By on October 22, 2013

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Every year the Michigan State Police conduct comparison performance tests of police package vehicles offered by the domestic automakers. The results influence millions of dollars worth of purchasing decisions by police agencies around the country and they’re also the source of bragging rights. It’s tempting to compare the way automakers tout the MSP Police Vehicle Evaluation results to the way car makers brag about times on the Nurburgring circuit, but the police car testing is undoubtedly more consistent and reliable than ‘Ring results. This year, Chrysler made a big deal about the 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit AWD with the 370 horsepower 5.7 liter Hemi V8 posting the fastest lap time, 1:33.85, on the Grattan Raceway road course, along with the best braking performance from 60 to 0 mph, 126.5 feet. Ford countered by publicizing the fact that the latest Taurus based AWD Police Interceptor with the 3.5 liter Ecoboost twin turbo V6 had the best acceleration to 60 and 100 mph, 5.66 seconds and 13.5 seconds respectively. Chevrolet gets to brag as well, since the 9C1 Caprice with a 6.0 liter V8 from the LS family had the highest top speed, 155 miles per hour. While Chrysler was boasting about the Charger getting under the 1:34 mark, it should be noted that was achieved on only one of the 24 laps the car was run. The average times for all three of the automakers’ fastest police cars were all within 0.30 seconds a lap, with the Charger indeed being fastest at 1:34.75, just ahead of the Caprice’s 1:34.98 and the Ford’s 1:35.05.

Vehicle Acceleration and Top Speed Results

Vehicle Braking Results

Vehicle Dynamics (Road Course) Results

Meanwhile, Chrysler has introduced the Special Service Dodge Durango SUV for police and fire departments. It will be competing with police package Tahoes from Chevy and Explorers from Ford. Chrysler is hoping that the Durango’s eight speed automatic transmission will give it an edge with departments looking to save on fuel costs, saying that the new transmission improves fuel economy by 15% over the previous model. Special Service features include a heavy-duty brake package, more powerful battery, larger-output 220-amp alternator, more robust water pump and engine oil cooler and a load leveling suspension.

2014-dodge-durango-special-service-announced-69227-7

 

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38 Comments on “Michigan State Police Release Annual Police Vehicle Evaluation Results, Chrysler Introduces Police Package Durango...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Should be interesting as GM already offers the “we’re serious” LS powered BOF truck and Ford the “we’re sort of serious” heavy CUV with better handling and capacity, although from what I’ve heard the AWD drinks gas (at least the Police spec does, 12-13 MPG in city). If the Dodge can have its own strengths irrespective of those two it might come out a real winner, but if its essentially the Ford AWD CUV with 15% better fuel economy I’m not so sure.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I wonder what changes are in store for the 2014.5 MY Chargers and PIs. There have to be some decent drivetrain/performance changes to warrant a manufacturer sending pre-production models for testing.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Larger brakes, New camber link change to the rear suspension for better high-speed and aggressive braking performance, upgraded fuel pump, and optional AWD on HEMI models, for the “performance” changes on the Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I suspect the police who drive them would like to have a column shift and bench seat. AWD is nice but at high speed, there’s a time to use the radio and let the helicopter take over the chase. Serving as backup and roadblock duty are less stressful, to hear some CHP officers tell it.

        • 0 avatar
          tuckerdawg

          yeah I agree, all of these vehicles are so better than the predecessors that at what point are we using a chainsaw to cut butter?

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Oh, the high performance models will be restricted to a few copies for highway patrols, and maybe the county sheriff or police chief. Most PIs are purchased on price, so expect the Pentastar in the Charger with Hemi badging.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    A fully loaded, police-spec muscle car runs $45k and up. In an era of police radios, cameras, and helicopters, when the economy is sagging and state budgets are crunched, when $18k American cars can cruise safely at 120, I wonder why police departments and highway patrols almost exclusively use big, heavy, and expensive cars. Having a mix of vehicles which includes some smaller, more efficient cars seems sufficient and much cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Agree 100%. The Montana Highway Patrol has vastly different vehicle needs than the NYPD. Using a one-size fits all doesn’t make much sense. Our enlightened bretheren in Europe have general duties cars (typically diesel hatches) for patrol and area cars/interceptors for chases and highway use.

