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2006 Lincoln Zephyr Review

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Perhaps because of its presidential associations,Lincoln is a brand name that somehow still has some currency in the domestic car world.

The ancient Town Car is still the limo of choice for most chauffeur services while the Navigator is still popular on the hip-hop scene, even though the Navigator name isn’t as rhythmically rich as Cadillac’s Escalade. Beyond those two cars, Lincoln is saddled with the LS, the Aviator and the Mark LT. Not exactly an auspicious lineup for such a once-proud name.

 

Enter the Zephyr, which resurrects a great name and recycles a great platform, namely that of the Ford Fusion. I like the Fusion’s peppy dynamics and crisp styling but the fit ‘n’ finish of its interior, the lack of manual shifting on the fine six-speed automatic, and its intrusive tire noise are areas of concern. The Zephyr, being the most “premium” of the Fusion/Milan/Zephyr trio, gets a unique dashboard and a higher-quality interior as well as more sound deadening and slightly softer springs. This should rectify the Fusion’s shortcomings, but will it ruin the best thing about the Fusion — its handling?

 

Behold, the essence of Lincoln

 

2006 Lincoln Zephyr

2006 Lincoln Zephyr

Enlarge Photo
We’ll get to that in a minute. First, stand back and behold the Zephyr.

Isn’t it a handsome thing? Whatever they’ve been putting in the coffee in Ford’s car design studio they need to keep up the dosage because it’s good stuff. The baby Lincoln is striking in a classy and understated way and downright stately in black. Its humble origins are clearly visible down the flanks, of course, but the waterfall grille, the scolding headlamps, and broad, square stance more than compensate for the unadventurous profile. Sadly, the oversized taillamps are completely at odds with the rest of the Zephyr’s well integrated styling (maybe they may have run out of spiked coffee that day) but there’s enough good car around them for us to overlook their slightly unhappy rendering.

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