The 2019 Dodge Durango Pursuit features  a new front end design that helps cool the brakes during intense driving. (Photo: Dodge)

The 2019 Dodge Durango Pursuit features  a new front end design that helps cool the brakes during intense driving. (Photo: Dodge)

Almost exactly a year ago, Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) brought a very interesting Dodge SUV to the Michigan State Police law enforcement vehicle evaluations. Dodge reps were very cagey about it but everyone at the MSP test speculated the vehicle was the company's entry into the law enforcement patrol SUV market. "We characterized the vehicle as 'unpublished, pursuit-intended,'" says David Callery, FCA's program manager for police and emergency response vehicles.

All the speculation about a Dodge pursuit-rated SUV ended in May when the company announced the availability of the 2018 patrol Durango. Dodge says it was answering customer demand by releasing the new patrol SUV. "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," says Steve Beahm, head of passenger car brands for Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat for FCA America. "The Dodge Durango is already known as the Charger of SUVs, so it is only natural that the new Durango Pursuit complements the Charger Pursuit in police fleets around the country."

Sales of the 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit were limited by its late in the model year release. Callery explains why the company felt it was important to produce a 2018 Durango Pursuit and announce it in May even when orders were only open for a few weeks. He says the company wanted to be on record that it had the vehicle, that it was pursuit rated, and that it was ready for market. The 2019 Dodge Durango Pursuit is definitely ready for market and orders are now open.

One big change between the 2018 Durango Pursuit and the 2019 models is that buyers now have a choice of engines. The 2018 was released with one engine, the 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI. The 2019 is available with the HEMI or with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. Dodge says the 5.7-liter HEMI generates a "best in class" 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. The 3.6-liter Pentastar is rated at 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. At last year's Michigan State Police testing the V-8 HEMI version of the Durango Pursuit achieved a top speed of 120 mph. Its acceleration was equally impressive reaching 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in 17 seconds.

All-wheel drive with an eight-speed electronic transmission is standard on both versions of the 2019 Durango Pursuit. The vehicle also features a two-speed active transfer case for better traction. "The active transfer case truly gives you low range performance if you need to go off road," Callery says.

The 2019 Dodge Durango has an active transfer case for better low range traction during off-road driving. (Photo: Dodge)

The 2019 Dodge Durango has an active transfer case for better low range traction during off-road driving. (Photo: Dodge)

Another benefit of the active transfer case is improved fuel economy. Estimated fuel economy on the highway for the Pentastar V-6 Durango Pursuit is 25 miles per gallon and 22 mpg for the V-8 HEMI. Fuel economy for the V-8 is improved by FCA's Fuel Saver Technology, which shuts down four of the engine's cylinders when driving conditions permit. The Pentastar V-6 Durango Pursuit features engine stop start. "When you pull up to a stop sign and stop, the engine shuts off and the creature comforts like air conditioning run on the battery. When you take your foot off the brake, the engine starts," Callery explains.

The 2019 Dodge Durango Pursuit comes standard with 13.8-inch pursuit-rated brakes in the front and 13.0-inch pursuit-rated brakes in the rear. To improve brake performance in the 2019 Durango Pursuit, Dodge added a new front end with integrated air ducts designed to help cool the brakes.

Another addition to the 2019 Durango Pursuit that you won't find on the 2018 model is an improved control and stability system. The pursuit-rated SUV now features performance-tuned, load-leveling NIVOMAT shocks. Other pursuit-rated stability hardware standard on both the 2018 and 2019 Durango Pursuit includes front and rear stabilizer bars and electronic stability control.

Standard features on the 2019 Durango Pursuit include:

  • Spot lamp wiring prep package
  • 220-amp alternator
  • Heavy-duty oil cooler and water pump
  • Eight-way power adjusting driver seat controls
  • K-9 friendly tri-zone climate control

The Durango Pursuit is well designed and equipped for hauling the gear needed for law enforcement operations. Payload capacity—the ability to haul people and gear—for the V-6 is 1,640 pounds and 1,650 for the V-8. "If you think about all the gear officers have to put in the vehicle and all the things they need to accomplish their missions that payload is very stout," says Callery. Cargo space in the Durango Pursuit is substantial. And the designers made it easier to find more room for gear by mounting the spare tire under the vehicle, freeing up the well in the cargo area. If you need to haul more gear than allowed by the payload or the interior space of the Durango Pursuit, you can tow up to 7,200 pounds. A trailer towing package is available as an option.

A standard safety feature on the Durango Pursuit prevents officers from backing into people, objects, and/or vehicles. FCA's ParkSense works with the rearview camera called ParkView to alert drivers of impending impact with a beeping noise. As the vehicle gets closer to impact, the beeping becomes more urgent.

The new 2019 Dodge Durango Pursuit V-8 AWD is available for order. For more information, law enforcement agencies should call (800) 999-3533.