Chev Caprice coming to Canada

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby mark y » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:45 pm

Some driving impressions;

All 3 manufacturers had their cars out on the tracks (each had a different track) so you could drive them as hard as you wanted. I drove most of the vehicles except for the AWD Charger (huge lineup, and it was a civi version anyway, not a PPV). The tracks were precision driving tracks, with lane changes, slaloms, decreasing radius corners, etc. They weren't high speed ovals. Top speed on any track was probably 80-90km/hr.

Disclaimer; I'm not a police officer but have had EVOC training, and have been a motorcycle safety instructor. My driving probably isn't up to par with most police officers but I think I have a pretty good feel for what's important. Your mileage may vary.

Here's a video from last years' track demo. This particular vehicle was a 3.7L NA Ford Utility Interceptor ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-WrhARnfkQ .

Dodge;
Drove; V8 and V6 charger RWD.
- I actually preferred the V6 for the tighter course. It handled better in the tight corners primarily because the front end was lighter. The only place the V8 would shine is in the front straight (standing start to about 80km/hr). I've driven both before and I personally am not a huge fan of either car. I find the gearshift lever wonky, but the rear and side visibility is about middle of the road. Last year they had a part of the course where you had to reverse into a box, and I couldn't get it into Reverse (the indicator said "R" but it wouldn't back up). I had to put it into Park first then into R. After a couple tries it worked. I noticed they didn't have a reversing portion in this year's setup. Seats are ok but not my favourite (I'm 6'4" 225lbs and was not wearing any gear). Good cars, but nothing outstanding.

Ford;
Drove: 2.0L Ecoboost sedan, 3,7L NA sedan, 3.7L ecoboost UI (the 3.7L Ecoboost sedan wasn't running)
2.0L Sedan - very nimble and handled well. Gutless below 3000rpm but gets moving nicely once you spin the engine up. Same interior as the other Ford sedans (only the engine is different). Stops really well due to the huge brakes and light weight of the engine. I'd say this would be great for what it's intended for; admin, campus police, etc. that don't pursue.

3.7L NA Sedan - better power than the 2L (no surprise) but other than that about the same. I personally thought the 2L handled better but it was a very short course so I didn't get a great feel for it. Visibility on both sedans is ok to front, but really sucks to the side and rear. Worse than the Charger, IMHO.

3.7L Ecoboost Utility - very good power but not as good as what I was expecting. I drove the 3.7L Eco sedan last year and couldn't believe what a rocket that thing was. Touch the throttle and you launch, even at 2000rpm the thing just PULLED. I got no such feeling from the Utility ecoboost. Frankly, if they hadn't told me it was an Ecoboost, I wouldn't have guessed it. They put the Ecoboost cars on a different course than the 2.0L sedan, so we had a bit more room to play. I still find that the Utility has the most understeer of any of the vehicles we drove, which considering it's an AWD really surprised me. The sightlines out of the driver's seat are just terrible. People were driving over cones in the staging area because you can't see what's down beside the vehicle. I really wanted to like this vehicle but after driving it, it's certainly not my fave.

GM;
Impala V6; I actually really like this car and given the interior room, price, and fuel efficiency, I don't know why they're not more popular. The FWD is certainly a contributing factor, and you can notice it on the course, but it's a very respectable police vehicle. Love the sightlines, firm seat, and interior room. The shifter was my favourite as well.

Caprice V6; This is THE police car as far as I'm concerned. Similar comments as the Impala but in RWD. The thing really handled well and was predictable when it came to breaking loose. Great interior space, massive trunk, even the back seats were decent. It has more seat travel than I could want (I had to bring the seat forward 4" or so in order to drive it). Sadly, not available in Canada.

