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Old Feb 26, 12, 11:41 pm   #1
Used to be 'jzweighaft'
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Ride Report - '11 Ford Crown Victoria

This past week since I was on vacation from school, I went to visit my friend Jake in Portland, ME. This would be my 4th time there, and my 3rd time renting a car. The first time I went (last August) was actually my first car rental ever, and I got a Chevy Impala LT which was very nicely equipped and I enjoyed quite a bit. The second time, a few months later, I got a relatively poorly equipped 2012 Malibu with a POS Ecotec I4 engine. They also didn't waive the age differential even though I had used the PC which would have it waived. Needless to say, I booked a full-size with some reservation in my mind.

However when I finally got there, I get to the desk and the extremely friendly agent asks if a Crown Vic is okay. Having ridden in so many Crown Vics in my life (since they make up the majority of the yellow cab fleet here in NYC) I've always wanted to drive one of these, just once. I figured this would be my chance

http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/6382/dsc0003au.jpg
(Please forgive me for the image URLs -- there's no way to easily size down an image preview for forums like this.)

2011 Ford Crown Victoria LX Sedan

Car Description: N/L CROWN VIC S
Class: G

Note: I had reserved/paid for F, and received this as a free upgrade. I have #1 Gold Club and I used the USAA CDP, as well as a PC which saved me $5 a day.

http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/7255/dsc0005vh.jpg

The 2011 Ford Crown Victoria LX was its last model year sold in the USA. It only came in the LX trim. The 2011 model was only available through fleet sales, but the best estimate I can come up with for a MSRP is $31,180. The car had 17,648 miles when I picked it up, and I took it a good 272 miles while I had it over 3 days (this was also my longest rental as of yet). It wasn't very well equipped (although there isn't much that a Crown Vic can be equipped with, anyway), but it got the job done and I was honestly pleasantly surprised.

http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/9082/dsc0006fb.jpg

Powertrain: The Crown Vic is equipped with a 4.6L "Modular" V8 engine which makes 239 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission (shifted via a stalk behind the steering wheel) and a RWD drivetrain. I've always been a fan of how it sounds when you start off in first gear, and I had a really good time playing with the howl. It gets 16/24 miles per gallon (city/highway), and I averaged 19.2 while I had it. The tank holds 19 gallons; one thing to keep in mind that this car was FlexFuel capable.

http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/9251/dsc0008sj.jpg

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/849/dsc0009lt.jpg

Ride/Handling: The V8 was built to be smooth, and this is exactly how I'd describe this car. You really don't feel it changing gears (you hear it stop howling after first gear but that's about it). It revved very low, even at high speed, which was great when doing highway driving. On the other hand, it didn not accelerate quickly -- by the time you finish reading this sentence you probably wouldn't be at 60 yet. The suspension was very soft; for example, I didn't know I drove over railroad tracks until the lights started flashing after I went over it. It's as if you're driving on a cloud. Steering is very firm, which is probably for the best since you don't want to take a turn too sharply in this thing -- it's a REALLY big car. I was concerned about the RWD since there was a chance of snow Friday evening; the desk agent said since it was such a heavy car she thought I'd be okay, while everyone here on FlyerTalk disagrees. While I did skid a tiny bit in some of the slush I encountered, I didn't really have any problems with it. If I lived in Maine year-round I would definitely not want this car though.

http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/3876/dsc0010omq.jpg

Interior: Like I said, the Crown Vic was very basically equipped. If you take a quick look at this ride report on the National forum, you'll get the idea of how basic the Panther platform vehicles are. From what I can tell, it came with the comfort appearance package which includes leather seats and heated power mirrors. The steering wheel is also wrapped in leather. The driver seat also has electronic lumbar support, and is fully electronically adjustable, whereas the passenger seat has manual controls. The Crown Vic can legally hold 6 people -- the front row is a bench! Or, you can put down the armrest, which is in a really nice position (at least I found it to be well-placed); the driver and passenger have separate armrests. It really was quite comfortable. On the dashboard is an information screen which includes Trip A/B, fuel range (in miles/km), timer, average fuel economy, or instant fuel economy (shown via a bar graph, not an exact number). Other than that, you get the basic climate control system (which does show outside temperature and lets you program the cabin temperature), the basic AM/FM radio/CD player, and (wait for it) NeverLost! Oh, keep in mind that this car does have a tachometer (I've seen many Crown Vics that don't have this gauge. Buttons are generally intuitively placed, especially cruise control on the steering wheel. Wipers, turn signals, and high beams are all on the same stalk to the left of the steering wheel, and the gear shifter is to the right. Lights are controlled via a rotary switch (auto, off, daytime running lights, headlights). One thing I didn't like was the cupholders were on the same rack as the ashtray, and didn't feel very sturdy. Also, one of them was inaccessible due to the NeverLost The trunk is HUGE

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/1332/dsc0011iv.jpg

http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/2202/dsc0007wn.jpg

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/9841/dsc0012gc.jpg

http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/4249/dsc0013ck.jpg

http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/3016/dsc0015ae.jpg

Exterior/Design: This car was painted in Silver Birch Metallic. It could have easily doubled as an unmarked cruiser (all I needed was a few lights and a Police Intercepter badge next to the FlexFuel badge...). The interior was a beige color. It looks as good as any Crown Vic will ever look.

http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/1574/dsc0004so.jpg

Features: None other than the standard ones. Electronic lumbar support was nice. The key fob seemed pretty old-school, nothing special about it. There was NeverLost.

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/5271/dsc0014qv.jpg

Value: Since I paid for a full-size, this is a thousand times better than the Malibu I had expected to get. Even though I paid more in gas, it was worth it (looking back I wish I had taken the FPO, but I didn't know I would drive so far).

