Ford's traditional full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan saw only modest changes for the 2006 model year. An in-glass antenna replaces the former mast, and a perimeter alarm is newly optional. New nine-spoke 16-inch wheels go on LX models, and a trip computer is standard on LX and LX Sport sedans. All Crown Victorias are powered by a 4.6-liter V-8.
Built in Canada, Ford's biggest sedan has earned five-star ratings for both front occupants in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal-impact crash tests. Mercury offers the similar Grand Marquis with additional features and a higher price. These two are the last remaining examples of moderately priced, rear-drive, full-size sedans.
The Crown Victoria is offered in Standard, LX and LX Sport trim levels. An LX Premier Group option package incorporates certain features of the LX Sport. Heavy-duty Crown Victorias for police and taxi use come in standard or extended-wheelbase form.
Styling features include wide door openings, wraparound aero headlights and color-keyed bodyside moldings. Riding a 114.6-inch wheelbase, the four-door sedan is 212 inches long overall and 58.3 inches tall.
Standard wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, but the LX Sport sedan gets 17-inch tires on aluminum wheels, a Handling and Performance package and a monochromatic exterior. Automatic-leveling rear air springs are installed on the LX Sport.
Five or six people fit inside the Crown Victoria, depending on whether a bench or bucket seats are installed up front. Standard and LX models feature the front bench for a six-person capacity. An overhead console is standard in the LX and LX Sport models. The sedan's trunk holds 20.6 cubic feet of cargo, and a trunk organizer is offered as an option. A power moonroof is optional on the LX and LX Sport models.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt steering column, a cassette stereo, and power windows, locks and mirrors. Remote keyless entry, electronic climate control and a CD stereo are installed in the LX sedan. The LX Sport adds a cassette/CD stereo, leather-trimmed power bucket seats, a floor-mounted gearshift lever and a full-length center console. Power-adjustable pedals are optional.
Under the Hood
In Standard and LX trims, the Crown Victoria's 4.6-liter V-8 produces 224 horsepower and 272 pounds-feet of torque and drives a four-speed-automatic transmission. Optional all-speed traction control uses the antilock braking system and throttle intervention to manage wheelspin. A more potent 239-hp version of the V-8, featuring a dual exhaust system, is standard in the LX Sport.
All-disc antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are standard. A dual-rate brake booster applies full braking power automatically in a panic stop. Side-impact airbags are optional.
Though the past two model years have seen the introduction of other rear-drive models, relatively few choices are available for drivers who seek rear-drive motoring at a moderate cost. Fortunately, the Crown Vic yields a generally pleasant experience, led by an easygoing ride. As long as you don't expect sharp handling, this sedan can be a sensible purchase, though it's bigger than most people need.