Read the 2017 Lincoln Continental's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2017 Lincoln Continental's long-term updates.
What We Got
The Continental has been absent from the Lincoln lineup for 15 years, and since then the automaker's vehicles have been little more than slightly nicer versions of their Ford counterparts. That all changed with the introduction of the 2017 Lincoln Continental. This new direction escapes the derision of the recent past, making the Continental worth consideration against premium luxury brands. It marked a significant shift in the brand, so you better believe we needed one in our fleet.
The 2017 Continental was offered in four trims: Premier, Select, Reserve and Black Label. We opted for the Reserve trim and sprung for the most powerful engine choice: the 400-horsepower, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, which also requires all-wheel drive. We added the Luxury, Climate and Technology packages as well as the 30-way adjustable Perfect Position seats, a sunroof and 20-inch wheels. The MSRP for this configuration came to $72,905, but we managed to negotiate it down to $70,432.
Was it worth it? To answer that, here's our summary.
"No complaints about the twin-turbo V6, aside from its thirst perhaps. This thing is the business in the midrange — a kickdown to about 3,500 rpm at 40 mph sends you rocketing forward. I also like how the softly sprung Continental rocks back on its haunches when you boot it. Appropriately old-school." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager of content strategy
"The 2017 Continental has a six-speed automatic transmission. A bit behind the times, don't you think? As six-speeds go, it's fine. It upshifts smoothly and doesn't rush to get to its top gear in an attempt to eke out maximum fuel economy. But compared to the latest eight-speed autos used in most rival sedans, the Lincoln's comes up short. It lacks the rapid-shift action those transmissions have when you're fully on the gas, and its manual-mode shifting is slower, too. Our car's fuel economy has also so far been disappointing. Ford's putting a new 10-speed auto in the 2017 F-150 with the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. Seems odd not to have it here, too." — Brent Romans, senior automotive editor
"I was mildly bummed that the Continental projected a mere 321 miles of range when I filled up in the desert. I'd been on the highway all day, so if the prediction was based on recent driving style, it was close to a best-case scenario. Looking at our first few tanks — including my highway efforts — we haven't even come close to cracking 300 miles between fills. Am I crazy to expect a car called the Continental to give me some serious long-distance capability? This seems to be a general philosophy at Ford; I noticed the same shortcoming in our old 2015 Mustang GT and current 2017 Escape. Not that you'd normally drive 400-plus miles in one stretch, but especially in a car like this, it's nice to know you could." — Josh Sadlier
"I doubt I'll be the only one to say this, but the optional 30-way seats in this Lincoln are some of the best seats I've ever experienced in any car. It takes a little time to dial them in just right, but it's well worth the effort. I've had more than a few multi-hour drives and come away very impressed. The door-mounted adjustment buttons are the only weak point since they have some very awkward angles that make them less intuitive than they should be, but the more detailed adjustments that you make through the touchscreen interface work much better. I wouldn't buy a Continental without this option." — Ed Hellwig, executive editor
"What's with these seats? Nine zillion adjustments and no combination that works for me. Why not just make a good seat? I ended up repeatedly turning on the massage function just to move the pressure point around. These seats are an answer to a question nobody asked." — Jason Kavanagh, senior road test engineer
"I'm going to disagree with my colleagues who said that they couldn't find a comfortable seating position. The 30-way adjustable seats may be a bit overkill, but I found them to be comfortable over a weekend and on a multi-hour drive through L.A. County freeways." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"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, associate staff writer
"We recently had a 2018 Genesis G80 Sport come in as a short-term test vehicle. I know the Continental is usually matched up against our G90, but I was curious about the trunk's cargo capacity so I used the Continental as gear sherpa for our test gear one week, then used the G80 Sport the following week. Color me shocked: The G80 Sport was able to fit more of our test gear in the trunk than the Continental!" — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, vehicle testing technician
"Reason No. 2,483 for not slathering an interior with chrome trim: When you're driving up California's Highway 395 around midday, reflections from the sun will attempt to burn holes in your retinas. Fortunately, I found a solution, but it's not one that comes with the car (see below). This isn't something any driver should have to deal with, let alone one who paid top-of-the-line Continental money." — Josh Sadlier
"I had a bunch of friends and family in the Continental over the weekend, and not one of them could figure out how to recline their seat with the door-mounted controls. Everyone eventually got it with some coaching (praise for the massage feature was unanimous), but the ergonomics here make for an unnecessary learning curve." — Carlos Lago
Audio and 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
"Our system is one of the best I've heard in a while. Almost as good as the $6,000 Bang & Olufsen option we had in the last long-term Audi A8 L. It has great clarity, even when I have it turned up to unreasonable levels. With all of the tone selectors at the default position, I needed a bit more bass. Pushing that slider up two out of the 10 markers solved that. On a trip to the symphony, I was able to hear some things I'd never heard in other systems. This included a very faint turn of a sheet music page during Holst's 'Jupiter.' Impressive.
