Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.
As much as I’d like to take the credit for the 2003 Marauder, which had nearly everything from my wish list at the end of the review, it really was the car everyone was expecting from Ford after Chevy brought back the Impala SS. Unfortunately, it took Ford as long to respond to that car as it took Chevy to respond to the Taurus (with the 1995 Lumina). And when they finally did do it, it wasn’t nearly as fast and far more expensive. Car & Driver was underwhelmed, and so were buyers.
As for the regular Grand Marquis, it soldiered on mostly unchanged for another dozen years. Around 2005, I had a co-worker who was in her late twenties or early thirties that had one, and I asked her if she had a livery business on the side. She seemed a little insulted and told me that she likes having a big, safe, solid body-on-frame car with V8 power. “More (or less) power to you” I thought.
The following review was written on July 11, 1999.
I looked at it, key in hand, and suddenly felt this urge to tell somebody about my grandchildren, even though I don’t even have children. It seems odd that anybody still makes these cars: DC dumped theirs after 1989, and GM after 1996. But Ford doggedly builds its body-on-frame, rear-drive, V8 sedans in Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car guises. Consequently, Ford has the police and taxi business pretty much to themselves.
Aside from a slight tweaking last year, the Grand Marquis hasn’t changed much in the last eight years. It’s big, elegant, and proud. Inside is classic Americana: flat bench seat, expansive dash with no console, and column-mounted shifter. The gauges are digital, something that I hadn’t realized was still around, but they are clearly visible even on bright, sunny days. Furthermore, just like in the good ‘ole days, the steering is feather light.
So, I drive away expecting that wallowing, boatlike, total-isolation-from-the-outside-world feeling. Suddenly, I’m feeling all of these little imperfections in the road. What’s going on here? Then I threw it into the first turn, and even though the bench seat tossed me around like the Scrambler, the tires didn’t break loose from the pavement. I took the next turn even harder; same story. The next maneuver did cause the tires to slip, but the optional traction control system immediately set things right. It seems that Mercury slipped me a Grand Marquis with the handling package, which includes a slightly revised suspension, “handling” tires, and a dual exhaust system. Bizarre.
But on the smooth highway, you’re back in Kansas. Acceleration is adequate. Back seat room and trunk space are about as big as you’ll find. Everything’s kind of quiet and serene.
But I couldn’t help thinking: Why stop here? Aren’t there several versions of the V8 sitting in Ford’s stable with over 300-horsepower? How difficult would it be to throw in bucket seats, Mustang steering wheel, console shifter, remove the chrome, and dust off the old “Marauder” nameplate? Maybe I’m just too young to appreciate this car for what it is.
Wouldn’t it be fun, though?
For more information contact 1-800-446-8888
Type: Four-Door Sedan
Engine: 215-horsepower, 4.6 liter V8
Transmission: Four-speed Automatic
EPA Mileage: 17 city/25 highway
Tested Price: $28,225
I loved all of my Panthers (93 Town Car, 98 Crown Vic, 07 Grand Marquis) – but your commentary is spot on. Tires make a big difference in how the car handles – ranging from “unstoppable in the winter” to “make sure to slow down to 10 MPH in the rain.” No better car for a long road trip, and if they are taken care of require nothing more than regular maintence.
Damn it…now I want another one in my life!
Yes, it must be the tires and/or the optional HD suspension.
Both my 1995 Grand Marquis and my current 2000 GM, standard suspension on both and Pep Boys Travelstar tires on the 2000 model, doesn’t have the minor road imperfections issues noted above.
The first line of your review sums it up perfectly, I think. One of the best openers ever, although I sort of wanted one (well, the CrownVic anyway) as a younger man, nowadays not so much anymore.
Agreed, on the opening line. Not agreed about ever sort of wanting one. 🙂
True confessions: I actually did sort of come close to that when a dad at the kids’ school school bought a new ’92 CV Touring Sedan in silver and all black trim. OK, I could drive that if it was given to me. I wouldn’t exactly run and trade in my 300E for it, but….
