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Los Angeles Sheriff 2016 Vehicle Tests

Each November, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department conducts performance and fuel economy tests on police package vehicles. The current LASD program dates back to 1974, when they took it over from the Los Angeles Police Department, which began testing police vehicles in 1956. Their current testing program involves EVOC instructors from both agencies as test drivers.

The other major police vehicle testing program is conducted by the Michigan State Police. Both vehicle testing protocols are grueling. However, the operating environments of the two agencies and testing procedures are somewhat different. Being located in an urban environment, LASD places more emphasis on acceleration, handling, braking, and mechanical reliability. While maximum top speed is important to the MSP, this performance area is not attempted under LASD’s test protocol. Additionally, MSP testing protocol involves two troopers while LASD tests with only one driver.



Chevrolet submitted two versions of their RWD Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) sedan. The standard engine is a 3.6L V6, sourced from Camaro and Cadillac. This V6 engine has DOHC, Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and Spark Ignition Direct Injection (SIDI) and develops 301 hp. Their Gen IV, 6.0L V8, developing 355 hp, is available as a no-cost option. Both cars use a 6-speed automatic and have 2.92 gears.

The FWD Chevrolet Impala 9C1/9C3 is powered by essentially the same V6, with slight bump in compression, and develops 302 hp. It has a 6-speed automatic and 2.44 final drive ratio. Chevrolet submitted two versions of their Tahoe PPV. The Tahoe is available in both 2-Wheel Drive and 4-Wheel Drive configurations. Both versions are powered by the 355 hp EcoTec3 V8 which has Variable Valve Timing, direct injection, and cylinder deactivation. Transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Both versions run 3.08 gearing.



Dodge submitted four versions of their Charger Pursuit sedan. The base version is powered by their corporate ‘Pentastar’ V6, developing 292 hp. The V6 cars are RWD and were tested with standard 2.62 gears as well as an optional 3.08 rear axle. The 3.08 is for those agencies that require quicker acceleration from a standing stop, such as traffic enforcement.

The RWD version of the 5.7L Charger develops 370 hp from their Hemi V8 and runs 2.62 rear gears. The All Wheel Drive version of the Charger was also tested. The AWD version of the Charger Pursuit is only available with the 5.7L Hemi and has 3.08 rear gearing. All of the Chargers are equipped with 5-speed overdrive automatics.



Tested this year was their Special Service Police (SSP) Sedan equipped with the 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine, which develops 240 hp. This vehicle is only available in FWD configuration and is recommended for administrative/detective usage. Other versions of their Police Interceptor Sedan and PI Utility were also tested. Both the PI Sedan and PI Utility are based on the same platform with many shared drivetrain and brake components. This should help minimize routine maintenance tasks and simplify replacement parts issues within a fleet of mixed vehicles.

Also tested was their normally aspirated 3.5L V6 Sedan, rated at 288 hp and with FWD. Their normally aspirated 305 hp 3.7L V6, developing 305 hp is standard for the PI Utility and is optional on the sedan. The twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6, which develops 365 hp is optional in both sedan and Utility versions. The PI Sedans come with AWD as standard; however, FWD is a delete option on the Sedan with the base 3.5L V6 engine. All of the PI Sedans and Utilities come with a 6-speed overdrive automatic.


Preliminary Handling Test

All pursuit-certified police package vehicles must undergo the Preliminary Handling Test. Each vehicle is driven by four different EVOC instructors, two from the LASD and two from the LAPD. Vehicles are tested without lightbars and without A-pillar spotlights.

For this test, the electronic stability control is in the Key-ON, default mode, and the air conditioning unit is in the ON position. The SUVs are tested with 400 pounds of ballast in the cargo area. This simulates how an in-service SUV may be used in the field actually loaded with police gear. No ballast is added to the sedans.

Each evaluating driver drives eight laps and then immediately hands the vehicle over to another driver, for a total of 32 laps. This course is asphalt-paved and has flat curves, some 90-degree ‘S’ and hairpin curves, some 13 turns in all. Speeds in excess of 100 mph at the end of the straightaways are not unusual. In reality, these conditions are somewhat more severe than the average officer would encounter in the field during a ‘typical’ emergency response run or a pursuit. If a vehicle can survive the preliminary handling test, it will survive most pursuits in the real world.