      A Spark Turbo would probably be more than most officers could handle, and the extra savings could go towards fully funding pensions or putting more officers on the street.

      An officer in Ohio killed a family of 6 responding to a call. Slower cars + better training would go a long way in keeping everyone safe. The very small difference in lap times from most powerful to least show that raw speed is meaningless in most situations.

      http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/18/21021430-six-killed-in-columbus-ohio-police-car-crash?lite

      And our EIC has written on the state of police driving – http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/avoidable-contact-do-cops-really-have-the-need-for-speed/

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Yea it’s called “durability”. The police units that come from Ford, GM and Chrysler are specifically built for police duty: wiring, cooling, fascias, engine calibration, seats…ect ect.

        If it were as easy as just using a “normal” car then all the agencies would use a Camry and be done with it. I’d bet in the same amount of abuse 1 CVPI goes through, they would go through 3 Camry’s.

        • 0 avatar

          The rest of the world hasnt turned into a bucket of lawless chaos because they dont use V8s somehow. Our cops need to find the fine line between gas-sucking vehicles and funded pensions.
          And Im sure theres plenty of smaller engines & diesels that last as long as any Detroit V8.

        • 0 avatar
          Aleister Crowley

          Camry’s are extremely durable. Just go to New York City and you can ride in any one of the many 300,000 mile Camry Hybrid Taxis that are still running.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      According to an article on here a while back the Charger police car with the Hemi was well under $30K, something like $26K IIRC. The one article I can find was back in 07 where the out the door price was $24K some of which was likely so they could undercut the price of the Crown Vic at $26K.

      As far as a mix of cars if you follow the link you’ll see that they do offer vehicles with less pursuit capabilities, presumably better MPG and lower prices. For positions like detectives and other low demand situations many agencies do use ordinary cars. I know our county used to use the old Vulcan powered Taurus for such duty and I’ve heard that there are some agencies using Fusion Hybrids for non-pursuit vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        tbone33

        The figure that was quoted here seems exceptionally low, and is the only place I have seen a sub $40k price listed. Car and Driver, Road and Track, as well as my father-in-law’s city council all quote a $45k figure.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Granted it was a few years ago but I was at a county auction where they were selling off the old police cars among other things and they had a brand new CVPI with the window sticker sitting there and it was only $26K and some change. If you are buying a number of them or solicit open bids I’m sure you can get discounts.

          It doesn’t look like the price has changed that much either. Here is an article that says this PD picked up 15 Utility Interceptors for $384K or about $26K per unit and stating that they are about $1700 more than the sedan interceptor. http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/03/3_reasons_grand_rapids_police.html

          Here is a Ford dealer showing the sticker price on the Utility Interceptor in the $32K range.

          Whoops here is the link http://www.delacyford.com/SoldNoVehicle.aspx?AutoID=9253869&ErrorType=Sold#.UmbuYhDktCA

          So if they are talking the $45K range then they are either getting ripped off, or are including other costs in the price such as upfitting them with all the equipment, like radios, computers, lights, ect, which will be additional on any car.

        • 0 avatar
          Loser

          I hope they are getting 2 for the $45K. Last October Tampa purchased new Chargers for 22K.
          http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/tampa-police-department-turns-to-dodge-charger-for-new-patrol-cars/1256589

          “The Charger costs about $22,000 before police-specific additions such as computer systems, which cost about $6,000 more”

  • avatar
    Hummer

    So another CUV?

    Why don’t they just get a smart car, its about as strong looking.

