By on May 10, 2018

Image: FCA

Once upon a time, fearsome variants of conservative full-size sedans roamed America’s highways en masse in search of speeders and felons, but the emergence of the SUV as the preferred tool of law enforcement relegated the traditional four-door car to the back of the pack.

It’s no wonder why Ford had no problem ditching the Taurus. Some 80 percent of the automaker’s police fleet orders specify the Police Interceptor Utility — a butched-up Explorer — instead of its sedan stablemate. Chevrolet’s Tahoe PPV offers law enforcement a more rugged SUV option.

Not wanting to be left behind in the switch to high-riding cop cars, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has debuted a competitor — the Dodge Durango Pursuit.

Offered alongside the existing Charger Pursuit for 2018, the Durango Pursuit fields FCA’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8, an engine good for 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic handles shifting duties. While all Durango Pursuits come equipped with full-time all-wheel drive, the extra traction only appears when the rear wheels can’t handle the job. (It’s nice having another cop car that’s rear-biased.)

A two-speed transfer case should allow responding officers to reach that crime scene on the side of a mountain, or, perhaps, give that fleeing Jeep Wrangler a run for its money.

Compared to Ford and Chevy, Dodge’s newest police offering tops its rivals in terms of standard power. The Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, while the standard 3.7-liter V6 under the hood of Ford’s cop SUV delivers 304 hp and 279 lb-ft. However, law enforcement agencies have the option of upgrading to a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, with 365 hp and 350 lb-ft on tap.

In the twist wars, Dodge emerges the victor.

“Unofficial testing results at the Michigan State Police 2018 model-year vehicle evaluation event created such a stir among law enforcement agencies that we simply had to find a way to build this vehicle,” said Steve Beahm, head of passenger car brands at FCA North America, in a statement.

As one would expect, FCA outfitted this Durango with all the necessary rough-and-tumble trappings of a pursuit-rated vehicle. That means a heavy duty oil cooler and water pump, upgraded brakes, a 220-amp alternator, and 800 cold cranking amp battery. There’s also a place to mount a spotlight, should the force choose to.

Ground clearance on this rig is 8.1 inches. If hanging a trailer or boat off the rear bumper is part of the job, the Durango Pursuit’s 7,200-pound towing capability should be able to handle it.

The vehicle seems capable, but FCA claims it’s available for order only “for a limited time.” A next-generation Durango is expected to appear sometime next year.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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29 Comments on “That Dodge Durango in Your Rear-view Might Be a Cop...”

  • avatar

    Durango is the one of the few CUV/SUV I find myself lusting after that’s actually within my budget.

    Please let the new edition hew as closely to the current formula as possible.

    • 0 avatar

      I passed a newly plated Dodge Durango SRT in rush hour on the way home yesterday.

      ONE BAD A$$ VEHICLE. Ralph Gilles is one of the best head designers in modern automotive times.

    • 0 avatar

      If the depreciation is as I’d guess it is, you can score a 2 or 3 year old one as a screaming deal.

      • 0 avatar

        They hold their value incredibly well in Michigan, particularly with the tow package (extra oil cooler, trailer receiver, some other upgrades for $995).

        Pickup trucks and SUVs that can tow boats and 5th wheels with relative’s ‘probably hold their resale values as well as anything in Michigan, and do far better than, say, a Buick Enclave or Chevrolet Malibu or Cadillac ATS/CTS/XTS/CT6.

        • 0 avatar

          I had a 2011 loaded AWD model Durango Citadel, Hemi, AWD, trailer tow, everything. Great SUV and have kicked myself a few times for trading it in on a new Ram a few years ago. The tow package also includes auto load leveling. The best bang for the buck though, in my opinion, would be the RT, which comes standard with the Hemi, sport suspension, and adding a factory tow package pretty much gets you everything this police package has.

      • 0 avatar

        Take a look on Autotrader for the midwest region sometime. The depreciation isn’t as much as other FCA cars. It doesn’t hold value like a Wrangler though, wow.

