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Ready for Duty

For 2005, Detroit offers law enforcement agencies a wide variety of vehicles for patrol and special services.

April 01, 2005  |  by - Also by this author

Special Service Vehicles

One thing to remember when discussing contemporary police vehicles is that not all cop cars and trucks are going to be used to chase down speeding motorists.

Vehicles are used by law enforcement agencies for a wide variety of tasks. These special service vehicles are not designed or even modified specifically for police duties, but they can do certain jobs that pursuit vehicles can't.

The following is a quick look at some civilian vehicles that have been pressed into police duty.

Chevrolet Tahoe 5W4-4WD

When Chevrolet introduced the Tahoe pursuit vehicle last year, one of the questions on many officers' lips was, "Is it four-wheel-drive?" No. It isn't. But the Tahoe 5W4-4WD special service vehicle is.

This powerful four-wheel-drive SUV with a four-speed automatic transmission and overdrive is ready for offroad duty and it is suited for work in any road condition. The Tahoe 5W4-4WD offers 10.7 inches of ground clearance and state-of-the-art suspension for managing tough terrain.

Ford Explorer 4.6L SFI

The special service version of the Ford Explorer is on duty with a wide variety of law enforcement agencies worldwide. Explorers have been outfitted for K-9 units, SWAT teams, prisoner transport, and other duties. The police service Explorer is powered by a 4.6-liter, 281-cubic-inch engine that generates 239 horsepower at 4,750 RPM. With the rear seat folded down, this Explorer can haul 88 cubic feet of cargo.

Chevrolet Silverado 6.6L EDID 4WD

Agencies needing a rugged, off-road truck may want to take a look at Chevy's 4WD Silverado 6.6L EDID (Electronic Direct Injection Diesel). This light truck generates 310 horsepower at 3,000 RPM. All that power is transferred to the wheels through an Allison 1000 five-speed automatic transmission.

Ford Expedition 5.4L 3V SMFI

There are bigger vehicles available for law enforcement duty than the Ford Expedition, but they generally have heavy armor or more than four wheels. The Expedition weighs nearly 5,500 pounds, empty.

And it offers a lot of space to fill. Folding down the rear seat gives you more than 110 cubic feet of cargo space. Of course, there are also some tradeoffs. With a top speed of 99 mph empty, no one will mistake the Expedition for a pursuit vehicle, and it's not known for sipping gas.

Dodge Magnum 3.5L SPFI

The Magnum doesn't really take a bow in the police market until later this year when the 2006 model year Magnums are released as pursuit vehicles. But at the International Association of Chiefs of Police show and at the Michigan State Police tests last year, the 2005 Magnum with the standard 3.5-liter engine was on display.

Classed as a special service vehicle at the Michigan tests, the standard Magnum was still impressive. It clocked a top speed of 117 mph and its 3.5-liter engine generated 250 horsepower at 6,400 RPM. EPA mileage ratings on the Magnum are also noteworthy. Despite a curb weight of 3,904 pounds, the Magnum recorded 19 miles per gallon in the city, 27 highway for a combined score of 25.4.

The Magnum has a lot going for it, but it is a little different. Some officers may not like driving a station wagon, for example. But it should be noted that the design of the Magnum gives it nearly seven feet more of cargo capacity over the Ford Crown Vic and nearly nine feet more than the Chevy Impala.

In 2006, the Magnum pursuit vehicle will be available in two versions: the standard 3.5-liter sequential port fuel injection model and the thunderingly powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with cylinder deactivation, which produces 340 horsepower.

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Tags: Ford CVPI, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Tahoe, Vehicle Reviews, Chrysler, Patrol Cars

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