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.
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.