2019 Lincoln Continental Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
February 26, 2019

Buying tip

With active safety features now standard, lower trim-level Continentals are the best value for the money. We won’t blame you for shelling out

If you’re tired of the same old luxury options, the 2019 Lincoln Continental provides a refreshingly retro-cool alternative.

The 2019 Lincoln Continental is a big, luxurious American sedan at a time when Americans are hardly buying big, luxurious American sedans anymore. Regardless, it’s a throwback ride with plenty of character, great value, lots of power, and a classic nameplate. We give it 7.5 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Among European and Japanese rivals with established models – S-Class, 7 Series, LS – this Lincoln stands out for several reasons, chief among them its nameplate. With the Continental, Lincoln has one of the most storied American car names.

The 2019 Continental returns in Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label trims.

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With a throwback look that sports chrome details, big, wide shoulders, and interesting touches like door handles integrated into the trim, the latest Lincoln Continental has enough visual panache to go along with the nostalgia its name evokes. Where other automakers have ditched chrome and high-gloss surfaces, the Continental fully embraces its heritage, and pulls it off swimmingly. The big, inviting cabin is both interesting and sophisticated, with the option for high-tech touches like a fully-digital gauge cluster and comfort features like the excellent 30-way adjustable front seats.

For power, the 2019 Continental is available in front- or all-wheel drive and with a trio of V-6 engines: one base, one mid-grade twin-turbocharged, and one high-performance twin-turbo. With 400 horsepower at the top end, this large barge can seriously scoot, though the 6-speed automatic feels archaic with such a potent powerplant.

Adaptive steering and shocks help ride and handling tremendously, especially with 20-inch wheels equipped on fancier models.

A long wheelbase and overhangs help increase both passenger and cargo space, and rear seat passengers should be plenty comfortable, even more so with the Rear-Seat Amenities package, which adds rear power lumbar support, inflatable seatbelt airbags, power reclining seats with massage, heating and cooling, and a sun shades on all windows.

A special “Coach Door” edition is also available for the 80th anniversary of the Continental, complete with 6 extra inches between the front and rear wheels, and the oh-so-cool “suicide” doors. Only 100 or so will be available, and they’ll likely all be spoken for already, unfortunately.

For 2019, all Continentals come with adaptive cruise control and Lincoln Co-Pilot360, a suite of active safety features that includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitors, and more. This should help bolster the Continental’s already-impressive safety record, which included a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS last year.

While big V-6 power is a plus, fuel economy suffers as a result, and no version of the Continental averages over 21 miles per gallon. With no hybrid or electrified version available yet, this is unlikely to improve in the near future.

7

2019 Lincoln Continental

Styling

Going retro can be hit-or-miss, but the 2019 Lincoln Continental is a greatest hits album of old-school cool and modern touches.

The 2019 Lincoln Continental has no regrets about its retro name, styling, and approach to luxury sedan design, and we support it wholeheartedly. With plenty of chrome, high-gloss surfaces, and a three-box shape, we award it 7 out of 10 for all the retro references in its styling toolbox. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Despite its front-wheel-drive proportions – which we’ll admit give it a forward-hunched stance that’s less than desirable – the 2019 Lincoln Continental is an ultimately successful design. Just the right amount of chrome trim, sleek LED headlights and taillights, and thoughtful touches like the side-mounted badges and door handles integrated into the trim combine for one of the most interesting luxury sedans on sale. With 20-inch wheels equipped on the Black Label package, the Continental looks downright stately, a fitting tribute to its historic nameplate.

Inside, Lincoln’s designers have made heavy use of high-gloss trim, a trend that had fallen by the wayside in recent years. With a delightfully retro design, the Continental’s cabin is stately and appealing, especially when finished in one of the available Black Label interior themes. Our favorite is Rhapsody, which swaths the cabin entirely in dark blue leather, a treatment straight out of the 1960s.

Lower-tier models can still be had with plenty of paint choices and interior options, but the Continental looks best as glitzed-out as possible.

The Coach Door edition brings back “suicide” doors and extends the wheelbase by 6 inches, looking like we imagine the new Continental was supposed to in the first place. Too bad they’ll all be spoken for, and the price is expected to run into six figures anyway.

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7

2019 Lincoln Continental

Performance

A well-sorted suspension and brisk acceleration make the 2019 Lincoln Continental feel smaller than it actually is.

The 2019 Lincoln Continental is a large vehicle, but some well-sorted suspension components and a heaping helping of twin-turbo power at the top end of the range give it a near-sporty driving experience. An archaic transmission is a major letdown, though. We’ve rated it 7 out of 10 for its above-average powertrains and handling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

You can have the Continental with any engine you like, so long as it’s a V-6. The base 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated version makes 305 horsepower, while a twin-turbo 2.7-liter borrowed from the Ford Edge Sport (now ST) makes 335 hp. At the top of the range, a Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 400 horsepower and equal torque, while a 6-speed automatic transmission shuttles power to the front or all four wheels regardless of engine. While the 3.0-liter is a powerhouse worthy of almost any luxury marque, the transmission needs an extra two or more cogs to feel truly modern. It’s the least advanced part of the Continental’s driving experience, but at least it’s relatively smooth.

