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MSP Charger’s poor showing explained

by David Zatz on

2011 Dodge Charger squad car

This year, the Michigan State Police ran three police car prototypes against each other: the Chevrolet Caprice, Dodge Charger, and Ford Police Interceptor (Taurus). Curtis Redgap reported that the results have been published in Law & Order magazine, with one exception: the Ford entries were not listed, because the cars were not production ready.

The Caprice beat the Charger in every one of five performance measures, but according to the article, Dodge later found an electrical fault in the engine/transmission interface which held the Hemi Charger back. Chrysler fleet people also said they were disappointed with the performance of the Pentastar V6, which did not accelerate as expected, and hit a computer cutoff at 130 mph. Though one could ask how they could be surprised by results run on their own tracks, Chrysler Fleet is reportedly raising the computer limits on the V6 to 140 mph. (The cars are computer limited to the speed ratings of their tires.) The Hemi’s computer logic will be corrected, as well.

Police departments usually buy cars based on a mix of price, performance, comfort, perceived durability, upfit-readiness, and other factors, so the second-place ranking of the Charger may not be a final deciding factor in many purchases, especially considering how closely the cars ran when compared with the current, underperforming Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors.

The next report is due from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which also tested 2011 police vehicles. They ran their tests during the Los Angeles Auto Show, giving Chrysler engineers enough time to fix their gaps in both V6 and V8 cars.

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