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2006 Ford Crown Victoria review

February 10, 2006 10:33 AM EST | Ford , Sedans | Email to Friend | Comments (0)

View large imageOne of the last traditional rear-drive, body-on-frame full-size sedans, the Crown Vic offers a lot of room at a reasonable price. However, those with slightly more money to spend on a V8 sedan will likely prefer the modern, stylish Chrysler 300C.

Pros
Low price, rear-wheel-drive performance, standard ABS, room for six, comfortable ride, excellent crash test results.

Cons
Large size makes it difficult to park and maneuver, dated interior styling.

What's New for 2006
For 2006, the Crown Victoria LX gains nine-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a trip computer is now standard on the LX and LX Sport. An alarm system has been made optional on all models.

Introduction:
The Victoria debuted in the Ford lineup in 1951 as a new derivative of the 1949 Ford, the company's first new post-war car. The Crown Victoria, a top-of-the-line version highlighted by a "basket-handle" chrome accent strip that looped over the greenhouse, joined the lineup in 1955. The Victoria models continued throughout the 1950s as derivatives of the Fairlane series. Other models included a luxury Town Victoria and a stylish Club Victoria. The Victoria designation went on hiatus in 1965 in favor of the Galaxie 500 and LTD-series Fairlanes. The Crown Victoria name returned in 1980 as the high end of the full-size LTD models and once again became a best-seller. Currently, the Crown Vic is the favored ride of taxi drivers, police departments and fleet services. Its most recent major updates were in 1998 and 2003. Decades-old technology and platform sharing (the Mercury Marquis and Lincoln Town Car are progeny) allow Ford to keep the prices low. The Crown Victoria is a big car that offers a lot for the money.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
Ford's full-size Crown Victoria comes in three trim levels -- base, LX and LX Sport. The base model comes equipped with basics like air conditioning, a power driver seat and a cassette stereo. Upgrades like remote keyless entry and a CD player are available as options. Step up to the LX to get them standard, as well as an overhead console with compass, alloy wheels, automatic climate control and a trip computer. The LX Sport comes with a handling and performance package that includes performance tires, revised suspension components, dual exhaust and performance torque converter, as well as leather trim for the seats and a floor-mounted shift lever with console. Various options include power-adjustable pedals, traction control and a moonroof.

Powertrains and Performance:
Despite its size, the two-ton Crown Victoria is no slouch in terms of acceleration thanks to its 4.6-liter V8 engine that pumps out 224 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque in base and LX models. This engine makes 239 hp and 287 lb-ft of torque in the LX Sport. The only transmission offered is a four-speed automatic.

Safety:
All Crown Vics come with four-wheel antilock disc brakes and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). Front-seat side airbags are available but only on the LX and LX Sport trim levels. The Crown Victoria has done well in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests; it earned five stars for driver and front-passenger protection and four stars in side-impact testing. The big sedan also earned the top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS. With a crash-severity sensor, safety belt pre-tensioners, dual-stage airbags and seat-position sensors, the Crown Vic offers most of modern safety innovations despite its older design.

Interior Design and Special Features:
If you've ridden in a taxicab recently, you know that innovative interior design is not one of the Crown Victoria's strengths. For better or for worse, it's basic, roomy and comfortable. A cavernous trunk of 20.6 cubic feet will swallow any luggage you might have. The Crown Vic can seat six passengers thanks to a column-mounted shifter and standard front bench seat.

Driving Impressions:
As you might expect, responsive handling is not the Crown Victoria's forte. Various improvements over the years provide a comfortable ride, but there's no getting around the vehicle's substantial weight and dimensions, or its old-tech underpinnings. If you're looking for nothing more than a family cruiser, the Vic will suffice, but if a car with a somewhat involving driving experience is your desire, look elsewhere.

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