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2001 Ford Crown Victoria Photo
Reviewed by Eric Peters
Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$21,060
BASE MSRP
$22,255
Quick Take
They're almost all gone now, the dying embers of a fading ethic and sadly shifting priorities... Read more »
N/A out of 10
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They're almost all gone now, the dying embers of a fading ethic and sadly shifting priorities. Glorious (and immensely safe) full-frame construction cars, with a separate body bolted on to a girder-like understructure. Understressed, endlessly torquey V-8 engine driving the rear wheels. Massive slab-sided proportions inside and out, with room for six and a body or two in the trunk. Enough rolling steel, all told, to flatten a Honda Civic without hardly mussing the bumper.

There's only one passenger sedan left that can deliver these things for under $25,000. Behold the mighty Ford Crown Victoria, quite possibly the last of its kind.

With the demise of the Chevy Caprice ("Shamu the car") in 1996, the Crown Victoria and its in-house twin, the Mercury Grand Marquis became the sole representatives of what had just 10 or so years before been the dominant type of passenger sedan built by U.S. automakers for 50-odd years.

Today, the majority of passenger sedans sold in the United States, whether import or domestic, are front-wheel-drive and have at most six-cylinder engines. To get a biggun’ comparable in mechanical and physical layout (e.g., full-frame, V-8, rear-drive, room for six) to the Crown Vic, you'd need to ante up for a full-boogie luxury sedan such as the Mercedes E430 or BMW 5-Series, each of which goes for roughly twice the Crown Vic's $21,965 base price.

2001 Ford Crown Victoria Interior

2001 Ford Crown Victoria Interior

If you don’t find enough room in a Crown Vic, maybe you should just lease a 767.

The 'Vic has a lot going for it, needless to say — and it's surprising that more people have not recognized the car for the exceptional value it is. In terms of usefulness, for example, the Crown Vic can accommodate as many passengers as a gas-hogging, poor-handling SUV and pull a comparably stout load, thanks to its rear-drive layout, SUV-like full-frame construction and torquey 4.6 liter V-8 engine. Yet even in loaded LX form, the Crown Vic carries a paltry price tag of just $24,080 — just barely enough, incidentally, to maybe get a base 2WD Ford Explorer, with very few options and certainly no V-8 or luxury stuff. A decently equipped V-8 Explorer 4x4 will sticker out much closer to $30,000, well into the thirties for a Limited with all the toys.

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