Speaking at a recent development drive of the next-generation Holden Commodore, Holden executive director of sales, Peter Keley, told CarAdvice that Holden had shown key executives from police forces nationwide details about drivetrains and they were impressed.
"At the end of the day, they had a lot of confidence around the fact the traditional Commodore attributes were still very much part of the next-generation Commodore," Keley said.
"Certainly they were very interested in that [all-wheel drive]. They haven't driven the cars yet, we'll do that in due course."
Based on our drive at Holden's private Lang Lang proving ground, it didn't take much abuse before the Insignia's brakes began to produce puffs of smoke and heat. Keley told us that they will work with police forces nationally to ensure the car meets their pursuit requirements when it comes to brakes.
"We will be putting together a specific package for them. But, we believe the brakes on this car meet their requirements," Keley said.
As revealed today by CarAdvice, the Commodore will come equipped with three engine options — two 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines mated to a front-wheel drive drivetrain, along with a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine with all-wheel drive, producing 230kW of power (full details here and the first drive review here).
Holden supplies around 2000 vehicles per year to the nation's police forces, so these sales are an important revenue and marketing stream for the brand, with highway patrol vehicles associated with power, performance and speed. But, will the new Commodore offer enough to meet the growing demands of police forces?
National police forces have been spoilt for choice in recent years with high-performance models from Holden and Ford readily accessible for reasonable prices. With turbocharged six-cylinder and V8 Falcons out of the mix, and V8-powered Commodores set for extinction by the end of 2017, the only available options carry price tags close to six figures.
While the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz are happy to loan high-performance S/RS and AMG models to police forces - for promotional work - both brands have said they won't import low-specification versions to cater for police needs. Even then, prices wouldn't be low enough to consider it a viable option for taxpayer dollars.
The Queensland Police Service for example has already committed to replacing its fleet of six-cylinder vehicles (around 234 vehicles) with the Hyundai Sonata, in addition to placing the Sonata Turbo forward as consideration for its higher-performance fleet, according to police minister, Bill Bryne.
"The QPS has now approved the Hyundai Sonata four-cylinder vehicle as a replacement for the current fleet of six-cylinder vehicles," Bryne said.
"The rollout will begin this financial year and is estimated to save the QPS around $2.3 million as 234 vehicles are replaced with Sonatas."
Queensland Police Service assistant commissioner Mike Keating also weighed in, saying that trials were underway at the moment to determine whether the Sonata Turbo would be a viable SS Commodore and XR6 Turbo replacement.
“The PSBA Fleet Assets Service Group in collaboration with the QPS has identified the Hyundai Sonata turbo model as a potential replacement for our existing higher-performance vehicles,” Keating said.
“A number of these vehicles outfitted to QPS specifications will be received shortly – and they will then undergo an evaluation to determine their suitability.
“The Queensland Police Service will continue to ensure police vehicles are fit for purpose and support the needs of operational policing into the future,” said Keating.
CarAdvice understands that the Queensland Police Service is currently testing a number of alternatives, including the Subaru Levorg, which provides a balance between performance and practicality. Either way, for Queensland, the new Commodore may be too far away to be considered an option for the police force.
While nobody would go on record with an endorsement for the new Commodore, citing commercial confidence, a NSW Police spokesperson told CarAdvice that it was still busy investigating all options on the market.
"NSW Police is well advanced with replacing our current fleet and there are still commercial discussions taking place but clearly we have very specific technical requirements – police cars now and into the future must be capable of handling a range of modern technology that assists law enforcement," the NSW Police spokesperson said.
"These discussions are commercial-in-confidence and, as such, any further comment would be inappropriate at this stage."
We'll have to wait until February 2018 before we see the next generation Commodore on Australian roads.
Do you think the 2018 Holden Commodore will have the goods to perform as Australia's next general duties and highway patrol vehicles?
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