The Ford Crown Victoria is the current model nameplate for the rear-wheel drive full-size car produced by the Ford Motor Company in the 1950s, and then again since the 1980s. The current Crown Victoria can be seen as the latest evolution of the standard (full) sized Ford, starting with the Model T. While the Crown Victoria only has mediocre sales to the general public, the Crown Victoria is very popular among fleets and police departments, with its twin, the Mercury Grand Marquis being the exact opposite. The Grand Marquis is almost never used by fleets other than rental car companies, while it is very popular among the general public. While it shares components with the Lincoln Town Car, it shares almost no exterior sheetmetal or interior parts. The 1992-onward model has had a number of upgrades, and is the most common vehicle used by law enforcement in North America, followed by the Chevrolet Impala.
In 2003, the chassis was again redone with hydroformed steel. The front and rear suspension was also completely overhauled. New inverted monotube shocks are now used (replacing the old twin-tube shocks that had been around since the 1960s). In the front, new aluminum control arms, and rack and pinion steering (replacing the recirculating ball units) have been implemented. The rear suspension was redone for durability in police-duty applications and the rear shocks were moved outboard of the frame rails for better handling and ease of maintenance. As a result, the road-handling manners of the Panther platform cars have improved significantly. The engine output increased due to the addition of a knock sensor for more aggressive timing.
The Crown Victoria retained the same exterior styling, but 2005 models received a rear whip radio antenna rather than an integrated rear defroster antenna. 2005 models also received a new steering wheel. The rear whip antenna has been removed from the 2006 models in favor of the integrated rear defroster antenna.
Even with the latest 2006 Crown Victoria, the overall design remains relatively unchanged from the 1979 design. It still uses a front independent suspension with a rear live axle on a body on frame design, using a traditional rear wheel drive drivetrain. The design has been popular with police departments and cab companies to the same extent as the Chevrolet Caprice in the 1980s and early 1990s, especially in New York City where they make up the majority of the taxi and New York City Police Department fleets, as well among the general populace.
The Crown Victoria has often been characterized as an "older person's car", but this is a misconception considering nearly all vehicles in this class tend to have an older client base (because most older drivers were accustomed to driving larger cars). It is considerably more durable than modern front wheel drive cars that rely on constant velocity joints for transmission of power to the steering wheels. It also offers more interior space and slightly better fuel economy than many SUVs of similar weight.
Engines (MY2005 stats)
+ 220hp @ 4750 rpm/265lb.ft. @ 4000 rpm/9.4:1 compression 4.6L V-8 (Fleet only.)
+ 224hp @ 4750 rpm/265lb.ft. @ 4000 rpm/9.4:1 compression 4.6L V-8 (Base civilian package.)
+ 239hp @ 4750 rpm/276lb.ft. @ 4000 rpm/9.4:1 compression 4.6L V-8 (Perf. & Handling Pkg.-equipped only; includes Sport)
+ 250hp @ 4900 rpm/287lb.ft. @ 4100 rpm/9.6:1 compression 4.6L V-8 (Police Interceptor package only.)