1997 Lincoln Continental Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful, comfortable, and huge.
  • Suspension is a bit floaty and doesn't communicate well with the driver.
List Price Estimate
$741 - $1,591

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

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, and continues that theme for 1997. 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 consoleto talk with operators who respond to the signal put out by the RESCU system. This is probably the most important safety innovation since airbags and anti-lock brakes. In addition to the RESCU system, Lincoln adds a single-key locking system to the Continental.

Also new this year is a Touring Package and a mid-year 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.

1997 Highlights

The changes to the 1997 Continental are minor this year. The first is the addition of a single-key locking system that locks the doors, glovebox and trunk with a turn of the wrist. The second is the addition of all-speed traction control.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Lincoln Continental.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

1997 Lincoln Continental Base
Bought with 37k miles and car was only driven 2800 miles per year. Florida car and I have driven 10k in the first year. Car has plenty of power and runs great on the 4.6L 32 valve. Transmission was changed out but sometimes hunts for the OD gear on highway. Tracking on car at highway speeds is wonderful. Assisted steering is great. No stress driving long miles on highway. 26MPG on highway and 19MPG around town. Ride comfort is 10 out of 10. I changed out the original tires as they were dry rotted and replaced with Michlin MXV4 - drives even better! 13 year old car and very little so far for issues. Tie rods are dry and will be replaced soon. Very common on this car.
i brought this car at 97k used im the second owner. with in the second week of buying it the trans just went out..not signs no nothin..i replaced the trans then 2 months later ther water pump went out ..then the thermostat the from there on with in the next 2 years my whole front end was changed from sturts ball joints tie rods starter alternator .my motor mounts went bad..im thankful my air bags didnt go out on my shocks radiator......almost 3 years later 30000 k miles later...i need a new transmission at 127k but its been slipping since 115 k this car has been hell....but at the same time i love it for its performance and comfort
Love my Lincoln Continental
I bought my Lincoln Continental with 81000 miles, and this car is awesome! It was 12 years old, and it runs like a champ. I got it for a steal...$3000. This car is the most awesome car I have owned. I came from a Taurus SHO (which I love still) and this car rides like its on a pillow. I love that I can adjust everything (ride, steering, seats, sunroof, etc). If you can find one for a steal, pick it up. I now have 185,000 miles, and it still runs like a champ. And, everyone thinks its only 2 years old. I pamper my cars. Nothing better than a Ford product!!! I get 19.8 MPG city, 29.7 MPG hwy. Out of a V8...purely awesome!
Don't make them like this anymore
I have 113,000 miles & except for tune ups (which I do myself) & a paint job, the car runs great. It's fast (4.6v8) yet I get 17mp city & 24hwy, for a 1997 it still purrrrs like new. Also I change the oil & filter every 3 thousand miles.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1997 Lincoln Continental features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Lincoln Continental

Used 1997 Lincoln Continental Overview

The Used 1997 Lincoln Continental is offered in the following submodels: Continental Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan.

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Find a used Lincoln Continental for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $20,418.

Find a used Lincoln for sale - 3 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,221.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Lincoln Continental?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Lincoln lease specials
Check out Lincoln Continental lease specials