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2006 Michigan State Police tests the Dodge Charger and Magnum

Dodge Charger police cars - main page • 2010 MSP Tests

Vehicle Five-Lap/Four Driver
Ford Police Interceptor 3:27 01:41.00
Ford Police Interceptor 3:55 01:40.91
Chevrolet Impala 9C1 3.9L 01:42.95
Chevrolet Tahoe PPV 2WD E85 01:43.78
Chevrolet Tahoe PPV 2WD 01:44.08
Dodge Magnum 3.5L 01:41.82
Dodge Magnum 5.7L 01:37.65
Dodge Charger 3.5L 01:41.11
Dodge Charger 5.7L 01:37.69

The comprehensive vehicle comparison tests for the Michigan State Police were conducted on Saturday, September 16, 2006 and concluded on Monday, September 18, 2006.  These tests used four different drivers, taking one vehicle at a time, and driving it all out for five laps on a closed course at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds. At the end of the five laps, the driver switches to a different vehicle and does another five laps. Gratten Raceway in Belding, Michigan is also used.

These charts are the preliminary raw data, and do not include the results of the ergonomic and full cycle tests which are the forte of the Michigan State Police Tests. The lowest price does not necessarily win the bid; they seek the the most bang for the buck through real world performance and ergonomic tests. The comprehensive test results will be done by the testing laboratory, and will be published in a couple of months.

Overall, the 5.7 Hemi in the Magnum, and the 5.7 Hemi in the Charger were virtually locked in a dead heat. 4/100ths of a second is unimaginatively quick, faster than you can blink your eye.

It should also be noted that the 5.7 litre Hemi Magnum is a police package, equipped for the full rigors of police use. The 3.5 litre V-6 was tested as a full police package and a special service vehicle, and while there was no difference in the test applications, the SSV designation would mean that it would not be recommended as a full pursuit vehicle, under the MSP guidelines. That would be a decision made by the department purchasing the vehicles. It would not preclude it from being used in or as a full police patrol unit, much like the Ford Mustang, also a special service unit, was usually used as a pursuit car. 

It is rather interesting that the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, equipped with two different rear axle ratios were also virtually locked into the same times. However, the difference in the gearing is highly different in top speed ability.

virginia state police - Dodge Charger pursuit car

More information is supplied about the tests at the New York Times.

The Michigan State Police conducts some of the most comprehensive brake testing in the world on the vehicles submitted to it for consideration for bids. The only other test of vehicle braking under controlled conditions is done by the California Highway Patrol, whose test results are released in the summer. CHP and MSP combined represent a total exam. When a vehicle gets past those tests, its brakes are beyond reproach.

Here, there are three phases for the test. The last is the distance, often used as a yard stick for all vehicle testing, to stop in the shortest distance from 60 miles an hour in a full brake application, short of sliding the tires. With the new anti-lock systems operating with the more accurate computers, such a test is more or less automatic.
Phase 1 of the MSP tests involves taking the vehicles up to 90 miles an hour, then making a full force brake application utilizing a decelometer to hold the vehicle to a rate of 22/ft² per second,  to get the vehicle to 0. Then, as it comes to a full stop, the evaluation is immediately repeated by a run up to 90 miles an hour and then another full force break application using the meter to measure deceleration at 22/ft² per second. The vehicle is then not moved for a full four minutes. This allows complete "heat soak" from the linings to the disc or drums.
Phase 1 then begins a series of 6 full force stops from 60 miles an hour, right in a row, one after the other, whereby the car is run up to 60, the brakes clamped on, then taken back to 60 as soon as the car stops rolling. This is done six times in a row. The distances are recorded as measured by the deceleration tables. Using a formula then, the rates are worked out for each vehicle.

After the last of the six stops is completed, the evaluated vehicle is allowed to complete another 4 full minute "heat soak." As soon as the time is up, Phase 2 begins.

Phase 2 is conducted exactly the same as Phase 1. Two 90 mile an hour stops using the measured meter to 22/ft² . The vehicle is rested for four minutes. Then a second series of 60 to 0 decelerations with maximum braking through six full cycles.

Phase 3 begins four minutes after the completion of Phase 2. As mentioned this test consists of measuring the distance it takes to get to 0 from 60 miles an hour.  Vehicles on the left side of the table are designated as pursuit vehicles; vehicles on the right side are designated as special service vehicles not intended for pursuit. The best are bolded; the worst are red-faced.

Deceleration Rate Dodge Charger Dodge Magnum Chevy Ford Interceptor Chevrolet Tahoe   Tahoe Ford Ford Expedition Ford Dodge Ford
V6 V8 V6 V8 V6 3.27 3.55 V8 E85 4WD Explorer Std. EL Escape Magnum F250
Phase 1 Average 28.95 29.3 29.94 29.48 27.69 27.1 26.77 27.97 27.97 26.79 24.48 25.66 25.66 28.05 26.99 24.96
Phase 2 Average 29.75 29 29.68 28.95 27.42 27.3 27.26 28.08 28.08 24.77 25.67 25.6 26.69 27.54 27.79 24.99
Overall Average 29.35 29.15 29.81 29.21 27.55 27.2 27.02 28.03 28.03 25.78 25.07 25.63 26.18 27.79 27.39 24.97
Stopping Distance 131.9 132.8 129.9 132.5 140.5 142.4 143.3 138.2 138.2 150.2 154.4 151.1 147.9 139.3 141.4 155

Engines and other details: Dodge V6, 3.5 liter; Dodge V8, 5.7 Hemi; Chevy V6, 3.9 liter; Ford Police Interceptor and Explorer V8, 4.6 liter; Ford Expedition and F-250 Crew Cab, 5.4 liter V8; Ford Escape, 2.3 liter hybrid; Chevy Tahoe, 5.3 liter V8. Stopping distance is from 60 mph and is measured in feet.

