Luxury means different things to different people. For some, unparalleled comfort is the definition of the term. Others look for excellence in engineering. Some prefer distinct styling or confident performance. The new Continental blends certain of these elements into one convincing package, but the result is a rather bland sedan that doesn't stand out from the crowd the way a BMW 530i or Cadillac Seville does. In our opinion, even the $30,000 Chrysler LHS is a more visually enticing vehicle.
A V8 engine and multi-adjustable suspension are two of the highlights of the Continental. The engine is the familiar 4.6-liter "In-Tech" motor from the Town Car and Mark VIII, producing 260 horsepower in this application. The suspension setup offers three settings; firm, normal and soft. Soft gives passengers a floaty, well-isolated ride while firm stiffens the suspension for spirited driving.
Electroluminescent gauges, just like those on a Lexus, keep the driver informed, and the quality of the interior materials and textures is first rate, though we noticed that the power window and lock switchgear is identical to that offered on the 1995 Ford Taurus. The cabin seems somewhat small, but the rear seat still offers limo-like room, just like the previous Continental boasted. Outside, the influence of the Mark VIII is quite evident in the sloping hood, front styling and bulging side sheetmetal. We find the new shape to be somewhat homely, though from the rear quarter view the car is stunning.
Lincoln concentrated on safety for the 1996 Continental. An optional Personal Security Package includes run-flat Michelin tires mounted on special chrome alloy wheels, a garage door opener and a sophisticated global satellite rescue system. The tires are designed to travel up to 20 miles at 50 mph with no loss of steering or control if they go flat. Slowing down will increase the distance you can travel. A new transmitter system can learn up to three garage and security system codes. But the big news is the Remote Emergency Satellite Cellular Unit (RESCU). Mounted in the overhead console are two buttons. One of them links the driver to roadside assistance. The other links the driver to medical or law enforcement personnel. The system transmits the Vehicle Identification Number of the car, as well as its location to within 100 feet via a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). The driver, or passengers, can use the telephone in the console to talk with operators who respondto the signal put out by the RESCU system. This is probably the most important safety innovation since airbags and antilock brakes.
Also new this year is a Touring Package and a midyear 75th Diamond Anniversary Edition. Lincoln's Total Anti-theft System is moved from the options list to the standard equipment roster.
Is the Continental worthy of inclusion in the over $40,000 luxury-car class? Yes, particularly when equipped with the RESCU system. However, more distinctive styling would go a long way towards making the Continental more palatable.
The big news for Continental is an optional gee-whiz rescue unit that uses a Global Positioning Satellite to pinpoint your location for roadside assistance, medical and law enforcement personnel in the event of an emergency -- likely the greatest safety advance since airbags and antilock brakes. Also new are run-flat Michelin tires, a 75th Diamond Anniversary Edition and a standard anti-theft system. It's getting there.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Lincoln Continental.
The air ride will fail ,,, replaced mine with coils which I found for $350 on ebay from the manufacturer...open box and put in myself ... Engine hard to work on as the compartment is cramped... Replaced the stereo as the display failed... was not too complicated although the subwoofer had to be bi-passed... The worst thing to happen was the AC is leaking oil and it is buried under the engine and lodged between the cross member frame ....can't even see where the oil is leaking from.... this is a winter ride now and is starting to rust ... I love to drive it as it is like sitting in a comfy living room couch... must have been a heck of a car in '96 although it cost $40.000 which I just don't see how ..... Just drive it till it drops ... bought used for cheap ...it owes me nothing at this point as I have had it 7 years or so.... Update: The timing chain has jumped a tooth needs repaired but costs more than it is worth...
3 out of 5 stars
Air Bag Suspension expensive to replace.
I purchased the vehicle used and had put about 12,000 miles per year on it. At the 130,000 mark everything fell apart. Pieces of the interior are falling apart such as the wood like lining on the front doors. Parts are expensive and difficult to get. The air bag suspension is terrible, tiny tears in the bags put pressure on battery to refill, alternator, and generator. These things need continually replaced. New suspension is upwards of $4500 at dealership. Or get proper suspension for closer to $3000.
4 out of 5 stars
Black Beauty Conti
Purchased my Lincoln Continental with 25K miles on it. Presently, I have 79K on it. The vehicle loves to cruise the highways and is not an around town vehicle. On one trip to NC from CT, I got 27 miles to the gallon. Summer driving merits better gas mileage than winter. The vehicle was engineered for super premium only fuel which is expensive at the time of this writing. There has been no recalls on this vehicle to my knowledge. The body is extremely resilient and sturdy. The front end tends to be disappointing and Lincoln allowed a huge repair on the rack and pinion at about 40000K. The air sensors in the wheels can be a pain and if you have problems with them, bring the car to a dealer.
3.25 out of 5 stars
Nice Car...Cheap Interior
Great Engine and fast, but the interior
falls apart. Transmission shifts like a
rubber band, but did last 137,501 and
still going when I sold it. I did
change fluid/filter every 12K though.
The Used 1996 Lincoln Continental is offered in the following submodels: Continental Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan.
The Used 1996 Lincoln Continental comes with front wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.
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