What's New for 2001
The Continental remains relatively unchanged for 2001. A universal garage door opener is standard, and the individual bucket seat option (five-passenger) now requires the Driver's Select System. Two new exterior colors have been added. Like all Lincoln products, the Continental now has complimentary maintenance at no additional charge for the first 3 years/36,000 miles in service.
If you are looking for an alternative to Cadillac, then this is your car.
The only front-wheel-drive car in Lincoln's lineup, it's equipped with a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 275 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 275 foot-pounds of torque at 4,750 rpm. In both size and output, this V8 is very similar to the V8 in Cadillac's big car lineup, though it lacks the marketing push that Cadillac gives its Northstar engine.
A fully independent suspension comes standard on all Continentals. The rear suspension has a load-leveling feature that automatically maintains ride height regardless of passengers or additional cargo. Additionally, Lincoln offers an optional Driver Select System that includes an adjustable shock damping system. It can be set for plush, normal or firm ride control. The Driver Select System also comes with a memory system that allows two separate drivers to adjust seat and exterior mirror settings to their individual tastes.
On the road, the Continental gives a comfortable and stable ride, which is what you should expect out of a large front-drive luxury car. Power from the V8 is more than enough for passing and general highway cruising.
Inside, the Continental's cabin is quiet. Control layout is logical, though the overall ambience is somewhat bland. Storage space is lacking, and the cupholders are not adjustable.
In terms of upgrades, there's an Alpine audio system and Alpine six-disc CD changer for audiophiles, a luxury package with upgraded interior and exterior trim pieces, and a personal security package with a low tire-pressure warning system and run-flat tires. For the ultimate in secure travel, a RESCU package is available with Lincoln's Remote Emergency Satellite Cellular Unit to call for assistance and transmit the vehicle's location via a global positioning satellite (GPS) network.
The Continental's exterior remains unchanged for the 2001 model year. The wide front grille is retained, as are the dual exhaust outlets and the swoopy hood line. This gives the Lincoln a .32 coefficient of drag which, as luxury sedans go, is fairly slippery. If you really want to set yourself apart from other Continentals, the optional six-spoke chrome wheels can add to the car's classic look.
For 2001, all Lincoln models will receive complimentary maintenance. This program covers all routine maintenance -- from oil changes to wipers to shocks -- for the first three years or 36,000 miles. In addition, the basic Lincoln warranty of four years/50,000 miles remains in place.
Until the LS debuted last year, the Continental used to be Lincoln's smallest offering. It is now mid-pack, sandwiched between the LS and the larger Town Car. Though still a competent and attractive package, the Continental has lost some identity and still faces tough competition from Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.