, my ’68 Mercury Montego had 5″ less wheelbase and was 5″ longer, had the same size rear decklid as the Charger, but had more legroom than the 300 – and that was a midsized car for the era.

  • avatar
    Michael500

    Clever use of faux-alloy hubcap covering steel wheels. The big openings in the wheel make it work.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Is using a Hemi Charger as a cop car really a good idea?

    There are two things that the average cop can’t do: drive and shoot.

    I wonder how many innocent bystanders are gonna die because somebody bruised Officer 82nd Airborne’s ego, and now he’s got tunnel vision and a Hemi.

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      “There are two things that the average cop can’t do: drive and shoot.”

      Citation needed.

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        I can guide you a bit on the gun parts. As I recall (from my youth when I read “Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement”) an FBI/DOJ study found that the police on average hit what they were aiming for less than 16% of the time outside the range. The NYPD had a hit rate of about 9% in the year 2000. Between the years 1998 and 2006 the NYPD had a hit rate of 18% (according to the Rand corporation). The average distance of engagement is very short (less than 10 feet) and even when firing at a suspect that is not firing back the officers miss 2/3 of the time.

        So yes cops are pretty bad shots, extremely bad shots actually, but so are most other shooters as well. Hell most of the survivalist fatsos you see on TV couldn’t hit a barn from the inside if they were in a life or death situation. People tend to think that they are good shoots if they hit what they are aiming at at the range, but when somebody is coming at you, you’re out of breath, the lighting is bad and there’s a load of un-knowns most people, cops included, will shoot like s**t.

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          Various studies have shown that armed forces regulars tend to miss targets a whole lot in a firefight. That’s not a problem limited to police.

          And part of this problem may be psychological. Soldiers have to be conditioned to dehumanize their enemies to come to grips with the concept of killing them. That’s not something you can do with cops, who are supposed to exercise maximum restraint.

          If a non-combat shooter has time to think about it before they shoot… they won’t want to kill. If they’re surprised and are forced to shoot right away, they’ll panic and shoot wildly.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            The M16 3 round burst is sometimes claimed to be there to prevent “spray and pray” tactics. Anyhow, the US military requires, on average, 250 000 rounds of small arms ammunition for every confirmed enemy kill.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            Some of these stats sound misleading. Per niky’s point, psychological factors related to killing and the stress of a combat situation lower almost anyone’s hit rate. Considering those factors, the 18% hit rate MeaCulpa references is probably not that bad. Besides, we would need something to compare it to for that number to have any meaning. For example, are accuracy statistics available for special forces in combat situations? Maybe SWAT teams would be a closer comparison to regular police to add context?

            I also think the 250,000 rounds per confirmed kill is sketchy. Does that count machine gun fire used for suppression? I don’t think every round fired is meant to be a direct hit.

        • 0 avatar
          ktm

          No citation is needed. Just Google all the innocent citizens that were shot during the Christopher Dorner manhunt. Two hispanic ladies delivering papers in a blue Tacoma who opened up on by 7 officers from behind. They shot up the truck, parked cars around the truck, and homes.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Not everyone can be excellent, but driving and shooting competence is something that can be learned with sufficient training.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      “There are two things that the average cop can’t do: drive and shoot.”

      Not so. Compare the accident rate of the motorcycle cops vs the accident rates for motorcyclist in general- the cops are much safer, despite riding agressively.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Motorcycles seems like the one place where the general populace takes more chances than the cops do, be it aggressive crotch rocket riding, or Harley cruisers with illegal helmets.

  • avatar
    otsegony

    Not to rain on the parade as I like them too, but how are motor mount failures “operator error” issues and only getting 75k miles for a front end replacement seems like a problem. Is the front end replacement the whole thing, ball joints, control arms and struts or is it select pieces?

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      An employee couldn’t keep his foot out of it and the torque from the Hemi during jack rabbit starts and the like kept breaking the mounts was how it was explained to me. I must admit that having a motor strong enough to rip out it’s own mounts sounded like one of those good problems to have when I first heard it. The agency in question is seriously considering V-6s from now on to avoid the issue.

      As for the front ends, it’s a “whole thing” kind of deal, which makes it more expensive to replace compared to the Crown Vic.

