2014, Chrysler Group has adopted a program of numerous, regional fleet previews
instead of one large fleet preview. The goal of the regional events is to
involve as many fleet customers as possible. By hosting 25 local-regional
events in 22 different states, more fleet customers will be able to review the
vehicles than a single annual fleet preview.
regional events ran from mid-May to late-June and from Seattle
to Orlando, Anaheim
to Boston, and Minneapolis
to Houston. The
focus of these regional events was a hands-on, product walk-around. It was the
Chrysler 200 sedan versus the Ford Fusion; the Jeep Cherokee crossover versus
the Ford Escape; and the RAM ProMaster van versus Ford Transit. All the
vehicles were on static display for tire kicking and door slamming. The
dimensions and specs for all the vehicles were posted for a walk-around, competitive
addition to the static display, a number of Dodge, Chrysler, RAM and Jeep
vehicles were available for a Ride & Drive. These included the RAM 1500
Diesel; Ram 2500 (5.7L and 6.4L); ProMaster; Cherokee; Chrysler 200 (I-4 and
and Charger AWD.
Dodge Charger Pursuit
Fleet Operations continued their annual Ride & Drive events in 2014. These
events gave police officers and fleet managers the chance to drive the Dodge
Charger Pursuit, RAM 1500 Special Service and Dodge Durango Special Service in
included the Idaho POST Academy Driving Track in Meridian; the Emergency
Vehicle Operation Course at Camp Riley, Minneapolis; the Autobahn Country Club
outside Chicago; the Mass State Police EVOC center outside Boston; and the
Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
a rule, all three vehicles were driven on a precision maneuvers course. This
low-speed event challenged both nimbleness and visibility. The courses allowed
for some acceleration and braking, but the real emphasis was precise vehicle
positioning during emergency evasive drills. Many were surprised how well the
RAM 1500 was able to weave through the course.
of the locations also had a wide-open, high-speed, road racing module. Since
the AWD version of the Charger Pursuit was new for mid-2014, that was the chase
car during most events. The 5.7L HEMI Charger Pursuit AWD was pitted against
fleeing 6.4L HEMI Charger SRT8. Many were impressed at how well the Pursuit AWD
was able to keep pace with the SRT8.
Police Fleet Expo
sure-fire way to keep informed of the latest from all three police vehicle
makers is to attend the Police Fleet Expo. This is especially the case if you
don’t attend one of the automaker fleet previews or driving events.
the recent Police Fleet Expo in Kansas
City, attendees heard that the Dodge Charger is a
3-time IIHS Top Safety Pick, and that the column-mounted shifter has been
redesigned. For 2014, the seat belt receptacles have been extended to clear the
duty holster. The rear fascia has been modified and the chrome exhaust tips
deleted to reduce damage from aggressive median crossings.
2014, Secure Park, an anti-theft while idling
device, is now standard on the Charger Pursuit. Secure Park uses the Brake
Transmission Switch Interlock to prevent the transmission from shifting out of
Park when a FOB is not detected.
of the Police Fleet Expos have a Ride & Drive following the Manufacturer’s
Dialogue on new and upcoming products. At the Kansas City PFE, the 5.7L Charger
Pursuit AWD was the star of the Pentastar camp, especially since it rained the
whole day at the track!
biggest Charger Pursuit news since the 2011 redesign is the availability of All-Wheel Drive on
the 5.7L V8 sedans. For complete coverage of the basic Borg-Warner AWD system
and how it works, see the article on the Charger R/T AWD from the Sept-Oct 2013
issue of Police Fleet Manager. Go to www.hendonpub.com,
click Resources, then click Article Archives, keyword: All-Wheel Drive Charger.
