The 2019 Lincoln Continental — in certain configurations — has been awarded a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The sedan from Ford’s luxury brand comes with standard front crash prevention technology but requires optional LED headlights only available on higher trim levels.
This is the third year for the Continental in its current form and the third year in a row it has earned a Top Safety Pick Plus award — even as IIHS requirements become stricter each year.
The Continental received scores of good in every one of IIHS’ crash tests, including the passenger-side small overlap front test that has tripped up other vehicles. It also comes with standard front crash prevention technology that earned a superior rating. Optional LED headlights were rated as good — but the standard high-intensity discharge headlights were rated as poor because they can produce excessive glare for oncoming drivers.
What You Have to Buy for the Best Scores
To get a Continental that qualifies as a Top Safety Pick Plus, you’ll need to spring for the LED headlights that are optional on Reserve models and standard on Black Label models. Adding the headlights on a Continental Reserve also requires adding a premium 19-speaker stereo and adds $3,995 to the Reserve’s $60,705 starting price — including a $995 destination fee. The Black Label starts at $71,040 with destination. Standard and Select Continentals, which do not qualify for the award, start at $47,140 and $50,940, respectively, putting the cost of purchasing a Top Safety Pick Plus qualifying Continental at almost $14,000 — at minimum. At least the front crash prevention technology is standard.
Versus Previous Model Years
This generation of the Continental has been around since the 2017 model year, and each model year has earned a Top Safety Pick Plus award.
Other model-year 2019 Top Safety Pick Plus winners in IIHS’ Large Luxury Car segment include the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series and Genesis G80 and G90. There are no direct competitors that have earned the lesser Top Safety Pick designation, and rivals like the Volvo S90, Acura RLX, Infiniti Q70, and Cadillac CTS and XTS miss out due to poor headlight ratings or incomplete testing.
How IIHS Tests
IIHS rates vehicles as good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on occupant protection in six crash tests: driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. IIHS also rates standard and available technology designed to prevent or mitigate a frontal crash on a scale of superior, advanced or basic. Finally, standard and available headlights are tested, with high- and low-beams measured for reach on both straightaways and curves, and low beams tested for glare, with ratings on a scale of good, acceptable, marginal or poor.
What It Takes to Get an Award
To qualify for a 2019 Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must have a score of good in all six crash tests. Its standard or available front crash prevention technology must be rated either superior or advanced, and its headlights must be rated good. The lesser Top Safety Pick award allows for a rating of acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test and an acceptable rating for standard or available headlights.