2010+ Charger Pursuit Cars • Dodge Charger page • 2006-10 Charger Pursuits • Where Chargers are used • 2012 Comparisons
For 2013, there were no reported changes to the Dodge Charger pursuit cars; the civilian models saw a slightly more powerful V6 (on some models), along with trim and equipment changes which do not apply to police use. The five-speed automatic continues, even on the V6; a Chrysler rep told us that most police buyers are fairly conservative, and prefer the "tried and true" version even though it has a fairly hefty impact on acceleration and gas mileage.
We took the Charger Pursuit around Chrysler’s test tracks in Chelsea, Michigan, which replicate both normal highways (blacktop and concrete alike) and numerous poor roads, with a section of tighter curves. The Charger’s suspension tuning was clearly different from retail Chargers; it had the firm feel of Mopars of the 1990s, not the cushioned, smooth ride of the 2010s. While not harsh or uncomfortable most of the time, the specially-created poor road surfaces of parts of the track (careful simulations of "real" bad roads) created jitters and shakes that were completely absent from the stock Charger, or for that matter just about any other vehicle at the Proving Grounds that day. Cornering seemed to be somewhat better, though we did not push either car to their maximum.
Changes for the police include bushings, spring rates, and brake upgrades, as well as pursuit rated tires. Expert driving instructor Rex Sagle explained that pursuit-rated tires have reinforced inside and outside shoulders for U-turns, median crossing, jumping curbs, and such; he wrote, "The ride suffers, and the pursuit tires pick up more road noise, that coupled with the stiff suspension makes the vehicle very harsh on city streets. On the highway, I do not mind the ride at all. It does not pay to install non-pursuit-rated tires on a police car, a few have tried, and the results were not good."
There was no question that we were driving a police car at any time, even if the copilot, a company rep, had not been sounding the variuos Whelan siren options and making the lights flash. The built in siren had a plethora of options, including a loud but clear speaker coupled to an interior microphone. The buttons are easy to push, and the panel had no "give" — it was mounted securely, most likely to the main dashboard supports.
Despite the shaking and bumping over ruts, concrete slats, deliberately-created potholes, and other punishments, the cars were tight. There were no rattles at all, and the Mopar gear stayed tight. Admittedly, these were special press cars, no doubt given extra attention, but it was still a testament to the quality and nature of the attachments that the Whelen control board, siren, and lights, not to mention the various other panels and pieces, did not shake, rattle, or make any sort of noise; they gave no impression of being affected by the washboard roads or various other challenges of the course.
Neil Young, Jr., who handles law enforcement at Chrysler, said that retail and fleet have vastly different needs, and that Dodge has different durability cycle testing criteria and different design requirements for pursuit and fleet cars. This may explain some of the differences.
The Hemi engine and transmission did not feel different from their civilian counterparts; both use the Hemi plus five-speed automatic for now, though the civilian Hemi is expected to switch to the eight-speed automatic in 2014. At that point, with some history behind it, fleet managers might consider moving to the eight-speed, especially since their alternatives will also be new and unproven (in the United States, at least) as pursuit cars.
There are still differences in the cars: pursuit vehicles get 100,000 mile plugs, extra cooling, and a power steering cooler (at least, on the 2013s.) The factory-installed, crash-tested push-bumper is an industry first; the airbags still work properly when it is installed.
Mr. Young said that color is important even for police cars; there are still color trends. Chrysler now makes five standard colors, with custom colors available at a cost, and with a minimum order.
Chrysler spokesman Neil Young, Jr. said that the Mopar equipment packages had been crash-tested (that is, cars equipped with them had been crash-tested), unique in the industry; improperly mounted equipment can cause a lot of damage in a crash. Mopar packages come with a full warranty, and make it easy to order cars and get them on a predictable schedule. Some officers have told Allpar that aftermarket cages and communications gear often rattles incessantly, and that sometimes there were long delays after new cars arrived, while they were fitted by other companies. Mopar, though, took time to refine the add-on parts, eliminating squeaks and rattles, and working to integrate them into the look of the car. Chargers can be ordered pre-equipped, in batches of five or more cars.
For 2012, Mopar announced six factory-installed police-equipment packages for the 2012 Dodge Charger Pursuit cars, created with various reputable suppliers. Mopar extensively tested the packages, which have a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty. The packages simplify the ordering/upfit process, allowing more predictable delivery times. The base police prep package for the Dodge Charger Pursuit includes the following:
The 2012 quick order packages are, in addition to the base prep (AYE) above:
Parts that may be ordered separately are the push bumper, siren speaker and bracket, grille lights, front and rear corner LED lights, side lights, visor lights, overhead light bars (full and limited feature versions), rear deck lights (normal and full width), police floor console, Can-Com siren system, floor mats, trunk tray, trunk cooling fan, spare tire relocation bracket, front and rear wire harnesses, power distribution center, splash guards, hitch receiver, and towing wire harness.
Standard equipment includes the features noted earlier (e.g. load leveling performance suspension), as well as:
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