Oh? Did you have a 300E?
You’ve never mentioned it.
Tee hee, I’m being provocative again.
I briefly considered a Panther to replace my rusting ’98 MPV after graduating college. I was thinking it could be a good highway cruiser with palatable MPG, reliable and simple to maintain/fix. I also kind of liked the idea of a soft cushy bombproof ride. Local dealer had a low mileage Crown Vic LX with (possibly?) this same handling package. I was a bit disappointed in how NOT soft the ride was. For context, my reference point for cushy was a Russian Volga GAZ 3110 that I had ridden in while visiting relatives in Siberia. Now THAT was an isolated, cushy, bombproof ride.
Pop had a coupe “square body” Panthers, I think an ’85 GrandMa and an ’87 TC. Even then, they felt like rolling anachronisms. I can’t imagine how they felt in ’99 or 2011.
In 1992 and in 2003 the Panther was re-engineered for a faster ride and feel. They went from float boats to police cruisers, an entirely different car from the one you remember.
If Ford were to relaunch this instead of those stupid SUVs buyers would be back in the show rooms. Take the Mustang V8 , some side air bags and away you go.
It wouldn’t sell. It would have been too costly to update the CV to 2020 government standards and it wouldn’t sell. A Ford Edge is a terrific CV replacement, but law enforcement prefers the Explorer.
My 93 Crown Vic LX (whether because of an optional handling suspension or because all the early cars got it – I have forgotten which) was exactly what was described in this test. The car was taut and took fast corners and tight entrance ramps with glee, all with a nice smooth ride.
I was surprised when my son bought the 89 Grand Marquis how 4 years difference on the same platform could give two experiences so vastly different. The 89 was fun in a retro way, but the 93 would have been my choice as a driver all day every day.
These were and are great sedans, we got my mother’s after she passed away (it had 30, 000 miles on it)…my wife and I drove it until 320,000 miles, other than having to replace an intake manifold it was amazingly reliable, when we finally sold it, it still had the original water pump, alternator and starter! We routinely got low 20 mpgs on the highway, not a flashy, cool or neat car but just a good sold workhorse…
Disclosure: My last classic rear driver was a 1987 Grand Marquis LS. I definitely have V-8, BOF, RWD ownership cred.
As much as I love the classic American car, by the time I became a new car buyer with a family where this might have worked, I couldn’t bring myself close enough to do it to discuss it with my wife, who would have absolutely vetoed it.
Time for this car had just past. Its limitations in terms of towing, space utilization, ride and drive dynamics, and challenging styling to get excited about were too much. (With limited rear leg room, it was even kind of crappy as a taxi).
The Crown Victoria LX Sport in the early 2000s briefly caught my attention, and may have been sort of best of breed for the Aero Panther, but the Dodge Durango and Ford Freestyle we had in that era served us far better – better space utilization with three rows in both and towing capability from the Durango were great for a family of 5 with a boat. Living in the snowbelt, the AWD Durango was a revelation as far as getting to work when I had a long snow filled commute to deal with.
Around the time you wrote this review, I was in my late 20s and working in a job that required occasional travel. When I rented cars for these work trips, I’d always try to upgrade, and my ultimate prize would be a Grand Marquis.
I succeeded several times, most memorably was a trip to North Carolina; this was the perfect car for rural NC at the time. Since I used to live in North Carolina, I got together during that trip with several friends, and we all piled into the Grand Marquis – and of course everyone joked about it being an old man’s car. No matter, I loved it. One night we drove out to a barbecue restaurant that had a largely older clientele… as one can imagine, there were several other Grand Marquis in the parking lot already. I blended right in.
Later on, I bought a 2006 Crown Victoria LX Sport, partly at my wife’s urging. She sounds like your former co-worker, as she greatly preferred big, traditional RWD V8s back then, despite being young, petite and female. We enjoyed our Crown Vic, despite an unusually high number of problems, and were probably in the bottom age percentile of new Panther buyers at the time.
