Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Ford Crown Victoria Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Ford Crown Victoria Overview

Body
Queen Bee of the Boulevard Cruisers

The full-size sedan your father drove is all but extinct today, replaced by an even larger people mover known as the SUV. But there is still a place for the rear-drive, V8 powered car and Ford's Crown Victoria proves that though down, the big American sedan genre is not yet out. Whether peeping out from behind billboard signs ready to pounce on overzealous speeders or tucked lovingly into awning-covered Florida driveways, the Crown Victoria is still a highly-desirable automobile.

The Crown Victoria, or Crown Vic as it is affectionately known, is offered in three trim levels: base, LX and LX Sport. The Crown Victoria is a bit of a standout by today's modern automotive world. Where most sedans provide accommodations for only five passengers, the Crown Victoria has room for six. Likewise, where most sedans employ a single unit body chassis and are pulled about by their front wheels, the Crown Victoria's body-on-frame chassis relies solely on its rear wheels to place it in motion. Most importantly, the Crown Victoria is the only full-size sedan you can buy for under $25K that is powered by a V8 engine—and you can tow with it to boot! Clearly there is something to be said for the "old school" way of building cars.

We don't want to convey the impression that the Crown Victoria is some relic from the 70's because nothing could be further from the truth. Ford has evolved this car over the years, improving everything from fuel efficiency, ride and handling to the safety and comfort of its passengers. Even the most basic Crown Victoria—with no additional options—would be seen by most people as downright luxurious. That's because every Crown Victoria comes standard with a 224-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, air conditioning, ABS, illuminated entry, rear defroster, dual power mirrors, automatic headlight control, AM/FM stereo with cassette, a split-bench front seat with eight-way power driver's seat, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers and full wheel covers.

A sports and handling package that is optional on the LX and standard on the LX Sport adds a rear air-spring suspension, stiffer shocks, a rear anti-sway bar, 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and a dual exhaust. The LX Sport also gets a set of leather bucket seats, a floor mounted console with shifter, electronic climate control, monochromatic exterior paint treatment, power lumbar support and an AM/FM stereo with both cassette and CD player; many of the LX Sport's features are available on the LX as stand alone options.

The Crown Victoria's torque-happy V8 provides smooth acceleration from any speed and the electronic four-speed automatic moves through its gears without the slightest indication that a change is underway. Tap the throttle, and the Crown Vic moves without complaint or struggle, even when fully loaded with passengers and travel gear. You'll find the steering feel is surprisingly accurate for such a large car and that when called for, the Crown Victoria tracks perfectly straight without the need for constant adjustments to the steering wheel. You'll also find the ride is akin to floating on air—which to some degree would be accurate if you opt for the air-spring suspension—and that interior sound levels are almost Town Car-quiet. The only time the Crown Victoria feels unsettled is when it encounters choppy pavement or slick roads; at these instances, the optional traction control is your best bet for keeping the rear end from getting out of control.

The interior layout gets a minor redo this year, with firmer foam used in the seats and a new stitch pattern on both the cloth and leather seat faces. The plastics around the dash and door panels have been freshened, as has the interior color palate, yet for the most part the dash design remains somewhat dated. Those of smaller stature may find that the radio and heating controls are not easily reached without having to lean forward, a problem that can be somewhat remedied by ordering the optional steering-wheel mounted controls. No matter what your size, you should have no problem finding a comfortable driving position especially if you equip your car with the optional power-adjustable foot pedals and power lumbar support.

The Crown Victoria can easily accommodate four six-foot adults without complaint and though you'll find there is room for two additional persons, they will have to cope with straddling the driveshaft tunnel that runs the length of the car. As for storage, the Crown Victoria outshines all in its class, with over 20-cubic feet of trunk space—that's enough room for four golf bags and some change.

If you desire a bit more agility in your Crown Vic, get the LX Sport package. With a performance-tuned suspension and quicker off-the-line acceleration, you'll get a car that rides a bit stiffer and leans far less under hard driving. The big leather bucket seats and center console shifter add to the sporty feeling, as does the monochromatic paint treatment and big 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

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