    Chevy is at least taking the police packages seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      StaysCrunchy

      Not sure I understand this comment. From what I’ve heard – both first hand and from what I’ve read – the cops looooove that new Explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ve heard the same, although they also like how the Taurus handles/feels and accelerates, its the ergonomics and visibility that make Taurus difficult to use for police. If I was given a choice either as an officer or the accountant approving the buy I would go Tahoe in order to squeeze as much life out of them as possible. I was told the Explorer Police runs close to 30K (not including the 4K worth of radios and police equipment each car gets outside of purchase price). A quick Google and I see the Tahoe PPV starts at $40,405 and the Explorer at $28.5. The Explorer is quick, roomy, prob handles better, and cheaper, but patrol vehicles average 25-30K hard miles per year. So on the low end you’re at 75K in three years, and without the extra police equipment the Explorer cost is $9500/yr in its first three years vs $13468/year for the Tahoe. But if the W Impalas are any evidence they get pretty chewed up by 75K with multiple transmission failures & replacements, overheating issues, steering/undercarriage issues, brakes, electronics. I’m told some Tauruses in our city’s fleet are nearing the 50K mark and have made several trips to the dealer but it wasn’t made clear to me the nature of said trips (could have been trivial stuff with the cupholder for all I know). Tahoe while costing more initially in the first three years I imagine even in police use is at maybe half life at 75K. So using the 25K miles figure, in four years your Taurus/Explorers will have 100K and may be ready for the scrap heap in terms of running condition. The Tahoes will probably look like hell too but will more than likely run properly enabling you to push usage out perhaps to 6 years/150K. The Tahoe MSRP of 40405/6 = $6734 per year making them cheaper to run over a longer period and I’d be willing to wager fuel costs are the same or negligible between 2WD Tahoe and AWD Explorer.

        http://www.autoloandaily.com/2013-chevrolet-tahoe-4×2-police-vehicle

        http://www.autousa.com/2013FordExplorerPoliceInterceptor.htm

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          This is exactly what our local force is doing,
          The guys love the Crown vic’s
          The Chargers have mixed reviews, some hate how small they are, And I don’t blame them, those chargers with the police equipment are cramped.
          They don’t have any Taurus’, they have one Explorer, that was enjoyed at first but now gets tossed to the unlucky guys.
          The Tahoe is pretty much all they’re buying now.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Unless the PA state troopers closer to the capital have gotten upgrades, every PA state trooper car I’ve seen is a Crown Vic, while the individual local departments have upgraded to Chargers and Explorers with Crown Vics becoming the minority instead of the majority.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            PA Troopers are driving a mix of marked Chargers, marked CVPIs, unmarked CVs, and I saw an unmarked MGM last year up and down Rt 79.

            Even if your local dept or state police don’t care for patrol edition Chargers, detective edition models don’t necessarily have to carry the same bulky equipment officers dislike. Beware the unmarked Charger as time goes on, since unlike the CVPI or MGM it doesn’t stand out as much and enjoys civilian ownership.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            “The Chargers have mixed reviews, some hate how small they are, And I don’t blame them, those chargers with the police equipment are cramped.”

            This is out of control – we’re gonna have one guy driving around alone in a 5,000-pound SUV getting 12 mpg, because the 17-mpg, 4,000-pound sedan is “too small”?

            Tough tittie – figure out how to do more with less, like all of us do. Jesus – you’re a peace officer, not SEAL Team Six.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            First of all, I’m not an officer at all, I’m just stating opinions I’ve heard from friends on the force.
            And where exactly are you going with your comparison? Last I checked not all crooks drove prii, and not all were willing to wait for the police to arrive.
            Cops sheriffs etc. sit in a car for multiple hours a day, at very least they could be comfortable, a Tahoe doesn’t get that bad mpg, and a car with better mpg is possible but not offered in a similarly durable form as the Tahoe. Either way, what’s gas mileage have to do with it? They aren’t going on vacation.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Hummer, I’m not saying “you” like you’re a cop. Just a figure of speech.

            And why worry about gas mileage – ? Um, because we taxpayers are footing the bill – ? Same reason we’d like them to buy a $26k car instead of a $40k BOF SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            A friend of mine, who is 6’4″ and recently retired from the local PD loved the Chargers. He started his career in the last of the Mopar cop cars, and finished them in the Chargers. He wants to buy a Charger, but he’s way too cheap to actually do it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Back in the real world which one can I buy new in civilian guise most cheaply that will most closely approximate the police package?

