Michigan State Police Test 2012 Patrol Cars

The Michigan State Police test 12 four-wheel vehicles available to law enforcement in 2012.

The crop of 2012 patrol cars tested by the Michigan State Police offer law enforcement officers greater performance and safety than ever before.

Higher-performance engines, greater fuel economy, and officer-safety upgrades provide law enforcement plenty of hard choices for America’s next patrol car to replace Ford’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI).

During the annual MSP testing, which was covered live by POLICE Magazine, the higher-torque Dodge Charger Pursuit (5.7-liter, V-8) and Chevrolet Caprice PPV (6.0-liter, V-8) were top performers for 0-60 mph and top speed, according to preliminary results. The Caprice also scored highest in the braking test.

The state police’s Precision Driving Unit put 12 four-wheel vehicles   through acceleration, braking, high-speed handling, and other tests at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea on Sept. 17. Seven of the 12 sedans and Chevy’s Tahoe SUV were run on E85 fuel.

The unit, which has been testing law enforcement vehicles since 1974,  puts the vehicles through acceleration, braking, high-speed handling,  and other tests.

A vehicle that can reach 150 mph certainly presents officer-safety concerns, yet officers may sleep more soundly knowing the capabilities these new vehicles bring to the table.  Five of the cars-including the Dodge Charger Pursuit, Chevrolet Caprice PPV, and Chevrolet Impala-reached the 150-mph plateau.

The 2012 Chevy Caprice (6.0-liter, V-8) took the top-speed crown for   the second year in a row, reaching 154 mph and surpassing the 148 mph time recorded by the initial model. Chevrolet also upgraded its 2012 Impala by adding a 3.6-liter, V-6 rated for 302 hp. The car adds 70 hp and a six-speed transmission from a year ago. The vehicle reached 150 mph with E85 fuel.

Lastly, the Charger in 2.65 and 3.06 axle ratios reached 152 mph and   151 mph respectively. The 3.06-geared vehicle also recorded the quickest 0-60 mph time of 5.83 seconds. Dodge first brought the pair of rear-axle vehicles to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s November test.

While the higher-torque Charger recorded the fastest 0-60 mph time,  other vehicles weren’t far behind. Other top performers included the Caprice (5.91 seconds), Ford’s all-wheel drive, turbo-charged Police Interceptor (5.92 seconds), and 2.65-geared Charger (5.95 seconds).

The 2012 vehicles improved the performance of the 2011 models,  and added less dramatic strides in braking. A year ago, Ford’s all-wheel-drive interceptor (non-turbo) needed 126.6 feet to reach a dead stop from 60 mph, which was an improvement of 15 feet over the Crown Vic.

The Chevy Caprice with a V-8 is the quickest stopper for 2012,  needing 125.8 feet to reach a standstill in the MSP test. Chevy’s V-6 Caprice stopped in 126.2 feet. Ford’s top braking vehicle was the front-wheel drive Police Interceptor Utility (3.7-liter, V-6). The V-6 Charger needed 127 feet.

The Michigan State Police typically release their official results in late October or early November.

As the POLICE Magazine Web editor, Paul Clinton contributes posts about vehicles and technology. He previously wrote about these topics as managing editor with aftermarket automotive magazine Mobile Electronics. Prior to that, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter.

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