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
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.
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).
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 Group||2013 Chrysler 300C||2013 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost|
Track, front (mm)
|2.4-litre four-cylinder with eAssist electric boost system including electric motor||3.6-litre V-6||3.5-litre V-5, turbocharged|
|182/172 lb-ft||300/264 lb-ft||365/350 lb-ft|
|Front-wheel drive||Rear-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
|Six-speed automatic||Eight-speed automatic||six-speed automatic|
Curb weight (kg)
Fuel economy (litres/100 km)
|8.3 city/5.4 highway||10.9 city/6.4 highway||13.1 city/8.8 highway|
Base price (MSRP)
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.
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