    Charger by a landslide.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      If you know somebody at the dealer, you can sometimes get the full Heavy Duty package from the factory, even with the “Jazz Blue Pearl Coat”. One-off orders for higher-ups are not unknown. I knew a homicide detective who drove a blinged out Ford 500, not the unmarked Crown Vic.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Yeah I will admit I like the Charger. Would be nice if they offered it with a stick though – just use the one from the Challenger.

  • avatar

    If Chrysler had the balls I have they’d offer limited edition 392 SRT8 editions of the Town & Country and Durango with AWD.

    Only minivan I’d ever buy…

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Sorry, but I cant get all wet and foamy over this. Every year the red light and siren crowd fall all over themselves with the new super nitro, turbo blah police blah interceptor blah pursuit blah, license plate reading cash cow chaser. If you have a car you are something to be screwed with and this is just the latest tool. Wake up already. Sorry, I dont shine the shoes of my enemy and dont get all this copcrush. Bad enough we have to pay for our oppression with taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Do what?

      How can you dislike the police force?
      Some of the best people I know are on our local force. They deserve the latest and greatest.

      I’ve never been oppressed by my police, plus I get invited to their range every now and again, getting to play with the full autos.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Cops everywhere are different.

        Around here we have to deal with suburban cops who take out their boredom on the citizenry, blowing car accidents out of proportion and handing out hilarious amounts of speeding tickets.

        That and there are unfortunately a decent number of American police officers who see young people, especially young minorities, as enemies of society…

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I grew up in a police family, Dad was the Chief detective. Shot my first 38 snub at 5 or 6 at the police range. He told me then (the 70′s) policing was changing and I should pursue another career. He was right.If he were alive to see the untold thousands of Youtube videos ( the ones who werent intimidated by the cop and kept filming) of foaming at the mouth gestapo he would say he told me so. Are there good constitution supporting cops? Heck yeah, but look around you and notice how many cop cars are still painted the colors they have been for 50 years. All of a sudden they are almost all black. coincidence? I grew up a minority and still am a proud African American but, They really dont care about skin color any more, They will violate anyone. I read all the articles on TTAC about speed traps, out of control chases that result in carnage, tag readers, tasering 80 year olds etc, and all of the replies are outraged followers. Then you have an article like this and I simply say who cares? Do the local cops care what kind of car I bought this year? Oh, thats right I have to pay for the 24 LEDS, AWD, computer, cage, tag reader, etc. Not a cop fanboi, Dont care about their new toys, thats all I’m sayin…

    • 0 avatar
      Austin Greene

      Right on Brother.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Seabrjim, agree with much of what you wrote. Whatever else the police may do, a good percentage of the color focus is on the color green. They need the money to support the government. This is true at all levels. As long as we want a massive government, we are going to get milked every which way we turn.

      Much of what police and government occupy themselves with now is the business of collecting money any way they can. As long as we expect them to take care of us and act like our mommy and daddy, they are going to continue to raise the price in money and lost freedom. Increasingly, we are just milk cows.

  • avatar
    Justin Crenshaw

    I do wish that police departments would be more economical with tax payer dollars. I noticed the Oklahoma HP buying a lot of new Tahoes. I can understand why a Highway Patrol might need faster vehicles, however a Tahoe is not fast, nor does it handle well. It looks damn cool painted black with black wheels though.
    What you have here is government employees making purchase decisions with other people’s money. They WANT to drive the bigger V8 cars therefore they will come up with whatever justification needed to make that happen. Try to convince a city department that they can get by with a Focus hatch and officers will come out of the woodwork to tell you why it won’t work, the only true reason is they don’t want to drive a small hatchback. There are instances where fast, large cars may be needed, however non-response vehicles and urban departments (even some suburban areas), could get away with more economical vehicles.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    With only 37 posts on an article about police cars, I’d say most of the B&B agree. Who cares? How about David Hester, Havent heard from him in a while. If you’re still here Dave, any thoughts?


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