2003 Lincoln LS

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Change year or car

$31,860

starting MSRP

2003 Lincoln LS

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2003 Lincoln LS trim comparison will help you decide.

2003 Lincoln LS review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

When it comes to selling cars, Lincoln is working both sides of the aisle.

While pensioners and livery companies snap up Town Cars, Lincoln offers the LS for those still young enough to rock ‘n’ roll. That’s not a casual observation. According to Ford, the average Town Car buyer is 67 years old; LS buyers are in their early 50s.

The rear-wheel-drive LS has been more successful in luring younger buyers than the car it replaced, the Taurus-based front-wheel-drive Continental, and it outsold the similarly-sized BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Cadillac CTS in 2002. But with fresh competition coming all the time, will the LS be able to hold its own? Hard to say.

The LS’s styling, while handsome, is conservative to a fault. Fortunately, new grille surround, fascia, exterior mirrors, rear deck lid, tail lamps, and wheels provide a more dignified look for 2003. More important are the overdue interior styling revisions that increase storage and improve the feel of luxury in the cabin.

The dash is functional and easy-to-use. There are thoughtful touches such as a center armrest that slides forward and an electronic tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Front bucket seats can be had with heat and air-conditioning, while rear seats can be ordered with heaters as well.

Other options include real burl walnut and satin nickel trim, an upgraded audio system, and a DVD-based navigation system.

Standard goodies include leather seats, heated windshield wipers, an electronic parking brake which frees up foot room by eliminating the third pedal and power-adjustable pedals, which allow for a perfect fit behind the wheel. That last item is a real advantage for shorter drivers, who must usually drive too close to the airbag-equipped steering wheel.

The back seats are average in comfort and fold to increase trunk space. The front seats are flat and hard. They proved so painful, one friend commented that it would be a stupendous automobile if it could be driven standing up.

Yet the car is stupendous to drive.

The LS comes with either a 232 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 or a 280 horsepower 3.9-liter V-8.

While the V-6 competes well with the Acura TL, Cadillac CTS, BMW 525 and 530 and Audi A6, the V-8 outguns the Acura and Cadillac, while matching the Audi and BMW at a lower base price. Both double-overhead-cam motors are equipped with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder to ensure smooth, efficient running. The V-8 has been tuned for sound quality, according to Ford.

The only transmission is a 5-speed automatic that can be shifted sequentially like a manual. The manual transmission previously available on the V-6 is no longer available.

Power is smooth and very strong, and the engine growls nicely. The added horsepower in the V-8-equipped test car not only provided for abundant power, it also was fairly economical for a V-8, returning 19 mpg.

The LS can be ordered with AdvanceTrac, Lincoln’s stability control system which includes traction control and anti-lock brakes.

Grip is excellent, even in foul weather. Body lean is well controlled and the LS has all the sports sedan moves of its competitors. While not quite as buttoned-down as a 5-Series, it’s very close. It’s fun to drive, with quick sporty steering and a chassis that stays flat in corners.

If you’re considering this car, watch the price.

The test car Lincoln provided, the V-8 Premium Sport, had a $43,360 base price. That’s more than a six-cylinder Jaguar S-Type’s base price of $41,850. The Lincoln’s bottom line of $47,685 falls just shy of an 8-cylinder S-Type’s base price of $49,330. But traditionally, large discounts and incentives drastically reduce the transaction price of the Lincoln to more affordable levels.

While not having the street credibility that the Cadillac CTS or BMW 5-Series enjoy, the LS is an American sports sedan that stands beside Europe’s best. Of course, this is no surprise since its basic components are shared with the Jaguar S-Type.

And it’s the first Lincoln since the ’50s that has good power and handling without being as long or as tedious to maneuver as an aircraft carrier.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.5
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.3

I'm glad I know how to work on cars.

I bought my 2003 Lincoln LS with 116,000 miles on it. I like the way it looks, drives, and performs. it needs work and Im able to perform most of the repairs myself. I wouldn't recommend this vehicle to someone who couldn't.

4.7

Very reliable for a mechanic special

This 2003 LS Lincon has been a outstsndibg everyday i drive the better it gets performance exel.gas milage comfort handling i bought to usr fot a weekend and sell make a few bucksbut thimking detail fix a few things make a killing on it.

4.9

Very reliable, classic styling still turns heads

The car exceeded our expectations for reliability, performance, comfort and styling. It has all the right features heated and cooled leather seats, sunroof, and the power adjustable pedals adjust to suit my wife. The car also had high safety rating which was comforting.

See all 22 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles

Compare the competitors

2004

Chrysler 300M

$29,185

starting MSRP

2000

Cadillac Seville

$44,475

starting MSRP

2001

Chevrolet Lumina

$18,890

starting MSRP

See all 2003 Lincoln LS articles