Caprice V8; Rocket. Ship. The guts of this engine are stunning. I kept killing cones coming out of the corners because I put my foot into it and expected it to have to spool up a bit before power would appear. Wrong. The moment I put my foot on the pedal it just pulled. I would say that this thing is faster than the 3.7L Ecoboost sedan. It just keeps pulling and pulling until you are well past the braking markers and are forced to slow down. Again, not available in Canada. It'd be overkill for city policing but for highway use...yummy.

Tahoe 2014 PPV RWD; It's still a big heavy beast but it has a ton of room and handles fairly well. The first thing you notice after driving the Ford Utility is how much better the Tahoe's visibility is. You can see everything, which makes handling the thing so much easier. It's heavier and not quite as nimble as the Ford UI, but for daily driving I'd rather have the Tahoe. I'm really looking forward to the new Gen5 engine with a 6 speed and AWD. I think the refinements for the 2015 MY will make this a fantastic police utility vehicle and likely give Ford a run for their money in the Utility market. I don't know much about the pricing, warranty, etc. though so there are a number of other factors involved, but as far as the new 2015 vehicle itself, I'm really looking forward to it.

The one thing you really notice about the Ford sedans, esp. compared to the GM sedans, is how much the dash intrudes into the driver's area, and how high the driveshaft tunnel is between the seats. It's a dramatic difference and will significantly affect how much gear you can put between the seats. Dodge was middle of the road in this regard, GM was best.

If I had to pick;
  • Best non-pursuit car; Ford 2.0L Ecoboost Sedan
    Best pursuit/highway sedan; Caprice 6L RWD (in Canada though, probably the Charger Hemi AWD)
    Best SUV; Tahoe V8 RWD (or AWD if I could get it)

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby FedCO » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:40 pm

Amazing job! I also love GM ppvs. Wish the caprice was in Canada. Love the Tahoe! Any pictures?

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby mark y » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:47 pm

FedCO wrote:Amazing job! I also love GM ppvs. Wish the caprice was in Canada. Love the Tahoe! Any pictures?
They only had the 2014 Tahoe there, not the new one.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Dave Brown » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:00 pm

Thanks! Great information, and it matches much of what we have been saying for a few years.

Maybe it's time for another sidebar article on AWD versus 4WD.

AWD is essentially FWD until it detects wheel slip, then it kicks in to 4WD. It needs a differential between the wheels on each axle, and ties the two axles together with some form of a viscous (slippable) coupling. The problem is that it needs wheel slip so, no matter how fast it can detect and kick in, you don't get the benefits of the extra stability on slippery roads when you think you need it the most. I often call the slip-detection systems of AWD as the "never-in-time all-wheel-drive."

4WD systems also have only two differentials but they solidly lock the front and rear axles together in a 50/50 split when engaged, so they provide traction at both ends. This has huge benefits for everything from acceleration to handling on slippery surface. The downside is that you can only use it on slippery surfaces, as the drivetrain will bind and wear prematurely if used on dry roads.

Many systems, especially GM, have a selectable AWD/4WD switch, where one can go from 2 to AWD to 4WD. They add a viscous coupling to the transfer case for AWD and lock all 4 together for 4WD. The AWD (often called "automatic AWD or A4WD) can be used on any roads.

In AWD, if one wheel is on a slippery surface, the entire vehicle may not move because nearly all of the torque gets shifted to that one wheel until the viscous coupling can try to shift some to another axle. This is why I call them "never-in-time."

In reality, until slip is detected (hopefully before it is too late,) FWD and AWD are actually one-wheel-drive systems when you factor in the differentials.

In 4WD, it would take 2 wheels to be on a slippery surface to immobilize the vehicle, at least until any limited slip differentials tried shifting some torque. So, 4WD is actually only two-wheel-drive. This is why SUVs are the first ones you see on their roof in the ditch on the first snowfall of the season. People don't understand the design and drive them beyond their limits. 4WD is NOT driving all 4 wheels, and by the time slip is detected, the vehicle is on its roof.

The best system is full-time 4WD where all axles are driven all the time. It is expensive because you need three differentials. As far as I know, there have been few if any police vehicle that use full-time 4WD. (Except in Europe where they drive Audis.)

