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Expert Reviews 1 of 3
By Richard Truett
May 31, 1990
In some respects, the 1990 Lincoln Town Car is an amazing vehicle. According to some automotive magazines, you can't buy a quieter car. After spending a week driving one, I believe it. You'd be hard pressed to find a luxury car with a
smoother, quieter ride. You float down the highway as if riding on a cloud. There is barely any physical sensation of tires touching the pavement, and road noise doesn't find its way into the cabin. It's as if the Town Car somehow has defeated the forces
of gravity. Driving a Bentley is the only other comparable driving experience I've had. In other respects, the Town Car could stand a little improvement. After all these years, why doesn't Ford get rid of that fake wood dash and replace it with
some real timber? Now that the Lincoln Town Car has been restyled into a world-class luxury sedan, the imitation plastic wood is nothing less than an insult to a car of the Lincoln's stature. It's like showing up at a formal affair wearing a tuxedo
and sneakers. The faux wood just doesn't belong. If British, German and Japanese automakers can install real wood in their luxury cars for about the same price, why can't Ford? The other gripe I have is with the Town Car's performance. The
150-horsepower, 5-liter V-8 is taxed heavily in the 4,025-pound car. Pulling onto the interstate is a leisurely exercise. So is passing slower traffic. The car, while able to cruise effortlessly in most driving situations, needs more hustle and muscle in
those instances when fast maneuvers are necessary. Or does it? According to Ford, the average Town Car buyer belongs to an older, presumably less-hurried crowd. He or she is 61 years old and is more interested in comfort and luxury than
tire-spinning performance. Other Lincoln models do deliver a goodly amount of performance. But I think the Town Car could be more appealing if it had a stronger engine. On the other hand, the 302-cubic-inch V-8 delivers stellar economy. You can count
on one hand the cars in this world that weigh more than 2 tons and still deliver better than 20 miles per gallon on road trips. The Town Car is one of them. On a journey to Melbourne and back, the Town Car, cruising at a steady 65 mph, returned 21.9
miles per gallon. That's better than most comparable Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz models. Not only did Ford redesign the Town Car's exterior this year by shaving off those razor sharp edges (thereby reducing aerodynamic drag from
0.46 to 0.36), but engineers and designers also took a hard look at the Town Car's interior and worked their magic inside as well. The Town Car is exactly the type of vehicle you need after a long, hard day at the office. You get inside, close the
door and shut out the rude noises of the world. You pop a classical CD into the optional JBL player and float home on soft leather seats. The air conditioner, which can be adjusted to an automatic setti
ng, goes about its work in a very quiet and smooth manner. Passengers will find an abundance of room and comfort. Front and rear shoulder room has been increased. So has leg room. According to Ford, the trunk can hold 22 cubic feet of cargo. The trunk
is indeed cavernous. Mechanically, the Town Car remains much as it was last year. The V-8 is connected to a four-speed overdrive transmission. In city driving, it is best to leave the transmission in drive. It has a tendency to hunt between third and
fourth gears on stretches of highway between stoplights. Anti-lock brakes are optional. The test car came equipped with them and did a marvelous job of slowing the Town Car in a hurry. This year the Town Car (and its sister ship, the Continental) are
the only American cars to come equipped with both a driver-and a passenger-side air bag. The driver's bag is concealed in the steering wheel, as usual, and the passenger's air bag is face level on the dash behind a soft vi
yl color-keyed panel. Ford did a masterful job integrating it into the dash. While other luxury cars like Lexus and Infiniti were stealing a good bit of thunder this year, the Town Car quietly overtook Cadillac in sales in April and blew away all the
imports combined. The Town Car sported an especially nice red paint job that really punctuated the fact that it is a vehicle assembled with obvious care and pride. The Town Car delivers a ride that can only be described as graceful. The difference
between Town Car and most imports is that the foreigners offer more performance, sometimes at the expense of a ride as smooth and silent as that offered by the Town Car, and almost always at a higher price. I still contend that a real wood dash and a
little more performance would give the classy Town Car a bit of character, the only thing it really lacks.