Summary
PROS:
  • Super-smooth V8 (and that howl!)
  • Comfort
  • Capacity
  • Stability and smoothness
  • Very accurate and responsive cruise control
  • People always let you pass them or go through the intersection first

CONS:
  • Performance
  • Lack of features
  • It's a land yacht
  • Wipers don't go as quick as I needed/would have liked them to
  • Before letting you pass them, everyone in front of you slows down to the speed limit

http://img816.imageshack.us/img816/8724/dsc0017pu.jpg

http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/6233/dsc0016ik.jpg

So I can cross "drive a Crown Vic/Town Car" off the bucket list. Would I rent one of these again? If it's winter, then probably not, just to play it safe. Any other time of year? Absolutely (I honestly enjoyed myself) -- but not for long. These will start to get old soon

-J.

P.S. I took a few videos driving around in this. I'll link them once I get them uploaded -- you'll see just how much fun I had in first gear

Last edited by GW McLintock; Apr 23, 12 at 12:38 am. Reason: Linked to reply with video hyperlink
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Old Feb 27, 12, 7:52 am   #2
 
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Thanks for taking one for the team!
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Old Feb 27, 12, 9:33 am   #3
 
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I drove a Town Car at National and largely agree with the above, just with a lot more leather swaddling.

1. Horrible for parking. I had to park on the lot edges and back the trunk all the way into the grass for it to even remotely fit. Too bad I couldn't find a long wheelbase Jag or S class to compare sizes...

2. Easy burnouts. Silky silky torque...
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Old Feb 27, 12, 10:00 am   #4
 
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I think you're about the only one who'd rather have that boat then a Malibu, even an Ecotec Malibu.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 10:05 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by drzoidberg View Post
Thanks for taking one for the team!
+1. Better him than me.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 1:29 pm   #6
Used to be 'jzweighaft'
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestrowei View Post
1. Horrible for parking. I had to park on the lot edges and back the trunk all the way into the grass for it to even remotely fit. Too bad I couldn't find a long wheelbase Jag or S class to compare sizes...
That's true, it's not easy to park at first. I think the only thing I had more trouble parallel (and even lot) parking than this was a fully loaded Town & Country (i.e. we had so much stuff you couldn't see out the back).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLewisinSyr View Post
I think you're about the only one who'd rather have that boat then a Malibu, even an Ecotec Malibu.
To be honest, I feel like I want to give the Malibu another shot. I was expecting another nicely equipped Impala with a V6 and was pretty disappointed when I got the very basic Bu. If I didn't go in with as high expectations as I had, I think I would have been happier. But even looking back, I still think I liked the Crown Vic better.

I also want to revise my answer to "would I rent this again?" from "absolutely" to a "yeah I guess" since 19 mpg really just isn't justifiable. I did better than that in a Corvette!

-J.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 2:07 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzweighaft View Post
To be honest, I feel like I want to give the Malibu another shot. I was expecting another nicely equipped Impala with a V6 and was pretty disappointed when I got the very basic Bu. If I didn't go in with as high expectations as I had, I think I would have been happier. But even looking back, I still think I liked the Crown Vic better.
I'm sure you'll see the Malibu again since Hertz considers it a Full Size.
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Old Feb 27, 12, 4:22 pm   #8
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I flew to DFW in early December. I picked out a 2011 Crown Vic because my RT mileage was only about 50 miles. I booked a mid size with double upgrade coupon with Alamo. I could have picked out any car in the F class but I saw 2Crown Vics & picked the nicer one.

Fuel consumption was not an issue since I was driving only 25 miles each way. As in the OP, I enjoy hearing the howl sound in 1st gear.

I usually rent smaller cars so a large land barge was a treat.

My rental cost was under $25 (mostly taxes renting from DFW ).
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Old Feb 28, 12, 6:34 am   #9
 
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probably would have been better for a report like this a year and a half ago.

then again, no one wants this car anyway, and it's a shame it's still available as an option.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 9:05 am   #10
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Originally Posted by mrredskin View Post
probably would have been better for a report like this a year and a half ago.

then again, no one wants this car anyway, and it's a shame it's still available as an option.
I think a year and a half ago would have been nicer too, since the car would have been so much newer. I don't mind it being available, I'd rather have this over some other high-mileage, smoked-in car. It's also a great alternative to a 3-row SUV if you have to take family of more than 5 people (assuming there are children).

These probably won't be around much longer anyway, since 2011 was the last year they were built for US sales. If these are around next year, I wouldn't be so thrilled either.

-J.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 9:48 am   #11
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Main advantage to the Crown Vic: you can get four guys and four sets of golf clubs into one. Since it's usually easier to pair up a CDP/PC with a good rate and a Premium upgrade than it is to find the same rate for an SUV or van, I've been in a few Crown Vics for this purpose over the years. Golf trips, warm/dry locations...the Vic is okay for that.

Got one as an "upgrade" in a blizzard in Missouri one time...that was an adventure I don't want to repeat again.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 10:42 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzweighaft View Post
It's also a great alternative to a 3-row SUV if you have to take family of more than 5 people (assuming there are children).
i'm at a loss on this one. is the first row a bench instead of bucket-seating?
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Old Feb 28, 12, 12:04 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrredskin View Post
i'm at a loss on this one. is the first row a bench instead of bucket-seating?
Yes.
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Old Apr 23, 12, 12:36 am   #14
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Talking Video!

I was cleaning out my camera's memory the other day and realized I never uploaded the videos as promised... so check it out here http://youtu.be/r3i2Jk5ZadA

-J.
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