What's New for 2010
The 2010 Lincoln Town Car gets an optional Continental Edition package that adds 17-inch chrome wheels, chrome B-pillars and special badging and interior stitching.
If you have a 2010 Lincoln Town Car and need to pick someone up at your local airport, you'll almost certainly be mistaken for a livery driver. That's better than being mistaken for a cab driver (an honor reserved for Crown Vic owners), but it's also an indication of how far this once-mighty marque has fallen. A Town Car used to be a status symbol that impressed your neighbors and fellow motorists. These days, the only people driving Town Cars are chauffeurs and the occasional private owner who almost certainly neglected to test-drive the competition.
When we say that a car might have been competitive a few decades ago, it's usually a figure of speech. But in the Town Car's case, we mean it literally. The big Lincoln rides on a dated platform and has undergone only a handful of revisions since. Even SUVs are now switching in droves from body-on-frame to unibody construction, yet the Town Car soldiers on as the only body-on-frame passenger car on the market. It also throws in a truck-style solid rear axle for good measure.
The results are unpleasant. Handling abilities are poor relative to modern cars, and that rear axle seriously degrades the car's ride and handling on broken pavement. In the powertrain department, the 4.6-liter V8 makes 239 horsepower -- less than most current V6s -- albeit with a respectable 287 pound-feet of torque. Another downside is fuel economy, as it checks in at a thirsty 19 mpg combined, thanks in part to the archaic four-speed automatic transmission.
The nicest thing we can say about the Town Car is that it's really roomy. It has seating for six and loads of cargo volume. But we're confident that you and your passengers will fit just fine in luxury sedans of more recent vintage. Superior and cheaper rivals include the Hyundai Genesis, Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Avalon. The Chrysler 300C provides similar luxury, available V8 power and an extended-wheelbase version to boot. Indeed, just about any modern-day luxury car is a better choice than the 2010 Lincoln Town Car. If you don't own a limousine company, do yourself a favor and look elsewhere.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 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 tilt 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 (not that the regular Town Car was lacking in this department). It also features heated rear seats, rear-seat audio and climate controls, a folding armrest with a storage bin and two power points, redundant front passenger seat fore-and-aft control and rear-seat vanity mirrors.
Options for both trim levels include chrome-clad wheels, whitewall tires and xenon headlights. The Continental Edition package adds 17-inch chrome wheels, chrome B-pillars and special badging and interior stitching.
Powertrains and Performance
The rear-wheel-drive 2010 Lincoln Town Car comes with a flex-fuel 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. EPA fuel economy estimates are 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.
The 2010 Lincoln Town Car comes standard with front-seat side airbags, but it doesn't offer side curtain airbags for the first or second rows. Antilock brakes and traction control are also standard, but stability control is unavailable. The Town Car received the top five-star rating from the government in all crash test categories, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Town Car the highest rating of "Good" for offset frontal impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Town Car's interior offers ample passenger accommodations and a massive trunk (21 cubic feet) capable of swallowing a whole bunch of stuff. The Signature L adds an extended wheelbase for even more rear-seat legroom, rivaled only by Chrysler's extended-wheelbase 300C and luxury sedans with heftier price tags. The seats are nice and comfy, but they have virtually no lateral support.
Audio and climate controls are straightforward, but high-tech goodies are in short supply. 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.
The 2010 Lincoln Town Car is what we'd call deceptively slow. There's plenty of low-end torque, but the aged V8 runs out of breath quickly, resulting in acceleration that's bested by virtually every other luxury sedan on the market. Freeway cruising is smooth and serene as long as you don't hit any seams or cracks, in which case the hoary suspension will start jiggling around. Still, the ride is comfortable in a "welcome aboard!" sort of way. Also, compared to past Town Cars (which admittedly sets the bar rather low), the current edition isn't completely devoid of athleticism. This is all relative, however, as it's impossible to mask such unsophisticated underpinnings.