What's New for 2002
A new Vehicle Communication System (VCS) is optional. VCS includes a portable hands-free, voice-activated Motorola Timeport analog-digital phone; SOS safety and security services; access to news, stock quotes and weather; and route guidance assistance.
It's a special moment in your life when you realize that the car you are driving can also be ordered as a hearse. Or as a limo. You just can't say that about too many cars these days. But it's true for the Lincoln Town Car, the last of the big rear-drive American luxury sedans.
At over 215 inches in length, its primary mission is to transport multiple passengers to their destination silently and comfortably. For the general consumer, the Town Car is offered in Executive, Signature and Cartier trim. Extended-wheelbase models of the Executive and Cartier are also offered. These extra-long vehicles (labeled Executive L and Cartier L) give rear passengers an additional 6 inches of legroom.
Items such as leather seating surfaces, automatic climate control, antilock brakes, traction control, front and side airbags and memory seating are standard for all models. Adjustable accelerator and brake pedals should help shorter drivers maintain a proper distance from the steering wheel. All Town Cars also 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.
Stepping up from the Executive to the Signature model adds a few perks such as a powerful Alpine stereo system and steering wheel-mounted controls for the stereo and climate-control systems. The top-line Cartier gilds the lily with higher-grade leather, heated seats, chrome wheels and, of course, a Cartier clock.
One complaint we had with earlier Town Cars was the lack of horsepower. Lincoln attempted to address this concern last year. The Executive and Signature models make 220 horsepower while the Cartier gets slightly more at 235. All models have a four-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels.
Town Cars work best for highway and urban cruising. The suspension is rather soft, so it's best to order the Signature Touring Sedan option if you think you want a more sporting character. This package adds special trim, the 235-horsepower engine, revised suspension tuning and a shorter axle ratio for better acceleration.
For a large domestic rear-drive luxury car, the Town Car has no peer. But compared to other vehicles like the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS 430 and Mercedes S-Class, the Town Car's mediocre level of refinement and materials quality quickly stand out. Of course, all of those vehicles cost considerably more. And they can't be ordered direct from the factory as a limo. Advantage: Lincoln.