2002 Continental New Car Test Drive
Lincoln Continental delivers comfort and technology in a stylish, full-size package. Packed with technology, computer electronics are applied to nearly every facet of the driving experience.
Advanced electronics allow Continental drivers to tailor suspension dampening and steering effort to their personal taste and driving style. An optional Memory Profile System allows two drivers to personalize settings for eleven features. A few of its appointments may be perceived as mere gadgets, but many represent genuine innovations. The sum total is a thoroughly modern luxury sedan that's quick and maneuverable yet supremely plush.
The Lincoln Continental costs considerably less than Cadillac and Lexus luxury sedans and it compares well with the Buick Park Avenue. The design of the front-wheel-drive Continental is dated, however. It will be phased out in the fall, at the end of the 2002 model year. Incentives may be available.
Continental ($38,010) comes standard with leather upholstery, self-leveling rear suspension, and all the other goodies you'd expect in a full-size luxury car including a memory system for the driver's seat and mirrors.
A 4.6-liter V8 delivers power to the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. Anti-lock brakes and traction control are standard. Side-impact air bags are also standard, in addition to the requisite dual front air bags.
A series of option groups, each on building on the next, is available: Driver Select ($38,615) adds a semi-active suspension, along with steering-wheel audio controls, an expanded memory profile system, and automatic dimming for the left outside mirror. Personal Security ($39,600) adds polished aluminum wheels, a tire-inflation warning system, and run-flat all-season tires that can keep going (up to 50 miles) after losing all of their air. Luxury Appearance ($39,720) features chrome wheels, a chrome grille, heated seats with two-tone upholstery, and a real wood steering wheel. Any of the above may be ordered with the Select Package, which combines a power moonroof with an Alpine sound system and six-disc CD player. Lincoln lists the Select Package as a $2705 value, but discounts it to dealers so that it can be offered at no charge to consumers.The CD player, Alpine stereo, moonroof, chrome wheels, and heated seats are all available as stand-alone options.
New for 2002 is a Vehicle Communication Package ($1295). This includes a hands-free, voice-activated, digital/analog, MotorolaTimeport phone (a Sprint PCS plan is required), plus voice-activated news, weather, sports, and stock quotes. A Safety and Security Services (SOS) button summons emergency roadside assistance and activates automatically if the air bags are deployed and no one responds, and another button connects owners to route guidance.
Continental's four-year/50,000-mile warranty is longer than the standard three-year/36,000-mile warranty. Last year, Lincoln sweetened the ride with complimentary regular maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles.