2003 Ford Crown Victoria Overview
New for 2003
New frame with hydroformed front rails and redesigned cross members
Speed-sensitive variable-assist power rack-and-pinion steering
Four-channel anti-lock braking system now standard
All-new independent short- and long-arm front suspension
Side air bags available on LX and LX Sport
Three-point safety belt for center rear seat
New wheels on LX and LX Sport and wheel covers on base Crown Victoria
Overhead console now standard on LX and LX Sport
Dual media radio with AM/FM cassette with single CD available on all models
Standard valet key
Light Flint interior color replaces Light Graphite
The Ford Crown Victoria, already a favorite of customers, taxi drivers and police officers who appreciate the advantages of a full-size rear-wheel-drive car, receives a new frame and major upgrades in ride, handling, comfort and safety for 2003.
Crown Victoria is available in Standard, LX and LX Sport trim levels. It is built at St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
For 2003, LX and LX Sport models have new wheels, while base models have redesigned wheel covers.
The Crown Victoria's clean styling features wide door openings, large glass area for good outward visibility, wraparound aerodynamic headlamps and standard heated foldaway dual remote-control power outside mirrors. The color-keyed body side moldings help protect from parking-lot dings.
The LX Sport model has a monochromatic exterior. Body-color grille, bumpers, deck-lid appliqué and taillamp trim are standard with the Matador Red, Black Clearcoat, Deep Wedgewood Blue or Silver Frost exterior colors.
For 2003, seat foams, fabrics, sew styles and headrests have been changed to improve comfort and appearance. The door trim has been redesigned for cleaner appearance and better ergonomics. The Light Flint interior color replaces Light Graphite this year.
Crown Victoria is equipped with such standard features as anti-lock brakes, 16-inch wheels and tires, AM/FM stereo with cassette player, an eight-way power driver's seat, air conditioning and power windows, locks and outside mirrors.
A dual-media cassette/CD audio system is newly available this year, and an overhead console is now standard on LX and LX Sport.
In six-passenger trim, the Crown Victoria offers 111.2 cubic feet of passenger volume. The trunk of the Crown Victoria is the largest in its class, with 20.6 cubic feet of space. The trunk's low liftover height of 26.6 inches makes loading and unloading easy. A trunk organizer is available on all models.
The available five-passenger seating configuration comes with a floor console-mounted gear selector with leather-wrapped handle and overdrive lockout button. The center console includes a large storage bin with padded armrest, concealed power point, dual cup holders and a center mini-storage bin. The rear armrest has dual cup holders.
LX features include an illuminated entry system, automatic on/off headlamps, redundant audio and climate controls on the steering wheel and dual sun visors. A luxury cloth six-way power driver's seat is standard on LX and floor mats have been made standard on all series.LX Sport is equipped with a new rear air suspension, revised front springs, 3.27:1 axle ratio, dual exhaust, tuned shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. LX Sport comes with P235/55R17 black sidewall Goodyear Eagle LS tires and exclusive 17-inch bright machined contemporary five-spoke alloy wheels.
Power-adjustable accelerator and brake pedals are standard on LX and LX Sport. Electronic instrumentation is optional on the LX.
Crown Victoria's 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 engine develops 224 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 272 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. The handling and performance package, which is optional on the LX and standard on the LX Sport, has a dual exhaust system that increases the engine's performance to 239 horsepower at 4,900 rpm and 287 foot-pounds of torque at 4,100 rpm. The fail-safe cooling system helps protect the engine from potential damage due to coolant loss.
Crown Victoria uses an electronically controlled four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. A 2.73:1 axle ratio for good fuel economy is standard, and all-speed traction control, which uses the ABS and throttle intervention to manage wheel spin, is available.
Ride and Handling
The new stiffer frame is the foundation of the 2003 Ford Crown Victoria's improved ride quality and handling precision. This new design improves the frame's torsional rigidity by 24 percent and its resistance to vertical bending by 20 percent. A frame that resists twisting and bending allows the suspension components to operate more efficiently, and it limits the transmission of noise, vibration and harshness into the body structure.
Engineers redesigned Crown Victoria's independent short- and long-arm front suspension. Changes include a new, more robust steel upper control arm, a new aluminum lower control arm and steering knuckle, coil-over-shock springs, monotube shock absorbers and revised suspension geometry for improved tracking at highway speeds and more control during cornering and on rough roads.
In the rear, upper and lower control arms and a lateral Watt's linkage locate the Crown Victoria's live-axle rear suspension, which also employs monotube shock absorbers. The shock absorbers are now mounted outboard of the frame rails, which allows them to better manage the unsprung mass of the axle. Load-leveling air springs are available on select models.
For 2003, Crown Victoria replaces its previous recirculating-ball steering gear with a new rack-and-pinion system that is not only far more precise but also 22.5 pounds lighter. In general, rack-and-pinion steering systems tend to offer more precision as they have fewer linkages than recirculating-ball systems. Road feel also is improved because operating friction is substantially reduced.
The new Crown Victoria steering has a variable-ratio gear as well as speed-sensitive power assist. The variable-ratio gear improves both maneuverability and straight-ahead control. The steering gear also incorporates a variable-assist feature. At low speeds, boost is increased to reduce efforts, particularly at parking-lot speeds. As speeds increase, power assist is reduced, which helps impart a feeling of control.
Improvements also have been made to the Crown Victoria's four-wheel disc anti-lock brake system. Electronic brake force distribution is now used to dynamically proportion braking forces front to rear. EBD effectively raises the threshold for ABS engagement by optimizing front-to-rear brake bias. In addition, a new dual-rate brake booster with "emergancy assist" automatically supplies full braking power even if the driver doesn't initially apply enough pedal pressure to engage the standard anti-lock braking system.
Safety and Security
Since 1996, Crown Victoria has earned the u.s. government's highest safety rating Ð double five stars Ð for frontal crash protection. Major contributors to Crown Victoria's safety performance are a robust frame design, a large crumple zone and Ford Motor Company's Personal Safety Systemª.
The Personal Safety Systemª includes dual-stage front air bags, which are deployed according to crash severity, safety-belt usage and the driver's seat position relative to the steering wheel. The system is equipped with a new feature, a passenger seat sensor. The Personal Safety Systemª includes buckle-mounted safety belt pretensioners that can tighten the front outboard belts in the first milliseconds of a crash and energy management retractors, which allow some "give" in the safety belt webbing during certain collisions to help reduce the risk of chest injury.
A complement to the system is BeltMinderª. In the current model, BeltMinderª chimes to remind drivers to buckle up. In the 2003 model, the system uses a passenger seat sensor to detect a passenger in the front seat and chimes to remind the front passenger as well.
In government side crash testing, the 2002 Crown Victoria earned double four-star ratings. Upgrades for the 2003 model build on this strong performance with new optional seat-mounted side air bags for the front outboard seats and a new steel frame cross member.
New for 2003, Crown Victoria's headlamps automatically illuminate when the windshield wipers are activated.Additional safety-related enhancements include LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) fixtures, which are integrated into the rear outboard seats to make securing compatible child safety seats easier and a new three-point safety belt for the rear center passenger.
All models are fitted with a glow-in-the-dark emergency trunk release handle that enables the trunk to be opened from the inside as well as the SmartLockª anti-lockout system, which prevents the driver's door from locking if the key is left in the ignition.