The fastest 2016 police vehicle during the Preliminary Handling Test was the Ford PI Sedan with the optional 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine. Running second was the 5.7L V8 Dodge Charger AWD, followed by the Caprice 6.0L V8 and the base Ford PI Sedan 3.7L V6.


Braking and Acceleration

Immediately after completing the Preliminary Handling Test, the brakes are tested under simulated real-world police operating conditions with hot brakes and tires. This duplicates conditions after an emergency run or a vehicular pursuit and makes this one of the most severe brake tests performed by the police community. All of the final brake testing is conducted in the same area of track surface, thus maintaining the same coefficient of friction.

The test vehicle is accelerated up to a speed of 80 mph, and the brakes are applied to maintain a deceleration rate of 22 fps (squared) without ABS activation. This is repeated three additional times. The vehicle then sits stationary for five minutes to heat-soak the brakes. After the heat-soaking, the vehicle is then accelerated to a speed of 60 mph and is decelerated at the maximum rate, just short of ABS activation. After a two-minute heat-soak period, the procedure is repeated. Then the vehicle is accelerated to 60 mph and the brakes applied to simulate a ‘panic-stop’ with ABS activation.

The shortest stopping distance this year was the 5.7L AWD Dodge Charger. In fact, all four Chargers were in the top six positions in the braking test. Together with the Caprice 6.0L V8 and the 2.0L SSP Sedan, these six vehicles all stopped from 60 mph within 7 feet of each other.

During the testing, acceleration times to various speeds up to 100 mph are measured, and so is the ¼ mile times, but top speeds are not attempted. This year, the Ford PI Sedan 3.5L EcoBoost V6 was clearly the fastest vehicle to 100 mph taking just 14.35 seconds. The AWD V8 Charger, the RWD V8 Charger and the Caprice V8 all got to 100 mph in the 15-second bracket.


Fuel Mileage

The Fuel Efficiency Test simulates real-world conditions and is conducted over a 100-mile course. The protocol uses patrol deputies, in full uniform, to drive each vehicle through this course. Each vehicle is driven through the course twice with different drivers during peak (rush-hour) traffic conditions. The course is mixed with urban, suburban and freeway driving conditions. Headlights and air conditioning are turned on and the transmissions are placed in the default ‘Overdrive’ position.

The vehicles are driven in a normal manner, i.e., neither ‘babied’ nor driven for maximum performance. The fuel mileage obtained from each run is then averaged out. By definition, this test simulates the mileage that a detective or administrative vehicle would obtain. Experience shows that a marked patrol unit would obtain about 60–70 percent of these mileage figures.

The Ford Special Service Police Sedan with the 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder won top honors for fuel economy at 24 mpg. The V6 Dodge Charger with the 2.62 rear axle came in second at 22 mpg and the Ford PI Sedan 3.7L AWD came in third at 20 mpg.  

While the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does not recommend any specific vehicle or other equipment, such as tires, their complete test results are published annually and are available on their website.


John Bellah is a member of SAE International. Bellah is a retired Southern California police officer. He can be reached at



Preliminary Handling Test


Vehicle:                                                           Lap Time:           


Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6        1:21.21 minutes

Dodge Charger AWD 5.7L V8 (3.08)            1:22.07 minutes

Chevrolet Caprice 6.0L V8                             1:23.04 minutes

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.7L V6                        1:24.08 minutes

Dodge Charger RWD 5.7L V8 (2.62)            1:24.08 minutes

Dodge Charger RWD 3.6L V6 (3.08)             1.25.13 Minutes

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6       1:25.24 minutes

Ford PI Sedan FWD 3.5L V6                         1:25.30 minutes

Chevrolet Caprice 3.6L V6                             1:25.37 minutes

Dodge Charger RWD 3.6L V6 (2.62)           1:25.97 minutes

Chevrolet Impala FWD 3.6L V6                   1:27.08 minutes

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.7L V6                       1:27.96 minutes