I loved my Grand Marquis for all 7 years I had it. It was also our primary family car of the first 5 years of parenthood (till a odyseey replaced the wife’s car). It really was a great car that did everything well and the utility is unmatchable thanks to the pickup bed like trunk. I wish cars had trunks as big as swimming pools now instead of caves you have to crawl into. Thats one reason SUVs took over. Sedan trunks now are a hole you have to figure out how to insert things into instead of just dropping things into.
The whole old man’s car connotation these had turned me cynical at a young age, I’ve never been a huge Panther fan(especially after the 98 restyle) but whenever I’d hear someone say old man’s car et al I’d think silently “oh, you must have a MX-5 in the parking lot, right?”. The cop car/taxi cab connotations bothered me more as an actual young man.
Those BBS styled mesh wheels looked excellent on these too, I think I recall they’re basically a parts bin casting of the old Mark VII LSC wheels. The 2003 frame/suspension/steering updates did wonders on modernizing the chassis dynamics but it in effect pushed the hubs out too far for wheels with deep dishes like those to fit anymore, everything from then on was pancake flat like a front driver.
I always found it funny too these kept the digital gauges alive into the millennium, another feature I thought was neat while my Dad would say “ack, grandpas Buick had those”. Fast forward 20 years and now it’s industry standard to go digital, even in the “youthful” Mustang in the Ford camp, because tech! Hip young tech! “You like analog??? Ok Boomer.”
I had an 04 former dept of customs P71 Crown Vic as my daily driver for a few years starting circa 2012. Under 20,000 miles when I bought it, and extremely clean. With a few easy and inexpensive modifications it was a solid performing vehicle (0-60 right at 7 seconds) and very comfortable for long trips. Basic vehicle was very solid, but window motors never lasted very long.
I’m still loving my ’03 Crown Vic Sport. It is my first big car after decades of little cars. It still looks great and is still a great daily ride. Since it is 17 years old now, it is quite a retro ride compared to the 2020 vehicles with which I share the road.
It is a luxurious car. You can man-spread across the huge electric leather bucket seats and the shifter falls comfortably into your right mitt. It is a quiet car that my 15 year old learner daughter likes to drive. It is a powerful car and there is no power lag when you accelerate. It sticks to the road and is very solid and straight. It has all the luxuries except a moon roof. Instead, it has the overhead console. The compass on the overhead passed away about seven years ago and there are no replacements for it. Everything else works, even the old CD player with the trunk accessories I don’t use.
Over the past five years there are fewer Panthers on the streets and I’m beginning to notice that I’m alone with my old BOF, RWD, V8 power cruiser.
Insurance is dirt cheap. It cost me $25 to replace a turn signal lamp I cracked swinging too fast into a parking spot.
I’d buy another in a heartbeat.
I’m 44, and I’ve on again/off again wanted to buy one of these as a daily driver for years. I had a few as rentals, including what had to be one of the last times Enterprise rented one of these out (in Southern California, Summer 2013). No better boulevard cruiser out there. My wife will absolutely have none of it, thinks of it as an “old man’s car”. If I’m going to get one, it had probably better happen soon, because as VanillaDude pointed out, they’re starting to get thin on the ground.
Honest question from someone too young to have any experience or affinity for the Panther platform: how are these any better than the many FWD unibody run-of-the-mill family sedans of the past 10 years?
I ask because I have never even ridden in one, let alone driven it, but I see a lot of nostalgia and love for this car. I also ask because they seem to have overlapping strengths. If you want a comfortable commuter that is quiet and easy to live with and drive across several states, how is a live-axle Crown Vic better than a 4 cylinder Camry LE or Sonata? Or Avalon and Chrysler 300 if we up the price bracket? The newer cars are far more efficient, I get the impression the generally handle and ride better, and even the 4-pot versions will hit 60 in about the same time as a 2003 Crown Vic with the performance diff ratio (just shy of 8 seconds to 60), to say nothing of what the V6 midsize sedans are capable of. Excluding the nostalgia factor and front bench seat, it seems like midsize and full size FWD sedans filled the role of the Panther.
