- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2002

The Lincoln Town Car has always enjoyed the reputation of offering comfort, roominess, safety and prestige. The new 2003 model contains all those features and more, much more.
This car has more than just a face-lift: The hood is redesigned, the sides and fenders are restyled and the interior contains more passenger space. Yet the appearance remains unmistakably that of a Lincoln Town Car.
Some improvements are subtle, others more obvious. An example of the subtle is the grille, which is more upright, and the Lincoln emblem has returned as a hood ornament. At night, the headlights can be seen as an obvious change, as the halogen lamps are much brighter.
The Town Car now has 17-inch tires on aluminum wheels, giving this full-size car a more balanced appearance. The trunk lid now opens and closes simply by prssing the key fob. Storage space is enormous. Town Cars are commonly used as limousines transporting passengers and luggage from airports. The main reasons this car is favored by limousine drivers: durability and dependability.
Throughout the sedan, new storage areas can be found, with pouches on the driver and passenger-seat cushion, as well as on the backrest of the seats. The doors and armrests have deep bins. Seems no matter where I look, I find storage space. The most interesting is the storage in the center console. The lid opens from two separate hinges giving easy access to both the driver and the front-seat passenger. The glove box is bigger, and cup holders fold out from the edge of the center seat.
As soon as I step into the driver's seat there is no doubt I'm sitting behind the wheel of an upscale luxury car. The interior has a touch of elegance, with its wood trim accented by a thin strip of brushed satin aluminum running across the dash panel. The steering wheel is a combination of leather and wood.
My tester is the Signature model that weighs in at $45,015. The Executive model costs $41,040, and the Cartier, with the long wheelbase, begins at $51,470.
All are big cars, but to my surprise my test car is easy to handle and steer. This car can do a curb-to-curb turn in about 40 feet the range of a midsize sedan.
As a result of the easy turning, my test car is a delight to drive. It also handles well under the stress of hard turns.
This impression is reinforced by the power under the hood. A V-8 engine producing 239 horsepower is capable of carrying a fully loaded vehicle with ease. The engine has 287 foot-pounds of torque to provide quick acceleration upon demand.
In spite of all the power, the interior is quiet. Lincoln engineers have improved the NVH or noise, vibration and harshness factors. That's been the key factor with all manufacturers in recent years.
The air intakes, for example, have been reduced by two or three decibels.
The climate controls produce less noise. Even the exhaust pipes are mounted from the frame in a different manner, all contributing to a quieter interior.
As for safety, the Lincoln engineers say their 2002 Town Car earned a double five-star rating, the highest government rating. And this year, the 2003 model has more improvements with belt minders, pretensioners, all kinds of air bags, plus improved side-impact protection.
This car is loaded with security, convenience and luxury.
Yet it remains faithful to its image: A Lincoln Town Car. Those three words say a lot.

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