2017 Lincoln Continental: Monthly Update for September 2017
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Nothing like a good road trip to boost a long-term car's average fuel mileage, and writer Will Kaufman can take credit for our 2017 Lincoln Continental's upward trend lines in September. After 1,000-plus miles in the saddle, Will got the Continental to display some of its best behavior, turning in improved lifetime fuel economy and nearly matching the car's most efficient tank.
While fuel economy is a bright spot, other gremlins are emerging. We're noticing some low-speed shift shock from the transmission, a condition we never expected from this car, especially given some of the competition that the Lincoln wants to run with. Will also documented some peculiarities with the seats and some flimsy build quality.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Since our update last month, we added 1,932 miles to the Continental's odometer and averaged 14 mpg for the month. That number was no doubt aided by Will Kaufman's road trip to Northern California, which boosted the Continental's lifetime average by 0.4 — a welcome trend, as we saw similar achievement last month.
Average lifetime mpg: 17.7
EPA mpg rating: 19 combined (16 city/24 highway)
Best fill mpg: 24.3
Best range: 419.9 miles
Current odometer: 12,380 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"There's an intermittent clunk coming from the Continental's drivetrain in low-speed traffic situations. Accelerate gently from a stop, lift off the throttle and start to coast, then CLUNK! I noticed this when the car first arrived, and it's not getting better. I can't help but wonder if it's something to do with the aged six-speed transmission. Too bad the Continental couldn't launch with Ford's new 10-speed. If I'm dropping $70,000 on a sedan, it's fair to expect a clunk-free experience." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy
"The Continental suspension's combination of bounciness and stiff-leggedness was shown in its worst light on Oakland's poorly maintained freeways. Every pothole and crack transmitted into the cabin, while larger undulations and uneven slabs caused the Continental to bounce massively, sometimes frighteningly. Once, the rebound from a particularly big hump even triggered the traction control warning. It's a strange characteristic, and one of the prime reasons I don't think our Continental can compete at this price point." — Will Kaufman, associate staff writer
"For a car that boing-boings over bumps like an old-school luxo barge, the Continental actually handles corners pretty well. I found myself out in the Malibu mountains and was distinctly reminded of the Continental's platform-mate from Ford, the Fusion family sedan. I drove a current-generation Fusion on similar roads out there and was pleasantly surprised by its composure through tight bends. Likewise, the Lincoln didn't feel out of its element. It may be considerably softer than the Fusion, but there's still some of that athletic DNA." — Josh Sadlier
"I've noticed this before but wasn't sure if it was just in my head. But after spending 1,000 miles in the driver's seat, I noticed one of the lumbar bladders either fails to inflate, or slowly deflates, and then reinflates itself. I repeatedly felt the bladder inflate and push into my back, four or five times, seemingly at random — on startup, shortly after startup, or hours into the drive. Considering the passenger seat's past catastrophic failure, coupled with my general sentiment that the 30-way seats aren't actually all that comfortable, this seems like one option that isn't worth the money." Will Kaufman
"The audio system is pretty phenomenal; I'm really digging it. It's clear and punchy, with tight bass and a nice midrange curve (one that doesn't exaggerate frequencies around 1,000 hertz, which can cause blaring, brassy ring). Am also impressed with how well it reproduces streaming media quality. Curious to learn what, if any, kind of processing is happening at the output stage. This is a Harman system, marketed under a new Lincoln-exclusive banner called Revel, so the quality is not surprising. Just wish it had a little more power. Windows down at freeway speeds, it tends to fall off. Perhaps this is unreasonable listening, and probably not the average Lincoln driver's listening environment anyway. A pricey option — $5,000, bundled into the Luxury package — but worth it." — Dan Frio, automotive editor
"I wish the stereo had a physical home button. I was handling navigation through Android Auto while listening to satellite radio, and going through multiple steps to return to the Sync home screen quickly became irritating. There's even a button blank next to the head unit not used for anything." — Will Kaufman
"I noticed the elastic nets for the small side compartments in the trunk hanging loose while loading up for a road trip. I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't stay in place until I found the one clip that wasn't broken. They're held by these little rotating pieces of plastic. Three of the four clips in our Continental have broken off. We haven't had this car long, and I don't think we're particularly hard on it. Not a good indicator for the rest of the car with cheap and flimsy bits like these. Worse, the nets are anchored permanently on one side and can't be removed. We can't hold anything in place with those nets anymore and they just wind up flopping around in the trunk." — Will Kaufman