Chevrolet Tahoe 2WD 5.3L V8                     1:28.67 minutes

Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD 5.3L V8                     1:29.56 minutes 

Ford SSP Sedan 2.0L EcoBoost I4 FWD       1:29.89 Minutes





Vehicle                                                            0-60 mph         0-100 mph

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6          5.84 sec             14.35 sec

Dodge Charger RWD 5.7L V8 (2.62)              6.57 sec             15.90 sec

Chevrolet Caprice 6.0L V8                               6.74 sec             15.90 sec

Dodge Charger AWD 5.7L V8 (3.08)              6.56 sec             15.98 sec

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6         6.36 sec             16.55 sec

Chevrolet Impala FWD 3.6L V6                      7.13 sec             18.56 sec

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.7L V6                           7.92 sec              20.00 sec

Dodge Charger RWD 3.6L V6 (3.08)              7.63 sec              20.32 sec

Chevrolet Caprice 3.6L V6                            8.08 sec              20.43 sec

Ford SSP Sedan FWD 2.0L EcoBoost I4         8.20 sec              21.27 sec

Dodge Charger RWD 3.6L V6 (2.62)              8.25 sec              21.53 sec

Ford PI Sedan FWD 3.5L V6                           8.62 sec              21.54 sec

Chevrolet Tahoe 2WD 5.3L V8                     8.25 sec              21.87 sec

Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD 5.3L V8                     8.43 sec              22.66 sec

Ford Utility PI AWD 3.7L V6                          8.61 sec             23.34 sec



Brake Tests


Vehicle                                                                    Stopping Distance:

Dodge Charger AWD 5.7L V8 (3.08)                        134.1 feet

Chevrolet Caprice RWD 6.0L V8                              136.1 feet

Dodge Charger RWD  3.6L V6 (2.62)                        136.6 feet

Ford Spec. Serv. Sedan FWD 2.0L EcoBoost I4       137.0 feet

Dodge Charger 3.6L RWD V6 (3.08)                        140.2 feet

Dodge Charger 5.7L RWD V8 (2.62)                         141.1 feet

Chevrolet Impala FWD 3.6L V6                                141.2 feet

Chevrolet Caprice RWD 3.6L V6                              142.6 feet

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.7L V6                                    145.9 feet

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.7L V6                                    146.1 feet

Ford PI Sedan FWD 3.5L V6                                     146.7 feet

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6                    154.4 feet

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6                   157.1 feet

Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3L V8 (4WD)                               160.8 feet                               

Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3LV8 (2WD)                                167.6 feet



Average Fuel Mileage

(100-mile driving loop)


Vehicle                                                            EPA City/Highway     LASD Results:

Ford Special Service sedan 2.0L I4 EcoBoost           20/29 mpg       24 mpg

Dodge Charger RWD 3.6L V6 (2.62)                        18/27 mpg       22 mpg

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.7L V6                                    18/25 mpg       20 mpg

Chevrolet Impala 3.6L V6                                          17/28 mpg       20 mpg (2015 results)

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.7L V6                                    16/21 mpg       19 mpg

Dodge Charger RWD 3.6 V6 (3.08)                           18/27 mpg       19 mpg

Ford PI Sedan FWD 3.5L V6                                     18/25 mpg       18 mpg

Dodge Charger RWD 5.7L V8 (2.62)                        16/25 mpg       18 mpg

Chevrolet Caprice RWD 6.0L V8                              15/20 mpg       17 mpg

Chevrolet Tahoe 2WD 5.3L V8                                 16/22 mpg       17 mpg

Chevrolet Caprice 3.6L V6                                        18/26 mpg       17 mpg

Ford PI Sedan AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6                   16/23 mpg        17 mpg

Ford PI Utility AWD 3.5L EcoBoost V6                   15/20 mpg       16 mpg

Dodge Charger AWD 5.7L V8                                  16/23 mpg        16 mpg

Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD 5.3L V8                                 15/21 mpg       15 mpg



Published in Police Fleet Manager, Mar/Apr 2016

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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