Full 2009 Lincoln Town Car Review
What's New for 2009
There are no changes for the 2009 Lincoln Town Car.
The Lincoln Town Car is the preferred transportation of Donald Trump -- well, other than his personal Sikorsky helicopter and Boeing 727. And really, who doesn't want to be like the Donald? Palatial gold condominiums, buxom European wives, hit television shows, greatest comb-over ever -- the man has everything. Then again, the Donald doesn't actually drive his Lincoln Town Car Signature L limo; he leaves that to his chauffeur. So maybe you won't be that much like Donald Trump, but if cruising like his chauffeur sounds appealing, buy a 2009 Lincoln Town Car.
Indeed, the Town Car's role as the nation's official limousine is its last remaining glory. Despite continuous improvements and redesigns over the years, the Town Car is a relic of a different time. It uses a body-on-frame platform that dates back to 1981, and along with the related Mercury Grand Marquis, is the only body-on-frame car on the market. The Town Car's suspension is equally antiquated -- take a turn over broken pavement and the live rear axle tends to jiggle and shake the body like a bowl of lime Jell-O placed on the head of Carmen Miranda. The 4.6-liter V8 makes 239 horsepower and 287 pound-feet of torque while achieving 18 mpg combined. That torque number is certainly healthy, but that ratio of power to SUV-like fuel economy is a big pill to swallow.
The moral of this story? Unless you're in the livery business and need to comfortably cart around combed-over VIPs, the Lincoln Town Car outlived its usefulness years ago. Similarly priced or lower-priced luxury vehicles like the Acura RL, Cadillac STS, Hyundai Genesis and Lexus ES 350 offer large amounts of interior space, better power-to-fuel-economy ratios, strong safety scores and better driving dynamics for greater vehicle control. The Chrysler 300C offers all that and an extended-wheelbase version to boot. We're not a big fan of the Cadillac DTS either, but at least it's more modern than the Jurassic Town Car. And on the off chance you're a multibillionaire, why pick a Lincoln to be ferried about in when there's a Rolls-Royce Phantom available? Both the Donald and the common man can do better.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Lincoln Town Car is a full-size luxury sedan available in two trim levels that correspond to the available wheelbases. All Town Cars seat six people, thanks to a three-person front bench. The regular-wheelbase Town Car Signature Limited comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, a power-closing trunk, rear park assist, 40/20/40-split front bench seats with power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory functions, a tilting steering column, a leather- and wood-trimmed steering wheel with audio and climate controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a stereo with a six-CD changer.
The Signature L adds 6 inches of wheelbase and therefore substantially more rear-seat legroom. It also features heated rear seats, rear-seat audio and climate controls, a folding armrest for a storage bin and two power points, redundant front-passenger seat fore/aft control and rear-seat vanity mirrors.
Options for both trim levels include chrome-clad wheels, whitewall tires and xenon headlights.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2009 Lincoln Town Car is rear-wheel-drive only and comes with a 4.6-liter V8 good for 239 hp and 287 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard. Expect a 0-60 time in the mid-8-second range for the Signature Limited and longer for the heavier Signature L. Fuel economy is 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.
The 2009 Lincoln Town Car shows its age in the safety department. It comes standard with front-seat side airbags, but it doesn't offer head curtain airbags for the first or second rows. Traction control is standard, but stability control is not available. Nevertheless, the Town Car received the top five-star rating from the government in all crash test categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Town Car the highest rating of "Good" for offset frontal impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
They don't call it the Town Car because it's the size of a town, but it's close. It offers generous passenger accommodations and a massive trunk (21 cubic feet) capable of swallowing loads of luggage, golf clubs and whatever sizable bulk items you need to haul back from Costco. The Signature L adds an extended wheelbase with a humungous amount of rear-seat legroom, rivaled only by luxury sedans sporting exponentially more expensive luxury badges. The seats are nice and comfy, with practically no side support. Both front and back benches are akin to sitting on a La-Z-Boy sofa.
Audio and climate controls are straightforward, as there is a scarcity of high-tech goodies. The dash retains the same flat T-shape design that has been in the Town Car since the 1980s, so if you've owned a big Lincoln before (or driven a lot of limos), you'll feel right at home.
Power from the Town Car's V8 should be adequate for most buyers, but is certainly lacking compared to offerings from other similarly priced luxury sedans. Nonetheless, the big Lincoln is able to pass with ease, and freeway cruising at 80 mph is serene. The ride is comfortable, in a "welcome aboard!" sort of way. It's been described as nautical -- take that as either a pro or a con. Many luxury buyers may like it, but if you prefer to feel connected to the road in any way, forget about the good ship Lincoln. Compared to past Town Cars (and that's a big caveat), the 2009 edition is a decent handler -- the steering has some semblance of feel to it, and the body doesn't roll too much around corners. This is all relative, however, as it's hard to mask such unsophisticated underpinnings.