The 2002 Lincoln Continental represents the end of the road for a storied classic that was very much a part of American automotive history. It is a bit sad to see the retirement of such a noteworthy vehicle. This model year has some of the more recent improvements, but still carries flaws as well. There is no point in nit-picking since this car has always been popular with a certain niche, mainly American-make buyers wanting an alternative to the Deville. With many popular imports to compete with and many of its die-hard fans aging, perhaps it’s time for it to take its place in automobile history.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 4.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Continental, Driver Select, Personal Security, Luxury Appearance
For its last run, The 2002 Lincoln Continental remains relatively unchanged. There is one new exterior color and an optional Vehicle Communication System with portable analog-digital phone now available. No-cost, stand-alone options now offered include a power moonroof, a six-disc changer, and an Alpine audio system.
The 2002 Lincoln Continental luxury sedan is available in five trim levels: base, Driver Select, Personal Security, and Luxury Appearance. As far as the exterior goes, the base trim offers 16-inch alloy wheels, intermittent wipers, rear defogger, reverse tilt dual mirrors provides curb view when vehicle in reverse, power door mirrors, heated door mirrors, rear auto-leveling suspension, and adjustable suspension. The Luxury Appearance trim includes upgrades to exterior trim pieces. The Personal Security trim comes with a low tire-pressure warning system and run-flat tires. The Driver Select package includes an adjustable shock damping system.
The 2002 Lincoln Continental is mostly unchanged from the previous year’s design. It falls into the same midsize league as the Buick Century, despite perceptions that it’s a bigger automobile. There is a modern aerodynamic shape that is combined with classic touches, namely the grille. It's 73.6-inches wide, stands 56-inches tall, and runs on a 109-inch wheelbase.
The 2002 Lincoln Continental offers most of the features that a buyer of this vehicle type would expect. The base trim includes six-way power front seats with manual adjustable lumbar support, leather upholstery, power locks, power windows, cruise control, steering wheel mounted cruise controls, multiple storage locations, tilt steering wheel, remote trunk release, Interior air filtration, climate control, air-conditioning, sun sensor, leather trim on the steering wheel, and an AM/FM stereo. The exclusion of anything beyond a basic radio is an over-sight for this segment, but there is an optional premium Alpine audio system with a six-CD changer. All trims can add an optional Vehicle Communication System that offers safety and security assistance, voice-activated information services, route guidance and a hands-free voice-activated Motorola Timeport mobile phone.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Lincoln Continental is the only front-wheel-drive car in Lincoln's lineup. All trims use the same 4.6-liter V-8 that makes 275 horsepower at 5750 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4750 rpm. This big V-8 mates to a four-speed automatic. While it is not as heavily advertised as the Northstar motor in Cadillac cars, it is similar in size and strength. Premium fuel is a requirement. This is one of the quickest Continentals for its last year of production, and it should handle most traffic situations well enough.
Updates to the suspension have not turned out as well as one would hope. The steering is rather stiff and uncommunicative in the high mode setting of the electronic system and in low mode it is soft and vague. The inclusion of an optional Driver Select System that features an adjustable shock damping system doesn’t do quite as much as it could. It can be set for plush, normal, or firm ride control. Changes in the suspension settings don’t seem to have much effect on the absorption of bumps. The overall ride and handling is mostly stable and controlled with highway wind not having any impact on straight-line tracking. The ride is big luxury car comfortable with most road imperfections dampened. The serene nature is disturbed by more noise than one would expect for this type of vehicle.
The last year of the 2002 Lincoln Continental offers standard safety equipment that includes dual front impact airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, anti-theft alarm system, rear door child safety locks, auto delay off headlamps, rear center 3-point belt, traction control, and anti-lock brakes electronic brake force distribution. The NHTSA has not performed crash safety tests. In IIHS tests, the old Lincoln received the second highest rating of ""acceptable"" for frontal offset crash safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lincoln Continental all trims: 15/23 mpg city/highway
- Cargo space
- Passenger room
- Features and options
You Won't Like
- Fuel economy
- Seat comfort
Venerable rival takes its last spin.
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