Monday, June 27, 2005
2006 Lincoln Zephyr, one of three new Ford cars based on the Mazda 6 platform.
Lincoln really needs the Zephyr and hopefully the Aviator to be big hits. The Town Car is getting long in the tooth and you can't depend on the Navigator to carry the brand. But as much as I like the Zephyr, it's no competition for the new Cadillac and Chrysler rear wheel drive sedans. The Lincoln LS is due for a redesign and rumors are that it may be based on the Volvo S-80 architecture like the new Fivehundred/Montego models. This could be a fatal mistake for Ford.
Platform sharing is fine if each model can be tailored to the respective customer. And while All Wheel Drive is no doubt a great option, Rear Wheel Drive with new Traction Control ESP programming can be a more cost effective option. One of my brothers drives a new Dodge Magnum with the Hemi and Ford has nothing that can touch this. Bob drove his Magnum in all of this past winter's storms without any problems thanks to his Traction and Stability control systems. And despite his Hemi's 340 horsepower, managed decent fuel economy with the engine displacement control system. So is a Lincoln Fivehundred clone a good idea? No, it's not.
The Lincoln LS shares it's chassis and engine architecture with the Jaguar S type and the departing Thunderbird. The chassis is competent and the engine while not very powerful with the blue oval on it (252 hp in T'Bird and 283 hp in LS) it has been massaged and supercharged for Jaguar and Range Rover (390 hp.) This car came to the market before the new LH platform from Chrysler, but was not developed or evolved.
Will the new Zephyr suffer the same fate as the Versailles? Will the LS become a rebadged Fivehundred? Hopefully the answer will be no to both questions.