1990 Lincoln Town Car

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Asking Price Range
$2,626–$3,578
Estimated MPG

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Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 3 of 3

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chicagotribune.com
This is not your father`s O. . . .

Oops, we used that line last week.

Actually, this week it`s your father`s Lincoln Town Car, complete with abig V-8 engine, rear-wheel drive for towing, interior seating for five adults and a trunk big enough to hold two sets of golf clubs or a whole bunch ofdesigner luggage. That has been the Town Car`s forte all along.

The notable difference for 1990 is that the Town Car sports rounded bodylines, where flat ones appeared for 1989. Now that Thunderbird/Cougar, Tempo/ Topaz, Taurus/Sable, Continental and Mark VII have undergone theaerodynamic body treatment, Town Car joins in the transformation.

Styling is a bit controversial, at least to the extent that the rear-drive Town Car four-door sedan resembles the front-wheel-drive Continentalfour-door sedan that underwent a design change a year ago.

At least the sheet-metal similarities allowed a rival Cadillac executiveto get in a dig about the Ford ad that suggested Cadillac and Olds looked the same while the Town Car stood out in the crowd.

``The new Town Car looks like the Continental,`` John Grettenberger,Cadillac general manager, told us. ``We`ve been that look-alike routeourselves and don`t ever want to go that way again.``

Ford`s Lincoln-Mercury division took the attributes Town Car buyersinsist upon-room, power and comfort-and wrapped it in a more modern package.

And they wrapped it tightly. The rounded aero sheet metal contributes toreducing wind howl because it allows air to skip over or around the bodypanels.

Town Car is built on a 117.4-inch wheelbase, up 0.3 of an inch from `89,and is 220.2 inches long, an inch more than `89. Those dimensions ensure itstill looks big, a demand of loyalists. Those dimensions also ensure that whenyou pull into a parking space, you lose sight of the yellow lines flankingeach side of the car, another demand of aficionados.

Inside, there`s plenty of room to stretch. The rear seat is especiallyspacious. Once you sit on the cloth/leather seat in back, you`ll feel as ifyou just plopped into that favorite easy chair.

However, shame on Ford for its treatment of the front seat track hardware that protrudes too far back onto the rear seat floor and will scuff a slipper or two for those traveling in back.

Town Car is powered by a five-liter, 150-horsepower, V-8 teamed with afour-speed automatic overdrive EPA rated at 17 m.p.g. city/24 m.p.g. highway. If you go with dual exhaust, horsepower goes up to 160. The 5-liter will bereplaced in 1991 by a 4.6-liter V-8, which Ford officials claim will have morepower yet deliver better mileage. That 4.6 eventually will go multivalve, but not in 1991.

No qualms with the 5-liter V-8. In leaving a rest area along Int. Hwy.94, it became obvious that the semi approaching wasn`t going to move out ofthe merge lane. We put pedal to floor and entered the traffic flow with noproblem.

Would a few more horses from a 4.6-liter, V-8 be appreciated? Sure, TownCar owners (ditto Cadillac owners) probably wouldn`t be happy unless therewere enough steeds under the hood to pull the Queen Mary down the KennedyExpressway. But a 4.6 would be equally welcome based on the promise of better mileage. It`s not paying for the gas that bothers a luxury car owner, it`shaving to stop and wait five minutes for the fill.

Ride and handling aren`t too shabby, either, for a 220-inch-long luxurycar that tips the scales at slightly more than 4,000 pounds. You`d expect tofloat a lot and take corners like a boomerang. The Town Car suspension letslittle road harshness back through the steering wheel or tires and there`sminimal lingering in turns.

Speed-sensitive power steering and rear air-spring load leveling help.Also contributing are the seats. The bottom and lower back are cloth, the resta soft leather. The cloth not only ensures a cool ride in summer and warmth in the winter, but it also helps hold you in place in corners and turns and quickmaneuvers. Nice touch.

Unfortunately, as a cost-cutting gesture, Lincoln-Mercury chose to makeantilock brakes a $936 option rather than offer them as standard and boost thewindow sticker, perhaps scaring a potential buyer into a Cadillac showroom. Atthis price level, $936 isn`t too much to handle, and to avoid the option wouldbe foolhardy.

As for other nice touches, multiple car families and frequent renterswill appreciate the message under the fuel gauge stating: ``Fill from left.`` How many times have you had to pause and think what side the tank is on whenyou`ve pulled into a station?

The safety conscious also will appreciate the standard driver`s side airbag restraint system. A passenger-side air bag is a $494 option.

Luxury car owners like lots of knobs and buttons, but located within easy sight and reach. The Ford folks placed three important buttons in the middleof the instrument panel so each can be used with a quick fingertip touch-fuel-filler-door release, windshield de-icer and rear window defroster.

Annoyances, other than the front seat tracks eating up your shoes, wereminimal. The windshield is huge and provides great visibility. Insta clear is a $253 option that quickly melts away the ice and allows you to be off and on your way while others are still scraping. But insta clear has a pinkish hue toit. We drove extensively during a rain storm and that pinkish hue seemed todetract a bit from absolute clear vision. When the skies were clear the hueseemed invisible.

Standard equipment is endless. Power brakes and steering, power seats/mirrors/door locks, air conditioning and AM-FM stereo with cassette barelytell the story. The car we drove had but six options: antilock brakes,passenger side air bag, insta clear, traction-lock axle for $101, compact discplayer for $299 and automatic dimming rear view mirror for $99.

The Town Car starts at $27,315, almost $2,000 more than the $25,562 for1989. The top of the line Cartier edition starts at $32,137, again about$2,000 above the $29,709 for 1989.




    Expert Reviews 3 of 3

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