CHICAGO - The Chicago Police Department will quadruple its fleet of Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs this year, to more than 200, according to

The average beat car is 2.6 years old and has 50,622 miles on it. The average unmarked vehicle is 2.9 years old with 41,285 miles.

Fleet Management spokeswoman Eileen Joyce noted that the Tahoe gets 14 mpg, the same as the Ford Crown Victoria. The Chevrolet Impala gets 17 mpg. All but 285 of Chicago’s police sedans are Crown Vics.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue said he views SUVs as a mixed bag.

“In some cases, it’ll be an advantage. In other cases -- when you’re patrolling side streets and tight spots -- it may be cumbersome to maneuver,” Donahue said.

The City has issued a “request for proposals” for the purchase of up to 1,500 police SUVs and 2,000 sedans over a three-year period. The city expects to buy 165 SUVs under that contract this year with funding from an equipment note tied to Mayor Daley’s 2008 budget. No sedan purchase is planned.