There were shades of the "good ol’ days" when it came to the 2007 brake testing. Dodge came out on top for all its submitted vehicles, except the SSV 3.5 liter Magnum. The "best of the best" in the Dodge was, once again, the 3.5 equipped Magnum. It almost touched the magic "30" as a deceleration rate. Remember, in the case of deceleration rates, the HIGHER the number, the BETTER it is! Not to be left out, the Charger 3.5 came out the second of the "best of the best." That left the Dodge Magnum 5.7 Hemi third, and the Charger 5.7 Hemi fourth overall.

Neither the Ford CV PI nor the Impala were bad, but they were clearly outclassed. The 3.5 Magnum SSV was sort of longish. I don’t know how you could explain that if the brakes were the same. Except to say that perhaps the ABS is programmed differently.

The various Ford-designed trucks are out of their league; but even though the pursuit Tahoe posted a car-like stopping distance, better than the Impala or either of the Ford Police Interceptors, the civilian Tahoe was slower to stop than any vehicle other than the Ford trucks.

The final part of these tests is the acceleration trials. The vehicles are tested for their ability to run up from 0 to 20, 0 to 30, 0 to 40, 0 to 50, 0 to 60, 0 to 70, 0 to 80, 0 to 90, and 0 to 100 miles an hour. These trials are timed with four runs being conducted for each car. Two are run Northbound, and two are run Southbound to eliminate any advantage for wind.

The final part of acceleration is the famous "top speed" run. This consists of a 14 mile stretch of race track. The car is simply pointed towards the end, and the accelerator held to the floor. When the speed stops going up, that is the recorded ability to achieve numbers. The car is then run back the other way doing the same thing, and an average speed taken to account for the wind.

The charts are included here. The Dodge Charger V6 turned in numbers similar to the Tahoe V8, and that the Impala, after a slightly slow start, matched or beat the Charger V6; both Charger and Impala V6 came very close to the two Fords. The difference between the Hemi-powered cars and the "best of the rest" is more marked than the difference between the Magnum V6 and the "worst of the rest."

Vehicles in the first chart, other than the Magnum, were designated as pursuit vehicles; vehicles on second chart were both pursuit and special service vehicles not meant to be in pursuits.

Summary of acceleration and top speed testing (best in bold, worst in red)

SPEED Dodge Charger Dodge Magnum Chevy Ford Interceptor Magnum
(Sec) V6 Hemi V6 Hemi Impala 3.27 3.55 Non-Pursuit
0-20 1.96 1.57 2.02 1.55 1.95 1.81 1.84 1.99
0-30 3.32 2.57 3.39 2.56 3.21 3.11 3.10 3.32
0-40 4.77 3.57 4.86 3.57 4.56 4.48 4.52 4.77
0-50 6.53 4.97 6.67 5.01 6.36 6.43 6.55 6.52
0-60 8.83 6.53 8.99 6.54 8.82 8.71 8.72 8.81
0-70 11.51 8.24 11.71 8.30 11.35 11.16 11.14 11.44
0-80 14.52 10.69 14.80 10.81 14.21 14.19 14.42 14.53
0-90 18.93 13.36 19.39 13.48 18.26 18.74 18.83 18.90
0-100 24.13 16.32 24.95 16.53 24.11 24.01 24.01 24.11
TOP SPEED 132 148 131 131 139 130 119 116

As for the trucks:

SPEED Ford Tahoe Ford Expedition Escape Chevrolet Tahoe
(Sec) F-250 4WD
V8 EL Hybrid V8 E85 V8
0-20 2.34 2.17 1.93 2.09 1.99 2.86 2.07 2.04
0-30 3.79 3.45 3.09 3.31 3.36 4.65 3.32 3.26
0-40 5.54 4.82 4.83 5.21 5.13 6.76 4.61 4.52
0-50 7.59 6.92 6.69 7.14 7.04 9.45 6.44 6.34
0-60 10.31 9.18 8.84 9.65 9.77 12.76 8.66 8.49
0-70 13.39 11.64 11.93 12.67 12.68 17.09 11.01 10.74
0-80 18.15 15.95 15.14 16.08 16.13 22.56 14.28 13.85
0-90 24.56 20.82 19.06 20.32 20.94 31.31 19.10 18.40
0-100 N/A N/A 24.88 26.68 31.58 52.30 24.52 23.45
TOP SPEED 95 98 101 104 100 102 136 137

All results listed above are preliminary and are subject to change upon confirmation of the data. Engine and vehicle details are shown after the braking chart above. Speed are in miles per hour.

One area that is not listed out of the usual charting is the ¼ mile speed and times. From what we know, you can surmise that this would translate into somewhere between 90 to 100 miles an hour for the 5.7 Hemi equipped vehicles testing in 2007.

The finalized version of these tests will be ready when the laboratory completes compilation of all the raw data. This will include the final versions of the ergonomic testing, and the cycle to determine the value of the total vehicle to arrive at the MSP "most bang for the buck."

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