True Car Nut
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Farmington, Minnesota =MWBF '05 SURVIVOR= =CEBF '06 SURVIVOR= =August '06 COTM=
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Since the demise of Chevy'* Caprice 9C1, officers have no choice but to adopt Ford'* model since the competition from newer Chevy models is comparatively mediocre. That said, the Crown Vic is a capable police cruiser and can reel in most perps.
Police Interceptor models are easily recognized by their black-out grilles and black-out wheels with smaller-than-wheel-size shiny hubcaps, although some departments opt for normal Crown Vic wheels. You might even notice the cut-out on the A-pillar for the spotlight. The rear panel between the tail-lights is also blacked out and carries discrete "Police Interceptor" badging. All this should help you spot an unmarked unit on the highway if you plan on speeding (not that you would, of course), but mind you, the '98 models did not have black out grilles.
The Crown Vic is heavy, almost SUV-like heavy. It depends on this bulk to run suspects off the road should the need arise. It has an old-school V8 engine, but it doesn't provide nearly as much power as Chevy'* small-block V8. It produces only 235 hp, which accounts for a quarter-mile time of sixteen seconds. In short, it has the same performance as your grandpa'* Crown Vic. Ford also offers a 178 hp natural gas-powered version called NGV for light-duty patrols, which looks the same as the 235 hp Interceptor. But the cop version does have a heavy-duty frame, driveshaft, brakes, suspension and shocks to handle the rigors of a high speed pursuit over bumpy potholes and curbs. That'* why it sits a few inches higher than the normal car. Police package equipment include things such as auxiliary power feeds, wiring packages, heavy-duty battery, alternator and cooling system, radio-interference-suppression bonding strap, engine and transmission oil coolers, removable headliner with extra roof reinforcements, inoperative inside rear-door handles and 225/60R16 tires on heavy-duty steel wheels.
Standard are all-wheel disc brakes, and independent short and long arm front and four bar link rear suspension. Top speed is limited to 129 mph and braking distances are long, at about 145 feet.
Price Range : Only sold to law enforcement agencies. Used ones
available at police auctions.
Engine : V8, SOHC, front engine RWD
Displacement : 4,600 cc
Valve : 16 valves, 2 valves per cylinder
Transmission : 4-spd automatic
Fuel economy : city - 16 mpg
highway - 22 mpg
Horsepower : 235 hp @ 4750 rpm
Torque : 275 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
0-60 mph : 8.7 sec.
Curb Weight : 4020 lbs
Overall length : 212.0 in.
Wheelbase : 114.7 in.
Overall Width : 78.2 in.
Height : 56.8 in.
Who gets the nod? Crown Victoria P71 or Caprice LT1?
There seems to be no greater debate than whose'* cars are better: Ford or Chevy.
Both the Ford Crown Victoria and the Chevy Caprice make for excellent police-package vehicles. Each has some strong points, and some bad points. It is pretty pointless to make comparisons based on police-specific options like coolers, ABS, DC-power supplies, and heavy-duty components since the cars are pretty much the same in these regards. This comparison based on areas where there is a more measurable difference such as performance, price, handling, economy, maintainability, and styling. Also, since most police-package cars on the market today are 1991-1996 Caprices and 1992 and newer Crown Victorias, The the comparisons are limited to these cars.
1992 and Newer Crown Victoria General Information
The Ford Crown Victoria has been in Police service for several decades as the Ford LTD, Ford LTD Crown Victoria, Ford Crown Victoria, and lately as the Ford Police Interceptor. Most Crown Victorias purchased today are 1992 to 1999 models. 1992 was the first year of the "aero" body style that replaced the more boxy body style of previous decades.
Changes between 1992 and 1993 were restyles of the rear lights and the use of a slotted grill. 1995 saw the restyling of the tail lights and trunk lid. 1998 was the first year of the current body style, which makes major changes to both the front and rear of the car.
Most Crown Victorias that are for sale have a 4.6L police engine, which puts out in the neighborhood of 210-215 horsepower (depending on who you talk to). These are Single, Over-Head-Cam (SOHC) engines. There are no Ford factory made Dual Over-Head-Cam (DOHC) engine Crown Victorias. If you see one it'* been refitted with the engine after it left Ford.
Crown Victoria Good Points:
1. Usually very reliable on the maintenance level, except for the 1992 model, which experienced a lot of transmission problems.
2. Very good power to body weight ratio.
3. Relatively good gas milage at 20 mpg.
4. Still in production.
Crown Victoria Bad Points:
1. There have been some problems with steering at high speeds on some models that have resulted in the deaths of police officers. These problems are not very consistent, and can vary between cars, which is why Ford hasn't recalled them.
2. There are no really high-performance engine options (like the Chevy LT-1). It'* a 4.6L SOHC or nothing.
3. 1996 and later models tend to be a bit sparse in the interior appointments category. The interiors are pretty spartan, and the liberal use of plastic/vinyl panels can result in a lot of creaks and squeaks when you drive.
