2003 Ford Crown Victoria Review

Pros & Cons

  • Rear-wheel drive, plenty of interior space, comfortable ride, excellent crash-test results.
  • Large size makes it difficult to park and maneuver.
List Price Estimate
$1,638 - $3,594

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Edmunds' Expert Review

One of the last rear-drive, V8, traditional full-size sedans. A host of 2003 changes should keep it in favor with taxi cab drivers, police departments and those looking for a lot of room at a reasonable price.

Vehicle overview

Introduction: The Victoria debuted in the Ford lineup in 1951 as a new derivative of the 1949 Ford, the company's first new post-war car. The Crown Victoria, a top-of-the-line version highlighted by a "basket-handle" chrome accent strip that looped over the greenhouse, joined the lineup in 1955. The Victoria models continued throughout the 1950s as derivatives of the Fairlane series. Other models included a luxury Town Victoria and stylish Club Victoria. The Victoria designation went on hiatus in 1965 in favor of the Galaxie 500 and LTD series Fairlanes. The Crown Victoria name returned in 1980 as the high end of the full-size LTD models and once again became a best seller.

Currently, the Crown Vic is the favored ride of taxi drivers, police departments and fleet services. Decades-old technology and platform sharing (the Mercury Marquis and Lincoln Town Car are progeny) allows Ford to keep the prices low.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: Ford's full-sized Crown Victoria comes in two trim levels, base and LX. The base model comes equipped with basics like air conditioning and a cassette stereo, as well as heated side view mirrors. It may be equipped with such convenience features as power adjustable pedals and remote keyless entry. Step up to the LX trim to get them standard, as well as a CD player, passenger power seat, steering wheel-mounted stereo controls and a spare tire. You can order a handling and performance package that includes performance tires and aluminum wheels, revised suspension components, a 3.27 axle ratio (compared to the 2.73 for the non-performance package), dual exhaust, leather trim for the seats and a six-disc CD changer. Traction control and a trunk organizer are available for both trim levels. Powertrains and Performance: The two-ton Crown Victoria was never a slouch in terms of acceleration, with the 4.6-liter V8 engine pumping out 224 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of thrust. For 2003, Ford has made a few minor improvements that reduce emissions and boost oil longevity. The only transmission offered is a four-speed automatic. Safety: All Crown Vics come supplied with ABS-equipped four-wheel disc brakes and electronic brake force distribution (EBD). Side airbags are available this year, but only on the LX trim level. The Crown Victoria has done well in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests; for 2002, it earned double five stars for frontal crash and double four stars for side impact testing. With a crash-severity sensor, safety belt pre-tensioners, dual-stage airbags and seat-position sensors, this full-size sedan protects occupants like few smaller cars can. Added standards like EBD, brake assist, traction control and power adjustable pedals boost the Crown Victoria's safety content even more.

Interior Design and Special Features: If you've ridden in a taxi cab recently, you know that the Crown Victoria's strength is not inventive interior design. For better or for worse, it's basic, roomy and comfortable. A cavernous trunk of 20.6 cubic feet will swallow any luggage you might have. The Crown Vic can seat six passengers thanks to a column-mounted shifter and a front bench seat. Driving Impressions/Opinions: These days, the Ford Crown Victoria and its Mercury Grand Marquis stable mate offer much more value than most compact and midsize cars being peddled at your local auto mall. Think about this: The Crown Vic costs about 30 grand fully loaded with electric everything and a leather interior. In contrast, a similarly equipped Toyota Avalon runs several thousand dollars more. 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, we hope that you like the Crown Victoria. It's your only choice for an American full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan.

2003 Highlights

Ford's big sedan receives a number of updates for 2003. A new full-perimeter frame uses strong, lightweight hydroformed steel sections for the front rails to improve frontal and offset crash performance. Redesigned frame crossmembers and new optional side impact airbags improve side impact crash performance. Additionally, the new frame -- combined with a redesigned independent front suspension and new monotube shock absorbers -- contributes to a smoother, more controlled ride and improved handling. Other changes include a new variable ratio rack and pinion steering system with variable power assist and a new dual-rate brake booster that automatically supplies full braking power in a panic stop. Inside, revised seats offer improved comfort and appearance; the cupholders are new; and a three-point seatbelt has been added for the rear center passenger.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Ford Crown Victoria.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Not the car I would have bought
Dominick,01/05/2018
LX 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A)
I inherited this ‘03 Crown Vic with 14k miles in 2008. Ten years later, i’ve Logged over 217k miles on one of the great American road cars. My father-in-law ordered the LX model with a roll bar / upgraded suspension package. I guess he knew I would be driving the Sonoma / Mendocino Coast often, & quickly. Once I got used to throwing the weight, the car proved powerful, predictable & very capable in course of my outside sales job. The trunk carried a great deal & likely over stressed its limits. About 14 months after I carried 28 cases of wine from Watsonville to Berkeley (and many other smaller transfers as well), the rear end failed & a transmission issue was identified. As I paid nothing for the car, I elected to repair the issues & it served well for several years thereafter. At this date the rear end is making noises again & ive opted to sell it or give to charity.
Safe!!! Reliable.
PolishPaul,05/02/2003
We've been buying CV’s for many years and owned at least 4 or 5. We currently own 2. What makes it great is its safety, it is constructed on a metal frame/foundation. My mother was in accident in which she was rearended and smashed from the front. The other cars were wrecked, the CV was fine and no one was seriously hurt. My father will not drive any other car and i definetly agree with him. Best part is people assume youre a police cruiser and tend to get out of your way. I'd reccomend this car for anyone in the market for such a vehicle. The only negative is people who get car sick will get sick quicker due to its smooth ride.
2003 Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor
Luigi,02/10/2010
Forget it, this car by far is the best car that i have owned. Every aspect of this vehicle adds up to it's greatness. At the beginning i was a bit concerned about mpg, reliability, and comfort. I drove from New York to Vermont, last exit before Canada. I got 28.5 miles a gallon, even with the heat on. Have you seen the size of this car? It could be -30 degrees like it was out there and it started up right away no flaus and the heat of thr summer up to 105 degrees, no problem. This car offers a smooth ride, and fun to drive. I Love This Car.
Fourht One of these in a decade!
slcdbc,09/07/2002
This is 4th CV I have purchased new in a decade. All of them have been EXTREMELY reliable and trouble free. Gas mileage is very good - comparable to smaller cars with six cylinder power. ONLY complaint ... needs to have a bit more power - ALL CVs need the extra power from dual exhaust. Best value in a car today, considering cost, maintenance, upkeep.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2003 Ford Crown Victoria features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Poor
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2003 Ford Crown Victoria

Used 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Overview

The Used 2003 Ford Crown Victoria is offered in the following submodels: Crown Victoria Natural Gas, Crown Victoria Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A), 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A), LX Sport 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A), and NGV 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Ford Crown Victoria?

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Which used 2003 Ford Crown Victorias are available in my area?

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Find a used Ford Crown Victoria for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $24,619.

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Should I lease or buy a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Ford Crown Victoria lease specials