2018 Lincoln Continental Reserve: Luxury, American Style

The new Continental. I like it. So many don’t. At least, on social media. I am co-admin on a Facebook Lincoln and Continental group, and whenever someone posts a 2017-present Continental, the whining commences. Oh yes.

Continental

How so Klockau, you may ask. Well, you see, a lot of angry folks on social media tend to foam at the mouth whenever someone, like your author, posts a new Lincoln Continental. “Dagnabit, that’s NOT a Lincoln! A Lincoln should have suicide doors, a stand-up hood ornament, and crushed velour!

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Road Test: 2017 Lincoln MKC 2.0 T AWD

Crossovers are taking over the world. I am not particularly fond of crossovers. But thanks to a gnarly parking brake on my 147,000 mile, 2000 Town Car Cartier last September, I found myself behind the wheel of one. Lincoln’s smallest CUV, the MKC, first came on the scene in 2014 as a ’15 model. So one Tuesday morning, I found myself behind the wheel of one. And…I didn’t hate it.

MKC

For all the angry old timers carping about the death of the Town Car in 2011 and that the new Continental doesn’t have suicide doors, the current crop of Henry Leland’s forebears are nice cars-particularly inside.

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Road Test: 2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited

Imagine, in 2018, that there is a station wagon that sells. It exists, and it is the Subaru Outback. In today’s fractured market, with crossovers and teeny 2.0L turbocharged Singer sewing machines powering a vast majority of new cars, the Subaru comes with boxer four- or six cylinder engines. And although Subaru has joined the CVT transmission party, both powerplants are-GASP!-normally aspirated. Imagine that.

Outback 04

About a month ago I was wandering around the showroom at McLaughlin Cadillac-Subaru-Volvo when I leaned in the open window of a black Outback Limited. I hadn’t really paid much attention to these wagons, although I noted their regular presence in traffic. It was rather nice inside. The beige leather was pleasing, and the wood trim on the doors and dash were attractive.

Outback 05

Intrigued, I got in behind the wheel. This was pretty cushy. It was especially nice with the light beige leather, and wood trim. Airy. No Bat Cave interior, with loophole windows, this! I thought perhaps it would be a good candidate for a test drive for Riverside Green. Continue Reading →

Reader Review: 2018 Range Rover Velar

Please welcome Martin, whose loaner-vehicle experience was somewhat more upscale than most, yet not quite up to the level set by his everyday ride. As you can see from the picture, this one’s been in the queue a while — JB

During my time with the 2018 Range Rover Velar, the SiriusXM subscription included with the car introduced me to a variety of contemporary pop music that I had “missed” since I basically stopped listening to terrestrial radio about a dozen years ago. I guess that my arrival into my thirties might have been accompanied by a vague bigotry against modern pop culture, which had become so brainless, coarse and artificial that I retreated to earlier books, movies and music, looking for the intellectual and emotional meat that the current culture could seemingly not produce. I am sad to say that my negative suspicions of the mainstream music industry were confirmed, and in fact my expectations were too high. Top 40 radio is truly the negation of art, a soulless industrial product defecated from a machine fired with cynicism and hypocrisy. I sailed to the safer harbors of earlier decades, jazz, and classical.

Similarly, I had a bias against the small crossover segment. Here it is, the industry giving you what you want, or at least an imitation of it: tall, stilted hatchbacks, offering no greater interior space and worse fuel economy than the vehicles on which they are based. In many cases, actual ground clearance is only the matter of an inch more than the equivalent normal car. But you are sold the frisson of a ruggedly independent lifestyle, in which mountains are crossed and streams forded.

If you want to drive an SUV, you should buy one, and not these poor simulacra, which are neither fish nor fowl. I wanted an SUV, so I bought a Range Rover, and when it was down with the British flu recently (located in some part of its electrical sensor package, obviously), the dealership gave me the keys to a 2018 Range Rover Velar, in P250 S trim. Here was my chance to test my biases against reality. Ain’t nothing like the real thing?

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2016 Cadillac ATS Coupe – Cadillac Style For The 2010s

Today, we discuss something seldom seen in modern traffic: the Cadillac ATS coupe. Yes, it’s still available! But what with ATS sedans outnumbering the svelte coupe by probably 15 to 1, they are kind of rare. Oh, Cadillac. What highs and lows have been wrought over the last thirty years! Certain know-it-alls on the coasts think Cadillac should just give up. I disagree. Things have changed a lot, even since the ’90s, for GM’s finest marque, but there’s still a lot of style and elegance in evidence. Let’s take a closer look.

I have a friend over at our local Cadillac dealer. And even though he sold me a Lincoln instead, I still like modern Cadillacs. I also love the classic, Broughamtastic Cadillacs. For some, it seems as if you can only like one or the other. Go onto Facebook or certain self-indulgent GM-hatin’ blogs and you may think the current Cadillac lineup doesn’t have a chance. Plenty of, well, let’s be blunt, angry old farts, carp about the looks, the price, and basically everything else about modern Caddys.

