2018 Lincoln Continental

2018 Lincoln Continental Review

This stylish and roomy luxury sedan comes up short against competitors.
7.0 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The Continental nameplate has a lot of history for Lincoln. At its inception in the 1930s, it was intended to emulate the sleeker European design language of the day. While the 2018 Lincoln Continental is a far cry from the curvaceous coupe of the art deco era, its mission remains much the same: compete with European rivals.

Lincoln introduced its new Continental just last year. The result is an undeniably handsome car with expansive rear legroom, a full suite of optional technology upgrades and a quiet, comfortable interior. Unfortunately, the Continental straddles a price range where it has trouble competing. In lower trims, the rather unimpressive standard engine and lack of certain standard features make the Continental a slightly less appealing value. In higher trims — which can get up to almost double the Continental's base price, at least from an as-new MSRP perspective — the Lincoln is priced against some of the best luxury sedans on the market, and simply can't match their refinement.

In its absolute base trim, the Continental faces pressure from downmarket options that are fully loaded. Cars such as the Buick LaCrosse, Kia Cadenza or Toyota Avalon offer similar comfort and quiet (although less presence), and significantly more content for the money. Other luxury marques avoid this sort of comparison thanks to their higher starting prices and distinct driving dynamics, but the base Continental is priced similarly and features a similar powertrain and similar performance numbers to these near-luxury full-size sedans.

Loaded up with all the bells and whistles, the Continental is priced against heavy hitters like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While you're getting the upgraded engine and more rear-seat room with the Continental, all three of the Germans offer similar acceleration from their base engines, and all three still offer generous rear passenger space. Moreover, the Continental simply can't match the execution of the Germans' technology, or the level of refinement and engagement found in their driving experiences. Even the Genesis G90, Hyundai's recent luxury spinoff, is a more refined luxury car that competes directly with the Continental in terms of rear passenger space and comfort, and offers more room up front for the driver.

Standing next to the 2018 Continental, it's easy to see its appeal. It's a car that makes an impression, and the experience of sitting in and driving the Continental is one of comfort and authority. The problem is that in choosing the Continental, you have to accept that you're going to get a little less for your money than what competitors have to offer.

What's new for 2018

Following last year's all-new design, the 2018 Lincoln Continental receives only minor changes to feature availability.

We recommend

The Reserve trim offers the best balance of luxury-car experience and cost. It comes standard with the more powerful turbocharged 2.7-liter V6, upgraded front seats and more standard safety features, and all for only a moderate price premium over the Select trim. We'd add the Technology package because its useful features make daily life with the Continental more pleasant.

Trim levels & features

Three engines are available for the Continental. The base engine is a 3.7-liter V6 (305 hp, 280 lb-ft of torque), which comes standard on the Premiere and Select trims. A turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 (335 hp, 380 lb-ft of torque) is optional on the Select and standard on the Reserve and Black Label Trims. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and can be had in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configurations.

The third engine option is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (400 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque) that's optional on the Reserve and Black Label trims. To manage this engine's power, Lincoln bundles it with a torque-vectoring AWD system. This engine also uses a six-speed automatic transmission.

Beyond the 3.7-liter V6, the Premiere trim receives 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, power-folding side mirrors (driver-side auto dimming), front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, hill-start assist, adaptive suspension and steering, and keyless entry.

Inside, you get dual-zone climate control with a rear-seat air vents, heated 10-way power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, simulated leather upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear bench and push-button start. Infotainment duties are handled by Ford's Sync 3 system, which comes with an 8-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, satellite radio, two USB ports, and a 10-speaker sound system.

The base Premiere also comes with Lincoln Connect, which allows you to use an app to remotely start the car, lock and unlock it, or locate it via GPS, among other features.

Moving up to the Select trim adds 19-inch wheels, power-operated soft-close doors, a hands-free trunklid opener, leather upholstery and rear-seat USB ports. Beyond the engine choices, several options packages are available.

The Climate Package adds automatic high beams, automatic wipers, a windshield-wiper de-icer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The Technology package includes the auto wipers, windshield wiper de-icer and auto-dimming rearview mirror, as well as a head-up display and a suite of driver aids: a top-down parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitoring is a stand-alone option.

Other options include navigation, a 13-speaker Revel stereo, Lincoln's 30-way power-adjustable "Perfect Position" seats, 20-inch wheels and a panoramic sunroof.

