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Subaru WRX, Chrysler 300 SRT on police short list

The Subaru WRX is one of the potential replacements for Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon being considered by NSW Highway Patrol.

NSW Highway Patrol evaluating high-power four-door replacements for Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.

The tender to replace the existing fleet of NSW Highway Patrol vehicles is still up in the air, with the Ford Mustang at best an outsider for the job.

A spokesperson from the NSW Police Force told that the decision on a replacement for the current fleet of Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores is still some way away.

"We are in discussion with a number of manufacturers at the moment, but no decision has been taken," said the spokesperson.

While the Mustang has taken centre stage as a potential replacement, its coupe bodyshape may play against it as a practical operational vehicle – though it wouldn't be the first time that NSW Police will have used a two-door car.

Locally made Valiant Chargers and XC Ford Falcon coupes were deployed to patrol fleets in the 1970s.

Australian-produced Falcons and Commodores will still be in active service until at least 2020.

The Mustang we photographed undergoing testing at Sydney Motorsport Park earlier this month is playing an active role as a community engagement vehicle, in a similar vein to the Lexus RC F, Porsche Panamera and Ford Raptor seen recently.

Australian-produced Falcons and Commodores will still be in active service until at least 2020, with the typical duty cycle of a Highway Patrol vehicle currently standing at three years.

However, understands that two importers are in high-level negotiations with the NSW police to supply alternatives to the status quo.

Subaru's four-door, all-paw WRX is still well and truly in the frame, after small modifications to the car's braking system were performed to rectify an issue found during police testing at its driver training facility in Goulburn.

Another potential replacement for the current NSW fleet comes from Chrysler, with sources suggesting that the company's 300 SRT has passed all testing requirements, and that sign-off on a final order is awaiting administrative clearance at a NSW government level.

While Subaru Australia declined to comment, it's understood that the police were largely happy with performance and capabilities of the base model WRX, which is fitted with a CVT transmission, all-wheel-drive and 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.

Standard government published pricing also gives the WRX a clear edge over the more expensive Mustang GT, with an estimated cost to the force of less than $40,000 on the road.

The Japanese company currently supplies emergency services around the country with various vehicles, with the Outback and Forester both seeing service in various ambulance and SES services around the country.

The new WRX-based Levorg wagon is also likely to come into play going forward.

Meanwhile, Chrysler's 300 SRT ticks several boxes right off the showroom floor, with the base Core model featuring the required performance brake package and a large four-door body style.

If the police force were to opt for American muscle over Japanese performance, the cost per unit would be higher, but not to the same level as the Mustang.

"The negotiations are definitely at the pointy end," confirmed our source. "It's at an administrative level with the NSW government, which can take time."

Each state and territory in Australia operates independently when it comes to vehicle deployment.

Other cars reportedly in the mix are the Volvo XC90 and BMW 535d, though the cost per unit compared to the WRX and 300 SRT are significantly more.

Each state and territory in Australia operates independently when it comes to vehicle deployment. Tasmania, for example, has a no-pursuit policy, and uses a fleet of Subaru Libertys for patrol duties.

The Northern Territory Police Force currently uses the WRX as a highway car, while police in Victoria have taken delivery of a Mercedes GLE63 AMG SUV for a year-long trial.

The $200,000 twin-turbo V8 monster is on loan to the force, after the University of Monash nominated it as one of the safest vehicles on the road.

What would make a better cop car – the Chrysler 300 SRT or the Subaru WRX?