        • 0 avatar

          If you can handle the V6 then the NEW prices I’m seeing advertised for the 3-row, AWD, & towing package is roughly $33K – $35K. Compare that to other three row SUV/CUV with default RWD and available V8 engine AND the ability to tow 6200 to 7000+ lbs properly equipped the Durango is a steal.

  • avatar

    Nothing new – the cops around here have been driving Durangos for years.

  • avatar

    I would LOVE to see more Durango’s used as LEOV’s but there’s one reason I don’t see this happening beyond the few here and there that we currently see (I routinely see three- one marked, two unmarked).

    Parts availability and repair down time.

    Police departments spec vehicles that not only meet their budgetary confines, but also have the widest available parts supply, which directly leads to reduced down time. Lets not forget, down time due to parts supply was the main reason police departments started merging away from the Caprice in quick order.

    Parts supply is directly linked with sales figures. Higher numbers out the door leads to a higher demand for replacement parts. While I know that the Durango shares parts with other FCA vehicles, so do every other vehicle it’d be competing with for fleet space.

    2017 sales figures (
    Ford Explorer 271,131 (including PPV)
    Chevrolet Tahoe 98,961 (including PPV)
    Dodge Durango 68,761

    YTD 2018 sales
    Explorer 83,669
    Tahoe 23,643
    Durango 21,156

    So not only is it sold (and thus likely produced) in less numbers, it’s also supposed to be swapped out for a new model in the very near future? I don’t see this going as well for FCA as they hoped.

    • 0 avatar

      The Caprice was built in Australia, that’s why replacement parts were hard to come by. By your logic, the Taurus Interceptor parts should be in short supply then which they are not.

  • avatar

    Another step towards eventually ending the LH platform as the often promised all-new car seems to keep getting pushed out on the calendar.

  • avatar

    In Canada virtually all I see are Ford and GM products in the hands of law enforcement. I’ve seen one “ghost car” Ram 1500 with a canopy on it. I’ve never seen a Charger.

    • 0 avatar

      I think if you traveled to Ontario you would see many police Chargers.

      • 0 avatar

        @cls12vg30 – I have no reason to travel to the “Middle East” ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Offhand, the only force that clearly runs Chargers out here in decent numbers is Brampton, and they’re sort of obligated to.

        • 0 avatar

          London’s preferred cruiser is also the Charger, with a few Explorers and Tahoes here and there, mostly for supervisor and K-9 duties. We were Crown Vic Central when Talbotville was in full swing, to the point where Murray Faulkner, the former police chief, ordered about 50 extra 2011 models and stockpiled them once the plant closure was announced. The Charger is the closest Canadian-built product now, so it wins by default.

  • avatar

    I loved the current ‘Rango before and it looks damn good in uniform. Along with the Grand Cherokee its one of the few ‘traditional’ SUVs Id even consider owning.

  • avatar

    I hope the Durango drops the Crossover and switches back to an SUV in the next generation, maybe it can finally give the GM fullsizers some competition. Especially seeing everyone else putting out more crossovers, having real SUVs available is a huge brand builder.

    • 0 avatar

      Jeep will have that covered for you.

      The Durango has never been a full size competitor, though the 2nd gen was close, based on the Ram platform of the time.

  • avatar

    Hmm…the Durango would be nice but we just got 7 Chevy Silverado Crew Cabs V6, 5 Explorer Interceptors, 1 Explorer XLT ( very weird) 2 Chargers replaceing 2 2010 Hemi Chargers.
    The Explorer Interceptors are very spartan, no non-sense and FWD. The XLT is very luxurious in comparison and is an AWD. Must have been a mistake. The lack of any arm rest makes the Explorer Interceptors a bit uncomfortable. The interceptors come with Goodyear Eagles but the XLT has Michelins.
    We are good for the next 8 years.

    • 0 avatar

      As the retired fleet command guy in charge of a 500 vehicle police fleet, my best guess for that “one off XLT” is most likely the Chief’s new vehicle. It is not unusual to spec out vehicles for a specific individual, particularly a police chief or the high sheriff…

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