FONTANA, CA - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has released its annual vehicle evaluation, which includes fuel-economy test results as well as acceleration and braking.
In November 2011, the sheriff's department tested 19 2012 and 2013 model-year patrol vehicles at the AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The department issued its final report in early February.
Chevrolet models tested included the Impala 3.6L V-6; Tahoe 5.3L V-8; Caprice 3.6L V-6 and 6L V-8. E-85 fuel versions of each vehicle were also tested. Dodge models tested included four Charger Pursuit models -- 3.6L V-6 and 5.7L V-8 in two rear-axle ratios each (2.65 and 3.06). The V-6 (2.65 axle) was run on E-85. Five Ford vehicles were tested -- the 2013 Police Interceptor front-wheel drive; P.I. all-wheel drive; P.I. twin-turbo all-wheel drive; P.I. Utility front-wheel drive; and P.I. Utility all-wheel drive. Ford's vehicles are powered by a 3.5L V-6.
For the first time, evaluators tested the vehicles for fuel-economy performance, releasing miles-per-gallon averages for 12 models. The two V-6 Dodge Chargers bested the competition, recording ratings of 19.6 mpg for the 2.65-geared vehicle and 19.1 mpg for the 3.06-geared vehicle. The V-6 Caprice and Ford P.I. all-wheel recorded a 17.9 mpg.
The Ford P.I. twin-turbo recorded the fastest acceleration from 0-60 mph, reaching the increments in 6.19 seconds. Second place was the V-8 Caprice run on E-85 at 6.28 seconds.
Highway patrol agencies often evaluate vehicles for the "closing speed" an officer needs to reach to catch up with a speeder. The sheriff's testing unit measured the time it took each vehicle to travel from 60-100 mph. Ford's P.I. twin-turbo reached it in 8.2 seconds. Runner-ups were the V-8 Caprice on E-85 (8.35 seconds) and Dodge Charger V-8 (8.34).
The V-6 E85 Caprice topped the field in a braking test measuring stopping distance from 60-0 mph. The vehicle reached a dead stop at 131.74 feet. The V-6 Caprice stopped in 133.59 feet.
Among the sport-utility vehicles, the P.I. Utility bested the Tahoe in the three categories. The vehicle (front-wheel) recorded 17.8 mpg fuel economy, a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 8.4 seconds, and a 60-100 mph time of 12.49 seconds. The E-85 all-wheel utility recorded a stopping distance of 137.4 feet.
During the 32-lap high-speed test, one of the five Dodge Chargers tested was disqualified because it failed to complete the test. On lap 25, the vehicle lost braking ability. After a two-hour cooling-off period, evaluators attempted to complete the test, but the braking issue remained.
"One experienced some brake fade to the point that they couldn't successfully complete the rest of the testing," David Callery, Chrysler's police and emergency response vehicle manager, told POLICE Magazine. "At this point engineering is investigating it and attempting to determine the root cause of that particular issue."
For detailed testing results and driver notes, read the full report here.
By Paul Clinton & Greg Basich