      One thing to remember is that all of the issues reported happened with first- gen cars (2006- 2010). It’s always a tough question when you’re talking about police vehicles and component failures because they are driven much harder than their civilian couterparts.

      • 0 avatar
        west-coaster

        I wonder if the I’m-in-a-hurry-so-I’ll-slam-it-into-Drive-while-still-going-5mph-backwards technique is also hard on motor mounts.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Beefier mounts are available, and there is always the option of torque straps. During the 90s I was no longer to find quality motor mounts for my early 70s Mopar. Korean made mounts were all I could get in the pre-widespread internet days. They just did not last, so I added a strap ti limit stress on the mount and the problem was solved.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          In what was then the largest recall in history, GM recalled 5 million cars with V8 engines that had motor mount failures. Their solution was not to replace the mount with a beefier one, but install a bracket so the engine wouldn’t lift up and pull out the accelerator linkage. They charged customers $29.95 for them!

          My ’65 Impala was one recalled, but my mount had already been broken in a screaming, full speed left turn, and my mechanic had heard of the problem before the recall. He modified a beefier mount designed for a 350 engine and installed it on my 283 for $20. BTW, the original mount was designed for a straight six. GM saved almost a nickel per car pulling those out of the parts bin.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I used to drive a 2008 charger and at 65K, my car was ready for some front end parts. It was kind of early for that kind of thing, IMO, but the roads around here are horrible, and I hit a crater causing the left front tire to begin to eat itself up. I was able to trade to a Challenger at that point, so I never found out what exactly had gone bad. So far, my Challenger has been great, in two plus years only problems have been a sensor and a current issue with a strong gas smell when the tank is about 3/4 full or more. It’s still under warranty, so it’s not a big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Operator induced fatigue is a big factor in police vehicles. You’d be amazed how quickly a couple hot shots in a squad will ruin a fleet of otherwise normally durable 4.6L 2V engines and 4R75 transmissions in Crown Vics.

  • avatar
    AFX

    “The center console Mr. Sawrie had chosen to install in the car was fairly wide, starting at 11 inches wide at the base of the center stack and tapering to 9 inches wide by the time it reached the area of the seatbelt buckles. Even with a full gunbelt, I had plenty of room without the console pressing in on me, although a slightly narrower console wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

    (Looks at dual cupholders on the console in the photo, looks at wide flat top of console in front of the cupholders, reminds himself next time he’s in Dunkin Donuts to measure the size of a dozen donut box).

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Once in active service there is likely to be a laptop computer mounted on that flat surface. Not that one can’t position the donut box on top of the folded laptop :-)

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    With rumor control reporting a diesel version of the 300 in the next year or so I wonder how much trouble it would be to put an oil burner in one of these……

    When I was last visiting Germany there were no shortage of Polizei in diesel Opels and VWs (wagons no less).

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      Wagons are very common as police vehicles in Europe as are diesels. Putting a diesel in this thing should be easy given the mechanical similarities between the 300 and this, the 300 was available with the 3.0 crd (Mercedes) in europe and the lancia Thema is available with a 3.0 VM Motori engine (190 or 240 ish horses).

  • avatar
    olddavid

    David, your style and subject matter are both coming along nicely,and I, for one, appreciate it. I cannot imagine the gravity of wearing a gun in my daily life, so I’m looking forward to your ascension to editor-in-chief of Hester’s Hot Rods with a healthy six-figure salary. Your family would rest easier and you would also be able to leave that damn Darrell behind. Yuup?

  • avatar
    Type57SC

    The charger has that “don’t F with me” look nailed. I can see that helping a cop car.

    I saw my local PD all jump in their cars and tear out of town recently. The Taurus was belching blue smoke worse than anything I’d seen. Is there some sort of catalytic converter bypass on cop cars when they’ve got their foot in it? The other cars (tahoe and some crown vics) didn’t do anything but roar.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I wonder if the twin-turbo in it finally blew out.

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        That would be my guess. The only system bypass that I’m aware of is that the A/C in the old Fords was set to cut off when you nailed it in order to give more power. I’m not aware of any emissions bypass on cop cars, past or present.

