The Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon have earned their stripes with NSW Police, following a lengthy trial.

There is a new car to look out for in your rear-view mirror if you’re doing the wrong thing on the road in NSW.

The Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon have earned their stripes and are due to be added to the NSW Police fleet.

Initially, the Volkswagen Passat will be used by NSW Police general duties officers, where they will work alongside and eventually replace the current fleet of Hyundai Sonata sedans and imported Holden Commodores.

The Volkswagen Passat is already used by police in Victoria as a general duties vehicle, however a number of high-performance versions are assigned to highway patrol work.

According to figures obtained by Drive, Victoria Police has about 800 examples of the Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon currently in service.

About 700 of those are the front-drive 140kW turbo four-cylinder used for general duties work, and about 100 examples are the more powerful 206kW turbo all-wheel-drive performance models for highway patrol work.

Drive understands the NSW Police department will initially take delivery of 150 examples of the Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon. 

The first batch is expected to primarily include front-drive 140kW turbo four-cylinder examples for general duties work.

The 206kW turbo all-wheel-drive variant is believed to be under consideration as a possible highway patrol car replacement for the V8-powered Chrysler 300 SRT – which is due to reach the end of the line within the next 12 months – and work alongside the BMW 530d.

Photos of a Volkswagen Passat wearing NSW Police general duties markings – captured by emergency services photographer Kenny Holland – were taken last week in the western Sydney suburb of Liverpool.

Seen here wearing the “FLT” (fleet) call sign, this sedan is believed to be one of two Volkswagen Passats being assessed on the front line by general duties officers at a number of locations across NSW.

Once the trial concludes, it is expected more Volkwagen Passats will be added to the NSW Police general duties line-up. 

A permanent replacement for the Chrysler SRT V8 for highway patrol work in NSW is less clear cut.

The Kia Stinger twin turbo V6 – used by police in Queensland, West Australia and the Northern Territory – is approaching the end of its model life and there may not be a replacement.

Victoria Police also have a fleet of BMW 530d sedans and wagons, as well as BMW X5 SUVs and Mercedes wagons for traffic work.

High-riding SUVs give police better visibility in traffic to spot seatbelt and mobile phone offences, and such vehicles are also more suitable for alpine regions thanks to their all-wheel-drive grip.

In NSW, police have previously experimented with all-wheel-drive Volvo SUVs and Toyota LandCruiser 4WDs for alpine regions and remote outback areas.

However, the Toyota LandCruiser made the most sense for outback highway patrol work with its long-range fuel tanks, ability to handle hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads, and its robustness against animal strikes.

Experts with police fleet management experience told Drive, since the homegrown Ford and Holden era came to an end, it’s about selecting the right police vehicles for the right locations.

“A Toyota LandCruiser might be ideal for highway work out at Broken Hill or the back of Bourke, but in (snow-covered) alpine regions and in inner-city or metro areas it’s helpful to have all-wheel-drive grip, for all the short, sharp turns,” said the former high-ranking government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“I think you will end up seeing highway patrol cars spilt across two or three main vehicle types, as they do in Victoria. It’s no longer one size fits all.”

Police agencies across Australia have been able to fill the general duties void with fleet sedans such as Toyota Camry (Queensland), Hyundai Sonata (NSW), and Volkswagen Passat (Victoria).

Family SUVs such as the Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento have also been adapted for general duties use, plain clothes use, or for supervisors.

However, highway patrol vehicles remain the most challenging to replace, given the homegrown Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores offered incredible performance for the money. Indeed, they had the performance of vehicles that cost more than twice their price.

Last week, a police division in Victoria paid tribute to one of the last Holden Commodore V8s used for highway patrol work in the state: “The SS was the perfect work tool. Like a good hammer, simple but very good to hit nails with. Please enjoy a small snapshot in the life of the SS making friends and hitting nails.”

The post EXCLUSIVE: Volkswagen Passat to join NSW Police ranks appeared first on Drive.