Once upon a time, fearsome variants of conservative full-size sedans roamed America’s highways en masse in search of speeders and felons, but the emergence of the SUV as the preferred tool of law enforcement relegated the traditional four-door car to the back of the pack.
It’s no wonder why Ford had no problem ditching the Taurus. Some 80 percent of the automaker’s police fleet orders specify the Police Interceptor Utility — a butched-up Explorer — instead of its sedan stablemate. Chevrolet’s Tahoe PPV offers law enforcement a more rugged SUV option.
Not wanting to be left behind in the switch to high-riding cop cars, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has debuted a competitor — the Dodge Durango Pursuit.
Offered alongside the existing Charger Pursuit for 2018, the Durango Pursuit fields FCA’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8, an engine good for 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic handles shifting duties. While all Durango Pursuits come equipped with full-time all-wheel drive, the extra traction only appears when the rear wheels can’t handle the job. (It’s nice having another cop car that’s rear-biased.)
A two-speed transfer case should allow responding officers to reach that crime scene on the side of a mountain, or, perhaps, give that fleeing Jeep Wrangler a run for its money.
Compared to Ford and Chevy, Dodge’s newest police offering tops its rivals in terms of standard power. The Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, while the standard 3.7-liter V6 under the hood of Ford’s cop SUV delivers 304 hp and 279 lb-ft. However, law enforcement agencies have the option of upgrading to a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, with 365 hp and 350 lb-ft on tap.
In the twist wars, Dodge emerges the victor.
“Unofficial testing results at the Michigan State Police 2018 model-year vehicle evaluation event created such a stir among law enforcement agencies that we simply had to find a way to build this vehicle,” said Steve Beahm, head of passenger car brands at FCA North America, in a statement.
As one would expect, FCA outfitted this Durango with all the necessary rough-and-tumble trappings of a pursuit-rated vehicle. That means a heavy duty oil cooler and water pump, upgraded brakes, a 220-amp alternator, and 800 cold cranking amp battery. There’s also a place to mount a spotlight, should the force choose to.
Ground clearance on this rig is 8.1 inches. If hanging a trailer or boat off the rear bumper is part of the job, the Durango Pursuit’s 7,200-pound towing capability should be able to handle it.
The vehicle seems capable, but FCA claims it’s available for order only “for a limited time.” A next-generation Durango is expected to appear sometime next year.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]