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Old 11-04-2005, 05:06   #1 (permalink)
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2006 Lincoln Zephyr

2006 Lincoln Zephyr


Ford Motor Co.


Lincoln / Ford
The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr can be ordered with a cabin decked out in an unusual honey-colored wood


Lincoln / Ford
Zephyr's interior offers THX II-Certified audio system.

Product Preview

Lincoln Zephyr won't blow you away, but it offers surprises

By Anita Lienert / Special to the Detroit News

NEW YORK -- I was lukewarm about the looks of the new 2006 Lincoln Zephyr until I had a lengthy conversation with Lord Monroe, a 25-year-old ironworker from the Bronx, who was admiring the mid-size sedan on display in the lobby of the Time Warner Center.

My initial lack of enthusiasm for the Zephyr, the domestic brand's answer to benchmark near-luxury products such as the Lexus ES 330, Acura TL and Cadillac CTS, began during an earlier walk around of the new Lincoln with Ford's design director Peter Horbury.

Horbury pointed out the Zephyr's styling cues, from its "formal grille" to its "symmetrical instrument panel." He used words like "grand," "upright" and "ordered" to describe the new Lincoln. It has "the trappings of a luxury car brought down a size or two," he explained.

By the time I got behind the wheel of a preproduction model in late October for a five-hour drive through some of the wealthiest suburbs in Connecticut, I felt as if this sedan was a bit too serious and boring -- almost as if I needed a sensible handbag and a pastel Queen Mum hat to complete the picture. I wasn't crazy about the headlights, their lack of expression or the bulky rear end.

But Monroe, a young consumer who drives a 2002 Kia Sedona minivan, was almost gushy about the looks of this new vehicle.

"It works for me," Monroe said, peeking under the hood and checking out the trunk. "Lincolns are usually big, wide cars. This is actually sleek and sporty. I'm into a comfortable ride, too, and that's something Lincoln has always had. And that's not a bad price, either."

The front-wheel-drive Zephyr is on sale now, starting at $29,660, including a $665 destination charge. A fully loaded Zephyr with six options, including a $1,200 moon-roof and $895 chrome wheels, tops out at $35,340.

I since have come around to appreciating the Zephyr --and even mellowing over its looks -- because it's one of the most affordable entry-luxury sedans. It is cheaper than the CTS and ES 330, and edges them out in terms of horsepower. It may not have the complex exterior details and the chrome of a CTS, or the almost numbingly quiet cabin of the Lexus, but it's a respectable domestic product -- albeit Mexican-built -- that should be able to hold its own in a very competitive segment.

The Zephyr, the historic Lincoln nameplate means "wind," is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 221 horsepower and 205 pounds-feet of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The powertrain combination on the Lincoln is potent, a point driven home to me at the bizarre freeway entrances in Connecticut, which often have stop signs. You have to stomp on the accelerator and hope for a quick response to merge into traffic. Happily, you get it with the Zephyr.

What you don't get is an optional manual transmission, something that enthusiasts may want to take into consideration, especially since the CTS comes with a six-speed manual. The Zephyr lacks an optional Tiptronic-style setup, which would inject some fun and sportiness into the equation with clutchless shifting. Lincoln engineers say there is no plan for a high-performance or SVT version of the Zephyr. However, an all-wheel-drive version is slated for the 2007 model year.

Tiffany Jones, 29, is an aspiring actress and the Lincoln product specialist who stands at the Time Warner Center display for eight hours a day and has shown the Zephyr to hundreds of consumers since April. She says the first two questions about the car invariably are "what is the price and what kind of gas mileage does it get?"

"People are stunned that it's not $45,000," Jones said.

You can begin to understand their surprise, since the Lincoln can be ordered with a cabin decked out in an unusual honey-colored wood -- a new look for the brand that will eventually show up across the lineup -- and that safety features such as traction control, front side air bags and side curtain air bags that protect all outboard passengers are standard.

Still, I was surprised that you can't get stability control, a safety feature that seems basic to any vehicle aspiring to be an standout import fighter.

You can't get such 21st century features as adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction of a turn or rear-seat DVD entertainment on the Zephyr or even adjustable pedals.

The CTS raised the bar this model year with a renewed commitment to high-tech features, including XM Nav Traffic, which provides continuously updated traffic information and comes standard on cars with DVD navigation.

I had a mixed reaction to the Zephyr's driving characteristics. The sedan's suspension has been tuned to have a bit of a tamer feel than the Fusion. The Zephyr's ride, while comfortable, is not floaty or marshmallowy, like you used to feel on an old Lincoln Town Car.

