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First Coast Gears: Battle of the police cruisers - Dodge Charger Pursuit, Ford Interceptor sedan, Chevrolet Caprice PPV

4:02 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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This week, Ford and Dodge fired off their latest salvos as they compete for the business to replace aging Crown Victorias, Impalas and other cop cars at law enforcement agencies around the country.

The two auto giants made their announcements on the same day, and now offer all-wheel-drive versions of their pursuit sedans.

"With the Charger Pursuit now offering dual capability of both rear- and all-wheel-drive, we'll be able to meet the needs of our police fleet customers across the country," said Chrysler VP Peter Grady in a news release.

Dodge claims its front-axle-disconnect system helps fuel economy.  Under the hood is the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that puts out 370 horsepower. The Charger Pursuit AWD reaches 60 in under six seconds and gets up to 25 mpg on the highway by shutting down four of the eight cylinders.

A V-6 with 292 horsepower that gets 27 highway mpg is also available.

Meanwhile, Ford reports its Police Interceptor sedan, which is a bulked-up Taurus, is also available with all-wheel-drive, matching Dodge's 25 mpg highway rating. The big difference here is the engines. Ford doesn't offer a V-8, instead going with a 3.7-liter V6 that has upped horsepower to 305. Ford didn't announce 0-to-60 times.

Both cars have been through a battery of torture tests. Ford points out its Police Interceptor earned top safety ratings in the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration's New Car Assessment Program. Meanwhile, Dodge says its Charger Pursuit achieved the fastest-ever lap time (1:33.70) on Michigan State Police's Vehicle Evaluation Test at Grattan Raceway in Michigan.

You might be wondering where General Motors is in all this. GM is hoping police agencies will warm up to its 2013 Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle. Unlike Dodge and Ford, it's not based on a civilian car available for sale in the U.S. Instead, it's based on the Holden Comodore, which is a GM subsidiary in Australia. The Caprice PPV is available with a 6.0-liter V-8.

Here in the U.S., its closest cousin is the defunct Pontiac G8, which was also a rebadged Holden.

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