Ford, Dodge or Chevy: What Is the Fastest Police Car? [Video]

Michigan State Police released their testing results

What is the fastest police car around?

It’s a question that’s been raised time and time again, and something that’s fun to think about while we side on the side of the road after being pulled over. “Just how fast is that cop car that just pulled me over?”, you may ask to yourself. Of course, the answer to that question is irrelevant in that light. You should never think about trying to outrun law enforcement. That’s a bad idea for several reasons, not least of which is putting yourself and everyone around you in danger. Still, we can look at the question as a matter of pride among the Big Three automakers. Which one makes the fastest police car: Ford, Dodge or Chevy? All of them provide police vehicles to law enforcement.

Every year, Michigan State Police tests the latest crop of police vehicles to see how they perform. They conduct acceleration, braking and top speed tests at Fiat-Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds. Then, as part of their dynamics testing, officers run timed laps around Grattan Raceway, just outside Grand Rapids. Michigan State Police published the final testing results, and there were some remarkable results in all that data. Preliminary testing took place in September and October 2018.

The contenders

In total, twelve vehicles took part in MSP’s testing. They also tested motorcycles, but we’ll stick to cars and SUVs here. The pride of General Motors rested with the 5.3-liter Chevy Tahoe PPV, both in rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. Dodge brought three versions of the Charger Pursuit, and two of the Durango Pursuit. The Charger represented the 3.6-liter Pentastar with rear-wheel drive, and the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. MSP tested the Durango Pursuit with the 3.6-liter Pentastar and 5.7-liter HEMI.

Finally, Ford brought one of the most interesting cars to the contest: the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility. Police tested the new Explorer-based police interceptor in three forms: the 3.3-liter V6, the 3.0-liter EcoBoost, and the hybrid version. With it, MSP also tested the Ford F-150 Police Responder and the Fusion-based Ford Police Responder Hybrid sedan.

Ford, Dodge or Chevy: What's the Fastest Police Car?
The rear-wheel drive Dodge Charger Pursuit and V6 Dodge Durango Pursuit stopped in the shortest projected distance. [Photo: Michigan State Police]

The tests

Michigan State Police tested all the vehicles in several acceleration runs, braking tests and dynamic testing laps. Each car was evaluated from 0-60, 0-80 and 0-100 mph, as well as by its top speed. In the braking test, they ran two phases of 60-0 runs with a 45 mph cooldown lap in between. Helpfully, the report includes details on their methodology.

On the dynamics testing laps, four officers each drove five laps in each vehicle. After all that was said and done, their times were averaged into one lap time for each vehicle. Their lap times were also ranked in charts, along with acceleration and braking.

Which is the fastest?

Let’s get to the heart of the matter here: which automaker builds the fastest police vehicle? Is it Ford, Dodge or Chevy? The answer may surprise you:

In fact, the 3.0-liter EcoBoost-equipped Ford Police Interceptor Utility took every acceleration test by similar margins. It accelerated from 0-60 in an average of 5.77 seconds, 0-80 in 9.06 seconds, and 0-100 in 13.59 seconds. Power and torque figures aren’t available for the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility yet, but we suspect it makes around 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The engine comes mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission with a 3.31 rear axle ratio.

The Dodge Charger Pursuit came in second place. The all-wheel drive with the 5.7-liter V8 hit 60 in 5.87 seconds, only a tenth off the Ford. However, the rear-wheel drive Charger Pursuit accelerated faster on the 0-80 run, taking 9.33 seconds to the all-wheel drive Charger’s 9.69. In the 100 mph sprint, both Chargers took around the same amount of time. The rear-wheel drive Charger Pursuit just beat the all-wheel drive, with a time of 14.66 seconds. The Charger Pursuit’s 5.7-liter HEMI V8 manages 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, which it sends through a 5-speed automatic transmission. Yes, a five-speed automatic. The Durango Pursuit does have an eight-speed transmission, as in the standard car.

The 2019 Chevy Tahoe PPV packs one more gear in its transmission, rounding things out at a nice even six speeds. In front of that transmission comes a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque – same as in the standard Tahoe. At over 5,200 pounds though, the Tahoe is the heaviest of the bunch. It’s a full 500 pounds heavier than the Ford Police Interceptor Utility. That weight shows itself in the acceleration tests, where the rear-wheel drive Tahoe managed 7.55 seconds in the 0-60 run. In 0-80, the Tahoe ran 12.62 seconds. Finally, in the 0-100 run, it managed an 18.91 second time. That means the Tahoe was 5.3 seconds slower in the 0-100 run than the Ford.

Ford, Dodge or Chevy: What's the Fastest Police Car?
Michigan State Police testing lap times. [Data: Michigan State Police]

What about top speed and lap times?

As with the acceleration tests, you want the lowest numbers possible in the lap times. Once again, the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility came out ahead. It managed an average lap time of 1:36.5 minutes. The next fastest car was the all-wheel drive, V8-powered Dodge Charger Pursuit, with a 1:37.1 minute lap time. The fastest Chevy was the rear-wheel drive Tahoe PPV, with a time of 1:40.6 minutes.

Then there’s the matter of top speed. And, you guessed it, the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility won again. That’s with the 3.0-liter EcoBoost: the Hybrid and 3.3-liter models only hit 137 mph. It managed a 150 mph top run. Although, the Charger Pursuit came up just one mile per hour short, with a 149 mph top speed. The rear-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe PPV hit 134 mph. That’s much faster than the Dodge Durango Pursuit, which can only get to 118 mph.

The overall winner: 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility. [Photo: Michigan State Police]

So, there you have it. The 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility is the fastest police car, according to this testing. Dodge comes in second with the Charger Pursuit, with the heaviest Chevy Tahoe PPV rounding out the Big Three.

Correction 12/10/18: This article erroneously stated the 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility’s rear axle ratio as 3.73 with the 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine. The EcoBoost’s rear axle ratio is actually 3.31; the Hybrid is 3.73.