First Look: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Vehicle
When size matters, cops call in the big guy.
Sometimes, a cop on the beat wants a vehicle with a little more room for, you know, stuff: police dogs, rescue and safety equipment-maybe even more than the usual number of perps. For law-enforcement missions where size really matters, Chevrolet offers its 2008 Tahoe Police - the first sport-ute designed from the outset with the needs of police personnel in mind.
Like its civilian counterpart, the Tahoe Police is thoroughly resigned for 2008, built on GM's new full-size SUV platform. Output of the standard 5.3-liter V-8 is bumped to 320 horsepower and torque climbs to 340 pound-feet. The V-8 features Active Fuel Management technology for improved fuel efficiency, and it's also designed to burn up to 85 percent ethanol (E85). Curiously, during the Michigan State Police's annual cop-vehicle testing program (see "Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?" feature), the E85-fueled Tahoe actually performed better than its gasoline-burning counterpart. As on the 2006 model, the engine mates to a four-speed automatic.
For enhanced stability when running at high speeds, the Police Tahoe is lowered and boasts stiffer springs and shocks (the lowered chassis is protected with a skid plate package). Tires are H-rated 265/60R17 blackwall Goodyear RSAs on 17-inch steel wheels; tire-pressure monitoring is standard. Other enhancements for police work include a 26-gallon fuel tank, heavy-duty battery and 160-amp alternator, heavy-duty radiator and oil cooler, larger disc brakes (with ABS), fully integrated wiring (for easy installation of aftermarket lights, radios, sirens, etc.), and special "Dirty Harry" graphics (just kidding). Front and front-side airbags are standard, with roof-mounted head-curtain airbags optional. While prices vary widely (the Tahoe Police is a fleet vehicle typically sold at volume discount), the base package starts at just under $35,000.
On the test track, compared with the three most popular police sedans - the Chevy Impala, the Ford Crown Vic, and the new Dodge Charger - the rear-drive Tahoe Police held its own. 0 to 60 mph takes just 7.3 seconds, quicker than the Impala and Crown Vic (though well off the Hemi-powered Charger's 5.7-second time). The Tahoe Police runs the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at 88.5 mph, quicker than the Ford. The Tahoe Police scooted around our Figure Eight course in 28.4 seconds, behind the Impala and Charger but again edging out the aging Crown Vic. Incredibly, in our braking tests the Tahoe Police bested them all: Stops from 60 mph take just 126 feet, better even than the fat-tired Charger (127 feet).
Like its civilian sibling, the Tahoe Police is a genuine pleasure to drive. Ride quality is controlled and fluid, steering effortless, power ample. That big cabin is also an exceptionally fine place to spend time in. Considering what a high priority law-enforcement personnel place on vehicle comfort (officers routinely log eight-hour shifts behind the wheel), the Tahoe Police should prove one of the most popular rides in any police department lucky enough to acquire one.