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2000 Lincoln Continental

SEE ALSO: Lincoln Rover Buyer's Guide

by John Heilig


MODEL: 2000 Lincoln Continental
ENGINE: 4.6-liter DOHC V-8
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE:  275 hp @ 5,750 rpm/275 lb-ft @ 4,750  rpm
TRANSMISSION:   Four-speed automatic
WHEELBASE:  109.0 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT:  208.5 x 73.6 x 56.0 in.
CURB WEIGHT:  3,868 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY:  20.0 gal.
LUGGAGE CAPACITY:  18.4 cu. ft.
TIRES:   P225/60R16
INSTRUMENTS:   Speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, water temperature, digital clock.
EQUIPMENT:   Power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, power seats, heated seats, power sunroof, cruise control, air conditioner, AM-FM stereo radio with in-dash cassette player and six-CD changer, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, dual front air bags, side air bags.

STICKER PRICE:   $39,195

There are a lot of pretenders, but the Lincoln Continental is one of America's classic luxury cars. It's big, it's comfortable and it's luxurious. What more could you ask, except perhaps a price tag that would bring you back to the 1960s?

Continental is powered by a 4.6-liter 32-valve V-8 engine that drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic gearbox. The front-wheel; drive part of that last sentence is the hooker; most "luxury" cars should be rear-wheel drive. But Cadillac is FWD, and some of the big Japanese cars are FWD, so why not Continental? Besides, since almost every other car on the highway today is FWD, buyers moving up to Continental won't have a large culture shock.

Everything is smooth in the Continental. There is essentially no engine noise transmitted into the passenger compartment. There was some tire noise, which kind of disturbed me. One would think Ford could work out some arrangement with a tire manufacturer to design a tread design that is quieter. Other than the tire noise, this is essentially a quiet automobile. Instrumentation was basic, with the four major gauges. And as with all Ford vehicles, the fuel gauge has an arrow telling you on which side of the car the fuel filler is located. Since we drive an assortment of cars, I never know where the fuel filler is. Thais is a nice touch. The gauges were white-on-black with red pointers and were clear and easy to read.

In addition, we had power seats with the controls on the doors that would basically make the seat do anything. Door-mounted controls are convenient, because you don't have to go rooting around on the side of the seat to find the controls. They're also clear - push the bottom forward and the seat moves forward; make the little seat back more erect and the big seat's back becomes more erect.

On the steering wheel were not only cruise control switches, but also HVAC and sound system controls. It is possible to run the entire command center without having to stretch too far, or take your eyes off the road. The wheel itself was very much like that in the Navigator, with a wood top and small wood bottom and leather on the sides. It's a very classy steering wheel, similar to that first found on the Jaguar XK8, and fits a luxury car like the Continental nicely.

There is a unique wood trim on the interior of the Continental that we enjoyed. It is a burled light wood with a unique color.

We also had an analog clock mounted in the center of the dash, similar to that found on the Infiniti Q45. In the Q45, the clock is more of an oval; in the Continental it is round. This is a nice touch that is different from the standard digital clock you find in almost every vehicle. The round analog clock is becoming as much of a luxury touch as leather seats.

Seating is for five in comfort in this vehicle. We took three rear-seat passengers on one excursion. They were all comfortable back there. Even the middle passenger had no complaints about legroom or having to negotiate the fairly large hump in the floor.

I was also impressed with the trunk in the Continental. We had some large objects to pick up at our friendly Sears store that would not fit in any of the other vehicles we had at hand. There was no problem with the Continental. It would easily accommodate three seta of golf clubs, and with intelligent packing you could probably fit a fourth set in there as well. This is a car you can take to the country club and not be afraid to show off.

Lincoln continental has been around for a long time. The first Continental was Edsel Ford's plaything. That line of cars became the Mark series, while the Continental became the large car series. Lincoln has nothing to be ashamed of with the Continental. It's a large luxurious car that would be perfect for a bank president. I only wish the price tag was smaller.