Lincoln Town Car is smooth on the curves

January 10, 1991|By Janet Braunstein | Janet Braunstein,Knight-Ridder News Service

There's nothing like keeping up with the Joneses -- or with Cadillac, for that matter.

For 1991, Ford's Lincoln-Mercury division gives the Lincoln Town Car, its full-size, rear-drive flagship, a more powerful overhead-cam V-8 engine and a noticeably improved suspension that includes rear air springs.

Like Cadillac, Ford has updated the ride and handling on its most traditional big car, which it once insisted had to ride like a marshmallow to keep its traditional wealthy-retiree buyer.

The difference between the new Town Car and its 1990 predecessor is most obvious on a fast curve. The old Town Car leaned over; the 1991 model rides flat.

The new 4.6-liter, 190-horsepower V-8 engine is the first member of Ford's new modular engine family, complete with overhead cams and a high-durability timing chain instead of a rubber timing belt.

At the opposite end of the size range, Mercury's new Tracer small car is sister to Ford's new Escort. Both were engineered by Mazda. Tracer is powered by a 1.9-liter Ford four-cylinder. Tracer LTS has a 1.8-liter, 127-h.p. Mazda 16-valve four-cylinder engine.

The long-awaited Mercury Capri convertible also is a 1991 model. A truly international model, the car was engineered by Mazda, styled by Ford of Europe and built by Ford in Australia.

For 1991, Ford added a 5.0-liter V-8 to the Cougar and Thunderbird family; Mercury dropped the supercharged version of the Cougar XR7, substituting the V-8.

Anti-lock braking is optional on the midsize Sable wagons. An upscale minivan shared by Ford and Mazda is planned.

Lincoln-Mercury's 1991 lineup:


Sedan $9,213, wagon $10,345, 1.9-liter, 88-hp four-cylinder engine; front-drive; 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway.

LTS $11,574, 1.8-liter, 16-valve, 127-hp four-cylinder engine; 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.


Convertible $12,943, 1.6-liter, 16-valve, 100-hp four-cylinder engine; front-drive; 23 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.

XR2 convertible $15,877, 1.6-liter, 132-hp, 16-valve, four-cylinder turbocharged engine; 23 mpg city, 28 mpg highway.


GS front-drive two-door $10,903, four-door $11,060, 2.3-liter, 98-hp four-cylinder engine; optional driver's side air bag; optional 4WD; 22 mpg city, 26 mpg highway.

LS four-door $12,439, 2.3-liter 98-hp engine; 22 mpg city, 26 mpg highway.

XR5 two-door $11,902, 2.3-liter, 100-hp four-cylinder engine; 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.

LTS four-door $13,463, 2.3-liter, 100-hp engine; 20 mpg city, 24 -- mpg highway.


GS front-drive sedan $16,301, wagon $17,246; 3.0-liter, 140-hp V-6 engine, optional 3.8-liter 140-hp V-6 engine; optional ABS all models; 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.

LS sedan $17,303, wagon $18,274; same as above.


LS coupe $16,579, 3.8-liter, 140-hp V-6 engine; optional 5.0-liter, 200-hp V-8 engine; rear-drive; 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.

XR7 coupe $21,624, 5.0-liter V-8 engine; 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.


GS sedan $18,724, LS sedan $19,224, 5.0-liter, 150-hp V-8 engine; optional 160-hp V-8 engine; rear-drive; 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.

Colony Park GS wagon $19,443, LS wagon $20,015.


Executive sedan $30,975, Signature sedan $32,884, 3.8-liter, 155-hp V-6 engine; ABS; driver's-side air bag standard, optional passenger-side air bag; optional computer-controlled air suspension; 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway.


LSC coupe $31,318, Bill Blass Designer coupe $31,442, 5.0-liter, 225-hp V-8 engine; ABS; optional automatic air suspension; 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.


Executive sedan $29,161, Signature sedan $32,120, Cartier Designer sedan $34,207; 4.6-liter, 190-hp V-8 engine; optional 210-hp V-8 engine; rear-drive; air bag; optional ABS; optional traction control; 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.

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