They’re not better than recent run-of-the-mill family sedans in any quantifiable sense.
But 13 years ago when I bought my Crown Vic, I found it competitive with other sedans of its era. It drove very comfortably and handled well, at least for my purposes, since I never drag-raced anyone and wasn’t into aggressive driving. On long road trips, of which we did many, it was outstanding.
What swung in the Crown Vic’s favor was that the above qualities were offered with a dose of nostalgia, which my wife and I both liked. It felt like a hefty older car, and by the late 2000s, it was nearly impossible to get that feeling elsewhere. And it wasn’t like driving some 1970s-era dinosaur either… the Crown Vic (granted I had a LX Sport) handled very well. It was relatively cheap to buy for a new car as well, since those on dealer lots were discounted substantially.
Oddly, my biggest problem with our CV was with reliability, since I had some electrical and other issues, which isn’t a typical complaint about these cars. But despite this, we enjoyed our Crown Vic as a good family car. As good as a Camry? Definitely not, but it was more memorable.
Better primarily because they are NOT FWD. Most AWD cars even are FWD bias and that’s a big problem. For me at least. When your pushing a RWD car robots limits and you start getting wheel spin you can countersteer and maintain control of the vehicle. In a FWD you cannot. If it’s wet out you can just play with the car and wag the dog all the way down the block if you choose. FWD you cannot. BIG difference bin the snow. I have had one FWD car in my lifetime, a 2005 jetta TDI stick shift. I bought it for the redicous 45 mpg it got and the fact it was a stick shift. It lasted exactly 3 snow storms. I ended up in 3 ditches with that POS. More than I have ever ended up in with my RWD cars EVER (1 ditch and I may or may not have been drunk) the last ditch I ended up in when I got pulled out I drove to the nearest car dealer and traded it in on the only RWD car they had on the lot. A 2002 town car. The salesman must have thought I was crazy. “Give me any RWD car you have. Now. Today.” I did not care, I was OVER that FWD piece of shit. I’ve had over 30 cars in my life. And I have had my first and last FWD. Never again. There probably fine in the sunbelt but where it snows? No chance
Coming from Canada, I know a thing or two about driving in snow. If a Jetta got stuck in the snow, you either weren’t driving it correctly or it had bad tires.
A 1000kg car is going to handle differently than a 2000 kg car, especially in snow.
The overwhelming vast majority of cars in Colorado are either 4WD, AWD, or FWD and this is obviously a snowy state. Extremely few RWD ones comparatively speaking. And almost no RWD ones that haven’t been tamed with traction control, stability control or both that are used as daily drivers in poor weather. The two best and most experienced winter/AWD car makers are arguably Audi and Subaru, both with clearly FWD based AWD architecture underneath.
Go watch any early 1980’s rally video and watch how an Audi Quattro with almost all of its engine ahead of the front axle and clearly FWD based architecture absolutely decimates anything RWD in snow, dirt, gravel, and even a good number of tarmac events, its biggest liability being its own length (which was then reduced a few years later chopping 12″ from the wheelbase and body) precisely to improve that aspect. After that watch the IMSA and TransAm seasons with the AWD Audi Quattro sedans that so spanked the Mustangs and other RWD cars in the dry and even more so in the rain that they were banned from the series.
In regard to the two Swedish makes that get a lot of snow on their home turf, Saab was always purely FWD until they were bought out, then AWD was introduced. Volvo wasn’t but embraced AWD far earlier than Saab did but only did so after the cars that became AWD were all replaced with FWD platforms.
It is absolutely possible to regain control of a FWD or AWD car when the wheels start to spin. However adding more steering input or throttle is not the way to do it. If you are countersteering a RWD car it’s already outside of its lane boundaries too. If that lane is tight enough it’ll either hit something or go into the ditch with the rear end first. A good AWD car will also let the tail hang out and is even more fun to wag around on a loose surface, the difference is when it hooks up you’ll be exiting that corner much faster on the way to the next one.
