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American COP March/April 2011 Digital Edition - Page 30
CARS ANd CRASHES suRvIvING IN YOuR MOBILE OffICE. JAsON HOsCHOuER Chevy’s CapriCe ppv C hevy has a long tradition of providing the nation’s police forces with vehicles, beginning in 1959 with the Biscayne. Other models followed over the years with the Caprice running from 1986 to 1996. After sitting in mothballs for almost 15 years, Chevy is bringing back the Caprice — with a vengeance. While creating the 2011 Caprice PPV (Police Patrol Vehicle) from the ground up, I’m guessing the engineers at Chevy must’ve been playing LL Cool J’s 1990 hit, Mama Said Knock You Out, and took to heart the verse, “Don’t call it a comeback … I’ve been here for years.” I was afforded the opportunity to test drive this bad boy at the GM proving grounds last September. Having had some (disappointing) experience with the Impala, I was anxious to take Chevy to task on its new iteration of a police vehicle. Photo:© GM Co. I don’t want to see this in my rear view mirror — I prefer being the one seen. Comforts For Creature hen we arrived at the proving grounds the first thing I noticed was a duty belt sitting on a chair next to the car in question. Being the only full-time sworn officer there, I made a bee-line for the belt. Comfort is high on my list of importance in a patrol vehicle, so I donned the belt and sat in the driver’s seat. Surprise doesn’t begin to cover what I experienced. I felt no digging into my back from the holstered red gun or cuff case. This was one of the main complaints I’ve had with the Impala. Chevy designed a contoured seat to address the bulky gear found on a cop’s duty belt. They created a pocket for the equipment to nestle in — saving your back and reducing damage to the seat from bulky equipment. At 118.5", the Caprice has the longest wheelbase of the major police vehicle manufacturers. I didn’t think much about it, figuring a few inches wouldn’t matter much. Boy was I mistaken; the longer wheelbase translates to a noticeable difference in the seat track. I slid the driver’s seat as far back as it would go and was unable to reach the pedals by about five inches — I’m 5'10". Clearly there’s ample legroom. And when I adjusted the driver’s seat to an appropriate distance, I could recline the seatback significantly further than This prototype shows intended placement of any other patrol car I’ve the gearshift lever for production models. It’s ever driven. very intuitive so don’t snivel about it. W You know you want to make those car noises you made as a kid. Go ahead and do it — vroom, vroom. How Does It Drive? T he Caprice PPV is a rear wheel drive car. That’s a big deal for fleet managers when it comes to repair costs and the ability to repair front-wheel drive patrol cars involved in front-end collisions. One crash could mean the graveyard for the average frontwheel drive police car. Ouch. I drove a simulated pursuit course, which included a straightaway, Scurves, 90-degree turns and slalom. The most impressive features of the Caprice are the StabiliTrak (electronic stability control) and the sport shifting technology. With StabiliTrak engaged it felt like another driver was in the car helping me Continued on page 54 30 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • MARCH/APRIL 2011