The ride is pleasantly taut with adaptive dampers and quick steering, making the Continental more limber than it might appear. On larger wheels, this big Lincoln can be unsettled by imperfect roads, but an adaptive steering system makes spirited driving and low-speed maneuvering more assertive. On all-wheel-drive models, the brakes of the inside front wheels are clamped slightly while cornering to improve turn-in. The Continental’s driving feel, despite its size, isn’t all that different from a plumped-up Ford Fusion. In essence that’s what the Continental is.

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9

2019 Lincoln Continental

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Lincoln Continental delivers endlessly-adjustable luxury comforts… if you’re willing to pay.

While Cadillac has gone the way of performance to compete, the 2019 Lincoln Continental keeps things all about comfort with pleasing results. We give it 9 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With a wheelbase of 117.9 inches and 201.4 inches of length overall, the Continental boasts 109 cubic feet of interior space. Its standard front seats are relatively comfortable front and back, but you’ll want to shell out for the 30-way adjustable seats, which can even adjust the length of the cushion below each leg individually on the front seats.

With plenty of small item storage and a vast trunk, the Continental is more practical than it may first seem.

Out back, the seats are less plush, but with an available rear seat amenities package, heating and cooling are available as well as power reclining, lumbar support, and massage programs for a downright luxurious experience.

While some trim pieces are questionably thin or wiggly, the leather upholstery is supple, and the Continental feels buttoned-down overall. If it were a bit less brash and those pieces a bit more substantial, it would earn a 10 here.

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10

2019 Lincoln Continental

Safety

Stellar crash test scores and newly standard active features make the 2019 Lincoln Continental a safety superstar.

Safety is one of the 2019 Lincoln Continental’s strongest facets, from crash-test scores to active safety features that now come standard on all models. All things considered, we award it 10 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The NHTSA gives the Continental five stars overall, with just one star deducted in the rollover category, an odd result for a low-slung sedan. The Continental received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, with perfect scores all around and “Superior” crash prevention technology, much of which has now been made standard on the Continental.

For 2019, all Continentals get adaptive cruise control and Lincoln’s Co-Pilot 360 system, which includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors on all cars, while the Reserve trim gets the Technology package as standard, including a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, and active parking assist.

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8

2019 Lincoln Continental

Features

High-end features like a great stereo and rear seat amenities are tempting, but the 2019 Lincoln Continental offers the best value lower down in the range.

The 2019 Lincoln Continental can be an expensive sedan if you want it to be, and by its available features alone, you may well want it to be. Still, lower-end models are well-equipped, warranting a score of 8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Continental comes in Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label trims, which can be had with various engines and front- or all-wheel-drive depending on trim.

Each model gets power features, automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats,reverse parking sensors, wood trim, ambient lighting, keyless entry and ignition, 18-inch wheels, and remote start, as well as active safety features and adaptive cruise control as of this year.

Stepping up the trim ladder, more luxury features are available or standard, such as a head-up display, active parking assist, and a surround-view camera on the Reserve trim and above. Select models get real leather, a power trunklid, power door closers, rear-seat USB charging ports, active noise cancellation, adaptive shocks and steering, navigation, and 19-inch wheels. The Reserve trim adds three-zone climate control, a 13-speaker Revel audio system, and 24-way power seats with ventilation on top of the standard heated seats.

Black Label Continentals are the cream of the crop, with a console-mounted shifter, Alcantara headliner, twin-panel sunroof, a rear seat armrest with climate controls, heated and cooled front seats, a hands-free trunklid, and a 19-speaker Revel Ultima system on top of 20-inch wheels and configurable driving modes. The Black Label also offers unique interior “themes” with evocative names like “Chalet” and “Rhapsody,” allowing buyers to choose an all-blue interior if they so choose among other options.

Lincoln offers pickup and delivery service for its customers when service needs arise, but the basic 4-year/50,000-mile warranty is run of the mill for luxury brands.

Fully loaded, the Continental crests $80,000 which is pushing BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class territory, so the best value is found much further down the range at the $60,000 mark or less.

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2019 Lincoln Continental

Fuel Economy

A trio of V-6s doesn’t make for the best fuel economy performance on the 2019 Lincoln Continental.

The 2019 Lincoln Continental has old-school fuel economy to go along with its retro appeal. We give it 4 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

According to the EPA, the front-drive naturally-aspirated Continental makes 17 mpg city, 26 highway, and 20 combined, while all-wheel-drive drops those numbers to 16/24/19 mpg. The 2.7-liter V-6 adds two turbos and improves mileage slightly for 18/27/21 mpg in front-wheel-drive spec, while all-wheel-drive cars make 17/25/20 mpg. The top-tier 3.0-liter twin-turbo is available only with all-wheel drive and manages 16/24/19 mpg.

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$46,145
MSRP based on Standard FWD
 
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7.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 10
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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