In town. Out of town. One jet. One prop job. Two bags of pretzels. O'Hare and the people mover. Too much mail. Too many phone calls. Finally Friday. Endof a long week. Jump in the test car and head home.At last, peace and contentment as the '93 Lincoln Town Car moves along the expressway. Comfort, quiet and a suspension tuned to cushion you from every tar mark in the road. It's as if this hunk of metal were floating 2 inches offthe pavement. Come to think of it, once the tensions of the week had drained away, that soft, cushy, floating suspension became somewhat irritating. Too soft and too cushy. You don't want to be jostled and jarred every time you drive over an asphalt cavity, but you want to have some feel of pavement underneath. You're never too old for a security blanket. If Lincoln had been reading the tea leaves, it would have realized that theluxury cars attracting the most attention are those geared for performance: the Cadillac Seville STS, the Infiniti J30, the Lexus GS300, cars loaded with all the creature comforts but equipped with engines and transmissions and especially suspensions that permit aggressive driving. The Lincoln Town Car suspension seems to be designed to satisfy those suffering from hemorrhoids. What was odd was that our car came with a handlingsuspension package ($278). Hmm. How soft could the base suspension be if pillows cost an extra $278? The Town Car is powered by Ford's single-overhead-cam, 16-valve, 190-horsepower version of its 32-valve, 280-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 in the Mark VIII. Give it credit for smoothness and quiet, but naturally it doesn't have the pep of the 32-valve, considering the poundage it is required to move.A couple times at hard acceleration the engine seemed to hesitate a fraction of a second, as if pausing for an instant to take a gulp of oxygen before resuming the race. The single-overhead-cam 4.6 is rated at 18 m.p.g. city/26 highway. In addition to sporting all the creature comforts in terms of standard power equipment, the Town Car focuses on safety. Driver- and passenger-side air bags are standard, along with four-wheel anti-lock brakes. To silence critics who complain that seat belts ride against neck, chin or cheek and are too uncomfortable to use, the Town Car features sliding belt adjusters in the door pillars. The Town Car is designed to provide occupants quiet, comfortable, casual long-distance motoring to the vacation retreat so that you're well-rested onceyou arrive-safely. Kudos to the engineers and stylists for adding driver and front-seat passenger fold-down center armrests. But how about replacing that stiff nylon thread on the armrest tops with something softer? Each armrest also houses a foldout cupholder, which, of course, earns the designers extra credit. Buttonsin the center of the dash allow you to activate the rear-window defroster and open the gas-tank filler door easily. The Town Car interior is simple and doesn't overwhelm you with gadgets. Everything is within easy sight and reach. There's nothing so confusing you have to pause and ask, "Where is it?" or, "How do you use it?" In further paying attention to detail, Ford has positioned an arrow along the instrument-panel fuel gauge to let you know on which side the fuel-filler door is, making for easier entry at the filling station. Considering such care for the consumer, we have to wonder who dropped the ball in designing the outside rearview mirrors. The dual power mirrors are tiny and provide awkward angles for the motorist. Where is that car that was behind us only a minute ago now that we want to pull out to pass? All that luxury, yet the mirrors were shortchanged. If we could make a couple other changes, one would be to increase trunk height a good 2 inches. For years Ford Motor Co. cars featured those intolerable deep-dish design circular trunk holds that we re ideal for carryinginflated inner tubes but couldn't handle anything square or rectangular. The Town Car has a flat floor that can accommodate square or rectangular packages-but not very many. The other change would be to widen the accelerator pedal and attach a less slippery surface to it. On a couple occasions our foot slipped off, hardly a confidence builder. The 1993 Town Car Signature Series we tested has a base price of $35,700. Standard equipment includes air conditioning; power, anti-lock brakes; power steering; cruise control; tilt steering; 15-inch, steel-belted radial tires, power windows; remote-control deck-lid release; rear-window defroster; power door locks; tinted glass; remote, keyless entry system (push buttons on the key fob to lock/unlock the doors); color-keyed bumpers and bodyside moldings; electronic digital clock; front and rear floor mats; AM/FM stereo with cassette player and power antenna; cloth seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel; and dual coverage sunvisors (two visors on each side, to provide side- and front-window protection). Options on the test car included a power moonroof at $1,550, alarm at $295,memory seats at $548, traction assist at $222, automatic dimming mirror at $111, leather seats at $570, JBL audio system at $576 and trunk-mounted compact-disc player/changer at $833. One option done away with for 1993 is the Insta-Clear windshield, which removed ice or snow in seconds but gave the glass a pinkish-mauve appearance that annoyed many. With a $625 freight charge, the Town Car stickered at $41,308, which puts it in the same price range as the Cadillac Seville STS. The Town Car is aimed toward older drivers looking for rest, the STS toward younger motorists who are restless.
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