The Continental's Reserve trim, on top of starting with the turbocharged 2.7-liter V6, gets blind-spot monitoring, the 13-speaker Revel stereo and navigation standard. It also upgrades to 24-way power-adjustable front seats that are heated and ventilated, three-zone automatic climate control with separate rear-seat controls, and a power rear-window sunshade.

The Climate and Technology packages are available for the Reserve, as are two more major packages. The Rear Seat package adds upgraded outboard rear seating (four-way power lumbar, reclining, heating and ventilation), rear side-window sunshades and the panoramic sunroof. The Luxury package adds LED headlights, upgrades the stereo to Revel's 19-speaker system and adds a CD player. The sunroof, 30-way power-adjustable front seats and 20-inch wheels are available as stand-alone options.

At the top of the range, and nearly doubling the Premiere's starting price, is the Continental Black Label. This trim comes standard with 20-inch wheels, the panoramic moonroof and both the Luxury and Technology packages. It also benefits from unique interior trims that combine bold colors and trims with lots of extra premium materials draped over many of the interior plastics. The 30-way seats and Technology and Climate packages are available as upgrades.

Buying a Black Label car also gets the buyer access to Lincoln's lifestyle and concierge service. Lincoln will wash your car for free, pick it up from you for service and book you reservations (and even buy you a dinner), among other services. Black Label Continentals are also covered by a four-year/50,000-mile that covers services and wear items.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Lincoln Continental Reserve (turbo 3.0L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Lincoln Continental has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Lincoln Continental.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.0 / 10


7.5 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering6.5 / 10
Handling7.0 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10


7.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.5 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.0 / 10
Climate control8.5 / 10


8.0 / 10

Ease of use6.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position8.0 / 10
Roominess8.0 / 10
Visibility8.5 / 10
Quality6.0 / 10


7.5 / 10

Small-item storage7.5 / 10
Cargo space6.5 / 10


7.5 / 10

Audio & navigation7.0 / 10
Smartphone integration8.5 / 10
Driver aids7.0 / 10
Voice control8.0 / 10


The Continental can be a competent performer, but it varies depending on the trim level and configuration. The Reserve — fitted with the optional turbo V6, AWD, and adaptive suspension — offers strong acceleration and stable handling. Other Continentals will be less impressive.


In normal driving, the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 feels confident and authoritative, and sounds strong. It's aggressive off the line and through the midrange, but runs out of grunt and shifts early at 6,000 rpm. Our measured zero-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds is quick, though average for the class.


These are strong brakes, hauling the 4,600-plus-pound sedan from 60 to 0 mph in just 111 feet in our testing. The pedal is firm, and braking force is easy to modulate in normal, around-town driving.


The steering is well weighted, but doesn't offer feedback, so it's hard to tell when the front tires have approached their grip limits. The variable ratio system, while neat in theory, lacks consistency. The Continental is a competent handler, but the steering makes it harder to trust.


The Continental is respectably stable and composed during spirited driving. By default, it's rather nose-heavy, which keeps the lid on any true sporting potential, though the advanced AWD system that comes with the optional turbo V6 can mitigate that to some extent in the way it distributes power and puts it to the ground.


This car is generally easy to drive. The variable-ratio steering adjusts to be quick and light in parking lots, which some drivers will like. The transmission shifts smoothly for the most part, if a little slowly, but occasionally shifts with a palpable, disruptive clunk at low speeds. Paddle shifting isn't as quick or direct as in rivals.


Between the highly adjustable seats, adaptive suspension and heated-and-cooled everything, we still expected more. Seat adjustment is unnecessarily complex, and the suspension isn't as refined as we'd like. There's certainly comfort to be had, but at the price competitors offer more.

Seat comfort7.5

The optional Perfect Position front seats are interesting, if not overly complex and gimmicky. With some fiddling, it's possible to find a comfortable position, and the seats offer heating, cooling and massage. The rear seats are nicely contoured and have enough thigh support for tall passengers.

Ride comfort7.0

The adaptive suspension offers several modes. While Comfort mode does smooth out larger road imperfections, it's also a bit bouncy and floaty. Sport mode is overly rough and busy when driving over uneven pavement. Similarly priced competitors are often smoother riding and more refined.

