When it comes to updating your department’s fleet, a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration. Along with the drivability, efficiency and versatility of the models being considered; the technology, storage capabilities—and in some cases towing ability—must be given equal weight when it comes to making a final decision. We contacted representatives from the big three automakers about their new law enforcement offerings for 2021 and found some surprises under the hood, inside the cabin and on the dash of these new models.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
David Callery, Program Manager of Police and Emergency Response Vehicles with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, tells us that there are multiple new options available for the 2021 models of the Dodge Durango Pursuit, the Dodge Charger Pursuit, the Dodge Durango SSV and the Ram 1500 SSV.
“We have made tremendous upgrades and enhancements for the 2021 model year, with a majority of them being standard equipment,” Callery says of the Durango Pursuit.
Some of the new standard equipment in the Durango Pursuit include: a column mounted shifter, vinyl floor covering, black steel wheels with chrome center caps for ease of upfit, upgraded HD BR9 brake system, customer selectable top speed (max 130mph), two red/white LED auxiliary dome lamps (1 in cargo area), police specific front bucket seats modified for duty belt, taller front seat belt receivers, 4 programmable auxiliary switches, stealth mode, front/rear wig wag capability, 255/60R18 V-rated Firestone tires, UCONNECT 4 with 8.4" display and a Vehicle Systems Interface Module (VSIM)
The Charger Pursuit 2021 model year offers 2 new powertrains and AWD will now be available in the V-6 Pentastar with the 8-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission. With an increase in horsepower/torque from last years V-6. Now 300HP and 264 lb/ft torque. Callery says that the V-8 RWD is also mated to the 8-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission with 370 HP and 395 lb/ft torque. Apple Car Play and Android Auto is now standard equipment on the Charger.
The UCONNECT 3 with 5 inch display is now standard in the Ram 1500 SSV, while the UCONNECT 4 with 8.4 inch display as well as the HD BR9 Pursuit brake package is now standard in the Dodge Durango SSV.
When it comes of the officer’s workspace, Callery says that FCA has introduced the IP mounted shifter, in the Durango. Similar to the feature in the Charger Pursuit, it frees up additional space needed between the front bucket seats. With safety being paramount, the Durango Pursuit has also added NIJ Level III+ ballistic doors. Callery says that this new optional feature matches the current offering for the Charger Pursuit. The Durango Pursuit also offers an optional stand-alone Blind Spot and Cross Path technology, similar to the Charger. Durango also offers the Technology Group that includes Adaptive Cruise Control W/Stop, Advanced Brake Assist, Lane Departure Warning Plus, Rain Sensitive Windshield Wipers and Full Speed Forward Collision Warning W/Stop (with pursuit-specific override).
According to Callery, FCA’s decision to add new features and enhancements to its law enforcement models has been “overwhelmingly driven” by officer safety. “We value our customer base and will provide the safest vehicle we possibly can,” he says. “The input from the law enforcement community and in particular our Police Advisory Board (PAB), has always been a major influence in our decision-making process.”
With a focus on officer safety, and with the addition of new options and additions to standard packages, FCA believes its law enforcement fleet stands above the pack. “We believe our overall law enforcement line up covers the needs of most LE agencies (sedan, SUV, truck),” says Callery. “The Dodge Charger is the only sedan offering in this segment. Offered in a AWD V-6 and a RWD V-8, it meets the demands of both the state police/highway patrols as well as the city, suburban & rural departments. If an agency needs more cargo and payload, we offer the AWD Durango in both a V-6 as well as a V-8. The Ram 1500 SSV checks the box of those agencies that need not only cargo room and payload, but increased ground clearance and overall interior passenger space.”
Production was slated to begin on the Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ram 1500 SSV in late 2020, while the Dodge Durango Pursuit was scheduled to begin production in February 2021. FCA opened for orders to its entire 2021 law enforcement line up in September 2020.
General Motors Fleet
Chris Bonelli, Coordinator of Design, Product and Brand Communications for General Motors, shared GM Fleet’s newest offerings for its 2021 law enforcement models.
The 2021 Tahoe PPV engine borrows high-performance rocker covers from the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 LT4 engine. These rocker covers improve crankcase ventilation, allowing the 2021 Tahoe to handle high lateral conditions better than its predecessor. The engine also features Dynamic Fuel Management, which enables the engine to operate in up to 18 different cylinder patterns—with as few as two cylinders—to optimize power delivery and efficiency.
Other upgrades include Firestone Firehawk Pursuit all-season tires, mounted to 20-inch steel wheels, which were co-developed with Bridgestone; a heavy-duty braking system with large front Brembo six-piston aluminum monoblock calipers on 16-inch rotors; 4WD models that offer a Terrain Mode, which provides performance similar to 4WD Low without the need of a two-speed transfer case; and an all-new independent rear suspension and longer wheelbase, which dramatically improve handling and ride smoothness.
