2020 Lincoln Continental

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 8, 2019

Buying tip

Active safety tech and other features are standard on the Continental, so it’s possible to keep the pricetag low—but you’ll

The 2020 Lincoln Continental offers timeless style and plenty of value.

The 2020 Lincoln Continental is a return to form for big, luxurious American sedans at a time when hardly anyone buys them anymore. Still, if you’re in the market, the 2020 Continental offers great value, lots of power, and plenty of classic style. We give it a TCC Rating of 7.5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

No one cross-shops the Continental with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series, but it has the curb appeal of a much more expensive vehicle, with a sleek design and thoughtful details like the “Lincoln Embrace” light show when you approach, or the door handles integrated into the chrome window trim. The interior is similarly retro-cool, featuring high-quality materials and three different themes if you choose the lavish Black Label model.

For 2020, the Continental loses three exterior colors but gains three direct replacements with different names. There are also a number of new packages, and the active safety technology suite is updated.

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Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is a popular option. The Continental’s trio of V-6 engines range from perfectly potent to downright rapid, with more than 300 horsepower as standard and 400 horsepower at the top end. Unfortunately, it’s matched to an ancient 6-speed automatic that feels hesitant compared to luxury rivals. The ride is comfortable and composed, and with active torque vectoring available, all-wheel-drive Continentals handle twisty roads well, though not with excitement.

With active safety features and plenty of equipment now standard, the Continental is better value than ever, but those willing to spend $80,000 or more for the Black Label model will be rewarded with fine leather, 30-way adjustable seats, and concierge services unique to Lincoln.

Speaking of active safety tech, the Continental gets great crash test scores and includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and more right out of the box. Fuel economy doesn’t fare so well however, with only 19 to 21 mpg on average.

7

2020 Lincoln Continental

Styling

The 2020 Lincoln Continental is the epitome of retro cool, blending thoughtful old-school design touches with modern accents.

The 2020 Lincoln Continental does retro right, blending old-school touches with modern design for a handsome result. We give it 7 out of 10 here. 

A front-wheel-drive stance (other big luxury sedans have rear-wheel-drive proportions that look sportier and more elegant) is about the only negative criticism we have of the Continental’s design, which is both sleek and stately from any angle. Thoughtful touches like the logo-shaped optional headlights and door handles integrated into the chrome window trim make for one of the most interesting luxury sedans on sale, and one that looks worth every penny.

The interior echoes the 1960s with aplomb, especially in “Rhapsody” dark blue leather on the Black Label model, and doesn’t shy away from chrome, wood, and other glossy accents. While some trim pieces are thin to the touch, the design is one of our favorites of any luxury vehicle and will undoubtedly win over some buyers.

A special Coach Door edition that debuted last year is still available and adds ultra-cool “suicide doors” to a slightly lengthened Continental. At over six figures, it’s a hefty price to pay for a Lincoln, but the only use of those doors on a car that doesn’t feature a Rolls-Royce badge—or a pickup bed.

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7

2020 Lincoln Continental

Performance

The 2020 Lincoln Continental offers up to 400 horsepower, but its driving experience is sedated rather than sporty.

In terms of power, the 2020 Lincoln Continental ranges from midsize sedan to muscle car using a trio of V-6s. Though impressive on paper, other sedans are more dynamically engaging. We give it a 7 for its pleasant ride and strong mid-range and top-end powertrains. 

Base cars have a naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower. For those seeking a bit more grunt, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the Ford Edge ST offers 335 hp, but it’s wholly overshadowed by an excellent 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 and its 400 hp available at the top of the range. Front-wheel drive is standard on base models, but boosted engines come with all-wheel drive available or standard on the top-tier engine.

Unfortunately, while all these engines provide adequate to excessive grunt, they’re saddled to a 6-speed automatic transmission that feels ancient in comparison. It will shift smoothly and without complaint, but when pushed it feels sluggish and overworked.

The Continental is no sports sedan, as both its heritage and appearance would suggest, and it makes no effort to convince you that it is one. While adaptive dampers, quick steering, and available active torque vectoring will make easy work of any twisty road, the hallmark of the Lincoln experience is soft, quiet luxury, and the Continental delivers in this area.

