2008 Lincoln Town Car Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 27, 2008

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car looks and feels dated, but can carry six passengers and their luggage.

TheCarConnection.com's editors researched a wide range of road tests of the 2008 Lincoln Town Car to write this definitive review. TheCarConnection.com's resident experts also drove the new Lincoln Town Car to help you decide which reviews to trust where opinions differ, to add more impressions and details, and to provide you with the best information.

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car is a big luxury sedan that's built like cars used to be built. It has a real frame underneath, a pillowy ride, a big V-8 engine, and wide, flat seats that are perfect for its current duty at airports and car services nationwide.

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car is available in Signature, Signature Limited, and the long-wheelbase Executive L and Signature L trim levels. The Town Car's main appeal is its supersoft ride, sedate handling, and spacious and comfortable interior with sofalike seating for six adults. It's essentially only being sold to fleet customers for the current model year, and it's expected that the Town Car will stop production in either 2009 or 2010.

Styling is distinctive but baroque. The interior is old-fashioned and not particularly rich-looking, and even in the backseat, there's a pervasive sense that not much time has been spent making the Town Car even remotely modern.
The Town Car's standard 4.6-liter, V-8 engine generates 239 horsepower and is coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. It gets 15/22 mpg--not bad for a vehicle of its size.

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Ride and handling traits are soft and forgiving, but the Lincoln Town Car struggles to keep up with brisk maneuvers. It's simply outmatched by most modern sedans, even big four-doors like the Cadillac DTS. Interior room is vast, but the seats are unsupportive. Trunk space is large.
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, 17-inch wheels, front side airbags, and traction control are standard. The 2008 Lincoln Town Car gets a five-star crash rating from the NHTSA.

Options include 18-inch wheels, a power moonroof, high-intensity-discharge headlamps, a CD changer, and a navigation system that incorporates a THX-certified audio array and satellite radio compatibility.

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2008 Lincoln Town Car

Styling

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car has baroque styling that’s been around for a long time—too long.

If there was ever a car that could be considered conservative to the point of stodginess, it's the 2008 Lincoln Town Car.

Edmunds calls the Town Car Lincoln a "very old design"; indeed, except for the rounded, more streamlined look, it isn't very different from the Town Car of a decade ago. According to Cars.com and Motor Trend, there have been no appreciable outward design changes since 2003. What this source calls the Town Car Lincoln's "formal appearance" starts with a "vertical-bar grille [and] a stand-up ornament," mounted at the front of the hood--shades of the 1970s! In fact, it goes back further: Motor Trend says, "Stylists have squared off the Town Car's body, to better reflect upcoming designs that will hearken back to the classic sharply chiseled 'suicide door' Continentals of the early 1960s." This source also adds that the stand-up hood ornament "helps drivers navigate parking spaces."

The interior of the Lincoln Town Car features "a touch of the white-light and satin-nickel interior trim," which since 2003 has made "a big splash" in other Lincoln models, according to Motor Trend. Cars.com describes more interior touches such as "seats are trimmed in premium leather," while "panels with burl walnut appliqué decorate the instrument panel and doors."

Car and Driver also reports that the 2008 Lincoln Town Car is the "last traditional American luxury sedan," as does Jalopnik, which reports that it is to be sent "to the gallows" this year. Edmunds advises that the Lincoln Town Car, which has "outlived its usefulness," will appeal mainly to those who long for "the good old days of large American luxury sedans." It may have a slight advantage for paparazzi and other celebrity hounds: Edmunds adds that those driving the Lincoln Town Car are frequently flagged down at airports by those looking for a limo.

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6

2008 Lincoln Town Car

Performance

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car has underwhelming power, decent fuel economy, and old-fashioned handling.

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car is underpowered and has little in the way of "road feel," according to reviews from around the Web.

Edmunds says the Town Car Lincoln's "thirsty V8" is "less powerful than many V6 engines." The 4.6-liter V-8 powerplant puts out a mere 239 horsepower, less than many smaller V-6 engines; Car and Driver sums it up as "tepid." ConsumerGuide notes that it is "quick enough," but "trails [rival] Cadillac DTS for overall performance."

ConsumerGuide adds that the "transmission hesitates to kick down for passing, but is otherwise responsive and smooth." This, according to Edmunds, is "a four-speed automatic transmission" from which you can "expect a 0-60-mph time in the mid-8-second range."

Despite its sluggish acceleration, the Lincoln Town Car gulps down an average of one gallon for every for 17.5 miles of travel. ConsumerGuide agrees that fuel economy is a definite "con," considering the 2008 Town Car Lincoln's mediocre levels of performance. AutoMedia damns with faint praise by saying that it is "not especially fuel efficient -- though not all that bad" at EPA estimates of 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

ConsumerGuide advises that the 2008 Lincoln Town Car "leans more in turns than import-brand rivals" and says the steering is "slightly overboosted, but has good accuracy and road feel." Braking is reported on ConsumerGuide as "short and stable" for a heavyweight, but emergency stops tend to cause some nosedive. AutoMedia says that the "big disc brakes bring its bulk to stable stops without drama or noticeable fade...in normal driving." Edmunds is especially critical of the Lincoln Town Car's "antiquated suspension system," which causes the rear end to "jiggle and shake like a bowl of lime Jell-O placed on the head of Carmen Miranda" over broken pavement

Cars.com has a different take on the Lincoln Town Car, praising its "good connection with the road." On the other hand, Edmunds, while acknowledging that performance and power "should be adequate for most buyers," adds that the 2008 Lincoln Town Car suffers from "sloppy dynamics" and is "certainly lacking compared to similarly priced luxury sedans" and if you "like to feel connected to the road in any way, forget about it."