1991-1996 Caprice General Information
The Chevrolet Caprice has been in police service throughout its model run. The latest models, introduced in 1990 as an early 1991 model, offered a major change in styling over the boxy model it replaced. New for the 1991 Caprice was a driver'* airbag, anti-lock brakes, as well as the new styling. The chassis and powertrain were carry-overs from the 1990 model. The 1991 Caprices were available with a 5.0 litre V-8 engine with 170 hp for city patrols or with a 5.7 liter V-8 at 205 hp for pursuit work. Most departments opted for the faster 5.7 liter.
The 1991 thru 1996 Caprice had slight sheet metal changes over its six years. The 1991 Caprice had closed rear wheel well and its "B" and "C" pillars were black. For 1992 the body stayed the same but the "B" and "C" pillars were now painted the same color as the body of the car. Changes for 1993 were open rear wheel wells (which made the car look much better), new tail lights, and "CHEVROLET" printed on the front grill. The body was unchanged for 1994, but new wheel covers became optional and the engine was new. 1995 models had the rear roof pillar rounded off.
Each year saw the Caprice improve its performance. 1994 and later models saw the availability of the LT-1 5.7L Corvette engine option, which offered 260 hp instead of the 200 hp of the 9C1 4.3L engine option.
The Caprice model run ended in 1996.
Caprice Good Points:
1. 1994-1996 Caprices with the 260 hp LT-1 engine option are fast!!! That extra horsepower really makes a difference with large, heavy, police-package vehicles.
2. Caprices maintained a steady 60 percent share of the police vehicle market, so there are more of them available at lower prices.
3. Body style changes from 1993 to 1996 made the Caprice look much better than it did from 1991 and 1992.
Caprice Bad Points:
1. These cars are not the most fuel efficient police vehicles, which is why many agencies went with Fords.
2. Since these cars went out of production, the "latest" model you can get is a 1996.
3. These cars seem to have a less than stellar track record when it comes to maintenance when compared to a Crown Victoria. It should be remembered that when compared to the average vehicle on the road the police-package Caprice'* maintainability is far better than most of the cars that are out there.
Performance - The Caprice gets a "qualified" nod in this area. It is qualified because the Caprice needs to be a 1994-1996 LT-1 model to win. A 1992 or newer Crown Vic beats any other model Caprice due to higher horsepower (170-205 hp for Caprice compared to 210-215 hp for Crown Vics) and in body weight (the Crown Vic is lighter). The 1994-1996 LT-1 Caprice will whoop a Crown Vic performance wise, but that'* the only one that can do it. Otherwise, the Crown Vic wins this category.
Price - Since there were more Caprices made each year than Crown Vics, the prices of Caprices tend to be about $1,000 to $1,500 less than a same model year Crown Vic. Also since the 1996 and older Caprices are getting on in years, their price points are dropping faster. So overall a Caprice is usually cheaper than a same year Crown Vic (up to the 1996 model year).
Handling - Here I think Crown Vics get the nod over the Caprice. The Crown Vic'* traction control, ABS, and high-ratio power steering make the car handle better than any Caprice. Not that the Caprice is a slacker in this regard, it'* just that the Crown Vic is better.
Economy - This is another area where the Ford wins. The Crown Vic averages three to five MPG better than the Caprice due to a lighter body and more fuel efficient engines. The LT-1 Caprice has more power.
Maintainability - Most Caprice owners that I have talked to agree (however reluctantly) that they are more prone to experiencing mechanical problems than Crown Vic owners. These problems range from minor (alternators, P/* pumps, etc.) to major (transmission problems are a biggy). Most Crown Vic problems are minor and stem from front-end suspension components wearing out (ball joints, rod ends, etc.)
Style - This is a highly subjective area, and very difficult to quantify. Like looking at a member of the opposite sex, one person can see a swan while another sees the ugly duckling. For me personally, I think the 92-97 Crown Vics win the styling battle hands down. I do not like the 98 and newer Crown Vic styling as it looks too much like a modified 1996/97 Mercury Marquis (which is exactly what it is).
As for Caprices, AKA "Rolling Baked Potatos." It will always look like a stretched Volkswagen Beetle to me. Opening the wheel wells on the 1993 and newer models made the car look 100 percent better, but I still don't think it looks as nice as the leaner-looking Crown Vic.
So who wins? That depends on what you're looking for. If your primary concerns are power and price, the 1994-1996 LT-1 Caprice is your car. If your concerns are on maintenance costs, fuel costs, and handling, the Ford wins. As for styling, it'* whatever makes your heart beat a little faster and your gut ache a bit that wins.
(This was cut and pasted all over the net......For general info only. This topjc has come up like 4 times now. It'* more or less null. Let it go.....LOL)