Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Overview

Body
The Undisputed King of Full-Sized Sedans

If you are the type of person who likes to be surrounded by a big V8 powered machine, but you are not really into the whole SUV craze, then the Ford Crown Victoria may be just what you're looking for. The last of the full-sized rear-wheel drive, six-passenger sedans (along with its sister car the Mercury Grand Marquis), the Ford Crown Victoria offers what is now called "traditional" American car virtues at a price that starts below $25K. For interior room, trunk space and overall compliant ride, there are few vehicles that rival the big Ford.

For 2003, Ford has made a number of structural and safety improvements aimed at improving the ride and handling of the Crown Victoria. New hydroformed front rails and cross members have helped Ford to stiffen the big sedan's platform by nearly 24%, which in turn has allowed them to improve the way the Crown Victoria responds to road blemishes and emergency maneuvers. Compared to the 2002 model, there is a noticeable difference in the car's handling, steering feel and ride quality. A speed-sensitive rack and pinion steering unit replaces the old recirculating-ball setup; the new system removes the floating, detached feeling commonly associated with full-size sedans and replaces it with a nicely weighted, responsive steering wheel. You'll find that when you push the Crown Victoria hard, there is far less dive and plowing of the front end. The car goes where you point it, and you'll find that you will probably break loose from the leather-covered seats before the car's wheels break loose from the pavement.

Though the Crown Victoria is in no way a sports sedan, it is still the favorite vehicle of police departments across the country. Ford offers an LX Sport model that features a beefier rear suspension, different rear differential, revised front springs and 17-inch wheels and tires. When so equipped, the Crown Victoria comes pretty close to equaling the performance turned in by cars outfitted with the police package.

Ford has also spent time revising the Crown Victoria's interior; the car benefits greatly from improvements made to the Lincoln Town Car, which shares a common platform with the Crown Vic. New seats with firmer foam and better lower back and thigh support sport new fabrics and stitch patterns. The front seat headrests are taller, with better support to prevent whiplash in the event of accident. The rear seats also receive improved comfort and can still seat three adults side-by-side without a problem. The Crown Victoria's interior can best be described as pleasant, but not a stand out. Interior color schemes are limited to varying shades of gray or beige, but the plastics and leathers used are of highest quality and the overall fit and finish is excellent. If you're worried about luggage space, the Crown Victoria's deep trunk is neatly organized to accommodate up to 20 cubic-feet of cargo. As an added safety measure, Ford has placed a glow-in-the-dark release handle inside the trunk, should someone become trapped inside. Other safety measures include new front seatbelt pretensioners (they take out any slack in the seatbelt at the moment of impact, snuggly holding you in place while the airbags deploy) and an automatic headlight feature that is activated whenever you turn on the windshield wipers.

Once behind the wheel, there is no mistaking the car you're driving. Aerodynamics have conditioned us to expect to see only the upper edge of a car's hood as it slopes down and out of sight; but not on the Crown Victoria. There is an entire landing strip out there, a massive deck-like buffer zone between you and objects ahead. Beneath the Crown Victoria's slab-like hood rests a 4.6-liter V8 engine rated at 224 horsepower (239 on the LX with dual exhaust). This engine is one of the strongest reasons to own a Crown Victoria; there is nothing like the sheer grunt of a big V8 with loads of low-end torque for jack rabbit off-the-line acceleration. The Crown Victoria motors effortlessly, even when fully loaded. At highway speed, with the four-speed automatic's overdrive gear engaged, the tachometer barely leaves the 2000-rpm range. As a result, highway fuel economy is rated as 26 mpg, pretty darn impressive for a car of this size.

Standard equipment on all Crown Victoria models includes air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, ABS, rear-window defroster, auto headlamps, illuminated entry, AM/FM stereo with cassette, 8-way power driver's seat, speed control and 16-inch wheels with custom covers. LX models add automatic air conditioning, overhead console, a handling package, leather seating, 8-way power passenger seat and 17-inch alloy wheels. Options include an audio upgrade with CD player, front side-impact airbags and power-adjustable foot pedals. Missing from the list is an onboard navigation system, which is not available on the Crown Victoria.

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