All that being said, manufacturers of police vehicles are coming out with more hybrid systems that lock faster. But one always needs to understand the limitations of any system.

FWD will always understeer. The Impala is wonderful because it behaves a lot like a RWD, but it is still FWD. FWD is essentially a one-wheel-drive system.

AWD is FWD. It helps a lot on acceleration but adds little stability in cornering. Ford may have been critical of GM's FWD Impala in the past but they are now quiet about it because both the Ford sedan and the Ford utility are based on FWD platforms.

Next best up the list is GM's part-time AWD system on the civilian 4WD Tahoe. In A4WD, it adds about 10% of the torque to all 4 wheels all the time, which is good. In slippery conditions, one can switch the GM system to a true 4WD.

As for the Fords, while the Fords are nice, they still have a long way to go to sell it to us. You can call them AWD or crossovers or whatever, but it is still a FWD vehicle at heart, with a rear axle that may or may not kick in in time. Plus, to allow room for officers and their headgear, they simply took the civvie version and dropped the seats to the floor. This kills the outward visibility from the side windows and throws a big huge dash right in your face. The first moment I sat in one, I felt like I was in a tank looking through slits.

Until Ford proves it to us once and for all that these are real police cars, the jury is still out as far as we are concerned. After numerous inquiries over the past 3 years, they have no interest in letting us drive them and report on it.

Until we know otherwise, we can only speculate that some marketing folks are aware that we don't do "puff pieces" on products that may be need to keep police officers alive, and we are going to tell it like it is.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby SierraSeven » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:48 pm

I understand that both versions of the new Ford Interceptors are based off the Taurus and Explorer respectively, but why wouldn't Ford bring them to market with RWD? Even RWD with AWD that can be enabled and disabled with a button. Sometimes you want that back end to slide out a bit, most times you don't, but it'd be nice to still have the option once the Crown Victoria's are gone.
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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Dave Brown » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:32 am

It will never be cost-viable to make a dedicated platform as a dedicated police car. Ford kept the PI going long after the Crown Victoria folded because the tooling was long paid for. There is no way anyone will bring back a RWD platform just for police. The Taurus will always be a mid-size FWD economy car and the Explorer was redesigned as a FWD crossover SUV, but they are exactly the same platform.

Ford took a FWD economy sedan, spent a bundle on advertising, dropped the seats to the floor and also wrapped an SUV around the same platform.

Carbon Motors is now (thankfully) dead and buried. They weren't really trying to build a dedicated police car; they were a bunch of highly-paid auto executives who wanted to continue their lavish lifestyles on the backs of the taxpayers by going rah-rah-Merica on them, hoping to get big US Congress bailout dollars before they even rolled an assembly line. Blue Line saw through their scam years and years ago.

Dodge has listened to everyone and made significant incremental improvements on their Charger, plus they dropped models that no one wanted (Magnum.) They surprised even us by taking a retro muscle car platform and turning it into a pretty good police car.

GM seems to have been coasting for a few years but they have some top-rated models now on the market, with the resultant increased profits. They seem to be dumping a lot of that into the police car market, and they are the ones to watch in 2015.

The biggest problem is that the police fleet market has such narrow profit margins and small production numbers that Toyota accidentally drops more cars into the ocean while loading them onto freighters than Dodge, GM and Ford combined sell as police cars in North America.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Whistler22 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:23 pm

mark y wrote: GM;
Impala V6; I actually really like this car and given the interior room, price, and fuel efficiency, I don't know why they're not more popular. The FWD is certainly a contributing factor, and you can notice it on the course, but it's a very respectable police vehicle. Love the sightlines, firm seat, and interior room. The shifter was my favourite as well.
I drive one every day... to really understand the problems with it you need one with a full cage and computer, and you need to have a vest and duty belt on.

I don't hate the car... but it definitely has some interior room issues.