The weekend of Oct 10 was beautiful in Breckenridge, 67 degrees for my daughter’s outdoor wedding, followed by a beautiful snow on Sunday. I recounted with a few my college ski trip to Summit County in my 1972 Pontiac Grandville.
Considering I was there in my F-150 4×4, modern advantages are not lost on me, but, somehow, we did make the big old boats muddle through….
As did we in the alps in our FWD Audi Super 90 and 100’s of the early ’70’s back in the day as well, it’ll all likely get you there somehow, eventually. Progress is good though, it helps you to…progress.
Congrats on the wedding and that is a great old photo!
I don’t think anyone would suggest they stand up against anything made in the last 10 years, but among 2000s era full size cars the Panther, especially 2003 or newer, did hold its own well against the park avenues, Ford Five Hundreds/Taurus, Avalon’s in simply being the tried and true rugged American sedan. They were cheap to buy used, the powertrains were virtually bulletproof, and whatever did go wrong it was easy and cheap to replace and having those cop car standards the suspensions really are quite robust under abuse, and being a solid rear axle alignments were half the cost and there are no CV boots to tear. Basically I think Panthers were cars for would be truck guys. I guess that’s me too now that modern choices are nonexistent.
Your hypothesis is correct in that in the real world average driving conditions they aren’t better. My friend had a 2008ish P71 he bought as a daily driver and while he enjoyed all the attributes for about a year of ownership, he ended up selling it to another friend and buying a late model V6 Camry with accident damage, which we repaired only visually. He used it the same way, he even kept the extra set of P71 steelies for use on it in the winter. I didn’t like it, but I saw his point. The thing with the Panthers is the P71s are the most ubiquitous in the market for obvious reasons, and contrary to a lot of Panther lovers claims the ride quality is stiff and jarring. On an LX or upscale Grand Marquis or Town Car it’s a different story, but those also don’t handle nearly as composed either, they’re like some old American cars with unsophisticated suspensions, where you can’t have both ride and handling. The 03 s are much more composed and predictable, even with decent feel through the rack and pinion but there’s no overcoming that front weight bias or solid axle, 4.6s aren’t even that heavy (despite how they look) but Ford mounted the thing way too far forward in those cars.
They aren’t. The best way to describe the way they drive different in modern terms that you can perhaps relate more to is to compare how a Chevy Tahoe (or your 4Runner actually) drives compared to a Highlander or similar for instance. They both drive just fine but feel different in how the mass is distributed as well as how the power is distributed. You can hustle a Tahoe and a Grand Marquis but it requires a bit more familiarization as compared to the Highlander or Accord. Once you get used to how when you swing the wheel around the chassis follows several beats later you can then lean into that. But the modern Camry or most any fwd whatever sedan will blow the doors off a Crown Vic etc on most roads. If you’re wagging the tail around every corner on your daily commute or driving into ditches in FWD cars on the same commute you’re simply driving too fast for conditions in either car and are slower than someone actually just turning the corner. Or made poor tire choices.
Maybe the CV is more robust when you decide you need to hop over your neighbor’s 8″ curb and ram his front door but that isn’t a daily occurrence for most and likely what is noted is that the police issue steel wheel will bend a little (or not due to sidewall) whereas the alloy on your Camry will crack, as will the one here on the pictured Grand Marquis unless it has so much sidewall that it just leans over onto that when pulling around the corner. No police force anywhere else in the world seems to need to do that on a daily basis and do just fine with all manner of “fragile” machinery. As a civilian driver that pays for his own repairs I’ve never run over a curb at speed, I’ve never had to replace a CV boot on a FWD based car, and can’t remember the last time I needed to get an alignment. I do recall changing more than one U-Joint on RWD cars though, having a big transmission hump take up lots of space in the rear floor (the biggest drawback of much of the AWD stuff I favor), and the back seat of the regular length Panthers is small. For how large they are they are horribly space inefficient overall.
