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Ford, Holden face off in US cop car showdown

Contender: Holden's Caprice-based pursuit car has battled with the best of the best in US police car trials.

Holden’s Caprice-based pursuit car and Ford Taurus Interceptor inseparable in trials

Chevrolet logo20 May 2011

GM HOLDEN’S great US export hope, the re-badged Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle, has shared line honours with Ford’s new Taurus-based Interceptor in the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s annual police vehicle trials.

The gruelling police vehicle contest pitted a field of 15 police vehicles from Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge against each other in an array of performance challenges designed to simulate actual field conditions at the hands of law enforcement personnel on both public roads and a closed circuit.

While the field of challengers in the tests was comprised largely of standard-fare big sedans – including the Australian-made Caprice V8 (standard petrol and E85 ethanol versions), turbocharged Taurus V6 and Dodge’s V8 Charger - there were also two SUVs and four Ford prototypes.

The Caprice, Taurus and Charger are the front-running candidates to replace the current police car of choice – Ford’s venerable Crown Victoria – when it goes out of production at the end of this year.

137 center imageTop and middle: Ford Taurus 'Interceptor'. Below: Dodge Charger police car.

The big Chevy shone on the 32-lap track test around the AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, scoring a clean sheet of perfect 10s in all categories, including steering, body lean, bounce and brake fade, pull and operation. Curiously, the E85 version scored lower marks in every category, registering only seven out of 10 for brake fade.

The Taurus snapped at the Caprice’s wheels throughout, registering the highest average speed of 103km/h – compared to 101km/h for the other two – but scored nine out of 10 for brake fade.

The Hemi-powered Dodge, meanwhile, managed mostly nines and 10s but only four in the brake fade test, which one of the LASD deputies test driving the car called “terrible from the first lap”.

The pursuit course challenge, which tries to replicate real-world chase conditions, was dominated by the Dodge’s batch of perfect 10s in all categories, including – oddly - brake performance.

The Caprice E85 redeemed itself after the track test by matching the Charger’s score and nudging out its standard petrol Caprice sibling as well as the Blue Oval’s Taurus.

The Caprice took out the brake test, which evaluated a ‘panic’ stop from 96km/h (60mph), grinding to a halt in 42 metres - compared to 43 metres for the Charger and 44 metres for the Taurus.

It may have taken the longest to stop from 96km/h, but the EcoBoosted Taurus was the quickest to get there, completing the dash in an electrifying 5.83 seconds.

The Caprice managed it in 6.01 seconds (6.17 in E85 guise), while the Charger took a comparatively leisurely 6.14 seconds, despite being the most powerful in the group.

GM Holden is yet to reveal how many orders it has received for the Caprice PPV from US police departments and other law enforcement agencies.

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