1. I have no problems getting in and out without a vest, but with the vest and belt I can hit my head on the roof and struggle to get out of it sometimes.

2. The full cage limits the seat travel, so even as big as it is, the seat doesn't go all the way back and it cramps my knees on a full shift.

3. If you ever work with 2 officers, most laptops will invade the front passenger space, very uncomfortable for more than like 30 minutes.

Granted I am 6'3 though.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby GPZ » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:05 pm

Whistler22 wrote:
mark y wrote: GM;
Impala V6; I actually really like this car and given the interior room, price, and fuel efficiency, I don't know why they're not more popular. The FWD is certainly a contributing factor, and you can notice it on the course, but it's a very respectable police vehicle. Love the sightlines, firm seat, and interior room. The shifter was my favourite as well.
I drive one every day... to really understand the problems with it you need one with a full cage and computer, and you need to have a vest and duty belt on.

I don't hate the car... but it definitely has some interior room issues.

1. I have no problems getting in and out without a vest, but with the vest and belt I can hit my head on the roof and struggle to get out of it sometimes.

2. The full cage limits the seat travel, so even as big as it is, the seat doesn't go all the way back and it cramps my knees on a full shift.

3. If you ever work with 2 officers, most laptops will invade the front passenger space, very uncomfortable for more than like 30 minutes.

Granted I am 6'3 though.
That's the key. It's all well and good to test the cars as delivered - but it's a different ballgame once you add a cage, gun rack, radio, and laptop, and make the driver and passenger wear duty gear and live in the thing for 12 hours. Big engines and hot acceleration numbers are fun, but I'd trade horsepower for interior room any day.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Whistler22 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:06 pm

FedCO wrote:Amazing job! I also love GM ppvs. Wish the caprice was in Canada. Love the Tahoe! Any pictures?
It might take some getting used to...

Pics are too big to post here but can be found at link here...

http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/11/sem ... near-your/

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Matt_YRP » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:13 pm

Whistler22 wrote:
FedCO wrote:Amazing job! I also love GM ppvs. Wish the caprice was in Canada. Love the Tahoe! Any pictures?
It might take some getting used to...

Pics are too big to post here but can be found at link here...

http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/11/sem ... near-your/


Certainly a mean looking SUV, nice interior too.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby FedCO » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:38 pm

Matt_YRP wrote:
Whistler22 wrote:
FedCO wrote:Amazing job! I also love GM ppvs. Wish the caprice was in Canada. Love the Tahoe! Any pictures?
It might take some getting used to...

Pics are too big to post here but can be found at link here...

http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/11/sem ... near-your/


Certainly a mean looking SUV, nice interior too.
It's going to be a great ppv :-)

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Punisher-One » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:08 pm

Interesting....so they took a Ford Interceptor SUV and mashed a Tahoe into it and created the new Tahoe out of the ashes?

I've seen mostly new Interceptors and Interceptor SUVs with departments in Southern Ontario. I wonder if any would be interested in the new Tahoes.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Whistler22 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:16 pm

In Eastern Ontario it seems like the new Ford sedans are taking over everywhere except with the OPP... who still seem to be running all Crown Vics, and one new Charger I've seen around.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby Punisher-One » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:40 am

Whistler22 wrote:In Eastern Ontario it seems like the new Ford sedans are taking over everywhere except with the OPP... who still seem to be running all Crown Vics, and one new Charger I've seen around.
They've got a few new Interceptor sedans roaming around my area.

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Re: Chev Caprice coming to Canada

Postby wonka1990 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:56 pm

York tested out the Ford Sedan, Utility and the Tahoe for front line use. No one liked the Tahoe, mainly because the way they had it set up inside was retarded. They decided all front line vehicle will be the Ford Utility (Explorer) with traffic, COR and apparently supervisors having to cram into the Ford Sedan. I'm 6'3" and around 205 lbs and I have to fall in to the sedan, getting out in a hurry isn't an option.
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