• Jul 30th 2010 at 8:59AM
  • 50
If it weren't for the somewhat obsessive and frankly narrow-minded love by taxi drivers and police officers for the body-on-frame Ford Crown Victoria, we'd imagine the old Panther platform would have been put out to pasture a very long time ago. As it stands, though, New York cabbies especially seem hell-bent on keeping it around on life support as long as possible.

Interestingly, though, a report from USA Today suggests that cab drivers make more money when operating a Crown Vic than any other automobile, and that supposedly includes hybrids. According to John Shaban, a 27-year-old cab driver, "I don't like the hybrids... Mechanics charge an arm and a leg for them."

Could it be that customers inherently prefer the Crown Vic? Shaban believes so, saying, "People wait for the Crown Vic because it's roomier. They're more likely to get in." Regardless, that's all set to change soon as Ford finally discontinues its long-running rear-wheel-drive people mover. It's expected to be replaced with – you guessed it – a hybrid or some other fuel efficient alternative.

[Source: USA Today | Image: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm a cab driver in Denver, CO, and my company uses a mixed fleet of Crown Vics, Dodge Caravans, Toyota Prius Hybrids, Camry Hybrids, plus anything a person who drives a four door car that is newer then five years old and wants to be a cab driver can work for us. The other plus is our cars are assigned to us.
      Of all the cars the Vic is the most prevelant and cheaper to use. This is an example of what our drivers pay.

      Crown Vic regular lease {six days, all leases are six days} 112.00 a day minus gas.
      Dodge Caravan Regular lease 130.00 a day minus gas
      Prius regular lease 150.00 a day minus gas
      Camry Hybrid regular lease 170.00 a day minus gas

      Owner Operators pay 300 bucks a week. This may sound cheaper until you realize you are responsible for all paper work, and servicing the vehicle yourself.

      When you work for a company that you must 'pay to play' {as all cab companies do}, with no benefits and long hours, and will turn your meter off {Since all cab companies here are that are legit are using computers now} if you don't pay, the Vic makes the most sense as being the cheapest to operate per day and easiest to make the daily lease even on dead days.
      Also for those out there who don't realize it Crown Vics {as are their brethern in the Mercury and Lincoln line} have been flex fuel capable since the 07 model year. There are also a few "Hybrid" Vics of ours that have been converted to run on both propane and gasoline and are marked as such, drivers of those Vics pay 125 a day but can go six hundred miles before refueling. vs three hundred for non 'hybrid' vics
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hybrids are a joke. When the battery is junk what do you do with it? They put them in a landfill....and 100 years from now it is still there. They are far from GREEN. Aleast the Crown Vic can be recycled, unlike a Prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its funny, because the article also mentions Lincoln Town Cars for limousine service. I wonder what Ford will try and replace it with... the Lincoln MKS (Ford Taurus twin?)

      The Cadillac DTS is soon going to go the same fate, so no cheap luxury roomy rear passenger seated options will exist for the private limo market (stretched or not stretched.)

        • 5 Years Ago
        The DTS and Town Cars are NOT cheap (DTS starts are $46k while the TC starts out a little more at around $47k).

      • 5 Years Ago
      Good for them...you couldn't pry my P71 from me if you tried.

      And i'd certainly keep it over a hybrid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, I would not want to ride in a Prius cab, but the hybrid Escape seems fine. Though I really do not care what (decently sized) cab I get, the 1st one will do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A Crown Vic will go 4 or 500,000 miles with few repairs, you don't have to hire an electrical engineer to fix it and it will take a beating. A Prius would be trashed in 100K and its way too small. If Ford can make a Transit Connect tough enough to take it that might be a reasonable successor, but the current crop of hybrids just isn't suitable for that kind of duty.

        • 5 Years Ago
        But most New Yorkers take cabs for very short trips, so not having all that space for 10-15 minutes is not an issue. Also, most people are OK with Malibus and Priuses, only the very tall may have issue but that is why they can get on Escape or Sienna.
        • 5 Years Ago

        The Crown Vic is an excellent fleet car. My NYPD uncle loved it becuse it was RWD, had plenty of torque and power and as you stated, was a life saver in accidents.

        I like the Corwn vic because unlike these newer cars, it has plenty of backseat space. I'm over 6'6 so if I ever got arrested, I'd need a dodge Charger or a new Taurus to get comfortable on my way to central booking !
        • 5 Years Ago
        The real reason cabbies like crown vics as opposed to little cars like a prius is b/c a crown vic is built like a tank and small fender benders and dings won't put the car out of commission or cost an arm and a leg to replace/repair.

        When a crown vic gets a smashed bumber they can slap a new one on for next to nothing from the massive junkyard of crown vic parts they have around.

        A relatively light and fragile car like the prius is simply not built to take the beating and abuse (and hundred of thousands of miles) that a new york city cab is subjected to.

        This insight came from a NYC cabbie last week who had put 160,000 miles on his 2008 Prius in the past 14 months and he said the upkeep costs were ridiculous.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A great solution might be a stretched mid-size, maybe with a 4 cyl diesel. Taxi and limo companies like sedans, so do pax.

      Maybe some of those long wheelbase versions of buicks and caddys that GM is selling in China, or what was that US re-builder that is stretching the Fusion Hybrid? The hybrid might not make sense where the car is expected to do 100k+ miles a year - anyone know?
      • 5 Years Ago
      IF I have to take a cab here I try and spot the hybrid. I'm 6'3 and still have issues with the rear seat of a crown vic. So I'd rather talk with my $$ and support the green effort.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "People wait for the Crown Vic because it's roomier."

      That's ridiculous. As a NYer, I take the first cab I see. Unless there's a special requirement, picks and chooses. 99% of the time you're just happy to snag one!
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about a Taurus or Charger taxi version?
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's the same phenomenon that happens with every technology release...nobody wants to change.

      If there isn't an immediate huge profit margin or some other obvious reason to go with the new technology, nobody is going to do it, simply because they're comfortable with what they have now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Unless Ford has some sort of secret agreement with taxi companies (totally possible) I don't know why any of the manufacturers looked into producing a large, diesel sedan for taxi, government, commercial-fleet use. There's such a market for these cars, especially for a purpose built.

      I know there's that company that's building the purpose-built police car - they should first build the capital for the project by selling clean diesel taxis that return good mileage, have a good amount of torque and are bulletproof
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