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2008 Lincoln Town Car

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car’s notion of comfort and quality may be obsolete, but the interior space can’t be denied.

TheCarConnection.com researched reviews around the Web for opinions on the 2008 Lincoln Town Car's comfort levels. Editors also drove the Town Car—and were ferried around in the backseats of many Town Cars in airports around the world. Most reviews, and TheCarConnection.com’s editorial experience, find plenty of room inside the car but not much in the way of supportive seating or high-end luxury fittings.

The first thing you notice about the 2008 Lincoln Town Car's interior, according to Edmunds, is its sheer magnitude. Its "generous interior" will seat six full-grown adults in relative comfort. This source uses some nautical adjectives in its description of the Town Car Lincoln's ride. On one hand, under Pros and Cons, Edmunds puts "nautical ride" in the Cons column; on the other hand, the reviewer says that the Lincoln Town Car is "comfortable, in an on-the-high-seas sort of way," adding that seats are "La-Z-Boy comfy without any of that side-pinching lateral support." Cars.com reports that "interior space is abundant, and rear legroom in the extended-length L sedan is massive...seat bottoms are fairly long and well cushioned," but adds that "support could be better."

ConsumerGuide says that with the Town Car, Lincoln earns above-average marks for comfort, but cautions that, in front, the "middle rider must straddle transmission hump" (this is the last of the rear-wheel-drive luxury cars, after all), and the rear row "isn't as sofa-comfortable as it looks." Nonetheless, there is "abundant head room and outboard leg room."

Trunk space is "massive," according to Edmunds, furnishing 21 cubic feet of storage space. Car and Driver reports that the Lincoln Town Car's trunk "can swallow enough golf clubs to supply the tour or enough bodies to ensure an acquittal." The downside to the trunk's nearly bottomless depth is that it makes moving heavy objects around dangerous for one's chiropractic health.

As for fit and finish, "materials approach those of some costlier import-brand rivals," says ConsumerGuide, and Cars.com advises potential buyers that the material used for seats isn't just your run-of-the-mill leather; the Lincoln Town Car features "seats...trimmed in premium leather." As one would expect in a stately car of this type, excessive road noise is not on the menu. ConsumerGuide reports that the power plant is "muted even at full throttle" and that they noticed tire thrum "only on very coarse pavement." They add that "wind rush rises above 60 mph, but doesn't intrude."

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2008 Lincoln Town Car

Safety

Five-star safety is a key strength of the 2008 Lincoln Town Car.

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car may lack modern flair, but its safety features and performance are unparalleled.

This year's Lincoln Town Car is the first car in automotive history to receive a five-star crash-test rating in all five categories of testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Vehicles are tested for front and side impacts and rollover resistance; the 2008 Lincoln Town Car received perfect scores across the board. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also gives the 2008 Town Car Lincoln top marks for occupant safety in offset frontal impacts.

In addition to the Lincoln Town Car's standard safety equipment reported on Cars.com (dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution), AutoMedia mentions the Ford Motor Company's Personal Safety System, which is "one of the most comprehensive driver and front-seat passenger restraint systems available," incorporating pre-tensioners for the seat belts and energy management retractors. ConsumerGuide reports a rear-obstacle detection system, a tire-pressure monitor, and cornering lights among the standard equipment available for the Lincoln Town Car. This is a good thing, since this source also mentions that "over-the-shoulder visibility [is] hampered by thick roof pillars."

The one troubling omission as reported by Edmunds is the Town Car Lincoln's lack of head curtain airbags all around.

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2008 Lincoln Town Car

Features

The 2008 Lincoln Town Car has all the standard and optional features one would expect in a luxury vehicle of this type.

TheCarConnection.com found plenty of standard and optional features here--and one or two that have been removed from the 2008 Lincoln Town Car.

Two Lincoln Town Car trims are available. As reported by Cars.com, these are the "Signature Limited and Signature L," and do not include limousine versions. Standard base-model equipment includes "power-adjustable pedals and memory system (driver seat, mirrors, pedals), heated power mirrors w/driver-side automatic day/night, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, keypad entry, AM/FM/cassette w/in-dash 6-disc CD changer, universal garage-door opener, automatic day/night rearview mirror, compass, variable-intermittent wipers, illuminated visor mirrors, rear defogger, automatic headlights, floormats," as well as a "theft-deterrent system [and] cornering lights," according to ConsumerGuide. The Lincoln Town Car Signature L adds 6 inches to the wheelbase, in addition to amenities for rear seat occupants.

The Town Car, Cars.com and AutoMedia report, also offers eight-way adjustable seats and adjustable pedals that actually allow the user to save settings for two different drivers. AutoMedia reports that with the Town Car, Lincoln offers additional driver conveniences, including a keyless entry pad, power mirrors with heating and automatic dimming, and a power trunk lid. Security features include the SmartLock anti-lockout system and a passive anti-theft ignition key system.

Optional equipment for both Lincoln Town Car trims is limited and includes a trunk organizer, xenon headlights, and chrome alloy wheels. For audiophiles, the THX audio system provides 300 watts of power, nine speakers, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, and Sirius Satellite Radio.

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