And note I kind of like these cars, but more as nostalgia-mobiles these days. But I would not say they are better than anything modern or even as good as anything that was available when the ended their run. Cops seem to like the front seat width room more than anything else from what I understand and I’m guessing the long hood if they need to ram people. Ford certainly COULD have updated the car into a modern one with the same positive attributes if they wanted to, sort of what Chrysler did, but decided that people (rather than rental fleets and police organizations) were voting with their wallets for more modern machinery. GM did the same. Chrysler’s writing is on the wall in that regard but they are continuing since it costs them almost nothing to do so and there are still sales available without much competition for those that still want it. Notice that most police organizations seemed to be pretty happy with FWD-based Explorers for at least half a decade now. The new one is RWD but how bad could the old one have been?
I did preface it to say “real world” that robustness isn’t really necessary, but just because you haven’t needed it doesn’t mean those things don’t happen, especially if you hold onto the car longer than most. My Mom’s Villager and quest both needed CV shafts due to torn boots during her ownership, and impact isn’t the only thing that favors steel wheels(which police package explorers, chargers et al still use) they’re not soft enough to grossly marr like with alloys if you pull too close to a curb, and if they’re scratched it’s just a matter of rattle canning them back to good as new. Since you haven’t needed an alignment, I’ll tell you at my local suburban tire, it’s $40 out the door for a two wheel alignment, $80 for the four wheel alignment my independent suspended Cougar needed. Any time a suspension component is replaced, control arm, strut, spring tie tod, bushing, you need an alignment, it’s not an uncommon occurrence to need some or all of those things in an older cheaper vehicle, which Crown Vic’s are, even when they were still being made.
I don’t live that, I end up caring too much about what I own to ever treat stuff as strict beaters, but I get it.
I have long argued this, but wallets rejected the D3 FiveHundred/Montego, facelifted Taurus/Sable followup and their crossover D4 brothers quite viciously for nearly a decade before the D4 Explorer arrived. That platform floundered as a replacement for the Panther when they coexisted, so I’m not sure if the market was talking or stubborn corporate hubris wasn’t willing to let the D3 be a total failure. That doesn’t mean the Panther should have continued, but give it some credit.
I had a 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis and 1988 and 89 Lincoln Town Cars. To answer your question, in my opinion, these cars excelled over newer FWD cars in ride quality and trunk space. My cars would float over railroad crossings. It felt like there was some serious anti vibration bushings between the body and frame. The soft suspension made them lean hard in corners though. Interstate highways was where they did best. I could put 2 trash cans in the trunk standing up with the lids on them and close it. The long hoods made them feel substantial. The steering was among the lightest and numb. If you weren’t used to it you might be suspected of being drunk for a few miles until you get the feel. They are like revolvers in a semi auto pistol world.
Well, a huge, heavy body on frame car is going to ride nicely and have a huge trunk.
That’s because it’s huge.
Oh, that’s because it’s huge. Thanks. Now it all makes sense.
It’s not, apart from familiarity and relative ease of serviceability.
That’s why my parents followed up five Panthers with five (six?) Fusions.
I, too, followed a ‘92 Grand Marquis LS with a 2007 Fusion SEL AWD-a vastly better car in most respects.
And then with a 2013 F150, from which I write this. It’s as quiet and smooth and quick as most any Panther.
As many have stated before, the extended cab truck is the new BOF V8 family sedan, not the Camcord.
Like others have mentioned, they aren’t really “better” than the FWD alternatives, just different with a touch of nostalgia. There is distinctly different driving feel and driving dynamics on a Panther compared to a full-size FWD sedan. For me, the full-size FWD cars are far less enjoyable to drive than a Panther, even though they may be better objectively. I have zero interest in a full-size FWD sedans, but would gladly buy an old beat-up P71 as a beater. I always prefer my traditional American RWD cars with the firm suspension packages for decent handling. Personally I think stiffly spring Panther’s ride nicely. However, the old suspension technology means they do ride more firmly than many expect and obviously the live axle cause some crude behaviour under certain circumstances.