In order to increase the workspace available to officers, Bonelli says that the new Tahoe police-specific front seats provide additional hip room, allowing officers’ utility belts to fit more comfortably. The driver seat is 10-way power adjustable and the passenger seat is eight-way power adjustable, while both have two-way lumbar support. There also is a standard in-dash driver's license, gate pass or fuel card holder. To further increase convenience, a new standard blunt-cut wire harness has 31 wire circuits to the cockpit, 56 wire circuits to the cargo area and 25 shared circuits to connect aftermarket equipment without removing major panels or components. Upfitters can repurpose the steering wheel-mounted buttons using the blunt-cut wires to perform tasks like initiating a Code 3 with lights and sirens or keying a department radio microphone.
“Already one of the most desirable service vehicles on the road, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe PPV takes it up a notch,” says Yuri Tello, Manager, General Motors Global Fleet and Government Operations. “The all-new design provides more room for officers in the cockpit, passengers in the rear and equipment in the trunk. Officers will love the versatility and day-to-day comfort the latest Tahoe PPV provides.”
With an eye on officer safety, GM offers a suite of available active safety features is designed to help them stay in control and avoid collisions, including Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking and Following Distance Indicator. There also is a standard protected idle feature, which allows the engine to remain idling and keep the vehicle immobilized while the key fob is outside vehicle. Other technology upgrades include Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, HD Rear Vision Camera, Rear Park Assist, Hitch Guidance, keyless entry and push-to-start ignition, all standard. Other available options include 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot (subscription required) and an industry-first Rear Camera Mirror, which allows officers to see through prisoner partitions, cargo barriers or K-9 units that would normally obstruct a traditional rearview mirror.
In order to determine what enhancements and upgrades it makes to its police vehicles, General Motors organized an official Law Enforcement Product Council 20 years ago to learn directly from officers how they can effectively perform their duties behind the wheel. “The council is comprised of ranking law enforcement officers and civilian fleet managers, who have been instrumental in Chevrolet’s police-vehicle programs over the years,” says Bonelli.
GM believes that its 2021 Tahoe police vehicles set themselves apart from the competition as they are the only pursuit-rated body-on-frame Police SUV certified units in the market and offer 70.3 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second-row seat, which is 18.3 cubic feet more than the next largest pursuit-rated SUV competitor. Rear door openings are now 13% (3.5 inches) wider than the previous generation to ease the loading of handcuffed passengers. “This size and utility are unmatched in the industry and coveted by officers who have to carry more and more gear each year,” says Bonelli.
Production is scheduled for early 2021 for the Tahoe PPV and the Tahoe SSV.
Ford Motor Company
While the Ford Motor Company hasn’t rolled out new models of the Police Interceptor Utility or the F-150 Police Responder, the F-150 Special Service Vehicle (SSV) and Expedition/MAX SSV have both been completely redesigned for 2021.
The all-new Ford F-150 SSV—which is designed to fill non-pursuit roles—is available with no less than 3 engine choices, including a hybrid option. Each powerplant is paired with a 10-speed SelectShift automatic with Progressive Range Select. Selectable Drive Modes include Normal, Sport, Eco, Tow/Haul, and Slippery. The newly available 3.5L PowerBoost Full Hybrid V6 engine pulls from the collective power of gas and electric energy. Ford touts that this engine provides ample horsepower and torque to get the job done—in addition to potentially reduced idle times. The PowerBoost battery is packaged efficiently underneath the vehicle to avoid taking up space in the cab or cargo bed. The SSV seats 5 and is available on XL SuperCrew as a 4x2 or 4x4. Special features also include a high-output 240-amp alternator, cloth front seating with center-section delete, the space-saving convenience of a column-mounted shifter, and a vinyl rear bench and vinyl floor covering for ease of maintenance. F-150 is the first light-duty pickup made of high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys. Fords says that these panels don’t rust, and they’re dent- and ding-resistant. Its fully boxed, modular frame is comprised of 78% high-strength steel.
Along with its tough exterior and durable interior, the F-150 SSV also comes with the Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology. Standard features include: Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB); Autolamp (Automatic On/Off Headlamps) with Auto High Beams; Rear View Camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist; and Trailer Sway Control. An 8-inch center touch screen and SYNC 4 is standard, helping minimize distractions with hands-free voice control as well as the capability to make phone calls and enable audible text dictation. The F-150 SSV is first full-size pickup in North America with standard over-the-air updates that are bumper-to-bumper and can include all-new functions and additional features throughout the life of the truck. These updates can help support preventative maintenance, reduce repair trips, provide improved performance and result in more vehicle uptime. The majority of updates will be completed in under two minutes and can be performed at times fleet managers choose.
The 2021 Expedition/MAX SSV, which is designed for tactical work and off-road duty, brings the capacity of a full-size SUV and provides plenty of room for officers, equipment and cargo. It is available in both standard and MAX configurations.
Expedition/MAX SSV’s standard 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine offers everyday efficiency while boasting up to 400 horsepower. Ford says it includes a Gross Combined Weight Rating of up to 15,100 pounds, up to 480 pound-foot of torque and a towing capacity of 9,300 pounds. The 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift and a 3.75 electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) can help improve driveability and performance by skipping gears during difficult driving conditions on challenging terrain.
Inside, officers will find gentler side of this beast, with intelligent connectivity, storage bins throughout the cabin and optional third-row seating that still allows for a fold-flat load floor in the rear.
Both the F-150 SSV and the Expedition/MAX SSV are slated to roll off assembly lines in early 2021.