After retiring the brand in 2002, Ford decided to bring back the Lincoln nameplate 15 years later in 2017. The new 2019 Lincoln Continental Reserve continues to improve and is the flagship vehicle for the brand. It is definitely formal, yet modest; “understated elegance,” as I would call it. The intentions behind this car were clearly to rival the best in its class around the world. To that end, Lincoln has produced a handsome and competent premium sedan.
The styling is distinctly Lincoln with exquisite exterior features that demand a second look. The front has beautiful styling with its grouped pearl-like adaptive LED headlights. At low speeds, the reflectors in the lights widen the low-beam pattern to help illuminate pedestrians or other roadside objects. These reflectors also react to the steering wheel position, directing more light into the corners. The front also holds graceful lines and has an impressive, shimmering Lincoln grill, which provides a gracious yet aggressive look. Down the sides, the lateral fender vents display the brawny side of this sedan, while the folding mirrors cast a welcoming Lincoln image mat that illuminates the ground on both sides of the car as you approach with your key fob. One of my favourite details is the midline trim that seamlessly integrates the door handles, making them less conspicuous and preserving the Lincoln’s long, flowing sidelines. The rear fenders give the car a beefy stance and express the car’s underlying prowess. The tail of Lincoln leaves you with an impression of elegance and sophistication. It’s fair to say that the exterior is a well-crafted balance of beautifully elegant yet sporty modern styling.
The cabin is equally well crafted and designed. There is chatter amongst critics that Lincoln has utilized switches and other components from other Ford vehicles. The nerve! Seriously now, if that’s all there is to complain about with the new Continental, then frankly, they did well. Once inside, you will first notice that seats are inspired by ones found in executive jets. The 30-way adjustable seats form to every curve of your body and prepare you for a uniquely comfortable driving experience. They provide comfort, support, cooling, heating, and invigorating massage settings. They’ve even gone so far as splitting the thigh support at the front of the seats so that your driving leg can be as comfortable as the other, since they’re both at different angles. The heads-up display is well laid out and customizable so that you have all the pertinent information you would need to manage the road ahead, including Lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, navigation prompts, location speed limits, and more. Blind spot detection, pre-collision assist, cross traffic alert, and the stop-and-go feature on the adaptive cruise setting (one of my favourites) keep you at ease when cruising.
With your seats and settings customized, it’s all about a smooth and tranquil driving experience. The Continental is by no means a boat-like ride as it was always known to be. It is exceptionally quiet and comfortable; there is minimal wind and road noise thanks to the Active Noise Control system that utilizes microphones and the audio system to process and neutralize unwanted noise.
The car drives with incredible ease and corners beautifully with great stability. The steering and drivetrain are adjustable, responsive, and tight, and although they can be set to a sport mode to relay a more descriptive feel of the road, it really isn’t a car for that type of driving. Albeit I found the turning radius a little larger than I would like, I did feel at ease and really enjoyed the elegance. It was also nice to know that when I wanted to wake the uncivil side of this otherwise composed ride, it was only a few buttons away. The customization of the features is copious, making it all about “your” ride in the Continental. Keeping you well connected, the Lincoln “Way” app offers the features and benefits of Continental ownership like remote start and unlock, roadside assistance, and Concierge services.
Something I really enjoyed was the power cinch feature, which gently pulls the door in tight along with the electronic door release button inside. Although this unique feature took some getting used to, I found it a joy to be able to open the door with a push of a button. For those who fear electronics, there is a manual override below (albeit a little moderate looking) in case of emergency. The rest of the cabin interior is very handsomely designed with plenty of detailed excellence, including some fashionable materials wisely utilized throughout. My tester was equipped with a rear seat amenities package that included a centre armrest equipped with an LCD screen and control-of-key vehicle features for those who prefer to be chauffeured around, a two-panel moon roof, and an “out of this world” 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio package that worked to perfection with the Ford Sync system. You can’t help blaring tunes like a 20-year-old driving downtown on a Saturday night — the sound is simply magnificent.
The Canadian version of the Continental comes only in an all-wheel drive configuration. Lincoln also offers a Black Label model with exclusive member privileges and a limited production run of a coach door version with back doors that hinge on the rear of the door (often referred to as suicide doors). Lincoln has done an excellent job of re-designing and re-branding the Continental and marking its territory in the luxury sedan arena. The challenge will be to combat the old stigma that the brand carried of being “an old man’s car.” I personally would not care and would drive this car any day. If you select your options wisely, you’ll have a luxury Sedan that will easily rival some of its top competitors at a very competitive cost.