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Review: 2005 Lincoln Town Car

July 2, 2005 02:41 PM EST | Lincoln , Luxury Brands , Sedans | Email to Friend

View large imageIf you want a big American luxury car for a reasonable price, the Town Car is the only game in town, but equivalently priced European and Japanese luxury sedans are better in almost every respect.

Roomy interior, quiet cabin, throaty V8 engine, huge trunk, availability of a long-wheelbase model.

Interior looks ancient compared to equivalently priced European and Japanese luxury sedans, poor resale value.

What's New for 2005
Lincoln juggles the Town Car's trim levels again this year; the base car is now the Signature, and the Signature Limited represents the loaded version. A Signature L fills the long-wheelbase slot for 2005. (Another long-wheelbase Town Car, the Executive L, is available but it is restricted to commercial fleet sales only.) The navigation radio option now includes a THX-certified audio system and satellite radio compatibility. Additionally, a new two-spoke steering wheel debuts this year.

Lincoln first used the Town Car nomenclature to define an upgraded interior trim on the 1969-1971 Continental, but a Town Sedan version of the 1949 Cosmopolitan is probably the true source of the current model's name. The Town Sedan lasted just one year, and it wasn't until 1972 that "Town Car" was used to delineate the most luxurious versions of the Continental sedan. Continental coupes of the time were called, not surprisingly, Town Coupe. In any case, the Town Car has been Lincoln's flagship sedan since the early 1980s. It benefits from some of the highest owner loyalty in the luxury car segment, with almost 60 percent of buyers returning to buy another Town Car when theirs is ready for retirement. With its size and relatively modest price, the Town Car is also a favorite of livery services and limousine converters.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The Lincoln Town Car is offered in Signature and Signature Limited trim. The Signature is available in regular- or long-wheelbase (called the L) form, while the Signature Limited comes with the regular wheelbase only. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control with heat and air conditioning vents for rear passengers, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, power-adjustable pedals, a CD player, an analog clock for the dashboard, automatic headlamps and rear parking sensors. The Signature Limited adds heated front seats, driver seat memory, a wood-and-leather steering wheel, an upgraded audio system and a full power open/close trunk. The Signature L adds a six-inch wheelbase extension for increased rear-seat room and builds upon the standard Signature model's equipment list with dual rear-seat power points, four-way rear head restraints, heated rear seats and remote controls for audio, climate and the front-passenger seat. Various options include HID headlights, chrome wheels, a trunk-mounted CD changer and a navigation system paired with a TXH-certified audio system; dealers can install a Sirius Satellite Radio receiver.

Powertrains and Performance:
All Town Cars are powered by a 4.6-liter V8 rated at 239 horsepower and 287 pound-feet of torque. A standard four-speed automatic transmission sends the power to the rear wheels. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Heading up the list of Town Car safety features is the Personal Safety System, which is comprised of dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags and three-point seatbelts for all outboard seating positions. All-speed traction control is standard, as is four-wheel ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist technology, which applies full braking power in a panic stop. Also on the list of standard items are traction control and power-adjustable pedals.

Interior Design and Special Features:
Boasting large interior dimensions and a massive trunk (20.6 cubic feet), the Town Car's primary mission is to transport multiple passengers to their destination silently and comfortably. Buyers can also select the L version, which offers a whopping 47 inches of rear legroom thanks to its 6-inch-longer wheelbase.

Driving Impressions:
Thrust from the Town Car's V8 should be fully adequate for most buyers. Passing maneuvers are accomplished with ease, and freeway cruising at 80 mph is hushed. The Town Car has no peer when it comes to transporting large (or large numbers of) people. Besides offering a comfortable ride, this Lincoln is a decent handler -- the steering has some feel to it, and the body doesn't roll too much around corners. Compared to premium luxury flagships like the BMW 7 Series, Infiniti Q45, Lexus LS 430 and Mercedes S-Class, the Town Car's mediocre levels of refinement quickly stand out, but none of those cars can match the Lincoln's under-$50,000 price tag.

Article source: - Reprinted with permission

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