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Exterior Design *
The strict horizontality of Lincoln s trademark waterfall grill makes the Zephyr look small (which it is) and gives its snout more than a passing resemblance to Richard Kiel's jaws. Lincoln's ertswhile designers achieved a similar reverse Tardis effect at the rear using over-sized tail lights. In short, it's a thoroughly unconvincing attempt to disguise a Ford Fusion.


Acceleration **
I wanted to give the Zephyr three stars; its 3.0-liter V6 will get a move on if you treat the go-pedal like an Eton fag. But nothing quite says rental car like a Ford Duratec at full whine, and the lardy mid-sizer s six-speed is constantly trying to find urge. Highway passing entails a great deal of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Braking ***
Squidgy though they are, the Zephyr s stoppers are at least as good as the Ford Fusion s.


Ride *
Lincoln claims it wants to attract younger buyers for this, its cheapest (not to say cheap) model. So why did they tune the Zephyr to ride like a 76 Cadillac Seville? There s an alarming amount of up and down float, and the suspension muffles rather than dispenses lumps and bumps. (Is disco any less annoying at lower volumes?) The Zephyr's ride quality is neither here nor there; both Big Car Feelofiles and import-trained Boomers need not apply.

Handling **
The Ford Fusion s handling is its best attribute; the Zephyr s donor vehicle is a remarkably stable corner carver with guts, tenacity and grace. While Lincoln maintained the Fusion s basic stability (by doing nothing), the aforementioned bounciness ruins cornering confidence. Even worse, the Zephyr s seats offer less support than a Klan member at an ACLU fundraiser.

Gearbox *****
Terrific six-speed slushbox — married to a thoroughly anemic engine.

Audio/Video *
THX Certified? If George Lucas mob is going to rubber-stamp mundane rubbish like the Zephyr s boom box, I m going to stop going to those excruciatingly boring Star Wars movies. Oh wait; I have.


Toys **
If this sad little motorcar contained every toy known to carkind (extreme lighting, drinks chiller, electric window shades, etc.), it might have distanced itself from the Fusion and justified its existence within Lincoln s pantheon of pimpmobiles. But no; the Zephyr only offers flat-looking leather, a bit of plood (plastic looking wood) and heated and cooled front seats.

Trunk *
There s nothing wrong with the trunk s capacity; it s the way the cheap ass metal lid opens that makes me sad. Plip. Plop. The damn thing cracks open a bit and just sits there, waiting for you to wrap your finger around that dirty, nasty metal trunk edge and experience the full majesty of the world s chintziest gas-strut hinges. Where s the drama? Where s the joy? What s the point?


Overall **
[by Robert Farago]

Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Lincoln Zephyr, Part 1, Part 3 [internal]

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