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from AMI Auto World Magazine

1990-1997 Lincoln Town Car

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Rettie


Lincoln Town Car - a long time favorite with limousine companies - makes a great value as a pre-owned luxury car

If you’ve ever ridden in a limousine, chances are it was a Lincoln Town Car. It seems that this full-size luxury car is the first choice of most chauffeurs. Lincoln even sells a stripped down version of the Town Car directly to limousine manufacturers who stretch them from a few inches to several yards.

Undoubtedly the major reason the Town Car is so popular in this line of business is because it is the only domestic-made luxury car that has rear-drive and is still built on the traditional body on frame construction. All other domestic-made luxury cars are front-drive.

If you like the idea of owning a rear-drive luxury car you’ll have to buy a European or Japanese luxury car or the Lincoln Town Car. While the Town Car might not have the cache of an import it will cost considerably less to purchase as a pre-owned car. In fact a five or six-year-old Town Car is quite a bargain - a lot of car for the buck.

What You Need To Know:

1. Review of a 1996 Lincoln Town Car

2. Summary of Good and Bad Points by Owners

3. History of Town Car

4. Review of Current Model

5. Basic Facts

6. Changes Year-to-Year

7. Safety Information

8. Value Guide

9. Option Installment Rate

10. Sales History

11. Awards and Commendations Earned

12. Other Reviews

13. Recall Information

14. Price of Spare Parts

1. Pre-Owned Vehicle Evaluation - 1996 Lincoln Town Car

Likes: comfortable ride, spacious interior

Dislikes: soft handling, bulbous size

Competitors: Cadillac DeVille, Cadillac Fleetwood

Miles: 29,600

Condition: A+

Price when new: $37,950 (est.)

Posted Price: $24,998 (July 1999)

It’s amazing to think that the majority of American cars had the heft and presence of the Town Car a couple of decades ago. Nowadays the Town Car looks positively antique - almost a classic. In many ways that’s a good description of this last bastion of large American cars. Ford Motor Company is the only company left making cars with a body bolted to a frame. Of course most SUVs follow this design procedure and many people buy them as alternatives to a car so perhaps there hasn’t been so much of a change in tastes after all. But I digress.

The Town Car is built on the same chassis as the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis, however the wheelbase is three inches longer to give the car greater interior space. In fact the rear seat legroom - so important in a limo - is better than all but the Chrysler LHS and the BMW 740iL which costs twice as much. It has much more rear seat legroom than any SUV, although headroom is not quite as generous. Luggage space is also a strong feature of the car and access is good thanks to a low lip on the trunk lid. However the spare wheel is not hidden below the trunk floor, instead it takes up some space in the trunk.

Getting in and out of the Town Car is easy thanks to big doors and the long wheelbase which keeps the rear wheel wells from intruding into the back of the rear door. I did not find the seats terribly comfortable - but then I don’t like big comfy sofas I’d rather have individual seats. However those who like soft couches will find the Town Car’s seats just fine.

The dashboard is a fairly simple design that sweeps right across the width of the car and has a small strip of fake wood trim. As with the competing Cadillac models, the instruments are digital. Most people don’t like digital gauges but others find them easier to read quickly. Climate and radio controls are conveniently located up high as there is no center console in order to allow room for a passenger in the middle of the front bench seat.

Despite the weight of the car its performance is fairly good thanks to a V-8 engine. With rear drive there’s no torque steer but the car’s soft suspension makes the car wallow when traversing undulations in the road. The steering also feels imprecise, as it is so heavily power-assisted. All told the car’s road behavior would not be pleasing for those who enjoy driving briskly. Nonetheless on a straight smooth freeway the car gives its occupants an opulent ride.

The 1996 car I drove had obviously not been used as a limousine as it had no worn carpets or scuffmarks on the door panels. It also had several extra options including a premium CD sound package and alloy wheels.

Enthusiast drivers might complain about the Town Car’s handling but when you consider it costs half as much as an import luxury car and it still handles much better than any SUV it is not such a bad deal. In fact if you need to carry six passengers in plush comfort and style for a low cost of entry the Town Car just might fit, or is it foot, the bill.

2. Summing It Up - Owners' Views

Good:

The ultimate ride - I love it

Prestigious car for ordinary folk

Last of the big American cars, now they are all jellybeans

Good mileage, I get 20 mpg

I like everything about it

No problems (1996 model)

Bad:

Steering over -assisted


 

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