1996 Ford Thunderbird

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starting MSRP

1996 Ford Thunderbird

Key specs

Base trim shown


1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • LX


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Our 1996 Ford Thunderbird trim comparison will help you decide.

1996 Ford Thunderbird review: Our expert's take


Difficult to imagine that this portly coupe owes its heritage to the slim and trim ’55 Thunderbird, which, over the years, grew by leaps and pounds.

If you stick around long enough, you get to be called an icon and the liverspots become a symbol of survival. The ’96 Thunderbird is an icon.

Though carrying a proud name, the rear-wheel-drive car for years has been burdened by having to justify its existence in a front-wheel-drive world–especially in the Snow Belt.

With traction control ($95), ABS ($570) and dual air bags (standard), there’s little reason to fear treading on the highway when the seasons change,but getting that message across to the public is no easy task. Ford, however, has spent no time or effort trying to educate consumers.

In the fall of ’98, Thunderbird will visit the fountain of youth and borrowthe Taurus front-wheel-drive platform. In the process the ‘Bird will shed somesize and weight and be limber and nimble enough to provide the ride, handling and performance of the younger Pontiac Grand Prix.

It also means that those who rely on a T-bird to tow will have to move up to the rear-drive Ford Crown Victoria, though it, too, is earmarked for the Taurus platform in 1999.

The T-bird’s attraction now is the 4.6-liter, 190-h.p., V-8, which allows you to move from the line with little hesitation and tow a small boat or camper. The 17-mile-per-gallon city/25-m.p.g. highway fuel economy rating is decent.

One drawback: you feel compartmentalized in the front seat by an instrumentpanel that protrudes well into the cabin.

Base price of the Thunderbird LX we tested is $17,485, a sticker held down by making traction-assist and ABS options so as not to force the factory to bump up the cost by $665 but rather put the blame for a higher sticker on thecustomer.

The list of options ($4,045 worth) took up more space on the window stickerthan the standard equipment. Consumers probably can expect to see more of thisploy by all automakers to keep base prices down and put the onus of higher prices on the consumer for choosing of options.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.1
  • Reliability 4.1

Most recent consumer reviews


MY 96 TBird is excellent and I will not sell it!!!

Very comfortable stylish good looking and maintenance easy car it's got a lot of gift and go for the 4.6 gas mileage isn't too bad and it's very comfortable to drive and to boot it gets a lot of good looks


Most reliable and she sure gets the looks yet

I would sell it but like it better then my brand new new that cost me 60000 dollars. Ford motor company made a huge mistake when they stopped making this car.


Reliable Classic

Great many parts changed with lifetime warranty Struts Shocks Alternator Power Steering and Waterpump Magna Flow Convertors Brake Pads and Calipers plug Wires Hood Struts Etc.

See all 18 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage EV
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Ford models up to 6 years old with less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12-month/12,000-mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty. 8-year/100,000-mile (whichever comes first) BaseCARE EV Warranty coverage.
7-year/100,00-Mile (whichever comes first)
Dealer certification required
Certified 127-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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