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Retro Road Test: 2011 Lincoln Town Car Signature Limited – The Last American Car

The Town Car. The last Lincoln. Or so some say. Frankly, I think the current, resuscitated Continental is a fine automobile, but that’s not the subject of today’s post. Nope. It’s all about the Town Car, that famous full-sizer that started out as a trim package on late ’60s Continentals and became a luxury car mainstay for decades afterward.

Of course I am biased, being a Town Car owner myself. And while, like all cars, they have their drawbacks and advantages, I do enjoy them enough to have two of them.

2007 Town Car Signature Limited

As a result, I am known alternately as “That Town Car Guy” and “That Fool” locally. Enough so that my preferred salesman at Strieter Lincoln, Peter Clarke, emails me when a nice Town Car gets traded in. Just a couple of weeks ago this nice ’07 in Dark Cherry Metallic arrived with 77,000 miles on the clock. Moonroof too, which was the last year it was offered-Canadian TCs were not available with it. If you see an 08-11 with sunroof, it’s aftermarket. I was tempted, but not enough to trade off one of my existing TCs. And I’m not a fan of the aftermarket tops. Priced at $9900, it sold in less than a week. I think the general manager told me it was on the lot about five days.

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Rental Review: 2017 Ford Fusion SE Hybrid – Silver Silvermist Anonymity

Last November, I found myself in the position of having a silver Fusion Hybrid, courtesy of Hertz. How so? Well, due to bad luck.

I was downtown at the county building, paying the last installment on my property tax. Job done, I waltzed out to the Town Car, happy that the city wouldn’t be getting any more money out of me until next year. It was spitting sleet, cold and crappy out. All I wanted to do was drive home, have some dinner and watch a little TV. Unfortunately, I turned left at the courthouse, went halfway down the block, and a car came out of the alley off to the right-right in front of me. Yep!

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The Most Legendary Lead/Follow In Journosaur History

Acura NSX

I’ll be writing a couple of stories this week over at TTAC about the Rolex 24, which is a terrible thing to watch on television, but a glorious event to experience personally. As an invited guest of one of the participating manufacturers, the level of access I had was bonkers, yes, but even for the man on the street who buys his ticket from the window, it’s one of the rare opportunities to walk through the garages, go stand next to million dollar cars on pit lane, even shake the hands of the drivers.

I got a voicemail from Acura PR a few weeks before the event, asking me if I wanted to attend the race as their guest. As I was listening to the first few seconds of the voicemail, my brain was thinking “No.” I’m not prone to accepting junkets from OEMs, and I often mock those who do. These sorts of things are normally pretty awful—you’re led around in a group by a PR person, they feed you constantly, give you presents, and send you home. Most of the “press” in attendance never even write about the experience. It’s borderline bribery, and it all makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

And then, I heard these words. “There will be a lead/follow session on track in the NSX, with Juan Pablo Montoya leading.”

I damn near dropped my phone. Yes, of course I’ll go. I’d parachute in just for that. But there’s a truth about lead/follows at press events that nobody ever tells you.

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Guest Review: 2018 Camaro 1SS

Let’s have a warm welcome for Michael Briskie, who is contributing a guest review of a rental Camaro. Feel free to offer him tips and opinions regarding the review. If you have a car you’d like to review here, please drop me a note in the comments or elsewhere. Thanks! — jb

As the National Car Rental shuttle pulls up to the Emerald Aisle, I’m already looking out the window scouting my options. Nissan Versa, nope. Camry, nope. Dodge Durango R/T… hmmm. Now we are getting somewhere. I jockey for position getting off the bus and beeline for the blacked out Dodge. Feeling pleased that I scored a mammoth V8 truck-wagon for my three day trip to St. Louis, I climb aboard and prepare to navigate the beast out of the rental lot. But then, something gives me pause. Just across from the aisle, the next wave of cars was being readied to replace ours. And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a flame red Camaro soon to be cleared! Hesitant to lose my Durango, I ventured over and caught a glimpse of 20” wheels. Yes indeed… an SS. Must be my lucky day.

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CPO Test Drive: 2015 Lincoln MKZ 2.0H

For the eight of you who have been following my automotive scribblings here on RG since early 2017, you likely have gathered that I like the premium offerings of Ford Motor Company. This is of course true. It must be if I have two Town Cars. Two! But despite my close relationship with my local Lincoln dealer, and the great service I’ve gotten from them over the years, as late as 2015, I hadn’t driven any Lincoln automobile newer than a 2011 model, and tended to favor the good old final-generation Town Car. At the time I had a 2000 Town Car and a 2006 Volvo V50 station wagon.

Back in the summer of 2015, I stopped in to check out the used cars at Strieter Lincoln and yak with my favorite salesman, Peter Clarke. I’d been eyeing the last generation MKZs, as CPO 2010-12 models were frequently sitting on the lot with attractive pricing, say 22K or so. Not bad. Sure, it was based on the Fusion, but the upgrades were nice, especially the interiors.

An especially appealing 2011 MKZ was on the lot with black cherry metallic paint and off-white leather. Peter was more than happy to throw me the keys. It was a V6 model.

I turned out of the lot and stepped on it. Holy crap! This thing was zippy! I enjoyed driving it, but ultimately my cheapskate…err, frugal personality overrode and I returned the keys without making an offer.

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