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9

2020 Lincoln Continental

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Lincoln Continental is best in Black Label form, but not many will be willing to meet its steep asking price.

The 2020 Lincoln Continental delivers impressive quality and comfort, which comes closer to its luxury rivals than ever. We give it 9 out of 10 here.

At over 200 inches long, the Continental is spacious front and back, with comfortable seats all around regardless of trim. Choosing the optional “Perfect Position” thrones adds 30-way adjustability up front, from the upper back rest to the cushion length for each individual leg, not to mention heating, cooling, and multiple massage programs. An available rear seat package adds the latter three options to the back seats as well as power recline.

While some trim pieces are flimsy or thin, the Continental is rife with real leather, wood, and metal accents, and Black Label models feature some of our favorite interiors, including the all-blue “Rhapsody” theme. It’s no S-Class or 7 Series but has more character and visual intrigue than either.

A vast trunk swallows plenty of luggage, and while interior storage is best for small items, there are plenty of spaces to stow away knick-knacks.

Of course, the Continental Black Label that you really want will run $80,000 or more, so at that price, it may be tough to justify a Lincoln over its more seasoned and higher-quality German rivals.

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10

2020 Lincoln Continental

Safety

The 2020 Lincoln Continental features top-notch safety scores and standard active technology.

The 2020 Lincoln Continental is a safety superstar of a sedan, boasting strong crash test scores and all active safety features as standard. That earns a perfect score of X out of 10 here. 

The NHTSA gave the 2020 Continental five stars overall and in every category minus rollover rating, in which it received four stars. While the IIHS hasn’t gotten around to the 2020 model yet, it awarded the Continental a Top Safety Pick+ award last year, with “Good” scores in every category. We expect that award to stand this year, as the Continental isn’t significantly changed.

Made standard last year, the Continental comes with a full suite of active and passive safety tech features, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beam headlights. The Reserve trim adds a surround-view camera system, head-up display, and active parking assist as standard, so we recommend starting your shopping there.

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8

2020 Lincoln Continental

Features

The 2020 Lincoln Continental runs from well-equipped as standard to lavish at the top end.

Even the base 2020 Lincoln Continental is well-equipped out of the box, but we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to spend more to get the lavish Black Label treatment. For that, we give it 8 out of 10 here. 

The 2020 Continental comes in three trims: base, Reserve, and Black Label. That simplifies the lineup for a shrinking number of buyers. All Contis have automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, wood trim, ambient lighting, keyless entry and ignition, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote start, and active safety features with adaptive cruise control. They also get an audio system with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.

That’s a lot of standard features for around $48,000, but the Reserve model is lavishly equipped enough to be tempting. It includes three-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, active noise cancellation, a hands-free power trunk lid, two rear USB charging ports, a heated steering wheel, active park assist, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, and the 30-way power front seats. It also costs about $13,000 more than the standard car. We think it’s worth it, with a catch.

Finally, Black Label Continentals are the most lavish of the bunch, as they should be for over $80,000. For that price, you get an Alcantara headliner, twin-panel sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, an excellent 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system, and unique 20-inch wheels as well as three distinct interior themes from all blue leather to equestrian-inspired brown and black. The themes turn the Continental into something truly distinctive; for cost-no-object American luxury, it’s this or an SUV.

The Continental offers pickup and delivery limousine service in your own car when you need a ride, but the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty is on par with other luxury brands.

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4

2020 Lincoln Continental

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Lincoln Continental struggles in the fuel economy department, averaging between 19 and 21 mpg overall.

A trio of V-6 engines, two with twin turbochargers, makes the 2020 Lincoln Continental thirstier than most vehicles. We give it 4 out of 10 here.

Updated figures aren’t available just yet, but we’re comfortable in assuming that the 2020 model will make the same mileage as last year.

The base Continental with the 3.7-liter V-6 and front-wheel drive makes 17 mpg city, 26 highway, 20 combined, while adding all-wheel drive drops those numbers to 16/24/19 mpg.

Adding two turbochargers actually improves fuel economy, as the 2.7-liter twin-turbo engine makes 18/27/21 mpg in front-wheel-drive form and 17/25/20 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Finally, the top dog 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 comes only with all-wheel drive and makes just 16/24/19 mpg.

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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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