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Dodge Police Vehicles for 2016

Again for the 2016 models, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has opted for local and regional events to showcase their vehicles, instead of one large fleet preview. This strategy included a half-dozen Dodge Charger Pursuit ride & drives and a 26-city tour for their local fleet preview. Simply put, compared to one centralized event, FCA reaches more fleet managers, in a more personal and direct way, requiring less travel and out-of-office time for the fleet managers. They also get a lot more people driving their vehicles, like five times as many seats in seats.

FCA Fleet has seen 61 straight months of year over year sales increases. In addition, FCA Fleet has grown in overall market share with their commercial and government fleet vehicles. Sales of the full-size ProMaster has tripled since its 2014 introduction. FCA Fleet sales has grown so much that a fourth, fully staffed fleet sales region group has been formed. Each region (Northeast, South, Central and West) now has a dedicated truck manager. At FCA, five out of eight fleet vehicles sold is a truck.


Charger Pursuit Ride & Drive

For 2016, the Dodge Charger Pursuit Ride & Drive event included the 5.7L AWD version and the 3.6L RWD version. The Charger Pursuit is the best-selling police sedan in America. The Ride & Drive event also included the RAM 1500 4x4 SSV and the Dodge Durango SSV. (Yes, the Durango will be produced in 2016.)

Brake problems from the 2006 Charger were solved by 2007, which was eight years ago. Based on Michigan State Police testing, the Charger Pursuit with the new for 2014 “Big Brakes” BR9 brakes had the shortest stopping distance they ever recorded for a police vehicle.

Visibility problems with the 2006-2010 Charger were also solved long ago with the Gen2 2011 Charger. Based on the published MSP 28-point ergonomic evaluation, the Charger has the highest ergonomic rating of any police sedan.

Performance-wise, during MSP testing the 5.7L V8 AWD Charger broke the all-time lap record it set last year. This was one of the test vehicles at each of the police-oriented Ride & Drive events. Each of the Ride & Drives includes a one- to two-minute EVOC course. The AWD has a safety advantage rain or shine, snow or gravel, grass or sand.

Also performance-wise, during MSP testing, the V6 Charger had the fastest road course time of any (standard) V6 engine police vehicle, sedan or SUV. Definitely spec the 3.07 rear gears on the V6 Charger.

Just as important, at 20 mpg (actual), the V6 Charger has the same or better fuel economy compared to the Impala (20 mpg) and Ford PI Sedan (19 mpg) based on Los Angeles County Sheriff testing on their 100-mile driving loop. This was also one of the test vehicles at each of the police-oriented Ride & Drive events.


Local Fleet Preview

The 26-city local fleet previews are more about mid-size admin sedans, RAM ProMaster vans, and a wider variety of RAM pickups. In other words, all the other vehicles many police fleet managers purchase and maintain. Each local fleet preview included product overviews for 2016, service presentations, driving routes, and face-to-face with the FCA Fleet team. Each of the local fleet previews included a five- to 10-mile street drive and dozens of fleet vehicles from which to pick.

For 2016, the Charger Pursuit is a carryover from the huge redesign in 2015. See the May-June 2015 issue of Police Fleet Manager for complete coverage of the 2015 Charger.

For 2016, the Dodge Durango goes to full electric steering. The advantages are lighter overall weight, no hydraulic hoses or fittings to leak; no belt-driver power steering pump to pull power from the engine (better fuel economy); better steering effort control and tuneability (light effort at low speed, heavy effort at high speed); and automatic compensation for the crown in the road.

The Durango powertrains include the 290 hp, 3.6L Pentastar V6 and 360 hp, 5.7L Hemi V8. Both are teamed with an 8-speed auto. Also new for 2016, the Durango will have stop/start technology. As the vehicle is braked to a stop, the engine shuts off to save fuel. The instant the driver releases the brake, the engine automatically restarts. The battery and the starter motor are all beefed up with constant stop/start in mind. This is the clear trend in anti-idle initiatives and practical fuel economy improvements. Importantly, for police driving that includes only the shortest time between stopping and starting, the feature can be deactivated by the driver.

The RAM 1500 4x4 SSV is a carryover for 2016.

The RAM 1500 4x4 powertrains include the 240 hp, 3.0L turbodiesel V6, the 305 hp, 3.6L Pentastar V6 and the 395 hp, 5.7L Hemi V8. All use an 8-speed transmission. The RAM 1500 is the first back-to-back winner of the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award.

Every year, more pickup trucks of all three makes are used for routine patrol in county, state, and rural law enforcement. The same initial price as a V8 police sedan, a much longer service life, and a much higher residual make the 4x4 pickup worth a look. Speaking of residual values, the RAM 1500 now has the same residual value as the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado (Black Book®, three-year, 45K miles).



A serious contender in the full-size van market is the RAM ProMaster. See the May-June 2015 issue of the Police Fleet Manager for complete coverage of this prisoner transport-oriented and tactical-oriented vehicle. The full-size ProMaster is powered by either a 174 hp, 3.0L turbo-four or a 280 hp, 3.6L Pentastar V6. Both use a 6-speed trans.   

The ProMaster is available in two roof heights, three wheelbases, four overall body lengths, three GVWR capabilities, and two powertrains. It is available as a cargo van, window van, chassis cab and cutaway. The ProMaster has Best in Class maximum payload, V6 horsepower, step-in height cargo floor wheel well width, and a floor to ceiling height tall enough for a 6-foot, 4-inch officer.

Speaking of ProMaster, the ProMaster City small van might be an ideal answer for crime scene and other uses requiring more than a crossover/SUV but less than a full-size van.

Admin vehicles make up 20 percent of the police fleet. Dodge’s answer in the mid-size segment is the Dart. It has everything important in an admin vehicle: highest NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings, low initial cost, low operating cost, and enough front seat room for two adults. The Dart is powered by three different powertrains, while the clear choice for police admin is the E85-capable, 184 hp, 2.4L Tigershark I4 teamed with the 6-speed auto. The Dart’s engines, trans, and final assembly are all-American.


FCA Powertrain Warranty

In May 2015, FCA announced a revised powertrain warranty for their 2016 vehicles. For most retail vehicles, the 

five years/100K miles limited powertrain warranty has been reduced to five years/60K miles. This change does not affect police, special service and government vehicles. The warranty for Dodge and RAM police and special service vehicles, and Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep and RAM government vehicles remains at five years/100K miles.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jul/Aug 2015

Rating : 6.3

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