"Is it worth it? That's your call. If you're an audiophile, $5,000 could be a bargain when you consider how expensive some components run nowadays. If I was spending $65,000 for a luxury sedan, I'm sure another $5,000 wouldn't break the bank. Priorities, people!" — Mark Takahashi, senior writer
"With the overinflated seat, an airbag recall, a hanging wire under the driver footwell and the need for its first 5,000-mile service, we took the Continental to a local Lincoln dealer. The airbag repair and the 5,000-mile service (oil change, tire rotation, various system checks) were completed in the first two days, but the dealer expected a two-week downtime waiting for parts for the front seat.
"Before they got to work on the seat, they had to call a hotline and speak with a Ford engineer. According to the service adviser, they'd 'never seen anything like this.' After the hotline conversation, the Lincoln dealer ordered the parts, then 10 days later, the parts arrived. Two days after that, the seat was repaired, all under warranty." — Michael Massey, vehicle testing assistant
"First impression from 10 feet away: The silver trim piece on the driver front fender is supposed to flow into the silver 'Continental' insert on the driver door, and something's a little off. On a closer inspection, the latter turns out to be about an eighth of an inch higher, give or take (the red lines in this photo show where the fender piece would need to be to match up). Nitpicking? Sure. But that's what a $70,000 car invites. If I saw something like this on a used car, I might wonder if it had been hit there and imperfectly repaired. I think it's fair to expect more precision at this price point." — Josh Sadlier
"Here's one appealing aspect of our Lincoln Continental: It doesn't remind me of a Ford product. For many years now, any Lincoln I drove seemed too similar to whatever Ford product it was based on. MKZ? Oh, it's just a gussied-up Fusion. MKX? Gussied-up Ford Edge. But the Continental? There's no obvious counterpart. The company did a nice job of making the sedan's styling and interior design distinct. Plus, the Continental departs from Lincoln's alphanumeric naming logic. That alone is a win." — Brent Romans
"A strange thing happened during my first time driving the Continental: I could see the exterior door handles from the driver's seat. I can't think of any other car that does the same. Placing the door handles in chrome trim on the beltline (where the windows and the doors meet) gives the Continental a unique look. I like it; catching a glimpse of chrome (a material I'm normally opposed to) added a stateliness to a decidedly nonglamorous rush-hour drive home." — Carlos Lago, senior writer
Maintenance & Repairs
Our only scheduled maintenance call occurred at the 5,000-mile mark and amounted to an oil and filter change, tire rotation, and a series of system checks.
Warranty Repairs and Service Campaigns:
During the maintenance visit noted above, the dealer addressed an airbag recall, a wire that was hanging down into the driver footwell, and a front passenger seat that was overinflated. The airbag and scheduled maintenance would have only taken two days, but the seat fix took considerably longer. After 26 days, we finally had it back in the fleet.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA fuel economy estimates for our 2017 Lincoln Continental were 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway). Over one year and 14,037 miles, we used 795.2 gallons of gasoline, averaging out to 17.7 mpg. The best tank returned 24.3 mpg and the worst 10.9 mpg. The farthest distance traveled on a tank was 419.9 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
We paid $70,432 when it was new. After a year and 14,000-plus miles, our handy-dandy Edmunds TMV Calculator valued it at around $44,000. That amounts to a 37.5 percent drop in value. Ouch. We did manage to get that sum from a local dealer at least.
Our staff was unanimous in its praise for the powerful 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. We were also impressed by the optional Revel Ultima audio system, though it is rather pricey. For the most part, we liked the available 30-way adjustable front seats.
Even though this Continental represents a huge step forward for Lincoln, some fit and finish issues annoyed us. These included some interior materials and misalignment of exterior elements. The low resale value was also rather alarming.
The 2017 Continental is better than any Lincoln in recent history. There's a lot to like about it, but it's certainly not perfect. The entry-level price is very accessible, and even when fully loaded, it's not excessively expensive for the class. The problem is the depreciation is pretty steep.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Warranty Repairs:||Airbag recall, repair to front passenger seat, and loose wiring in driver footwell|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||1|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||None|
|Days Out of Service:||26|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||24.3 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||10.9 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||17.7 mpg|
|Best Range:||419.9 miles|
|True Market Value at service end:||$44,000|
|What it sold for:||$44,000|
|Depreciation:||$26,432 (37.5% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||14,037 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.