Used 1997 Ford Crown Victoria Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

After a mild facelift last year, the Crown Vic soldiers on with a few color changes, improved power steering and the addition of rear air suspension to the handling package.

Vehicle overview

If you've been pinching your pennies to buy a new full-size, rear-drive American sedan, we hope you like Ford. The gang at the Blue Oval are the only ones building such cars these days. Decades old technology allows Ford to keep the prices low, and the car is a favorite among fleet buyers for taxi companies, police departments, or just those who need space and towing power who don't want a minivan or pickup truck.

This grand dame of the Ford lineup received a mild makeover last year, so changes to the 1997 model amount to the shuffling of a few packages and the changing of a few colors. Added in mid-1996, the natural gas engine remains an available, if pricey, option. Amazingly, this engine makes the Crown Victoria the cleanest burning combustion engine sold in the United States. Something to consider if you need a full-size vehicle, but don't want to tick-off your Greenpeace neighbors.

These days, the Ford Crown Vic and its Mercury Grand Marquis stablemate offer much more value than most compact and mid-size cars that are being peddled at your local auto mall. Think about this: the Crown Vic costs just over $26,000 fully loaded with electric everything and a leather interior. In contrast, a similarly equipped Toyota Avalon runs more than $30,000, and the much smaller Toyota Camry XLE costs $25,000; despite a wimpy (in comparison) V6, tight seating for five, and a comparatively minuscule trunk. Sporting a big car floaty ride and twitchy chassis dynamics at speed, the Crown Victoria is nonetheless comfortable. The handling and performance group adds a few horsepower and improves the car's stability in the twisties; we recommend it to anyone who enjoys back-country highways more than mind-numbing interstates for their family vacations.

So, if you're one of the few people unwilling to pay for a sport utility's high insurance premiums and abysmal gas mileage and if you just can't stand the idea of a minivan this is about your only choice. That's OK though. Unless you can get you hands on a 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, we think that this is the best full-size car value on the market.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.