Cops use a variety of vehicles to fulfill their duties—up to and including Mustangs and Ferraris. The Ford Crown Vic is a particular US favorite. Though when the terrain calls for it, police also use four-wheel-drive pickup trucks. However, especially in the US, cops do ask for/require some level of an intimidation factor. That’s why there’ve been so many police SUVs over the years. And now, just as the redesigned 2021 Chevy Tahoe starts hitting dealers, the police version is getting ready to flash its lights.
2021 Chevy Tahoe police SUV specs and features
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe police SUV definitely has the intimidation part down. In addition to the light bar and bull bar, it’s based on the off-road-focused Z71 trim. This adds a different grille for a better approach angle and a front skidplate. However, Chevy did more to the SUV than just that.
The police-spec Chevy Tahoe, like the civilian SUV, has a 5.3-liter V8 paired with a 10-speed automatic. It doesn’t make any more power than the standard version, Autoblog reports. However, to improve heat management, Chevy gave the police-spec Tahoe oil and transmission coolers. Both RWD and 4WD are available.
Because cops now rely more heavily on electronic tools, the Chevy Tahoe police SUV has a second battery, Road & Track reports. That way, the SUV doesn’t actually have to idle to run, say, a laptop. And to power everything, the alternator has also been beefed up. The Tahoe itself also offers more tech. Rear park assist is standard, and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot is available, along with a range of driver-assistance features.
In addition, the police no longer have to reach into their utility belts to grab their keys. The Chevy Tahoe now gets keyless entry and push-button start. Though the front seats are still designed to accommodate those utility belts. This is in addition to the 2021 Tahoe’s new independent rear suspension granting more interior space.
Police Pursuit Vehicle vs. Special Service Vehicle
For 2021, Chevy is offering the police-spec Tahoe in 2 different trims. The Police Pursuit Vehicle model is focused on high-speed stability and urban comfort. The Special Service Vehicle, though, is more about off-roading and towing.
The PPV trim adds pursuit-rated Firestone tires, which Chevy claims cuts 11 feet from the 2020 model’s braking distance. And to further improve cooling, the PPV gets the Camaro ZL1’s rocker covers, which allegedly increase crankcase ventilation. The pursuit Tahoe is also lower, with retuned suspension components and anti-roll bars. Plus, the PPV gets a limited-slip differential and upgraded brakes, with the front discs supplied by Brembo.
In addition to the high-speed benefits of the IRS, the SSV comes exclusively with 4WD. Although the 4WD doesn’t have a transfer case, it does add Terrain Mode, which Chevy claims “provides performance similar” to 4Lo. The SSV can also be equipped with a Max Trailering Package, which increases the tow rating to 8200 pounds and adds an electronic 2-speed transfer case.
How other police SUVs compare
Unlike the police-spec 2021 Chevy Tahoe, the Ford Explorer Pursuit police SUV can be ordered as a hybrid. Like the Tahoe, Car and Driver reports, the Pursuit hybrid can shut down its engine while still powering electronics. However, the Ford gets a combined EPA rating of 24 mpg, while the civilian Tahoe gets 18 mpg, Roadshow reports. But the Ford Explorer Pursuit is only AWD, and can’t get a transfer case. And with 318 combined hp, it’s less powerful than the 355-hp Tahoe.
The Dodge Durango Pursuit, though, is more powerful than the Tahoe, The Drive reports. It comes with a 360-hp 5.7-liter V8 and can be equipped with 4WD. The police-spec Durango also gets upgraded brakes, along with cooling ducts in the front fascia, and speed-rated tires. Police departments can fit it with skidplates, tow-packages, and even heated front seats. However, the Durango is actually slower than the Chevy Tahoe. The Dodge’s speedo goes to 118 mph; the Tahoe PPV’s, though, goes to 140 mph.
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