When the Lincoln LS was first introduced, it was heralded as the domestic answer to the premium mid size sedans from Europe’s luxury brands. At the time, the rear-drive LS had the look and the technology to compete with Europe’s best in a way few American cars could. Early reviews pegged it as a 10 in terms of fun to drive, and some described it as a car that offered the roominess of a BMW 5 Series at the price of a 3 Series.
The LS had the option of a V6 or V8 and, thanks to its rear-wheel-drive configuration and well-tuned suspension, was reasonably entertaining on a back road. But as good as the LS seemed initially, the car became less appealing over the years as the ranks of newer, more competent and more luxurious entry-luxury sedans grew. With sales slowing, Lincoln discontinued the LS after the 2006 model year.
Though lacking a little in terms of prestige and refinement, the Lincoln LS is still a respectable choice for a used luxury sedan with sporting tendencies. Its pricing is lower than many competing models, and maintenance costs should also be slightly lower than those of some European cars, but don’t expect the LS to be as trouble-free as its competitors from Japan.
A mid size entry-luxury sedan, the Lincoln LS was produced for the 2000-’06 model years. Originally, the LS was available in just two trim levels differentiated by the engine equipped. The Lincoln LS V8 came with a 252-horsepower, 3.9-liter engine that moved the sedan from zero to 60 in 7.5 seconds. A five-speed automatic transmission was standard.
The less expensive choice was the LS V6. Its 3.0-liter engine provided just 210 hp but slightly better fuel economy. For this engine, Lincoln initially offered either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.
Standard features for both cars included dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, alloy wheels, fog lights and ABS. However, a few upscale items, such as a navigation system, weren’t initially offered.
At the time, we found that V8 versions of the Lincoln LS delivered smooth and acceptable acceleration. The ride was comfortable and compliant, and the LS was at its best when being used as a touring sedan rather than an all-out sport sedan. Notably, it was roomy enough to provide comfortable quarters for four adults. The interior materials were lacking in terms of quality, though, and storage space was minimal in the cabin.
Early models had automatic transmission problems, so it might be wise to avoid them on the used market. Even when that issue was addressed by Lincoln, shifts from the automatic were not exactly smooth and many customers still complained. For this reason, we’d advise any prospective LS buyer to do a thorough test-drive before making a purchase.
For 2003, Lincoln did its first major update on its mid size luxury sedan. Output for the V8 was raised to 280 hp, and the V6 added 12 hp for a total of 222. The five-speed manual that was available with the V6 was dropped due to lack of consumer interest.
Other changes that year included returned steering (resulting in better feel), a returned suspension (resulting in a slightly softer ride) and improved interior materials and storage. New features were also added, such as a navigation system, side curtain airbags and a THX sound system. To make the most of your used-car dollar, we suggest looking at 2003 or newer LS models.
A few other changes occurred before the Lincoln LS was discontinued. Satellite radio was added as a dealer-installed option for 2004, and Lincoln made additional improvements to the automatic transmission to improve shift quality. For the final year, the V6 version was dropped from the LS lineup.