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          One small thing…my 1976 Dart Pursuit came equipped with dual exhausts and no catalysts well after just about everything else had to have them. But that was actually quite a while ago….

          And, I’m enjoying your writing here too.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    The Charger certainly wipes the floor with the Taurus. The Taurus is just a half-assed effort…amazingly mediocre and, frankly, dangerous.

    While no car will live up to the Crown Vic, the Charger and the Caprice have the best chance. Proper V8, proper RWD, and amazingly simple.

    On the SUV side, you really only have one logical choice, the Tahoe.

    ————–

    Ok, Dave, now it’s time for a Caprice and Impala. Save the best for last?

  • avatar
    Joss

    Isn’t this the past century way of policing..?

    What about photo radar and red light cameras? Face recognition software and plain clothes & unmarked cars to scoop em up later?

    I suppose in the 2nd half of this century electronics will “clear the way,” for emergency vehicles. Gone all that flashing siren noise pollution – back to a digital recording of electric bells…

    A kind of rebirth/renaissance like the bicycle’s had in policing.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Myself, I hate modern light bars with their $@&?#€ eye-blinding flashing LED’s.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I was behind a brand new life squad a week ago, and the LEDs on it when it was in “going to a call, code 2″ mode, and it was brutally bright, almost painful. The amber flashers on it were just flat out over the top bright. I suppose they are like this for daytime visibility, but at night, WOW.

    • 0 avatar
      MeaCulpa

      In my hometown they’re trying out a new system. When an ambulance is approaching your cars stereo cuts out as the ambulance is fitted with a low powered radio transmitter that transmits a message via RDS. Quite spooky the first time it happens.

      • 0 avatar
        west-coaster

        That would only work if people are tuned to a radio frequency, and not jamming to their iPod, I assume.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          What is pretty common today are sensors on the cables that hold the traffic signals. When the emergency vehicle approaches with bright flashing lights, the signal controller ‘sees” this and give the emergency vehicle the green light. The sensors typically look like black tubes turned on their side and point toward the direction of traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          MeaCulpa

          Actually if the car stereo is somewhat modern It should cut out the ipod/cd/dvd/navigation as well. The use of RDS (radio data system) means that the sender outputs a short bit of data that says “this is a traffic information message so listen up”, the receiver – that is always on when the stereo is on – then switches the sound system to radio automatically. If it’s just a regular traffic message you can press “decline” if the message concerns a road or area that doesn’t concern you, or you can turn the feature off in your stereo. If the message has another bit of data code that says that it is really urgent (It actually says “PTY31″ meaning program type 31 a.k.a EMERGENCY) like “the russian hordes are at the borders, gather your boots and report for duty” or that a nuclear plant has had a bad day, then you can’t decline and you can’t disable those messages. The ambulance transmits one of the really urgent kind of messages but with very limited range.

          • 0 avatar
            Compaq Deskpro

            That is horrible, I would disable that ASAP.

          • 0 avatar
            MeaCulpa

            @Compaq Deskpro

            Not really horrible as traffic messages are localized to an area the size of about a (British) county so most things are somewhat relevant and the messages brakes through maybe once every hour during commuter time.

          • 0 avatar
            luvmyv8

            I think that’s a great idea myself…. put this way: if San Onofre had a really bad day, I wouldn’t exactly be disinterested……

            My ’12 4Runner definatly has the RDS, but I’ve never had radio disrupted for any sort of message/ emergency.

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    Thanks, David. I know the Ohio State Highway Patrol seems to have gone the Dodge route, but haven’t had a chance to talk with anyone about how they are doing. The county sheriff’s department (where I once put in some time) had gone the Ford “Utility” route, but again, I haven’t had a chance to talk with them — perhaps in May at the annual Law Enforcement Memorial ceremonies. As for me, I go far, far back to the Ford 390/330 Interceptors. There was a lot of power to be had there, too.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    How can you tell if the cop car version has a Hemi or not? I know the civilian models have badges on the side…

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      Interesting point. On the previous Charger, the number of tailpipes was the giveaway. But with those chrome valance dual tips on all the newer Chargers, they all look the same.

      And yes, the police Chargers never have the HEMI badges on the front fenders.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Believe it or not our cops used to have R/T Chargers back in the 70s in Australia. They were Valiants (Chryslers) and the cops ran a variety of engines from 265 Hemi sixes all the way to 346? V8s.

