New & Used Ford Crown Victoria: In Depth
2005 Ford Crown Victoria StandardEnlarge Photo
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The Ford Crown Victoria is a large, rear-wheel-drive sedan that even several years after its 2011 discontinuation remains a mainstay for police cars, taxi-cab duty, and government-sector fleets. Nearly identical to the Mercury Grand Marquis (and Marauder) and closely related to the Lincoln Town Car, the Crown Victoria had few rival models after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Caprice back in 1996—although the somewhat smaller Dodge Charger has absorbed some of the Ford's police and fleet market.The Crown Victoria's mechanical underpinnings track back to 1979, and the Ford LTD, while the name goes back to 1980, when the top-of-the-line LTD was called the LTD Crown Victoria. At the time, the platform was considered a downsized one that would deliver better fuel economy while complying with (then) newly established NHTSA crash tests.
That so-called Panther platform under the Crown Vic didn't change all that much over the years. But the Crown Vic's presentation and package did otherwise change a lot for 1992, when it entered its 'modern' era. Ford's designers did their best to round this big sedans edges and comply with the 'jellybean' design ethos of the time. The effort did dramatically drop its coefficient of drag, cut wind noise, and make it a more efficient, agreeable car on the highway, without really limiting its usefulness in any way. At this time, Ford's new 4.6-liter V-8 (making 190 hp or 210 hp) was subbed in, saving some weight, while some other modern items like improved steering and anti-lock brakes were introduced.
These models can serve quite the range of purposes, as they're great highway cars, with vast back seats and a huge 21-cubic foot trunk, plus a smooth, settled ride that's charming, provided you don't have to follow curves or make too many abrupt maneuvers. At the same time, the Crown Vic became a favorite with fleets and cab companies, both for the bulletproof nature of its powertrains and for the easy-to-fix nature of its body-on-frame layout.
Changes to the Crown Victoria were very limited over the rest of the 1990s and 2000s, with the model getting a power boost to 220 hp (or 235 hp in the LX Sport and some fleet packages). From the 1995 models on, the front and rear appearance became a little smoother yet, while in 1998 it received essentially its last round of cosmetic changes.
Civilian sales of the Crown Victoria ended in 2007, although with so many sold to fleets through 2011, there will be plenty of moderately used and rather well maintained Crown Vics flowing into the used-car market for many years.
Although these models have aged looks (even when they were new) and poor gas mileage, many loyal repeat customers find the Crown Vic's comfort, dependability, reliability, and longevity to outweigh those low points. To this day, there's no clear successor to this much-loved model—a sign that may keep used values buoyed for years.