Pros: Styling, Tight Construction
Cons: Interior finish, assembly QC
I have owned my LS since December of 1999. It is equipped with the V6 and the 5 speed manual transmission. I purchased the car based on the value and styling it represented vs the other cars available in that price range. I have not been disappointed on either count, however as I have driven the car - some areas of weakness have become apparent that were not evident when first considering this car.
The styling has been commented on by many - and it is striking for Lincoln- based on their other traditional car lines - I like it. The fit and finish of the outside of the car is better than expected. Other than the excess of chrome on the rear end of the car I have no criticism of this car.
The handling I have heard is excellent - however my car - at highway speeds is all over the road. The ride is firm and instills the driver with confidence when negotiating many types of roads and driving conditions. The dealer recently found the front end suspension is out of specifications - and Ford has written a technical service bulletin - advising dealers on the correction of the problem. I am awaiting the dealer receiving the needed parts to correct the condition. Having talked to other owners who comment on the great handling of their cars- I am sure the handling will be much improved after the repairs. This is apparently something that has occurred on very few of the cars - however mine was one of them. It is maybe ironic - but this car also had an engine oil leak that was repaired shortly after delivery - due to a defective casting on an engine component. Not something I expected with today's emphasis on quality improvements with American cars. The inspection of this car at the Wixom plant was not up to par the day it was built.
The interior of the car is the disappointing area of the car. A loud cracking noise was evident when driving in cold weather - it is gone now that summer is here - but I am sure will return next fall. I won't dwell on the plastic feel of the car - others have covered that area. The single cup holder on the manual shift model - was placed directly behind the shift lever. Obviously the young engineer who designed this - had never driven a car with a standard shift transmission. It makes it difficult to have a cup in the only holder in the car - and shift the transmission (which you must do often - with the manual).
The second weakness in the design of the interior didn't become apparent until taking the first long trip in the car. The seats are very comfortable - allowing you to position them and the steering wheel to reduce fatigue. However, the arm rests contain virtually no cushioning - and their positioning causes your elbow to rest there if you steer with your left hand - it will become very uncomfortable - if not sore. I now put a towel or stuff a jacket on the arm rest on longer trips. I also own a Festiva - I use as a commuter - it is more comfortable on the arms.
The mileage is not poor - nor outstanding - I am getting 22-25 mpg (premium required) depending on the mix of city and highway driving that I do. The drivetrain is very quite, free of vibration and the shifting is as smooth as it gets. The engine seems to be geared to turn higher in 5th gear than I expected. It turns around 3,000 rpm at 70 mph. I assume that is because the rear axle gear ratio was picked to allow the V6 to perform well with a relatively heavy car. The performance is good for a V6 - no complaints there.
The last area of complaint is the availability of options. The message center option, which includes features such as the mileage computer, vehicle system monitoring, ability to control the auto door locks and many other features - is not offered on the V6. The V8 not being offered with the manual transmission prohibits you from getting the message center. I don't get lost - however why is there no compass in the rear view mirror. Almost any car (truck or SUV) in this price range today comes with that little feature, why not a Lincoln?
I love the Alpine stereo system - and the smallness of the glove box with the CD option is not a problem - I keep my gloves in the door pockets. The memory seats, heated seats and autosense windshield wipers are nice convienence touches - that I appreciate.
The people who will be pleased with this car - are those who enjoy a well built car, with good handling and performance at a reasonable price. If they want the luxury they expect in this type of car - maybe they should spend the extra money to buy the Jaguar or BMW.