    The one picture in this youtube video is a mid-late 70s Highway Pursuit vehicle. They were what you call Pony Cars.

    I don’t know if this video is an original converted or an enthusiast restored it.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Can’t post youtube stuff on TTAC, sorry.

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    As much as I hate to admit it, but if I were a police officer, I’d much rather be issued this Dodge over the Ford.

    I know the first generation Dodge Charger police car had durability issues. When they first came out, many of the local departments in my neck of the woods bought a few to try them out. Now they didn’t fully replace the entire fleet, but they dipped their toes in at the very least.

    They all pretty much went back to the Crown Victoria. It wasn’t an uncommon sight to see a Murietta, CA police Charger on a flat bed. I also heard a story also where the CHP took a few Chargers to the EVOC track and many blew out their transmissions. They did buy some Chargers and put them out on patrol, but they didn’t go back and get more. I think most of them are retired by now and sold off. I haven’t seen a CHP Charger in quite some time. I’m sure the 5.7 Hemi could embarass a P71 Crown Vic, but it sure couldn’t hold up like a Crown Vic either and that’s whats more important for a police fleet; durability and reliability.

    Going back to this article, if Mopar has indeed taken care of the quality and durability woes of the previous Charger police car, they could return to the police car market stranglehold that Ford had and Mopar had in the 60’s and 70’s.

    Can’t wait to see a review on the new 9C1 Caprice.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Really great article, thank you.
    I recently had a Charger rental, black V6, and I was very impressed with how it drove… Especially over some thick ice. It honestly changed my opinion of ChryCo products!

    I wish we had checked them out last year when buying a sedan but my wife said it was ugly so probably wouldn’t have gotten far, and it’s a little smaller than the Accord. She wouldn’t have appreciated the balance of a RWD chassis anyways.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Didn’t see anything mentioned (didn’t read through all the Comments), but the Ohio Highway Patrol seems to be using these as their new pursuit vehicles of choice, along with Chevy Tahoes. (Back in the silver livery, instead of the white, as the last of the CVPIs were.)

    Both are badass-looking! (Unless one happens to be in your rearview with “takedowns” going!

    A little O/T, fortunately, haven’t had that happen since 2010–cop had CVPI, I had the stereo CRANKED, and wasn’t paying attention to speed, nor my V1. 80 in a 65, cop admits that he can’t let it go, and before having me step into his car to take care of things (after repeatedly assuring me, with no wallet on me, that everything was on the computer, so he had to get my information verbally, obviously easier if I’m sitting there while he typed), asks if I have any weapons, “IEDs, tactical nukes” on me during the most cursory of pat-downs. I actually wrote the OHP and paid them a compliment. Obviously not the most pleasant of experiences, but his attempts to “lighten the mood” a bit when seeing that I likely wasn’t public-enemy #1, along with not “preaching,” really helped!)

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      99.9% of the time, that’s how it goes. It’s the 0.01% of the time that makes You Tube that gives us all headaches.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Thank you for your service, Detective; you’re one of the majority. However, I too have had run-ins with the a$$holes in your profession, including one obvious rookie who pulled me over after someone mis-identified my vehicle as almost causing an accident, and who almost ticketed me for a seatbelt violation after he watched me unbuckle as he was approaching my car. (I was getting the insurance card out of the glovebox; since then, I’ve read about the “proper procedure”: engine off, hazards on, roll window down, keep both hands on top of wheel. He still had some serious ‘tude going on!)

        Then there was the cop in my town who had the reputation of “all teens guilty until proven innocent” when I was in high-school, who was preachy to me even ten years later, again with attitude, when he pulled me over for 35 in a school-zone; again, just not paying attention, in this case, my first day driving back to work after having moved into my first place “on my own.” (This cop was such an a$$hat that when the pastor of my church mentioned he was a member, I replied “that a$$hole goes HERE?!” without thinking! :-p )

  • avatar
    b787

    Why is idling so important for police vehicles? Is it because of the additional wear turning the engine on and off creates? Or has it something to do with response times?

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      Response times. If something REALLY bad goes down, you need to be ready to go on a moments notice.

