recent Dodge Police Advisory Board meeting served as a “What’s New” for the
2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit, RAM 1500 SSV and Dodge Durango SSV. The three-day
meeting also served as a two-way dialogue: PAB members listened to updates and
concepts from Dodge Fleet officials, then Dodge Fleet officials listened to
suggestions and concerns from PAB members.
introduction from Frank Dankovich, then-head of Government and Sales Operations
was all good news. The 2013 RAM 1500 was Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year. (A
month later, the 2014 RAM 1500 became Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year—the first
such back-to-back achievement.)
3.6L Pentastar V6 once again made the Ward’s Auto World Ten Best Engine list—for
the third straight year. Chrysler Group had completed 41 straight months of
year over year growth. The sales of the Charger Pursuit had double since the
introduction of the NextGen 2011 Charger. “From zero to best selling police
vehicle in four years,” Dankovich said.
to the re-engineered 2011 Charger, Dodge controlled the majority of the state
police or highway patrol fleets in seven states. Since the upgrade in 2011, the
Charger has become the car of choice in 22 states…and two more were very close
to going Dodge. The Dodge Charger Pursuit is the top-selling police package
vehicle with 38 to 40 percent of the market.
Dankovich could not have known was that four days after the PAB meeting, the
Charger Pursuit 5.7L AWD would set a track record during the Michigan State
Police vehicle tests at Grattan Raceway.
biggest police fleet news of the year for the Charger is the long-awaited All-Wheel Drive.
Production of the Charger Pursuit AWD starts in April. Heads-up! AWD is only
available with the 5.7L V8.
complete coverage of the basic Borg-Warner AWD system and how it works, see the
article on the Charger R/T AWD from the September-October 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
situations. Think: hard on the brakes before a U-turn or median crossing. Think:
throttle position and kickdown logic.
improves handling at the limit of traction. AWD is easy to drive hard, i.e., it
demands less concentration during at-the-limit driving. AWD makes the average
driver better and the good driver great. And AWD 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.
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.
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 effects the AWD Charger. The five-spoke steel wheel on the RWD
Charger remains unchanged. The unique, 16-spoke AWD steel wheel is both
visually and physically very different from the five-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.
course, mix-ups in the fleet garage may occur. That said, the RWD wheel will
physically bolt to the front of an AWD Charger but the tire will stick out
beyond the wheelwell. The AWD wheel will not bolt to the front of an RWD
Charger; instead, the wheel/tire will come into contact with suspension
of new wheels, the Charger with the Street Appearance Package will come with
steel wheels and full wheel covers instead of aluminum wheels. The larger steel
wheels, the same ones used on all the other RWD Chargers, are needed to clear
the massive new front brake rotors.
mid-2014, all Charger Pursuits (V6, V8, RWD, AWD, Street Appearance) will get
new, much larger brakes. The Charger V6 and V8 with this BR9 “Big Brake”
Package were successfully tested during the annual Michigan State Police and
Los Angeles County Sheriff vehicle tests. For more on the “Big Brake” package,
see the sidebar.
New for 2014
new option for the Charger Pursuit is the ParkSense® Rear Park Assist System.
This uses ultrasonic sensors in the rear fascia that detect objects up to 6 feet
away. The purpose of Parksense is to alert the driver of objects in the rear
that cannot be seen below the trunk lid level.
makes an audible signal and lights a visual icon in the EVIC dash display. This
option has an MSRP of $300, which is a fraction of the cost of a repaired rear
2014, SecurePark® will be standard on the Charger Pursuit. SecurePark does an
electronic frequency search for the key fob. If the car senses the key within a
certain close proximity, it will allow the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock
(BTSI) module to let the Charger be shifted out of Park, once one of the two
buttons on the steering wheel is pushed. If the fob is not detected, the BTSI
will not allow the shift from Park to any other gear. Simple as that.
can be engaged or disengaged by the buttons on the forward side of the steering
wheel. When engaged, an icon on the dash will indicate so. Prior to SecurePark,
if the Charger is running, even if the fob is gone, the car can still shift out
of Park and into Drive or Reverse.
default position for each new key-on cycle is that SecurePark is not activated.