Noise & vibration8.0

The Continental is mostly very quiet, both around town and at highway speeds. But there's more wind noise at high speeds than we expect, and road noise and vibration from uneven pavement, especially at higher speeds, are noticeable in the cabin. The V6 is almost silent during normal driving.

Climate control8.5

Our test car had the heated and ventilated front seats, plus a heated steering wheel; they're effective. Dual-zone climate's auto mode still has an independently adjustable air-flow output, which is a nice touch. The rear seating also has auto climate controls plus strong blowing air vents.


The interior layout is easy to use, although the steering wheel controls are a little complex and the infotainment relies on on-screen buttons. There's lots of room, especially in the rear and the leather upholstery feels upscale, but materials quality is otherwise a bit lacking.

Ease of use6.5

We like the button layout for the audio and climate controls, and the power trunklid and soft-close doors are nice. But the interior door release buttons are out of place, and the steering-wheel controls are fiddly and distracting. The exterior door lock touch-swipe pad doesn't work very well.

Getting in/getting out7.0

The door openings are sufficiently generous, but stepover is a bit higher and wider than in some sedans. The long doors can make things tight in smaller parking spaces. Backseat passengers in particular will have difficulty without plenty of room to swing their doors wide.

Driving position8.0

The Continental bucks the low seating position favored by many luxury brands in favor of a more upright position, which, while comfortable, makes the front feel less roomy. The variety of adjustments for both seat and steering wheel mean that most drivers will be able to find a comfortable position.


There's plenty of room, although the cabin design makes the front feel a little tighter than it is. The excess of rear legroom and toe room is a big selling point here, rivaling that of much larger luxury sedans. Rear headroom is average, and lacking for tall adults, particularly in the center seat.


Visibility is good all around, with a clear view of the road ahead and no major obstructions. The sloping rear deck means rear visibility is quite good. While the side mirrors are somewhat small, the well-integrated and easy-to-see blind-spot monitoring warning lights help make up for them.


Our test car had an MSRP of $72,000. At that price, the abundance of plastics is a bit of a disappointment, although many are soft-touch, textured or have chrome finish. The Continental's leather is nice. The bigger build quality issue is the uneven fitment of body panels that is noticeable around the car.


The trunk is somewhat low and smaller than average, and while there are a lot of clever little cubbies around the cabin, they're almost all a bit on the small side. Sure, you can carry five people, but you might not be able to fit all their luggage.

Small-item storage7.5

A good amount of storage options are available in the cabin, but aside from the generous center-console box, they can be somewhat tight. The cellphone cubby won't hold a phablet, and the glovebox is quite small. Still, this is an area a lot of luxury cars lag in a bit, and the Lincoln shows well.

Cargo space6.5

The Continental's 16.7-cubic-foot trunk is a little on the small side. It's not very tall inside, but makes up for that with a lot of depth and width. Still, some bulky objects simply won't fit. Liftover height is pleasantly low.

Child safety seat accommodation9.0

LATCH points are clearly marked, and easy to access under a nicely integrated leather pad that's held down with magnetic clasps. The extensive rear legroom translates into plenty of space for installing rear-facing child safety seats.


The Continental uses some of the best of what parent company Ford has to offer. While the infotainment and driver aids are very competitive in Ford's market, they're less so in a car priced against luxury offerings that are currently pushing the technology envelope.

Audio & navigation7.0

The optional stereo can provide excessive volume without distortion, and good quality at lower volumes, though it can get harsh when turned up. The nav is easy to use, and has a decent feature set, but feels more primitive than competitors at our tester's price.

Smartphone integration8.5

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, although Sync voice commands can't be accessed while in either, and there's no hard button to switch back to the Sync menu system. There are plenty of USB ports for both the front and rear, but the front USB location makes it messy to plug in multiple devices.

Driver aids7.0

We appreciate the full set of driver aids, and that the adaptive cruise control works in stop-and-go traffic. However, the autonomous functions aren't nearly advanced as luxury rivals', and the collision warning sounds unnecessarily early, with a panic-inducing alarm.

Voice control8.0

The Sync system makes an admirable attempt at understanding you, and puts prompts on screen as well as offering spoken guidance when it can't. Not all commands are made clear, though: Temperature can be adjusted by voice, but there's no prompt on screen to tell you that.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.