By: Nathan Petroelje / www.hagerty.com
Following the launch of the civilian-spec 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, the bowtie brand has announced two law enforcement variants for the SUV. The first, the Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV), is engineered to tackle the high-speed and dynamic needs of highway patrol units. The Special Service Vehicle (SSV) will handle the off-road and towing needs for forces with less highway and more byway.
Both models will rock the Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V-8 engine paired exclusively with the 10-speed automatic that finds it’s way into pretty much everything at GM that’s a truck or truck-adjacent. Because the Tahoe PPV will need to keep up with whatever the baddies (or five year-olds) are running out on the highway, the engine cribs the high-performance rocker covers from the Camaro ZL1’s LT4 engine for better crankcase ventilation and higher-lateral load tolerances than its predecessor. The 5.3 will come with Chevy’s Dynamic Fuel Management software, which offers up to 18 different cylinder patterns, all in the name of efficiency. In light-load situations the trick software will be able to run the engine on as little as two cylinders. There’s also dedicated cooling systems for the engine oil and transmission fluid.
PPV Tahoes will be offered in two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations, while SSV Tahoes will come exclusively with four-wheel drive setups. Those with four-wheel drive will get a Terrain Mode, which helps the Tahoes mimic 4WD Low without a two-speed transfer case. On SSV Vehicles, there’s an available Max Trailering Package, helping equipped SSVs haul up to 8200 pounds. The package includes an active two-speed Autotrac transfer case with push-button controls, and an integrated trailer brake controller.
Chevy worked with Bridgestone to develop a special pursuit tire which, along with heavy-duty six-piston Brembo brakes up front, help reduce the bulky SUV’s stopping distance from 62 mph by 11 feet. The PPV Tahoes also get their own suspension tuning with unique dampers, springs, and stabilizer bars to help quell body roll during a chase, and also lower the overall ride height relative to their civilian counterparts.
Like the civilian counterparts, the PPV and SSV Tahoes benefit from large gains in interior space, primarily thanks to the all-new independent rear suspension setup. There’s now 70.3 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat, some 18.3 cubic feet more than the Ford Explorer Pursuit, the next largest pursuit-rated SUV
Many of the normie Tahoe’s technological improvements make their way onto the PPV and SSV Tahoes, as well. There’s a bevy of available safety equipment, from Forward Collision Alert to Lane Keep Assist, plus a Following Distance Indicator.
Both pursuit packages offer heavily bolstered electrical architecture, suited for the multitude of add-ons that most police cruisers require for operational duty. There are 31 closed circuits for the cockpit, powering everything from the computer to the radio and light controls. There are also 56 wire circuits to the cargo area so that the trunk can be rigged up with numerous configurations for police needs: evidence tech, gun cases, and more. The steering wheel buttons can be repurposed for safer activation of essential switches like the lights or the radio. Powering all this fancy tech is a dual-battery setup with emergency equipment isolation capabilities. To cut down on engine idling time, a 760-amp auxiliary battery will enable the radios, mobile data terminals, and emergency lighting to operate for periods of time without the constant charging assistance from the engine. When it comes time to re-charge, there’s a new high-output alternator, boasting 47 percent more charging power than the 2020 model’s unit.
Both the PPV and the SSV Tahoes will be assembled alongside their civilian peers at Chevy’s Arlington Assembly plant in Arlington, Texas. Chevy says they will start hitting forces near you in early 2021. As of this writing, no pricing information has been released.