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2013 Chrysler 300C (Chrysler)
2013 Chrysler 300C (Chrysler)

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What's the best new car for a minivan-hating Crown Victoria fan? Add to ...

Gentlemen: I hope you guys could do a piece for me on the relic category, the large sedan. I have a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria and love it. Love the size inside, the trunk, the floater feel and low-end torque you get when passing. I primarily drive highway and don’t want a high-centre-of-gravity SUV or crossover. The BMW and small sedans are cute, but not close to what I want. What are we large sedan lovers supposed to do? I like rear-wheel-drive; it’s better to get pushed than pulled. Also, I golf and, when I travel, use a hard case. At the airport, the attendant said I had to wait for a van to load the hard case into. I’d take a bullet before buying a van. Please help. – Robert in Ottawa

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Vaughan: Bobby, I feel your pain. Big boats like the Crown Vic, and pushers generally, are going the way of the dodo bird.

Rear-wheel-drive (RWD) is fine if you want to throw the back end out there and oversteer your way around a snowy corner. But how often does that happen? It’s a romantic notion that’s been overtaken by technology. There’s so much traction control and stability control built into cars now that you really can’t tell if the thing’s front-wheel-drive (FWD) or RWD; but I can tell you your next car is likely going to be FWD.

Cato: Finished traipsing down great moments in tailfins and gas guzzling? Super.

So Robert, I’m betting you could go drive a 2013 Buick LaCrosse and not know it’s a front-driver. Or you can get the AWD LaCrosse, another option. Junk that decrepit relic of a Crown Vic for Buick’s 21st-century version of the land yacht.

You can get the FWD eAssist Luxury model for $38,895 and save a bank vault of loonies on gas versus that lumbering New York taxi of yours. Or $42,965 for a nicely dressed AWD Luxury LaCrosse.

Oh, and if you have a GM credit card, slice $2,000 off the price and stack that incentive with a couple grand more in sales sweeteners.

2013 Buick LaCrosse
 

Vaughan: I’m sure your golf hard case, or a couple of them, will go into the trunk of the LaCrosse.

I was shocked when I drove the latest one – a Buick? It is sophisticated in engineering and design.

I gave up on Buick years ago. What a nice car it is now – far more comfortable than the old cop car you’re driving around in. And you with your big V-8 won’t believe this, but this Buick is available with a four-cylinder engine. Like Cato said, that’s the one you should buy.

The four-banger is fitted with the eAssist mild hybrid. There’s an electric 15 hp and 79 lb-ft of torque added on the engine’s 182 hp and 172 lb-ft. It’s fine on the highway and the money you save at the gas pump will fund a golf holiday in Florida next January.

Cato: And if Buick seems like too much of an old man’s car, look at the Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima, Chrysler 300, Toyota Avalon …

All are aimed at being the last car an old baby boomer will ever own, and all are perfectly suitable for a Crown Vic swap.

Vaughan: Good choices and not a pusher in the bunch.

Cato: No, the Chrysler 300 is a rear-driver, or you can go for AWD. The Taurus is FWD or AWD, by the way.

Vaughan: What I was trying to say before Cato jumped in with his nitpicking is this: as a general rule, your RWD days are over, unless you change your mind about expensive German cars, like that Bimmer you’ve dismissed.

The cars Cato mentions, well, I like them all.

But the big surprise is the Avalon – only because I expected so little of it because of its boring predecessors. The new one is suddenly stylish with a vastly improved interior and, of course, it will be trouble-free (unless there is another multi-million-vehicle Toyota recall).

2013 Lincoln MKT
 

Cato: No so. The next-best option for Robert is the Chrysler 300. Get the sexy 300C with rear-drive and a garage full of luxury features. Drive this one, Robert; the old Vic will feel as old and tired as one of Vaughan’s witticisms.

And then go drive my No. 1 option for you: the Lincoln MKT.

The last golf holiday I took in Phoenix, well, the limo driver took us to the hotel in an MKT EcoBoost ($50,550, AWD). Perfect. Room for clubs in a shell, and an easy climb in, to boot. No falling into the back seat, like with the Vic, too.

Vaughan: That’s the one you don’t want, Roberto. Remember: “I’d take a bullet before buying a van.” This looks and drives like a van.

Your beloved Crown Vic is in the graveyard. Try all of this new generation of replacements, Bobby. You have a world of driving enjoyment ahead of you now that we’ve broken your fixation with pushers.

HOW THEY COMPARE



2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Luxury Group2013 Chrysler 300C2013 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost

Wheelbase (mm)

2,8373,0522,995

Length (mm)

5,0005,0445,273

Width (mm)

1,8571,9021,930

Track, front (mm)

1,5031,4851,712

Engine

2.4-litre four-cylinder with eAssist electric boost system including electric motor3.6-litre V-63.5-litre V-5, turbocharged

Output (horsepower/torque)

182/172 lb-ft300/264 lb-ft365/350 lb-ft

Drive system

Front-wheel driveRear-wheel driveAll-wheel drive

Transmission

Six-speed automaticEight-speed automaticsix-speed automatic

Curb weight (kg)

1,7671,9372,242

Fuel economy (litres/100 km)

8.3 city/5.4 highway10.9 city/6.4 highway13.1 city/8.8 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$38,895$39,245$50,550

Source: car manufacturers

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV.

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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