The Michigan State Police held its annual Police Vehicle Evaluation Sept. 17-19. And there was not a lot of excitement. The 2023 model year is basically more of the same from the Big Three American automakers that supply law enforcement agencies with pursuit-rated vehicles.
Chevrolet brought one of the most interesting entries, its new patrol pickup, the Silverado PPV in two models.
Dodge brought the last patrol sedans on the market, the 5.7 liter V8 Charger with the Hemi and the 3.6 liter with the Pentastar V6. Also tested were the Dodge patrol SUVs, the Durango 5.7 liter V8 and 3.6 liter V6 both in AWD.
Ford once again submitted the Mustang Mach-E battery electric SUV, which is not officially a patrol vehicle. Other submissions from Ford’s broad fleet of patrol vehicles included three gas-powered versions of the Ford PoIice Interceptor Utility SUV: the 3.0 liter V6 EcoBoost, the Hybrid gas-electric, and the 3.3 liter V6. Ford also brought its pursuit-rated pickup—the F-150 Police Responder 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost—for its third year of testing. The latest version of the pickup launched as a 2021 model, the first model debuted as a 2018.
At presstime, the results from this year’s testing were preliminary, but the results are very similar to the 2021 testing of the 2022 model year vehicles.
ACCELERATION AND SPEED
Top speed is the most glamorous performance category of the MSP vehicle testing but also the least reflective of real driving during law enforcement duty. Acceleration is a much more applicable performance characteristic for patrol vehicles.
Ford scored the two top 0 to 60 mph acceleration specs at 3.93 seconds for the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV and 5.72 seconds for the F-150 Police Responder. Both are of course special vehicles. Top speed for the F-150 Police Responder was 120 mph. The Electric Mustang hit 122 mph.
Among more conventional patrol vehicles, the Ford PI Utility EcoBoost was both the quickest and the fastest, with a zero to sixty of 5.68 seconds and a top speed of 148 mph. This is not surprising since the EcoBoost engine has twin turbos. The PI Utility Hybrid scored a zero to sixty of 7.28 seconds and a top speed of 136 mph. The normally aspirated PI Utility 3.3-liter scored a zero to sixty of 7.95 seconds and a top speed of 136 mph.
Dodge of course had some of the fastest vehicles with its Charger muscle sedans. The 5.7 liter V8 Hemi Charger Pursuit is a beast. Its top speed is 140 mph—which is slower than the civilian model—and it posted a zero to sixty of 6.01 second. Dodge’s other Charger Pursuit patrol vehicle, the 3.6 liter with the Pentastar V6, topped out at the same 140 MPH as the 5.7 liter Hemi and went zero to sixty in 7.57 seconds.
Dodge’s Durango patrol SUVs have the same two engines as the Chargers. The 5.7 liter V8 Hemi Durango had a top speed of 130 mph and a zero to sixty of 7.27 seconds. The 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 had a top speed of 128 mph and a zero to sixty of 8.65 seconds.
Chevy’s patrol vehicles were the slowest in the testing but not by much. Top speed for the Tahoe 5.3 liter RWD was 130 mph with a zero to sixty of 7.38. The 4WD version of the Tahoe with the same engine had a top speed of 124 mph and a zero to sixty of 8.03 seconds. Both Silverado PPV pickup models, the ZR7 4WD and Z71 4WD, reached a top speed of 112 mph. Acceleration scores for the Chevy patrol trucks showed the power of their 5.3-liter V8 engines. The ZR7 4WD reached its top speed in 24.38 second and recorded a zero to sixty of 7.43 seconds. The Z71 4WD accelerated to 112 mph in 23.80 seconds and hit sixty from a standing stop in 7.59 seconds.
Acceleration and speed are some of the most important specs for patrol vehicles, but nothing is more important than braking.
Brakes on duty vehicles get some serious wear and tear. MSP evaluators use a specific protocol of driving and stopping to warm and cool the brakes before putting them to the test.
It’s no surprise that the winner in the brake category was the electric Mustang. Electric vehicles use different stopping technology than conventional automobiles and trucks. The Mustang Mach-E’s estimated stopping distance 60 to 0 mph was 122.80 feet.
It’s also no surprise that the worst performing vehicle in the braking evaluation was the other Ford special vehicle, the F-150 Police Responder. The pursuit pickup truck was estimated to stop sixty to zero in 162.2 feet.
Chevy's new pursuit pickups displayed excellent braking, thanks to their Brembo brake front calipers and 16-inch rotors. MSP estimates that the Silverado PPV ZX7 4WD stops from sixty to zero in 140.2 feet and the Z71 4WD pulls to a stop from 60 mph in 140.4 feet. The Chevy Tahoes also demonstrated impressive stopping power, with the RWD model coming down from sixty to zero in an estimated 127.7 feet. The 4WD model had an estimated sixty to zero stopping distance of 130.1 seconds.
Dodge’s Charger Pursuit models have an advantage over heavier SUVs in stopping distance and it showed in the MSP testing. The MSP evaluators estimated the sixty to zero of the 5.7 liter V8 Hemi Charger at 129.6 feet and the 3.6 liter V6 Pentastar at 129.7 feet. The Dodge Durango SUVs had sixty to zero estimates of 137.7 feet for the 5.7 liter V8 Hemi and 135.3 for the 3.6 liter V6 Pentastar.
Ford’s patrol SUVs also demonstrated solid braking capabilities. The PI Utility with V6 EcoBoost was estimated to stop sixty to zero in 131.5 feet, the 3.3 liter 131.7 feet, and the Hybrid 132.5 feet.
Law enforcement vehicles are clearly in transition, and the 2023 models may be some of the last of their kind. There will likely be fewer conventional gas-powered patrol vehicles on the track when the 2024 pursuit-rated models are tested by the MSP next year.
Chevrolet has announced an all electric Blazer PPV police vehicle for 2024, Dodge is planning to retire the gas powered Charger at the end of 2023 and is showing an electric concept vehicle that could be modified for the next police sedan, and Ford is expected to develop an electric PI Utility in the near future.