I would say they certainly Panther’s have an edge in robustness and durability over large FWD cars. This really wasn’t a big factor unless used in heavy-duty service like Police or Taxi use. I like these cars and have owned and driven hundreds of thousands of miles on them, but I do think that the Panther love on the internet generally exaggerates how good these cars were. I’d even say that that while very tough and durable, reliability wasn’t always the best. I know I experienced similar issues like electrical problems and other minor glitches like Eric mentions above. In the end though, I am aware of their faults and short comings, but my personal preference is a Panther over any large FWD car. But that is also due to my love for the tradional American RWD BOF car. Those who didn’t experience those cars may not get the love for the Panther.
I believe that the first thing you’d notice is how hefty the car feels. When you drive around in it, you don’t feel like the car is too big, but do feel like you are driving a solid car. In the case of the Panther, you get immediate acceleration, and there is no lag in response, compared to today’s sedans. You feel an immediate thrust, due to the V8. With the additional weight, brakes work differently as well.
Depending on the handling package, there is no float, as in the old sedans prior to 1992. Ford focused on putting together a handling package for the Police Interceptors that gave them a balance between road feel and sportier handling. Tires improved as well and handling is different between the Grand Marquis, the Crown Vic, the Maurader and the Town Car.
My new teen driver likes and prefers the Crown Vic to the Passat her friend drives and the Town and Country my wife drives. She is always surprised by the power of the CV, and the comfort of it.
Informative comments, folks, I appreciate it.
I have two Grand Marquis in my fleet (93 and 98). Both are loaded with all options. The 98 even has the rare touring package. I agree with many points written here, they are a solid feeling traditional car, useful, versatile, inexpensiveto run and, these days, very inexpensive to buy.
Their driving experience feels a generation older than my 97 Deville. Much of the difference is in the unsophisticated solid rear axle. The IRS of the Deville makes for a substantial improvement in ride and handling.
However, the Grand Marquis is smooth and quiet, yet fast enough, especially with the dual exhaust option. Unfortunately Ford cheapened the car in many ways over the years. My 93 has high quality components everywhere, from the solid aluminum intake manifold to the finely detailed interior that still looks like new after 27 years and 235k km.
My 98 obviously had the bean counters re engineer and cost – cut everything possible. Many systems were simplified. The elegant digital dash and trip computer received a lobotomy and a cut in details, features and accuracy. The highly detailed and padded interior panels replaced with hard plastic. Cheaper foam seats collapse and show wear. And of course the disastrous plastic intake manifold replaced the elegant aluminum one.
There were advances over the years but what Ford added in terms of improved suspension, steering and power was offset by quality cuts elsewhere.
I love my grand marquis drive like no other still get the. Original gas mileage of 22 mile to gallon and it’s a 96 model driver seat torn little but it awesome.
Didn’t these have a “Grampa” cruise control setting?
Even today I consider my ’95 Mercury Grand Marquis GS the best long distance road trip car I have EVER owned in 47 years of cars and driving.
My current 2000 GM is my “forever car”.
I like my other cars for various reasons; but the GM is my favorite driver.
I had a close look at one of these in a small town in Germany. Apart from the rather odd shortage of legroom in the back (a Peugeot 306 hatchback easily bests it) they look like comfortable and sturdy cars. What kills me is the endless banging on about handling. If you want a car this big and with a BOF set-up, then you shouldn´t expect anything more than reliable safe behaviour under the legal speed limit; and at other times when faced with corners and turns, you just slow down in good time and zoom off again making use of the V8´s power. All the changes made to make these cars handle like 5-series are working against the car´s inherent strong points of smoothness, heft and security. If you accept that, these cars are peerless this side of Rolls Royce Silver Shadows.