2004 Crown Victoria New Car Test Drive
Though they were what most people drove in the 1950s and 1960s, full-size cars like the Ford Crown Victoria are now an anomaly. But Ford's biggest sedan still offers significant virtues, including affordable V8 performance and room for six people (if configured with a three-abreast front bench seat).
Today, the Crown Victoria's passenger and cargo volumes compare favorably against fashionable SUVs. Its low seat height doesn't afford a truck's elevated perspective of the road, but sliding into the Crown Vic is as effortless as settling into your favorite armchair. This lowness also pays a noticeable dividend in ride quality, avoiding the hobbyhorse head tossing of a truck or SUV.
The Crown Victoria is popular with a lot of people for its impressive safety ratings, easy entry/exit, big windows, pleasant ride quality, quiet interior, confusion-free controls, and optional power-adjustable pedals. Ford sells nearly 80,000 Crown Vics a year.
Ford substantially updated the Crown Victoria for 2003. A stiffer chassis provided front frame sections designed to better absorb crash energy. Handling precision was improved, thanks to more precise rack-and-pinion steering and an extensive redesign of the front and rear suspensions. For 2004, Ford has made changes to the transmission for better acceleration, and re-thought the layout of the optional overhead console. Laminated door glass is now available for even more quiet and security.
Crown Victoria is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that produces 224 horsepower. The base Crown Victoria ($23,620) comes standard with air conditioning, ABS, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, and an AM/FM stereo/cassette sound system.
The LX ($26,645) adds AM/FM stereo with a single-CD player, eight-way power passenger seat, power adjustable pedals, an overhead console, and remote keyless entry. A Premier Group option ($1,205) for the LX adds electronic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and climate controls, power passenger lumbar support, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The LX Sport package ($2,945) upgrades the driving experience with a dual exhaust system that boosts the output to 239 horsepower, firmer suspension tuning, beefy P235/55HR17 tires on special five-spoke alloy wheels, a lower-ratio rear axle for quicker acceleration, and dual exhausts for more power. Sport models get all the features in the Premier Group package plus leather-trimmed front bucket seats with a floor-mounted gear selector (also leather-trimmed), an armrest/central storage compartment with twin cup holders, a mini-storage bin below the center of the dash, and a monochrome exterior. The Handling Package ($615) is also offered as a stand-alone option on Crown Victoria and Crown Victoria LX.
Laminated door glass ($295) is available on 2004 Crown Victoria LX and LX Sport to provide extra security against break-ins and thefts. It also reduces road and wind noise, improves protection from flying glass in a collision and filters out most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, thus reducing heat buildup and fading of the interior.
Other stand-alone options include front side-impact airbags ($300), all-speed traction control with electronic brake force distribution ($235), six-disc CD changer ($165), heated rearview mirrors ($35), electronic instrumentation ($235), power adjustable pedals for the base model ($120), a full-size spare ($115), and a trunk organizer ($190).