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Ford Crown Victoria Taxi  (Source: Wikimedia Commons / Henning 48)

Ford Transit Connect Taxi Concept

Toyota Camry Hybrid Taxi  (Source: flickr / Wai_Wah)

Nissan Altima Hybrid Taxi  (Source: Wikimedia Commons / Adam E. Moreira)
Crown Victorias which are used as taxis and police vehicles along with its Town Car cousin will end production next year

Just over three years ago, DailyTech brought you a story concerning New York's efforts to "green" its taxi fleet. The plan, according to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was to make the city's 13,000 taxis hybrids by the year 2012.

According to the New York Times, those plans are coming closer to reality due to Ford's decision to close the Canadian plant which produces both the Crown Victoria and its more upscale relative, the Lincoln Town Car. In 2007, there were roughly 11,700 Crown Vic taxis in service within NYC. Today, that number is down to around 8,200 vehicles.

Some taxis fleets have decided to make the switch early to hybrid vehicles which explains the dwindling number of Crown Vics on the road. Traveling the streets of NYC today, you'll see Camry Hybrids (33 mpg city), Highlander Hybrids (27 mpg), Altima Hybrids (35 mpg), and Escape Hybrids (34 mpg) ferrying people from place to place. For comparison, the spacious Crown Vic gets an estimated 15 mpg in the city.

There's no question that the latest round of hybrids absolutely crushe the Crown Vic in emissions and fuel economy, but some aren't exactly thrilled with the smaller hybrid alternatives. Many point to the vast amounts of legroom, headroom, and the huge trunk in the Crown Vics as something that the newer hybrids can't match. “Literally, I can’t get in. And I would need a doctor to get out," said taxi fleet owner Kevin Healy of the Volkswagen Jetta which is also used sparingly as a taxi.

In addition, the Crown Vic is built on a heavy duty steel frame and is easily repairable, while hybrids have expensive electric motors and battery packs to take into consideration.

Although Ford will be discontinuing its Crown Vic for taxi service, the company is more than willing to get feet buyers to adopt the Escape Hybrid or the Transit Connect Van. While the Transit Connect cannot match the fuel economy of the Escape Hybrid -- it only achieves 22 mpg in the city -- it offers much more passenger/cargo room and has a high roof.

Just as the famous Checker cab had its fun in the sun only to be put out to pasture, it's now the Crown Vic's turn to pass the torch onto more fuel efficient vehicles. “These cars are a facet of people’s everyday experience,” said NYC taxi commissioner David Yassky. “Whatever takes their place will have a real and tangible influence on the city’s aesthetic.”

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RE: good riddance
By AssBall on 6/28/2010 9:58:39 AM , Rating: 2
While what you say has some truth to it, the points brought up in the article for those in favor of keeping the Crown Vics around also apply to many police fleets around the country.

In contrast to your experiences with the platform, I really used to enjoy driving my '84 Crown Vic around, and it had lots of comfortable space. The automatic transmission was the only part I had issues with the quality of.

RE: good riddance
By Stacey Melissa on 6/28/2010 11:03:14 AM , Rating: 2
My understanding is that the police cruisers came with a different suspension that wasn't so floaty. Even between my dad's two models, the handling was vastly different. The '92 Vic was bad, the '99 Gran Marquis was beyond horrible.

The 1980s Crown Vics were OK for their time, I suppose. I do remember the whiny transmission, though.

RE: good riddance
By droplets on 6/29/2010 3:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
You are right, the police interceptors have a tighter suspension and a V8 standard. I've put maybe a million miles on in them.
Overall I think they are real pieces of shit, but there are a few things I like about them. They are pretty tough in the places that count. They have enough power to supply a large electrical load. They shovel pretty good. The trunk is enormous.
If Ford made better effort for relations with police departments they could have improved Crown Vics over time, but every revision they seem to remove what I like and add something I don't like.

RE: good riddance
By chrispyski on 6/28/2010 11:17:43 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Say what you will, I've had 2 90's era Crown Vic's and they have both been stable workhorses. Hell, the 1st one I had still ran although it had a head gasket leak, clogged catalytic converters/sensors, and I'm sure I could have ran it another 10k miles (on top of the 250k it already had).

And as stated in the article, its probably one of the easiest/cheapest 90's era cars I have ever worked on.

Although its not perfect by any means (Plastic intake manifold on some model years & sloppy steering), its hard to find a better deal when you can get a used one from police fleet auctions for under a thousand dollars that will last you 100k miles with minimal main't costs.

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