Lincoln's most popular model stays the course for 2000, getting only a handful of minor changes for the new model year. The rear-drive Town Car is the most traditional of Lincoln's current lineup, offering convenience and luxury in a full-size package that appeals to an older crowd. The average buyer age, according to Lincoln, is 68.
Town Car's archrival, the front-drive Cadillac DeVille, has a new design this year. Town Car's last overhaul was for the 1998 model year. Sales of the Town Car have been sliding in recent years, but Lincoln says it will continue to offer the car as long as there is sufficient demand.
At 215 inches overall, the rear-drive Town Car has 8 more inches of sheet metal than the front-drive DeVille. When the Town Car was redesigned for 1998, it lost 3 inches of body length while gaining rounder, softer styling.
The Town Car is built on a stretched version of the platform used for the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis. Lincoln's version is 3 inches longer in wheelbase (117.7 inches) and about 3 inches longer overall than its Ford and Mercury counterparts.
With its long wheelbase and wide interior, the Town Car provides ample room for occupants to lounge at least the ones in the outboard seats. The middle seats straddle the driveshaft tunnel and have less legroom and comfort than other positions. The split front bench seat and wide rear bench coddle the outboard passengers by comparison.
Wide, tall doors make it easy to get in or out, and all models come with standard leather upholstery and lavish amounts of comfort and convenience features. The trunk holds 20.6 cubic feet of luggage, though most of that comes from a deep center well that is awkward to load or unload because the spare tire hangs over the back side.
Under the Hood
A 200-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 and four-speed automatic transmission are standard in the Executive and Signature models. A 215-horsepower version of that engine with dual exhausts is standard in the top-shelf Cartier model and included with the Touring Package available on the Signature.
Standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats, anti-lock brakes and traction control.
The Town Car lost a little size and weight in its last redesign and gained some athletic ability. It is still a large, cushy, traditional American luxury car but far more agile and manageable than previous versions. The new DeVille feels more refined and powerful, so those who are interested should compare before they decide.