An all-new Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) will join the ranks of law enforcement departments across North America in 2011. It’s a modern, full-size, rear-drive sedan that will offer both V-8 and V-6 engines, as well as a host of specialized equipment and features.
The Caprice PPV is not based on existing “civilian” passenger-car model sold in North America. It has been developed in key areas specifically for police duty, containing modern equipment and features:
- Powerful 6.0L V-8 with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology and E85 capability delivers expected best-in-class 0-60 acceleration (sub six seconds) and top speed; a V-6 engine will also be offered, beginning in the 2012 model year
- Optional front-seat-only side curtain air bags allows a full-width rear-seat barrier for greater officer safety
- Two trunk-mounted batteries, with one of them dedicated to powering various police equipment
- Designed for five-passenger seating, meaning the upper-center section of the dashboard can be used for equipment mounting without the concern of air bag deployment interference
- Compatibility with in-dash touch-screen computer technology
- Special front seats designed for the long-term comfort of officers whose car is their effective office, including space that accommodates the bulk of a typical equipment belt
The front seats are sculpted to “pocket” the equipment belt, which greatly increases the comfort for a great range of police officer sizes. The foam density of the seatback and cushion insert surfaces are designed to conform to the shape of an equipment belt’s various items, too, allowing the officer’s back to rest properly on the seatback surface.
Along with comfort, the materials used in the seats were also carefully selected. High-wear materials were chosen to stand up to long hours of everyday use, while breathability, long-term durability and ease of cleaning were also important criteria.
Engineers worked on several iterations of the seat, testing a couple of versions in the field to get real-world feedback from police officers, who used prototype seats in their cruisers for a month. Their input helped determine the final design.
The Caprice PPV is based on GM’s global rear-drive family of vehicles that also underpins the Chevy Camaro. It uses the longest wheelbase of the architecture – 118.5 inches (3,010 mm) – along with a four-wheel independent suspension that delivers responsive high-performance driving characteristics that are crucial in some police scenarios.
Caprice PPV’s long wheelbase also contributes to exceptional spaciousness. Compared to the primary competition, its advantages include:
- A larger interior volume – 112 cubic feet / 3,172 liters – than the Ford Crown Victoria, including nearly 4 inches (101 mm) more rear legroom
- The barrier between the front seat and rear seat is positioned farther rearward, allowing for full front-seat travel and greater recline for officer comfort
- At 18 cubic feet (535 liters) free space (beyond battery located in trunk), the Caprice’s trunk volume is large enough to accommodate a full-size spare tire under a flat load surface in the trunk storage area.
The Caprice’s 6.0-liter V-8 is rated at an estimated 355 horsepower (265 kW) with an estimated 384 lb-ft of torque. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission that is performance-calibrated for police duty. Additional, police car-specific powertrain and vehicle system features include:
- High-output alternator
- Engine oil, transmission and power steering coolers
- Standard 18-inch steel wheels with bolt-on center caps
- Large, four-wheel disc brakes with heavy-duty brake pads
- Heavy-duty suspension components
- Police-calibrated stability control system
- Driver information center in the instrument cluster with selectable speed tracking feature.