That means you must remember to activate the SecurePark system every time you
start the car. One suggestion was for the system to be enabled or disabled
automatically simply by detecting the fob. Dodge, however, wants the officer to
make a conscious effort to enable or disable the system.
SecurePark, knowing where the button is to deactivate the system is not enough.
It has to detect the fob. Heads up! It does no good to activate SecurePark if
you leave a spare fob somewhere inside the Charger.
the police demand for the Charger Pursuit increases, so does the pressure on
the Brampton Assembly Plant to keep up. One way to both increase efficiency and
control costs is to reduce plant complexity. That means dropping options that
have a low take rate.
2014, the 2.65 ratio axle ratio will be standard on both the 3.6L V6 and 5.7L
V8. On the 3.6L V6, the 3.07 ratio rear gear is optional (and strongly
recommended). However, the once-optional 3.06 ratio axle for the 5.7L V8 RWD is
no longer available. Just to keep the bid spec writers on their toes, the 3.06
ratio is the only axle available on the 5.7L V8 AWD version.
New, Wider Tires
April, the Charger Pursuit will get an optional tire size. The wider tire uses
the same wheel diameter, but has a wider section width. The standard tire is
the P225/60R18. The new, optional tire is the P245/55R18 tire.
the optional tire? The AWD drivetrain asks more of all four tires than a RWD
drivetrain, so a larger tire was part of the police-spec AWD development
process. The standard tire is fine for most AWD and RWD applications and patrol
scenarios. However, when the Charger is pushed hard—like MSP and LASD vehicle
testing—the new, wider tire performs much better, especially on the AWD
wider 245-series tires, of course, perform much better than the smaller
225-series tires on all the Charger Pursuits. As such, it is optional on all
Charger Pursuits: AWD, V6 RWD and V8 RWD. It is also a smart choice for anyone
running a mix of a Ford Police Interceptor Explorer and Dodge Charger Pursuit.
They all now take exactly the same tire.
2014, the factory option of the Firestone Firehawk Pursuit has been deleted.
Due to plant complexity and a low take rate, they simply cannot have two makes
of the same 225-series tire. This is especially since they added a 245-series
tire for the AWD.
April 2014, a full size spare will become standard on all Charger Pursuits –
V6, V8, AWD, and Street Appearance. The compact, space-saver, mini-spare is too
small to fit over the large diameter BR9 brakes.
Other Changes for 2014
big exterior change for 2014 is to the rear fascia and exhaust tips. The chrome
surround–chrome exhaust tips are gone. In its place are slightly extended
tailpipes with slight down turns at the ends. On some median entries and exits,
depending on the median depth and width and vehicle approach or departure
angle, the chrome tips could catch on the grassy median and literally pull the
entire rear fascia off.
2014, the electric fuel pump has been upgraded on the Charger Pursuit. This was
a running change that began in February 2013. The new pump is from the Flex
Fuel, Export and SRT line. In this pump, a copper commutator replaced a carbon
commutator. The change is expected to increase fuel pump life by 250 percent.
2014, the Charger Pursuit has a variable displacement A/C compressor. The
result is a slight improvement in fuel economy. These variable compressors are
not interchangeable with the older fixed displacement units. In mid-model year
2014, the Charger Pursuit will have a change to the front seat backs. A zipper
closure will be added and a steel seat back insert will be available from Mopar
Durango and RAM
the Durango and RAM 1500 are available as a Special Service Vehicle package. In
both vehicles, the SSV package is more than simply de-contenting a retail
vehicle. Heavy-duty cooling is added, as are heavy-duty battery and alternator.
For 2014, the Durango SSV will get quartz halogen headlights, an 8-speed trans
with both the V6 and V8, LED “racetrack” taillights, and a 7-inch touchscreen.
course, Dodge Fleet is frequently asked, when will a police package, a
pursuit-capable package be available on the RAM? On the Durango? Dodge is not
commenting at all. However, they are paying attention to the trends to more
police use of SUVs and more police use of pickups. They see the popularity of
the Tahoe PPV, even though it is only 2WD. They know the second best-selling
police vehicle, behind only the Charger, is the Ford PI Explorer. Dodge Fleet
is keeping their cards close to their chest about IF or WHEN a police package
will be available for either vehicle.