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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
April 21, 2004
Vehicle Overview Lincoln’s rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan earned a substantial reworking for the 2003 model year. Flaunting a new stand-up hood ornament, the four-door Town Car grew noticeably more formal in appearance.
A new Ultimate model replaces the Cartier edition for 2004. The Signature sedan remains available, but the Executive model is now for fleet sales only. This year’s automatic transmission has higher torque capacity. A navigation system is optional on Ultimate models.
A traditional favorite of older buyers and limousine companies, the Town Car is also a profitable model for Ford. Last redesigned for 1998, this sedan is basically the last of its kind on the market. Many of the extended-length L editions go to limousine companies.
Exterior The Town Car’s formal appearance comes courtesy of last year’s reshaped hood, fenders and quarter panels. Absent from the prior generation, a stand-up hood ornament returned. The chromed vertical-bar grille stands upright and is flanked by quad-beam halogen headlights.
Standard models are 215.4 inches long overall on a 117.7-inch wheelbase, while the extended-length L sedans measure 221.4 inches long overall with a 123.7-inch wheelbase. All models have 17-inch tires on aluminum wheels. Euroflange wheels promise a clean appearance because their wheel-balancing weights are concealed. A powered glass moonroof is optional.
Interior The Town Car seats up to six people on a 40/20/40-split bench in the front. The seats are trimmed in premium leather. Panels of burl walnut appliqu� decorate the instrument panel and doors, and an elegant analog clock is displayed. Heated front seats and a wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel are standard in the Ultimate model.
In addition to the regular analog speedometer, a separate digital speedometer is installed. Standard equipment includes eight-way power for the driver and outboard passenger seats, power lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control and power-adjustable pedals. The Town Car can be equipped with the Lincoln Vehicle Communication System, which features voice-activated calling, roadside assistance and emergency notification.
Under the Hood Lincoln’s 4.6-liter V-8 engine develops 239 horsepower and 287 pounds-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is the sole transmission available.
Safety Dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags and antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are standard.
Driving Impressions Within moments of starting off in the Town Car, last year’s steering and handling improvements become evident. Current models deliver a more secure, confident sensation than their predecessors by offering a greater kinship with the road. This sedan yields a surprisingly appealing driving experience.
The Town Car is especially easy to drive and exceptionally stable on the expressway, and it produces a smooth yet controlled ride. The sedan is also very quiet, but you can hear the engine. To a considerably greater degree than prior Town Cars, the new model hangs tight in curves. Braking is less pleasing as its pedal exhibited a long dead spot before the brakes became effective.
The seat bottoms are fairly long and well cushioned, but their support could be better. Raising the center console box provides seating space for three people in the front seat. Interior space is abundant, and rear legroom in the extended-length L sedan is massive.