The Zephyr handled well on the twisty turns on our route through New England, but the steering felt light and somewhat disconnected from the road, not as satisfying as the driving feeling of the Fusion. The cabin of the Zephyr is quiet, too, without the sense that you are isolated in a hyperbaric chamber.

The Lincoln has a high rear parcel shelf -- a function of that tall and bulky rear end -- which makes backing up a challenge, since your view of what is behind you is somewhat blocked. The car's wide rear pillars also impede the view.

The cabin has many of the amenities you'd expect in an upscale ride, including standard dual-zone climate control, a compass, an external temperature readout, a steering column that tilts and telescopes and an adjustable armrest between the front passengers.

The chrome rings around the front vents are not just decorative, they actually swivel to direct the air flow. Touches like that give a car an authentic feeling, with details that are practical instead of just feeling like they're part of a stage set.

The rear seat in the Zephyr has two cupholders, map pockets and two overhead lights, but no vents. That seat can be relatively cramped, too.

In other words, the back seat is most suitable for the elementary-school set. The rear seat has a split-folding feature and the Zephyr's trunk is roomy and deep.

The Zephyr has a mighty reputation to live up to. Auto historians say the original Zephyr droop-nosed prototype, which appeared at the 1933-34 Century of Progress, influenced the shape of the original Volkswagen. The 1938 Lincoln Zephyr's low-slung, horizontal grille created a panic at General Motors and triggered the landmark move from vertical to horizontal grilles in automotive design.

The 2006 Zephyr is not likely to cause a jolt in any styling studios. But there is something to be said that a Lincoln, dismissed as the brand of an older generation, actually caught the admiring eye of a 25-year-old consumer in midtown Manhattan one morning.

EPA Fuel Economy:
City: 20 Highway: 28
Available Engines:
221-hp, 3.0-liter V-6
Available Transmissions: 6-speed automatic w/OD

Notable Features
• New for 2006
• 221-hp, 3.0-liter V-6
• Six-speed automatic
• Available THX II-Certified audio system
• Side-impact and side-curtain airbags
Pros
+ Passenger accommodations
+ Safety features
+ Familiar V-6 powertrain
Cons
- Pending further review








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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

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Old 11-14-2005, 05:41   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2006 Lincoln Zephyr

2006 Lincoln Zephyr
Lincoln gets a Fusion of its very own

WES RAYNAL/AUTOWEEK
Photo's by Autoindex.org


2006 LINCOLN ZEPHYR
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $29,660
POWERTRAIN: 3.0-liter, 221-hp, 205-lb-ft V6; fwd, six-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 3410 lbs
0 TO 60 MPH: 7.0 seconds (est.)

Trivia question: When was the last time Ford’s Lincoln division introduced a new passenger car? How about five years ago? Seriously? Yes, seriously: That’s when the Lincoln LS was introduced—2001. Five years! That’s an automotive eternity—especially for a brand known primarily for its passenger cars. Now Lincoln, which Ford officials admit the com*pany has all but ignored, has a new car, or at least one new to Lincoln: Zephyr.

Zephyr is Lincoln’s version of the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan and will be built alongside them at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant. Lincoln officials say the hope with Zephyr is to keep Lincoln’s traditional buyers while bringing new ones into the fold.



Zephyr rides on the same modified Mazda 6 chassis and uses the Fusion’s 3.0-liter, 221-hp Duratec V6, six-speed automatic and four-wheel independent suspension. Like the Mazda 6, there are control arms in front and a multilink setup in the rear.

The Zephyr adds more sound-deadening material, a suspension tuned more to the soft side, and a higher sticker price. Zephyr’s base sticker is $29,660. The Fusion starts at $17,795.



Ford has been improving its interiors in a big way lately, and the Zephyr builds on the Fusion’s excellent fit-and-finish. The dash and instruments look expensive and the interior is void of hard plastics. All the knobs and switches feel like quality pieces. The seats (front and back) are comfortable and supportive.

Driving the Zephyr is, well, like driving a quieter, slightly softer Fusion. The Zephyr is comfortable and quiet, and rides and handles nicely.



The Duratec provides good power, but can get buzzy when you dip into the throttle. There is a little too much mechanical noise, so it’s not as smooth as a Honda or Toyota six-cylinder. We found the same thing when we drove the Fusion.

The Zephyr is a solid mid-size contender; there is every reason to believe it will compete with cars at which it is aimed: Acura TL, Lexus ES and Cadillac CTS. The Zephyr is the first of Lincoln’s “product renaissance,” which includes five new cars and trucks over the next four years. Lincoln officials hope for 30,000 Zephyr sales a year.



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My next Ford.....
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