By on March 25, 2020

Long-time readers (thanks, all three of you) may recall a certain, erm, affinity at this site for vehicles from the old Lincoln-Mercury stable. Sajeev shed many bitter tears over various Cougars and Marks found in our nation’s junkyards, while your author freely admits he suffers an odd form of Stockholm Syndrome. And the world turns.

It’s difficult to pin down just how much time the Continental has left on this mortal earth, with the Blue Oval suits pulling the plug on everything with a trunk in Ford’s showroom. Production changes at Flat Rock surely spell its death by 2021 to make room for EVs, but, for now, it remains.

I won’t pretend for a minute that the Standard trim level is the best of Continental’s range, simply because that honor is reserved for the limited production Coach Door Edition. That one is priced well north of a hundred grand, so let’s see what the $46,305 model has in store.

Continental is offered with a selection of three different engines, a decision which surely counts against it when flinty-eyed accountants examine just how much this thing is costing the company. Entry level models are equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 making 305 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s nothing at which to sneeze, especially since a $13,000+ walk to the Reserve trim and its 2.7L EcoBoost only brings an extra 30 ponies. Those turbos bring a lot more torque, though.

Front-wheel drive is standard at this price, a configuration sure to enrage purists such as your author who still misses both his Mark VII and LS V8 cars. Continental’s styling doesn’t totally belie its drivetrain, but it does do an acceptable job of making the dash-to-axle ratio big enough that those not familiar might not know the difference. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option. Every trim gets the model’s too-cool set of door handles, designed to disappear into Continental’s beltline like a lizard disappears into the forest. In practice, it looks great and works well.

Inside, the entry-level Conti does give up a few features to its more expensive brothers, including rear seat climate control and kit like Active Park Assist (which your author only gets to work 50 percent of the time anyway). A Lincoln Premium Audio system with 10 speakers is on board, as are 10-way heated front seats and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality. A lane keeping system and forward sensing technologies help to keep calamity from finding its way to your door.

The natty Blue Diamond paint shown here is a no-charge option, though those of us who like red will be dinged $695 for being a show-off. Less tasteful are the acres of burl wood in the Standard’s interior, a personal preference with which not all will agree. An option for silver or simple black trim would be welcome. Your author doesn’t understand all the hate for Lincoln’s push-button gear selector, as it frees up space and fits well next to the infotainment system. This view goes for just about all button-based PRNDLs, including ones much maligned at other brands. I like ‘em.

So, best of the line? Nope; as I said at the top of this post, that medal is reserved for the Coach Door trim. As a sub-$50,000 sedan compared to its more expensive showroom mates, though, it checks enough of the correct boxes to get a nod.

Just send me some replacement interior trim, ok?

[Image: Lincoln]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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32 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Lincoln Continental Standard...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    That is a nice-looking sedan, from the exterior. Both engines mentioned in the article are lame for this expensive a car. I will have to go check on the third one.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    This thing on one side of Thunderdome, an Avalon on the other. Two sedans enter, one sedan leaves!

  • avatar

    The future looked bright for Lincoln sedans until the Hatchet-man came into town. For awhile the MKZ was the top selling US luxury sedan. The continental is one of the company’s best effort.

    It was a shame that Mark Fields was fired. Now Ford is facing the prospect of a near zero stock rating!!

  • avatar
    dwford

    The Continental name has been fixed to front wheel drive sedans since the 80s, so this car shouldn’t suffer much for it.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      It drives pretty nicely, even with the 3.7. I would opt for the AWD as every FWD Ford I’ve driven suffers from awful torque steer.

      I test drove a Continental last month and it hustled down a back road pretty well with a decent balance between comfort and roadholding. Power was at better than the 2.0 Turbo offerings from BMW or Cadillac that I’ve driven. It never felt unbalanced or flustered. The salesman commented that he had never had a customer drive a Continental like that and he had new respect for its back-road capability.

      I ended up getting a 3.0T MKZ because of our good experience with the 2014 3.7 AWD we were replacing. The new car gets going in a hurry, it’s very intoxicating.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Also consider the equivalent full size Ford fully loaded. If there is such a thing anymore.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    A little off topic but slightly related. Seems that I need to replace my daily driver toute suite.

    Due to a number of circumstances, I should not at the moment take on long term debt or fiscal responsibility. Plus I ‘throw nickels around like manhole covers’.

    As those who read my musings know, I still retain an affinity for the Lincoln and Cadillac marques, perhaps due to my age.

    My preference/need would be for a raised wagon or CUV, basic, requiring only heated seats, room for 5, not too big and unfortunately an automatic transmission. No leather or AWD/4wd.

    I have not purchased a used vehicle in 40 years, so am from the age where used cars were ‘buying somebody else’s problem. Also will not deal privately.

