I love my Thunderbird. In fact, hubby and I love them so much we have two! We've had 4 Thunderbirds since 1995 and they've all been red. I love the snappy performance of the V-8. The gas mileage in town isn't great but on the highway, we consistently get 25-28 mpg (drove a Focus rental car on vacation and only got 29-30 mpg).
The one bad thing about my T'Bird is that it's not a "winter" car. Rear-wheel-drive, coupled with the powerful V-8 engine, makes for a disasterous combination in Iowa.
Handling on my Thunderbird is exceptional. The ride is smooth. Seats comfort on long trips is great. I have leather on this car but actually prefer the cloth; with cloth, I feel like I'm sitting "in" the seat as opposed to "on" it.