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Cover Story

2011 Michigan Vehicle Tests: Patrol Cars

The Big 3 brought a new generation of patrol cars to this year's MSP test and the results were stunning.

December 09, 2010  |  by - Also by this author

Braking

The MSP's braking distance tests used optical sensors mounted to the sides of the cars that measure stopping from 60-0 mph.

Ford's Interceptors will arrive with police-specific brakes offering rotors with more surface area and a larger pad than the Crown Vic. The new Ford has an 18-inch wheel compared with the Crown Vic's 17-inch wheel.

VIDEO: Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor

Ford's all-wheel-drive P.I. (non-turbo) needed 126.6 feet to reach a dead stop from 60 mph, an improvement of 15 feet over the Crown Vic. The Chevy Caprice was nearly its equal, stopping in 128.3 feet, 11.5 feet shorter than the Chevy Impala. The 5.7-liter Dodge Charger shaved 10 feet from the 2010 model, needing 133.9 feet to stop.

It is not unusual for manufacturers to make modifications of their new police vehicles after the MSP testing in preparation for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department vehicle testing in November. This year, for example, Chrysler decided to change the axle ratio on the Charger Pursuit for the LASD test. David Callery, police and emergency response vehicle program manager for Chrysler, says the alteration does not mean the company was unhappy with the Charger's score at the MSP test.

"Overall we were very pleased," says Callery, who is a retired New York state trooper who once managed the agency's massive vehicle fleet. He explained that the reason the company was testing a different axle ratio at the LASD evaluation was to see if it will give the Charger more midrange acceleration, what troopers call "closing speed."

VIDEO: Effective Pursuit Driving

The Vehicles Tested

This year's tests were held Sept. 18-20 and included 18 vehicles submitted by General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson and BMW.

General service:

Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 6.0 liter

Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 E85 6.0 liter

Chevrolet Impala 9C1 3.9 liter

Chevrolet Impala 9C1 E85 3.9 liter

Dodge Charger 3.6 liter

Dodge Charger 5.7 liter

Ford CVPI 4.6 liter (3.27 rear axle)

Ford CVPI 4.6 liter (3.55 rear axle)

Ford Police Interceptor FWD 3.5 liter

Ford Police Interceptor AWD 3.5 liter

Ford Police Interceptor AWD 3.5 liter turbo

Special service:

Chevrolet Tahoe PPV 2WD 5.3 liter

Chevrolet Tahoe PPV 2WD E85 5.3 liter

Ford Police Interceptor Utility AWD 3.5 liter

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Tags: Ford Police Interceptor, Michigan State Police, Chevrolet Caprice, Chevrolet Tahoe, Dodge Charger, Vehicle Testing

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