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According to IHS data, Dodge sold 12,031 police cars in the U.S. in 2013; the most popular squads were Ford Explorers (14,086) and Chevrolet Tahoes (13,629). Charger beat Taurus (10,897), Impala (4,281), and Caprice (3,874).
A Dodge Durango and Ram squad package were launched in 2012-13, both as special services vehicles rather than pursuits. Both have built-in control consoles for lights and sirens, beefed up electrical facilities, and added transmission cooling; the Ram uses, according to unofficial sources, modified heads and other transmission changes.
The Dodge Charger appears to be the top seller to police departments throughout the United States, with the death of the long-in-the-tooth Ford Crown Victoria — presumably at the hands of the Charger, since its increasingly reduced market share ate away at the business case for refreshing it to meet future standards. Instead, Ford launched a set of Taurus-based pursuit cars, one of which is turbocharged and sports all wheel drive. It has impressive performance, but uses technologies not normally considered for American police cars.
In the Michigan State Police 2011 tests (of 2012 cars), Charger had the highest ergonomics-communications score of any car, at 223. Caprice came in second at 217. Ford came in at 203, the lowest score of any vehicle tested, including the front-wheel-drive Impala. The top scorer was not a car, but the Chevrolet Tahoe, topping the charts at 236.
In the V6 acceleration competition, the Charger easily beat the Taurus front-wheel-drive and AWD models, but Caprice beat Charger, thanks largely to its superior six-speed automatic. The Dodge Charger police edition is still not available with the eight-speed automatic, possibly because the five-speed is time-tested and cheaper.
The real performance action is in the V8/turbo arena, and Dodge did surprisingly well there, as well; the 3.06:1 ratio made a difference, allowing the Charger Hemi to beat both Caprice and turbocharged Taurus. The difference was usually relatively minor, especially between Caprice and Charger; Taurus had the best 0-50 time, reflecting the ease of launching an all wheel drive car. Caprice had the top speed, by 2 mph. (See details and chart.)
In 2009, Charger had dominated the tests for braking with a stopping distance of around 138-143 feet. For 2011, Dodge came close to the champ, Chevrolet Caprice, and easily all three Fords (the AWD V6 was similar in standard and turbo versions). The Impala and Tahoe beat their 2010 numbers but came in behind the more hard-core squads.
On the overall dynamics and cornering test, the Charger Hemis, with both axle ratios, took the #1 and #2 spots; Caprice V8s bracketed the Ford AWD Turbo, and all beat the 2010 Charger Hemi's score. Then came the standard V6 models, again with Charger taking the lead, suggesting that the suspension had been tweaked along with the brakes; it was followed by the Caprice, then the two Fords without turbochargers.
The gas mileage leader, excluding the three Fords whose mileage was not available, was the Charger V6 with 19 city, 26 highway or 18 city, 27 highway, depending on axle ratio. The Caprice V6 was close, at 18/26. Among the V8s, the Charger Hemi clearly beat Caprice, with 16/25 versus Chevy's 15/24 and 14/22.
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