It’s not just civilians trading sedans for SUVs. With few sedans left in their lineups, American automakers are emphasizing police SUVs. The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) and Special Service Vehicle (SSV) will compete with police SUVs from Ford and Dodge for departments’ dollars.
As its name suggests, the PPV is designed for on-road pursuits, while the SSV is designed for non-pursuit work, including off-roading and towing. Both versions are based on the redesigned 2021 Tahoe, and both borrow the 5.3-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission from the civilian model. However, the PPV-spec engine uses rocker covers from the Camaro ZL1’s LT4 engine. They help improve crankcase ventilation, which allows the 2021 model to handle lateral acceleration better than its predecessor, according to Chevy.
Engine oil and transmission fluid get police-specific heavy-duty cooling systems, and the PPV rides on Firestone Firehawk Pursuit all-season tires mounted on 20-inch steel rims. The tires, which were track-tested, help reduce 62-0 mph stopping distance by 11 feet compared to the 2020 model, according to Chevy. The 2021 Tahoe’s independent rear suspension and longer wheelbase should improve ride quality, the automaker said.
The Tahoe PPV is available with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, while the SSV is four-wheel drive only. The latter is also available with a Max Trailering Package that allows for towing up to 8,200 pounds.
The PPV also gets specific suspension tuning to reduce body roll, a lower ride height than civilian Tahoe models, upgraded brakes (including Brembo six-piston monoblock calipers and 16-inch rotors up front), and a clutch-type limited-slip rear differential. The SUV’s speedometer is certified up to 140 mph, so don’t expect to get out of any tickets.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle
Chevy focused on ergonomics as well as performance. Police-specific front seats offer more hip room to fit officers’ utility belts. The new Tahoe’s rear door openings are also 13% wider than the previous generation, which should make loading handcuffed passengers easier, Chevy noted.
Like the civilian Tahoe, police models get a built-in 4G LTE WiFI hotspot, as well as a rear-camera mirror and Hitch Guidance for hooking up trailers. A host of driver aids are available, including: forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, lane-departure warnings, and a forward distance indicator.
To handle the extra lights and other items added to police cars, the 2021 Tahoe features a dual-battery electrical system. A standard blunt-cut wiring harness includes 31 circuits for the cockpit, 56 for the cargo area, and 25 circuits to connect aftermarket equipment. It also allows steering-wheel controls to be repurposed for police equipment, such as lights, Chevy said.
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe PPV and SSV enter a crowded police SUV market. Ford has made the Explorer its default police vehicle, and also sells a police Expedition. Dodge sells a pursuit-rated Durango, complete with Hemi V-8.