    • 0 avatar
      86SN2001

      Also, where I work/live, a lot of the officers are also paramedics. Aside from carrying the same heart monitors we carry on the ambulance, they carry an entire bag thAt they can run ANY call out of. As a result, they carry a lot of drugs that need to stay at a certain temperature. Thus, the cars run all the time. Plus, the electronics inside can kill a battery pretty quickly.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Any time the emergency lights are left ON, the car has to be idling. That can be several hours a day, every day.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      And cops hate to be hot in the summer, so writing up tickets in the comfort of A/C is important.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s tough to say if the V6 Chargers will stand up to the abuse, or if durability is even a priority. Traditionally, cop cars had truck V8s and drivetrains and no one gave durability much thought.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The Taurus is to Ford what the 2012 Civic was to Honda and the 2013 Malibu was to Chevrolet. It’s the car that needs an emergency redesign yesterday. The most recent redo added too much weight and took away too much utility. The result is that a non-exceptional car like the Charger eats it for lunch.

  • avatar
    segfault

    Nice review. I used to live in Lexington and always loved the R. J. Corman building outside of town. It’s one of the nicest industrial buildings around, and it really stands out with all the lights on at night.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Charger is such a cool car – the major issue with is that cops are using them. I’d much prefer they stick with Ford and leave Dodge out of the cop car business. Now if you want to buy a big sedan from Chrysler you have to either look like a mafiosa or a cop.

    Oh well here is hoping that Dodge really does make a mid-size RWD car and lets Chrysler (the brand) have a FWD car for the people all worried about snow..

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “Fleet price for a Hemi powered Charger Pursuit starts at $23,585″.

    I had to do a double take. What a great value for that much performance. I’ll have to order a pursuit package Charger as my next vehicle.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    I had an ’07 Charger as a daily driver…pretty much everything said here is true. I think the drivetrain on them has proven to be fairly reliable. Unfortunately mind developed electrical issues and I had no faith they were going to get any better, so I bailed.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: His major complaint was that the Chargers cost more to repair than the Crown Vics did.

    I shudder to think how these latest batch of rolling China parts bin gadget galore vehicles are going to be over the long haul with things such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, backup cameras, parallel park assist, LCD touch screen, bluetooth wireless with voice command recognition, Onstar, direct fuel injection tied to more and more advanced engine control and computers etc. 500-1000 dollar repair bills will soon be turning into 3000-5000 repairs with people having to take out loans just to get there vehicles repaired.

  • avatar
    Jim S

    I have read with great anticipation Dave’s article on the Dodge Pursuit Charger, along with all the comments following. Your comments have been useful. When the Police Charger came out in late ’05 as a 2006, I was at my first Police convention, showing this car in Ky. The chiefs oohed and awwed over the aggressive looks, but they said, will it hold up. I had several depts purchase one or two to test out, I can say, everyone of those depts have come back for more, and most are taking their fleet to Chargers. Yes, we had some early issues as does any new model to appear on the market. Today, the Charger holds up, the trany is bullet proof, and both engines, the Hemi V8 speaks for itself, great history and continually being improved. The Pentistar V6, Ward’s rates this engine in the top ten in the world.

    Today, I have depts from all across the state telling me their Chargers are still going strong, one Sheriff actually told me at 80K miles the engine is still at tight at the day he bought it. No car is perfect, but its closer that anyting else being built today.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      The early police chargers had some issues with soft shifts causing excessive clutch wear under aggressive driving conditions. The issue was resolved in the A580 trans by raising the line pressure, which LX racers already achieved by installing a shift kit. While no 727 to be sure, the 580 is a pretty durbale trans. LX racers beat on them all day long at the drag strip. As they get their cars into the low 12’s, which is pretty easy, the first things to fail are the axle shafts. The aftermarket makes beefier units, so the factory issued units go to that german recycling bin in the sky.

  • avatar
    George Herbert

    I got a Charger V6 rental edition for a couple of weeks while my RX-8 got a new engine, about 2 years ago. It was a lot smoother than prior generations of large higher power sedans.

    Dave, do you have any driving time in the civilian models, to compare and contrast? Sounds like few differences in performance or handling, but I am curious.


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