    So while searching I found a Lincoln MKZ 3.7 litre 6 cylinder, AWD, at a non-Ford dealership. Just over 40,000 miles. A 5 year old model but on the road for just over 4, with one owner. Exterior looks pristine. Leather seating, slightly dried out on the passenger side. Asking 40% of its original MSRP.

    It does not meet any of my criteria. So please convince me that it is a bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      What was your criteria again? The MKZ would have auto and seating for 5….

      Also, what’s your budget? A Subaru Outback Premium would hit all your targets (except it has AWD); several compact CUVs would as well….

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @DaveM: Thanks. But would any be as cheap? Subarus and CUV’s generally carry a premium.

        Does the 3.7l have the ‘water pump of death’?

        Was also more than a little disappointed with the instrument panel/dash of the MKZ. In my estimation not particularly ‘up market’.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          the 3.3, 3.5, and 3.7 are all the same family, so yes the 3.7 water pump is inside the timing cover.

          • 0 avatar
            dividebytube

            “the 3.7 water pump is inside the timing cover”

            Oddly enough unless it is a Mustang. Who knows why.

            But even those are known to fail at 30k miles.

        • 0 avatar
          eng_alvarado90

          Yes, the 3.7 Duratec has an internal WP on FWD applications. Other than that poor design choice, it’s a solid engine. However I wouldn’t be concerned about it on a 40K mile car. Those failures happen at 75K or more miles and the replacement including labor is about $1500. If you like the car and the deal is too good too pass, I’d take it and save those $1500 so in a year from now you can replace the WP as preventive maintenance at 60K miles. I presume this car (being sold at a dealership) comes with a warranty, isn’t it?

          Or get an MKZ with the 2.0T Ecoboost which has an external WP and a solid reliability record.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      If I were to make a poor judgement among American barge-marques something like this:

      https://www.lot99llc.com/vehicle-details/2013-cadillac-cts-ctsv–wagon-6-2l-supercharged-v8-556hp-551ft–navi-pano-wagon-e17fb8bfa3262c4380d592d064aebde1

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Speaking from personal experience, the MKZ AWD 3.7 is a surprisingly good drivers car. Make sure to dial up the most aggressive settings in Sport mode and take it for a drive on a nice back road. The transmission will hold a lower gear when you lift off the throttle rather aggressively meaning you won’t hate the automatic transmission while having fun. The AWD works pretty seamlessly, and puts the power down in an almost seamless fashion. Ours was pretty reliable. If you can, get one with the panoramic roof, it’s one of those really cool features. I would also recommend opting for the Revel streeo. The stock one is ok, but the Revel equals some of the best in-car sound I’ve heard from a factory system.

      Used, these cars are killer deals.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike-NB2

        I’ll second bunkie on this. I had a ’17 MKZ with the 2.7TT. While the engine is a clear difference I can attest the with all everything dialed up to sport or performance it is a very competent car.

        I’d probably still have it if I could have learned to drive an automatic. I guess some people just can’t ever get the hang of it and I’m one of those. Thank God manuals aren’t rare these days…

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        The asking price for the MKZ is the same as for a demo Sentra.
        But I am truly worried by a) the water pump issue, b) the fact that it is a Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      “My preference/need would be for a raised wagon or CUV, basic, requiring only heated seats, room for 5, not too big and unfortunately an automatic transmission. No leather or AWD/4wd.”

      Ford Transit Connect passenger wagon might meet your needs?

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The push-button gear selector is awful not because the very concept is bad, but because this particular execution is. The buttons should have something to differentiate them by touch, instead of just a row of identical ones that simply happen to have different labels. (Honda’s button-based selector is a good example of a better way to do it.)

    Personally, I think Ram’s dial makes the most space-saving sense vs. a lever. You get much of the tactile feedback of a lever without all the space, and the transition to the new control is easier.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Change for the sake of change. A column shifter doesn’t take up passenger room either and is frankly no less sporty than buttons or a knob.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        I’ve used knobs on the latest Chrysler 200, a fine car otherwise, but I really dislike the ‘knob’ answer to the gear selector. The BMW 3-Series electronic console lever(looks like a trad shift lever, but is drive-by-wire)is much more preferable. I.E., please, no more knobs and buttons.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    One of the few “luxury” cars that actually look duller in real life then in pictures

    $46,305? So, about $35K out the door then

  • avatar
    baggins

    I wanted to like this car, I thought it looked pretty sweet when it came out. I sat in one at the car show and that was it for my interest.

    Not very spacious for the driver, felt hemmed in. I am 6’3″ 235lbs so a bit bigger than avg. But my 2017 accord had more room for the driver. A lincoln is supposed to be spacious.

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