2017 Lincoln Continental: Monthly Update for March 2017
by Michael Massey, Vehicle Testing Assistant
Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2017 Lincoln Continental traversed 1,373 miles last month. Its role as a comfy commuter accentuated its more graceful qualities. Yet under the same conditions we also uncovered some of its daily-driver shortcomings.
Senior Editor Brent Romans had our Continental over two weeks, longer than any other driver this month. This gave him plenty to say about the Lincoln, including some frustration with its door locking technology. Senior Road Test Editor Jonathan Elfalan and Senior Editor Ed Hellwig both exposed the smooth-shifting automatic transmission as well as its alter ego, the confused, hard-upshifter. And Associate Editor Cameron Rogers had commentary about our Continental's 30-way power seats, for better and for worse.
Read on for more.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our Continental continues to fall short of the EPA combined mpg rating. Mostly, that's because of heavy right feet and all of that power. Maximum driving range still isn't very good, either. But we did see our best fill (almost 24 mpg) in March. So maybe there's hope for the future.
Average lifetime mpg: 16.3
EPA mpg rating: 19 combined (16 city/24 highway)
Best fill mpg: 23.8
Best range: 301 miles
Current odometer: 4,560.5 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"The optional turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 in our Continental is stout. Mat the gas and the Conti surges ahead with authority. The specs say we've got 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque to play with. But I'd expect a bit more verve for something with 400 hp. Our performance testing backs that feeling up some: we measured a 0-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds. Our Continental is certainly quick, but the last Audi A6 we tested, with 333 hp, did it in just 5.3 seconds." — Brent Romans, Senior Editor
"The Continental's engine is laudable, but the automatic transmission seems to get tripped up on occasion when lifting off the accelerator. This leads to a hard and abrupt gear change (I think between 2nd and 3rd) which feels similar to the problematic nine-speed ZF automatic gearbox in our old Honda Pilot. It doesn't happen all the time, but it certainly seems like a something that will cause mechanical issues down the road." — Jonathan Elfalan, Senior Road Test Editor
"Overall, I think the engine-transmission combo in the Continental works great. It's a surprisingly quick sedan when you lay into it and the shifts are crisp and well timed. Under part throttle, the shifts are almost imperceptible .... It's not perfect, though. While inching through traffic I noticed that the transmission will deliver a clunky 1-2 (or maybe it's 2-3) upshift if you ease off the throttle just before it grabs the next gear. It doesn't happen every time, but it's no fluke either. It's the only flaw in the system I've experienced so far. Not quite a deal breaker, but not exactly what you would expect from a $70K luxury sedan either." — Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor
Audio & Technology
"Our Continental's exterior touch-sensitive door lock feature doesn't work all that great. After exiting the vehicle, you're supposed to touch the icon to lock the doors. But about half the time it doesn't register my finger press/swipe, so I have to try again. You have to be quick, too — after a few seconds, the lock indicator light turns off completely. I'm still playing around with it. Maybe it's operator error. But so far it seems to me a physical lock button would work a lot better." — Brent Romans
Comfort & Interior
"The Continental's been in our fleet since December, but last night was the first time I'd had the chance to take it home. First impressions are everything, they say, and my first impression was one of great confusion. How could I not get comfortable in seats that adjust a mind-bending 30 ways?
"It's all about the shoulders. There are two back adjustments with the optional "Perfect Position" seats. One controls the backrest angle and one pushes the split upper cushion in and out via an accordion-style mechanism. Unlike the headrest, which is also power-adjustable fore and aft, the upper backrest doesn't lock in place. This is infuriating in everyday driving situations. Even when I'm not tapping into the Continental's robust well of power, my upper body constantly shifts in small motions unless I put the cushion into its rearmost position. And that's what I'll have to do from now on.
"The only other vehicles I can recall that also offer these adjustments are high-end BMWs. The BMW seats are better as the upholstery isn't split into distinct cushions as on the Continental. Whatever mechanisms control the BMW's shoulder angle are sturdy and don't shift under body pressure. You always feel secure." — Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor
"Can someone explain to me the benefit of having individually adjustable thigh-length cushions? What percentage of the population requested this feature because of their uneven leg lengths?" — Jonathan Elfalan
"You'd expect the Continental to have a roomy and comfortable backseat, and it delivers. The outboard seats have supportive cushioning and lateral support. There's an abundance of legroom and shoulder room to stretch out, and thigh support is appropriate for adults. Rear headroom isn't quite as generous — it should be fine for people under 6 feet tall, but anybody over that might be brushing his or her head on the headliner. In general, though, I like the seating. I'd be comfortable riding in the back of our Continental on a long trip." — Brent Romans