Police cars: Dodge does well all-round, Mustang surprisingly limited

The Michigan State Police have released preliminary data from their tests of 2022 police cars. There were no clear winners, but Dodge did well in a variety of roles, fielding four pursuit cars (Charger and Durango with V6 and V8 power), while Ram had three special-service pickups (Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500).

Every Dodge pursuit car other than the Charger Hemi was fitted with all wheel drive; the Charger Hemi was rear drive, and as usual had the 5.7 liter engine. Officers who intend to overtake a 392 Challenger need to resort to the radio or perhaps the Mustang pursuit car. The V6 Durango was outclassed across the board in acceleration, even when including the base Explorer.

2021 Dodge Charger pursuit police car

The big news for the year was the Ford Mustang electric crossover, which, despite excellent acceleration and braking, was not a good all-around performer. It ran in the middle of the slalom and has a relatively low top speed. The F-150 police truck still has good acceleration coupled with poor brakes and poor track performance, which may be why Ram hasn’t tried for a pursuit truck. The largest vehicle was from GM, the Tahoe PPV, but it may not actually be available to buyers.  Ford’s turbocharged Explorer once again did quite well in performance, but whether police want a turbocharged engine is still a big question.

The Tahoe’s 7.65 second 0-60 time was actually quite credible for such a large vehicle (4×4 dropped it by 0.3 seconds), but it wasn’t even close to the V6 Charger’s 7.17 or the V8 Charger’s 6.15 seconds. Admittedly, the V6 Durango was much worse—8.16 seconds—while the Durango Hemi managed 6.79 seconds.

Ford had three Explorers, dubbed Police Interceptor Utility, all with AWD—a hybrid, a turbo, and a plain V6. These turned in 7.25, 5,45, and 7.79 second 0-60 runs, respectively; all were quite respectable, and the turbo Explorer easily trounced the V8 Charger in 0-60 times. The king of them all was the electric Mustang, running to sixty in just 4.03 seconds.

If you’re more interested in reaching 100 mph, Ford won the game with 11.94 seconds in the Mustang, followed by 13.47 in the turbo Explorer. These beat every other vehicle, including the Hemi Charger (14.06) and Durango (18.10); the worst was the V6 Durango (22.80).

In top speed, Ford again took the honors with its turbo Explorer, maxing at 148 mph, which was 12 mph above the other Explorers. The two Chargers both maxed out at 139 mph, while the Ford pickup only hit 120 and the Mustang could only reach 124; it took the BEV a full 2.1 miles to reach 120, while the Charger Hemi reached 139 mph in 0.93 miles and the Ford pickup hit 120 in just 0.55 miles. Getting to 100 mph was no problem for the Mustang (0.22 miles, beating every other vehicle), but it seems that it’s not really a high-mph car.

In brake testing, the Ford pickup ruled itself out, taking a stunning 161 feet from 60 mph. The Mustang did quite well, at 125 feet, the best of the bunch, and presumably it doesn’t eat brake pads. The under-130-feet club was shared with Tahoe RWD (129.1) and Charger V6 (129.7). The rest of the cars all came within a couple of feet, with the Tahoe 4×4 stopping in 131.5, the Charger V8 in 131.7; and on the high side of that range, the Durango Hemi in 136.6. The three Ford Explorers stopped from 133.2 to 134.5 feet.

Police Pursuit CarTrack Time
Explorer Turbo1:36.01
Charger Hemi1:36.43
Charger V61:37.52
Tahoe RWD1:38.28
Explorer Plain1:38.6
Durango Hemi1:38.85
Tahoe 4xe1:39.07
Explorer Hybrid1:39.15
Durango V61:41.32
Mustang BEV1:42.19

Track speeds are where it all comes together, and there the Explorer Turbo again was king, running in 1:36.01 on average; next best was the Charger Hemi at 1:36.43. The Mustang BEV did pretty well with batteries; it started at 99%, and after 42 minutes of hard driving, was still at 75%. Since police work does not generally involve nonstop race-style driving, it seems a Mustang might actually be practical for an eight hour shift, depending on how much power the climate controls and radio take up when idle.

Overall, given how old the Charger and Durango are compared with the rest of the field, they put in quite a respectable performance; and police departments who don’t want to fuss with turbochargers but who demand a well-rounded patrol car still do quite well with the Charger.

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