few changes were made from the retail Charger R/T AWD to the police-package
Charger Pursuit AWD. In fact, the hardware (driveline and chassis components)
is nearly all the same. However, quite a bit of software tuning was done: when
the AWD kicks in, how long it stays engaged, when it reverts back to RWD. This
includes some trigger events not related to the retail engagement commands and
is not just for improved traction on snowy roads. The record-setting run on the
dry Grattan road course proved that. Most importantly, there is zero learning
curve with AWD and zero driver training needed specific to the AWD. AWD is RWD
without the drama.
to the offset required for the AWD system, the AWD Charger Pursuit will use
different steel wheels than the RWD Charger Pursuit. This wheel change, this
new wheel, only affects the AWD Charger. The 5-spoke steel wheel on the RWD
Charger remains unchanged.
unique, 16-spoke AWD steel wheel is both visually and physically very different
from the 5-spoke RWD steel wheel. Due to the offset needed for the AWD components,
the two different wheels are not interchangeable between RWD and AWD Chargers.
service intervals for the police AWD unit are exactly the same as for the
retail cars: change the transfer case oil every 50,000 miles. Fuel economy?
Just like the retail Chargers, expect 1-mpg less mileage.
a running change in the mid-2014 model year, all Charger Pursuits (V6, V8, AWD
and Street Appearance) got massive, record-setting, front brakes, the BR9 Brake
Package. The Dodge Fleet goal was to absolutely slam-dunk any lingering issues
with braking performance or pad/rotor life by designing the biggest police
package brakes ever offered on any make of police sedan.
improved brake package will use 7 percent larger and 15 percent thicker front
rotors—this is an increase in rotor diameter from 13.6 inches to 14.6 inches.
The shape of the pads has also changed—the front pads are much taller and the
rear pads are much longer. The result is a 40 percent increase in the total pad
for the front, where most of the braking force occurs, and an 18 percent
increase in the rear pad area.
thickness of the semi-metallic front pads has also increased. Dodge Fleet has
designed the larger brakes and the new friction materials to greatly increase
the front pad life. Akebono brake lining (friction materials) replaces
Performance Friction lining.
of the main advantages of the Big Brake system is the change from aluminum to
cast iron calipers on both the front and rear. Cast iron acts as a heat-sink
and wicks heat away from the brake pads and caliper pistons better than
aluminum. The sheer mass of the caliper has also been increased. The improved
brake package lowers the operating temperatures of the caliper, rotor and pad. Since
the car is generally less taxing on larger brakes, the pad and rotor life will
the Michigan State Police vehicle tests, the BR9 “Big Brake” equipped Charger
Pursuit achieved the best stopping performance. The Charger Pursuit also turned
in the fastest time for any police sedan. The Charger Pursuit also got the
highest rating on overall vehicle ergonomics—the mobile office.
Chelsea Proving Grounds
Group hosted a Test & Evaluate day for the automotive media at their world-famous
Chelsea Proving Grounds. The top speed, acceleration and braking tests
conducted annually by the Michigan State Police are done at Chelsea.
addition to a wide variety of vehicles to test, Chrysler Group executives from
all six marques, marketing, engineering and design teams were also on-site to
answer questions and accept feedback.
entire lineup from Chrysler Group was fueled and ready to go: Dodge, RAM,
Chrysler, Jeep, FIAT and Alfa Romeo. At the Chelsea Proving Grounds, the drive
opportunities included the Evaluation & Handling Loop; Ride Road; Vehicle
Dynamics Facility Autocross; and the Lyman Off-Road Trail. Hours were spent in
a Charger, Dart, Durango and RAM 1500 on the various courses.
2015 Charger was restyled for 2015. It has a Dart-like front and unique rear
fascia, but the rest of the body, trunk and chassis are unchanged. Upfit gear
from the 2011-2014 Charger will directly fit the 2015 Charger.
Charger is the highest-selling police package sedan, an excellent choice for
both general patrol and traffic enforcement. The AWD Charger V8 may just be the
ultimate police sedan—it has the best overall compromise of interior room, fuel
economy, high overall performance, and all-weather capability.