First impression: Yes, it’s a sophisticated and modern Lincoln for the 21st-century driver, but it’s also a well-equipped chauffeured transportation vehicle done right.
The updated, refreshed, and improved Lincoln Continental really was one of our most anticipated test drives since it was announced as a livery offering from the OEM last year, and we were all too happy to finally get behind the wheel and stretch her legs for a bit. Thanks to Complete Fleet Livery Sales for providing our test vehicle.
The luxury vehicle market has become fierce—even moderate-priced midsize sedans are being equipped with upgraded technological bells and whistles typically found in those higher-priced counterparts—so it was nice to see that Lincoln stepped a bit outside the box with its styling and placement of select features. For its exterior, it shares the same grille with the familiar MKZ, although the family resemblance is strong when parked next to other Lincoln products (even some shades of the erstwhile Town Car). But it’s more than just a pretty wrapping, which we have been admiring for a while now.
Some OEMs have gotten creative with the shifter, moving it from its traditional hub on the floor to the steering wheel; Lincoln moves it to the center cluster. We’re not going to lie and say that it didn’t take some getting used it, but high marks from our testers for the bold choice. It even looks pretty darn good in that spot, and it allows for more storage in the space it left behind. It really was as simple as pushing a button to shift.
Another interesting touch is the interior door handle. Instead of pulling a lever, you press a button to release the door. This somehow makes a mundane action a bit more fun, almost like popping an escape hatch. A similar stylization is seen with the exterior door release, which also has a sensor on the underside of the fixed handle. It is those little touches that made the Continental stand out—even to passers-by, a number of whom stopped one of our testers to ask about this vehicle.
There’s loads of fun for the rear passengers, too. It begins with plenty of essential leg and head room in the passenger cabin, so even the tallest of clients will find a level of relaxation in the soft-touch seats. If he sits on the right side, he can even control the position of the front passenger seat from a button on his door to create a fully customized space. Additionally, the seats power recline, the passenger can control the rear window power sunshade (manual on the side windows) and individual climate settings, and the livery package throws in two USB ports for fast charging. As one tester put it, there’s a lot of autonomy in that backseat.
The trunk on the Continental is squarish rather than rectangular, with a wide opening but not that much depth. That being said, it does have 16.7 sq. ft. of space, and we didn’t have many problems with our usual set of suitcases that we use on all reviews—although we did have to place the bags sideways. It has a power lid close and, even handier—or we should say hands-free—a foot-activated trunk lid. It was one of the most useful features you never knew you needed.
Behind the wheel, the Continental feels very solid. Front-wheel drive is standard with an option for all-wheel drive. The Livery package comes with a 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 engine that delivers 305 hp and flies on the highway. Steering and braking, however, was surprisingly sensitive, especially for a vehicle of its size. Our model had the optional convenience features Lane Keeping Aid and BLIS (blind spot warning system), which we love and highly recommend; that package also includes rain-sensing wipers, auto high beams, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Bottom line: We were all very pleased with our experience in the Continental and thrilled that the sharp exterior was matched with an equally exciting drive. The early industry adopters of this completely overhauled vehicle were on the right track when they were among the first to add to their fleets. The Continental screams luxury and passenger comfort, but it also is packed with value with a four-year/150,000-mile livery warranty and an attractive price. Without fleet discounts or incentives, base price for a FWD 500A with the 77L Tech Package is $49,080 (or $47,975 without Tech Package; both prices are MSRP). [CD0817]
Livery Features (standard):
• Hands-Free, Foot-Activated Trunk Lid
• Illuminated Sill Plates – Front and Rear
• Passenger-Seat Chauffeur Front/Back Adjust Control Switch
• Manual Rear-Door Sunshades
• Heated and Ventilated Rear Seats
• 110V/150W AC Power Outlet
• Power Rear-Seat Recliner
• Rear-seat Armrest with Stowage and Controls, Adjustable Cupholders, Climate Controls, Power Sunshade Controls, and 4” Display Screen
• Rear-window Power Sunshade
• Smart Charging USB Port (2 in rear)
• Tri-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control
• Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System
• Heavy-Duty Alternator (200 Amp)
2018 Lincoln Continental Specifications
ENGINE: 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 (305HP)
MPG: 17/26 (city/hwy)
Rear Head Room: 37.7”
Rear Leg Room: 41.3”
First Drive: 2018 Lincoln Continental