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Law and Charger: How Fast Are Cop Cars? 

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Watching a high-speed chase and wondering how fast can these police cruisers go? Judging by how quickly the pursuits usually end, ordinary cars don’t stand a chance. So, unless you are a pro driver and getting away in a Ferrari, an attempt to outrun the cops will end soon. But it’s good to know how fast cop cars are. 

The new Ford Police Interceptors may look deceptively ordinary, like a soccer mom car, unless you watch them go 0-60 in 5.68 seconds. Special cop cars can accelerate faster, but it’s less likely to see them in a high-speed pursuit. That doesn’t mean you can outrun a Dodge Charger or Ford Explorer patrolling the streets. So, if you see the flashing lights, pull over and play nice. Or, keep reading to find out how soon they’ll catch up: 

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How fast are American cop cars? 

From pony cars to specialized SUVs, conventional police vehicles have come a long way to hit speeds up to 155mph. Most commuter cars can hit 120 mph, so cop cars need to match that speed or do better. Highway patrol and other law enforcement agencies like the FBI bank on V6 or V8 turbo engines, with aggressive rear gears, suspension upgrades, and the latest tech to swiftly answer their call of duty.   

So, how fast are the new cop cars? 

Policemag’s 2023 patrol vehicles test puts Ford PI Utility EcoBoost at #1 with a top speed of 148 mph and acceleration rate of 5.68 seconds. The PI Utility Hybrid and PI Utility 3.3-liter posted 136 mph. Meanwhile, the more popular Dodge Charger models hit 140 mph at top speed, and the Durango patrol SUVs trailed at 130 mph. Chevy patrol cars were slowest during the test, with the Tahoe 5.3L 4WD hitting only 124 mph.  

Also See: How to Report Reckless Driving? Things You Must Know

How fast are police cars allowed to go? 

Usually, the speed of a cop car is limited by the car itself in a high-speed chase situation. So, if the police vehicle hits top speed at 120 mph, that’s how fast they can go. However, when not in pursuit, cop cars conform to the general speed limit.  


Did You Know? Japan, UAE, Italy, and the Netherlands have law enforcement vehicles that can hit 180-250 mph. For example, the Dubai Audi R8 police car has a top speed of 200 mph and goes 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds. While the fastest cop car USA uses – the Ford Mustang GT – offers 160 mpg, going 0-60 in 5.2 seconds. 

Are cop cars modified to go faster? 

Automakers do give cop cars special modifications to improve their efficiency and durability. Most law enforcement vehicles have powerful V6 engines; some even use high-performance V8 engines for better acceleration. However, V6 offers better fuel economy and performs well enough to outrun most civilian vehicles.  

Apart from engine tuning, improvements in the cooling and suspension systems also amp up a cop car’s performance. Think custom radiators, bigger fans, power steering coolers, stronger shocks and springs, sturdier stabilizer bars, larger brakes, etc. Bigger batteries and alternators are also used to increase power. An average civilian car has alternators that barely make 100 amps; upgraded cop cars can crank over 200 amps.  

Cop cars also need specialized equipment for surveillance and communication. So, they are fitted with modified radios, laptops, and other gadgets that play a significant role in law enforcement. The bigger batteries are handy as this additional equipment draws more power than ordinary cars. 


You’ll also find specially-designed guards in front of cop cars. These are effective in bumping vehicles off the road to stop a criminal or clearing traffic. Cops also need their cars to idle longer; Run-Lock ignition is the modification that keeps the engine idling without a key. Finally, special lighting is added to police vehicles – that’s not just the sirens; lights inside the car also switch from white to red as red light gives better visibility at night. 

See: Illegal Car Mods: Avoid Getting Pulled Over by Cops!

Which are the best American police cars? 

Dodge Charger, Chevy Caprice, and Ford Police Interceptor Utility are the popular models, though many more favorites have come and gone in the past.  

The 2022 Ford Police Interceptor Utility AWD clocks a top speed of 148 mph and goes 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. These Ford Explorer-based cop cars have a 3.0 L V6 engine with Ecoboost and 400 hp. 3.3-liter HEV AWD and 3.3-liter direct-injection V-6 FFV AWD options are also available in the same model. 

Ford Police Interseptor

If your city isn’t patrolled by an Explorer, it could be a Charger; American cops have used it for nearly two decades. The 2022 Dodge Charger Pursuit speeds up to 150mph with a 5.7L HEMI V8 engine. But the Ford PI Utility and the Charger are a bit heavy at >6000 lbs, and the Charger’s V8 is quite fuel-thirsty. 

If you look back at former cars that have served the police, the 2017 Ford Police Interceptor is one of the best AWDs with a top speed of 148 mph on a 3.7L Ecoboost V6 engine. If you are interested, the Taurus-base interceptor has hit the secondhand market now.  

The 60s and 70s favorite 1969 Dodge Polara Pursuit is also a worthy contender for the fastest cop cars. It has a 149mph top speed and 0-60 acceleration in 6.8 seconds. 2002 Chevrolet Camaro B4C, 2013 Chevrolet Caprice PPV, 2004 Saab 9-5, 1993 Ford Mustang SSP, and 1996 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 are also in the league.  

Which are the cars that can outrun cops? 

Most civilian cars don’t stand a chance if chased by the latest cop cars. For example, a few were tested on the track at Carolina Motorsports Park, with a Dodge Charger Pursuit in pursuit. A Ferrari 488GTB won comfortably, but how often do you expect to see that on a live chase. Volkswagen Golf GTI turned out to be risky business with turns, while the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE did considerably well. Toyota Yaris iA did not last 10 seconds with the Charger in its rearview mirror.  


So, you need more than a fast car to outrun a cop car. Even with insane driving skills, you won’t have all the extra help that the cops in pursuit do. And don’t forget the tech; cops can trace your license plate with minimal effort and communicate quickly to cut your race short. 

You Might Also Like: Why Do Police Touch Your Car? Is It a Habit or a Necessity?

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