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New from General Motors

Written by Police Fleet Manager Staff

The big news from General Motors is the NextGen 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe. The 2015 Tahoe has an all-new interior, exterior, engine and electrical system. Even though the full-size SUV has been re-engineered and re-styled inside and out, the Tahoe is still the Tahoe law enforcement knows so well.

The overall size (interior and exterior) of the NextGen Tahoe is the same as the current Tahoe. The new Tahoe uses the body-on-frame construction with a stiffer frame and a wider track but the same 116-inch wheelbase.

Inside, there is more front head room, a little more front hip room, a little less front shoulder room, and about the same front leg room. The cargo capacity (from behind the front seat) is unchanged.

As new as the 2015 Tahoe is, GM officials indicate a full equipment transfer is possible, i.e., all of the consoles, partitions, push bumpers, K9 cages, lightbars and cargo boxes from the current Tahoe will fit on the new Tahoe. Of course, new mounting brackets may be required.

For 2014, the option code of the police-rated, pursuit-capable package for the Tahoe has changed from PPV to 9C1 but the NextGen vehicle is still called the Tahoe PPV. The 2015 Tahoe PPV comes standard with Rear Park Assist and Backup camera. The optional Driver Alert package includes lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and a safety alert seat. The new Tahoe has optional adjustable pedals.

The fully isolated, auxiliary battery is standard as is a trailer hitch and an 110V-power outlet.

The Tahoe comes standard with 40-20-40 front seats with the option to delete the 20-percent center seat. That is the recommended way to do it. Not recommended are the optional bucket seats. First, the console is fully integrated into the dash and is not easy to remove and upfit around. Second, a driver’s seat inboard airbag is included, which could potentially interfere with aftermarket equipment. Don’t make the mistake of ordering bucket seats. A cloth rear seat is standard while a vinyl rear seat is a no-charge option.

 

5.3L Gen 5 V8

The 2015 Tahoe has an all-new Gen 5 small-block V8. At 5.3L, it is the same displacement as the older engine. However, the new engine uses the three latest technologies: direct injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation. Thus the trade name “EcoTec3” for the new engines.

Thanks to direct injection, the new 5.3L V8 has 11 percent more horsepower (355 hp) and 14 percent more torque (383 lb-ft). Thanks to Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), and the 6-speed double overdrive automatic, the new Tahoe promises to have increased fuel economy. The term “increased fuel economy” is significant since the new Tahoe has so much more power and torque.

Not only is there more peak torque, direct injection and variable valve timing “flatten” the torque curve, i.e., the new engine has much more torque at all rpm levels. Chevy officials are quick to point out this is a pushrod truck engine that delivers lots of low-end torque—as opposed to an overhead cam engine that needs to rev up to produce usable torque.

The 2WD/RWD version of the police-package Tahoe PPV will be available in the May-June 2014 timeframe. Watch the pages of Police Fleet Manager for a One Ticket Book Review of the 2015 Tahoe PPV. Until then, here is the promise from Chevrolet. In the minds of many chiefs, sheriffs and fleet managers, the 1994-1996 Chevy Caprice with the LT1 engine is the best police sedan ever made. The promise? “The new Tahoe will perform like the 1996 Caprice. Same acceleration. Same braking. Same handling.”

 

4x4 Pursuit-rated Tahoe

As big an announcement as the NextGen Tahoe is, even bigger news for law enforcement is that a 4x4 pursuit-rated version will be available. Since 1999, the police package Tahoe PPV has been strictly a 2-wheel drive SUV. Starting with the 2015 model a pursuit-capable, 4x4 version will be available. This will be a mid-year release, available in the September-October 2014 timeframe.

The 4x4 version will use the same powertrain, suspension, tires and wheels as the 2WD version. This is a true, truck-style 4x4 system, not a car-based AWD system. On/Off-Road tires are not available from the factory on the police/pursuit 4x4 version. Chevrolet will continue to offer a special service package, 4x4 Tahoe with optional On/Off Road tires.

The police-rated, pursuit-capable, 4x4 Tahoe PPV will be at the Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff vehicle tests in late-2014.

 

Michigan State Police

The update to the GM Las Enforcement Product Council also included a review of the Michigan State Police vehicle tests. The Caprice 6.0L posted the highest top speed of the test at 155 mph. The big Caprice was just ¼-second behind the Charger 5.7L AWD on the Grattan road course. That is like setting a track record for police vehicles only to have it re-set the same day.

Among the V6-powered FWD, RWD and AWD sedans, the Caprice 3.6L won every category: acceleration, braking, top speed, and road course. Well, almost every category. The Impala 3.6L had a top speed of 149 mph while the Caprice 3.6L recorded a 148 mph top end. Among the crossovers/SUVs, the outgoing 2014 Tahoe PPV had the highest top speed and shortest stopping distances.

 

Impala CNG

The big green news from General Motors for the admin fleet is the 2015 CNG Bi-fuel Impala. The CNG fuel system is designed by Quantum Technologies, a Tier-1 automotive supplier. It is integrated into the vehicle by Quantum and General Motors engineering. The complete vehicle and CNG fuel system is designed to meet GM standards for reliability and durability, right down to hardened valve seats on the 3.6L engine. The CNG Bi-fuel Impala is crash tested and fully compliant to NHTSA standards for OE vehicles.

The Impala CNG uses the same basic 3.6L V6 as the Impala Limited 9C1 and a 6-speed auto. The CNG fuel system includes a single Type 1 steel CNG tank. This positioned horizontally on the trunk floor, but takes up less than half of the trunk.

The Impala CNG is a bi-fuel vehicle. It typically starts on CNG and then automatically switches to gasoline when the CNG is depleted. The 7.7 gasoline gallon equivalent tank produces a CNG-only range of 150 miles. The gasoline adds 350 miles for a total range of 500 miles.

Production of the 2015 Impala CNG begins in the summer of 2014. Police Fleet Manager will be doing an extended Test & Evaluation on the Impala CNG. This is a promising, full-size, totally green, admin sedan.

 

Future Plans

In December 2013, GM Holden (Australia) announced it will be ending production late in the 2017 calendar year. In May, Ford announced that it would stop production in Australia in 2016.

“The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country,” GM chief executive Dan Akerson said in a statement. “This includes the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market, and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world.”

Three years from now, that will have no immediate impact on the production of the Caprice PPV. There has been no announcement about specific vehicles. GM will provide warranty, parts and service for the life of the vehicle, and beyond. GM has also extended production of the Impala Limited (the current generation police vehicle) through the 2016 model year.


Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jan/Feb 2014

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