The Australian-made Chevrolet Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle) has outperformed it competitors in a number of tests conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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In a detailed examination of 15 different 2011 Model Year law enforcement vehicles, the Sheriff’s Department tested the cars across a range of evaluations, including high-speed manoeuvrability, brake performance, acceleration, fuel efficiency, communications and ergonomics.

The V8 Caprice was tested in both standard petrol and E85 forms. It was pitted against its number one rival – the Ford Taurus-based Police Interceptor – as well as the Chevrolet Impala and Tahoe, Dodge Charger, and Ford Crown Victoria and Explorer.

The Caprice earned a perfect score in the ’32-lap high-speed vehicle dynamics evaluation’ which tested steering, body lean, bounce, brake fade, brake pull and ABS operation, tying with the front- and all-wheel drive Ford Taurus vehicles with the base V6 engine (non-EcoBoost). The Caprice’s engine, transmission and brakes were praised especially, with the only negative comments about the calibration of the stability control.

In the ‘Pursuit course’ test, which was conducted on a 3.94km closed street circuit, the Caprice recorded the fourth-quickest lap time, a 2:03.07, placing it behind the Charger HEMI (2:01.92), Taurus AWD Base (2:02.81) and the Taurus AWD EcoBoost (2:00.31).

From a power perspective, the rear-wheel drive Caprice is a close match for its two key competitors – the Ford Police Interceptor AWD EcoBoost and the RWD Dodge Charger.

The Caprice’s 6.0-litre V8 produces 265kW of power and 521Nm of torque, compared with 272kW/475Nm from the Ford 3.5-litre V6 and 276kW/538Nm from the Charger’s 5.7-litre HEMI V8.

The Caprice E85 was among a number of vehicles to record a perfect score in the ‘Vehicle dynamics’ test, although the standard petrol model lost some marks in the steering, body lean and bounce criteria.

The Caprice was the clear winner in the braking test, which was conducted at 60mph (96.6km/h). The Caprice pulled up in 42.20m while the E85 model was even sharper at 41.44m. The next closet was the Taurus AWD Base at 42.49m.

The Caprice was the second-fastest in the acceleration test, sprinting from 0-60mph in 6.01 seconds, making it 0.18 seconds slower than the Taurus EcoBoost. It also laid down the second-quickest quarter mile dash, covering the distance in 14.62 seconds compared with the Ford’s 14.30-second time.

The Caprice was around the middle of the pack in the ‘Ergonomics’ component. In the driver’s comments section of the report, some complained about driver’s side blind spots, uncomfortable seats after extended periods, the distracting digital speedometer and the small exterior mirrors, although the car was praised for its ease of parking, ingress/egress for all doors and pedal positioning.

Finally, the vehicles were tested for fuel efficiency and the Chevrolet Caprice again came out on top, although the results for the Taurus were not included in the final report. The Caprice achieved fuel consumption of 12.4 litres/100km, easily beating the Charger HEMI at 14.2 litres/100km.

The independent tests by the LA County Sheriff’s Department could have a significant influence on the popularity of each vehicle among the various law enforcement agencies in the US.

The US law enforcement market is a highly lucrative one for Holden, with around 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles purchased annually.

Holden is hoping to secure a proportion of this market in an attempt to increase demand of its locally manufactured large cars and boost export numbers from its Elizabeth plant in South Australia.