Wow, who would have thunk it? Me, driving a Lincoln.
If you had asked me a few years ago what I might be driving today, I guarantee you I would NOT have answered "a Lincoln". I'm way too young to be driving a car from the same company that produces the Town Car and the Continental. After all, don't they have a minimum age limit of sixty-something for driving Lincolns?
Well, I admit it. I drive a Lincoln LS and I LOVE IT!!! My wife and I saved for many years, planning to buy a new car when the time was right. We hoped to buy something with a little class and comfort, and we kind of assumed it would be something like a Lexus. Boy, what a surprise!
First of all, let me say that we did look at Lexus, Infinity, Acura, and half of a dozen others. All offered nice cars, but nothing convinced us to part with our hard-earned cash. About that time, my brother started working for Ford, and he mentioned a discount offered to family members. We thought it was worth a look, so we started looking at vehicles under the Ford umbrella of dealerships - namely Mazda and Lincoln. After seeing the Lincoln LS, we decided to take a test drive. That was all it took.
From the moment we looked at the LS, we loved it's stylish, sporty exterior. This only intensified as we took in the lavish interior. The car is roomy, with good space in the back and plenty of headroom. It's luxury compares with much higher priced cars from BMW, Lexus, and others, but at a substantially lower price.
We decided to buy a completely loaded LS with Sport Package, Sunroof, Automatic Traction Control, Leather Interior, V-8 engine, and every other feature available (except for heated seats and chrome wheels).
The Lincoln LS has a sporty yet luxurious look. We chose "Midnight Grey" as the exterior color, with the light grey (leather) interior. The Sport Package appears basically the same as the regular model, but along with the 17 inch wheels there is also one very visible difference - the chrome strip along the top of the front bumper is missing. For some reason, Lincoln decided that LS models equipped with the Sport Package would have this particular piece left off. Not a major point, but a quick way to identify an LS with the Sport Package. Other exterior features include: wraparound complex reflector headlamps and taillamps, fog lamps, and dual exhaust.
Features include: 8-way power driver and 6-way power passenger front seats, which are incredibly comfortable and fully adjustable. 60/40 split fold-down rear bench seat, automatic on/delay/off headlamps, leather seating surfaces, rear "Theatre Seating", exterior temperature display and dual driver/passenger temperature controls, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, power windows and locks with illuminated controls and express-down driver’s window, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with built-in cruise control and stereo volume/station controls, the all-important front and rear cup holders, and electronic message center. The stereo is an impressive Alpine® Sport Audio System with 6 speakers, RDS, clock, AM/FM stereo, in-dash 6-disc CD changer and speed-compensating volume control. There's even a mute button on the steering wheel for the stereo.
My favorite are the two buttons on the driver door, which save seat and steering wheel settings for each driver. My wife's settings are saved on one button, and mine on the other. Whenever I drive the car, I just push the #2 button and everything adjusts to my saved settings. No fuss moving everything about.
The seats and steering wheel also have another convenient feature - they retract when you turn off the car. Turn off the ignition and remove the key, and the steering wheel lifts and retracts and the driver's seat slides backwards to offer an easy exit. Insert the key, and everything returns to your previous setting.
The Sport Package also comes with the SelectShift Automatic™ transmission. This is essentially an automatic that can double as a manual shifter (with automatic clutch).
I believe Porsche first introduced this type shifter, but it allows you to simply put the car into D4 or D5 (Drive or Overdrive on many cars) and forget about shifting. Additionally, you can push the shifter from D5 over to the right, where you will see a "+" and "-" sign above and below the shifter. Push up and the car shifts up, push down, and it shifts down. It's shifting without worrying about a clutch or shift pattern. I think it's probably a guy thing, but the extra performance gained by shifting manually is awesome!
I also really like the automatic headlamps and windshield wipers. They can both be turned off, which is important when taking the car into the local automatic car wash. A sensor determines light levels and turn on the headlamps when appropriate. The headlamps also have a variable delay, enabling you to set the length of time they will stay on when the car is turned off. The message center built into the dash tells you exactly how many seconds you have set on the delay, and you can increase the time by simply turning the headlamp control. The automatic windshield wipers also have an automatic sensor, and will turn on and adjust automatically to the amount of moisture on the windshield. It's amazing to see them speed up or slow down according to the amount of rainfall.
Immediately noticeable is how quiet the outside world becomes when the doors are closed. This is one well-insulated car with no wind noise at all. The ride itself is very smooth, although the beefier suspension on the Sport Package makes for a somewhat more solid ride. Steering response is quick and solid. With the addition of the automatic traction control, the computer takes control of wheel spin and braking in order to keep the car glued to the pavement and traveling in a straight line. In loose gravel or on wet, slick streets, the Lincoln LS feels secure. It's really a pretty amazing feeling when it kicks in, because the car responds like a cat, digging in and gripping the road.
With so much going for it, the shortfalls are minimal and few:
All of the doors lock automatically when you begin driving, which isn't a problem, but the back doors lock on their own even when parked. I keep my suit jacket in the back seat, and I often find myself pulling on a locked door and then punching at the buttons on the keyless remote to open the door. A minor convenience, probably with an easy solution, but I haven't read all of the manual yet.
The rear seats fold forward for increased storage space, but the release levers are in the trunk. Again, just a minor inconvenience. And my last little complaint, the hinges on the trunk lid swing down into the trunk, potentially hitting items inside of the trunk. I noticed this when trying to put larger items in the trunk and found that it wouldn't close.
There is a center console, but don't expect to store much in it. It's roomy enough for a travel-sized package of Kleenex (plastic-wrapped, not boxed) and that's about it. The glove compartment is pretty standard, and houses a "Valet" button which overrides the trunk release button (located near the driver's left knee on the lower part of the dash). In addition to the trunk release, the release for the gas tank lid is also on this part of the dash. The location could be a little better, as both buttons are difficult to see. I find it easier to hit the trunk or gas tank lid release button by leaning back into the car from outside.
Two cup holders sit in the middle of the central console, just behind the shift knob. This can cause a challenge when you actually use them, as you need to reach around to shift.
Overall, this is an awesome car! The value for the price is unbelievable when compared to Lexus, BMW, Infinity, etc. You get a lot for the money, and it's all quality. I believe the LS stands up to cars priced tens of thousands of dollars higher. To me, this car proves that some of those other companies charge for the popularity of their "prestigious" name. For the most bang for the buck, buy a Lincoln LS.
Amount Paid (US$):
2001Model and Options:
LS, Sport Package, V-8