Premium midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,700 – $9,200*


2003 Lincoln LS


2004 Lincoln LS


2005 Lincoln LS


Lincoln LS interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V8)
Cons:
  • Automatic-transmission performance

Lincoln’s LS offers a reasonable array of features, capable road manners, and the least-costly V8 in the premium midsize class. Sales have been slow, reflecting the car’s unexceptional interior decor and relative lack of cachet compared to similarly-priced rivals. Of course, that could be good news for used-car shoppers, because resale values are somewhat on the low side.

Overview

More powerful engines, newly available features, revised styling, and additional sound-deadening measures updated Lincoln’s near-luxury sedan for 2003. The LS sedan shared its platform with the British-built Jaguar S-Type, but differed in styling and equipment. Jaguar was a Ford subsidiary. The Ford V6 engine added 12 horsepower for 2003, while the Jaguar-designed V8 gained 28 horsepower. Both engines came with a five-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission, formerly offered with the V6 engine, was dropped.

Front side airbags, antilock four-wheel disc brakes, and traction control were standard. An antiskid system was optional. Later in the year came optional curtain side airbags. Other new options included cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a navigation system, and xenon high-intensity headlights. Power-adjustable pedals and one-touch power front windows were newly standard. Ford claimed that noise levels were reduced, due to more effective sound insulation.

Styling changes included a new grille surround and front fascia, new taillights and rear decklid, and restyled wheels. Interior appointments also were updated. Lincoln’s LS competed against the Acura TL, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G35, and Lexus ES 300/330.

Yearly Updates

2004 LS
Minor suspension revisions and available satellite radio highlighted the 2004 changes. V6 models rode on 16-inch wheels, while V8s got 17-inch wheels and sport suspension. Head-protecting curtain side airbags were optional. Heated and cooled front seats were available on all but the base V6 model. Satellite radio was a new dealer-installed option. Lincoln said suspension revisions for 2004 reduced noise, vibration, and harshness. Later in the model year, an LSE appearance package became available, including unique front and rear styling, chrome wheels, a spoiler, and special interior cues.
2005 LS
Little changed on Lincoln’s near-luxury sedan for the 2005 model year. Once again, an LSE Appearance Package was available, for the V8 Sport model.
2006 LS
There are no significant changes for the LS in 2006.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Two engines have been available under LS hoods: a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 232 horsepower, and a 3.9-liter V8 that makes 280 horsepower. Both engines mate only with a five-speed automatic.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 232
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

20/17

20.3

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.9/240
Engine HP 280
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 286
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

18/25

17.7

Road Test

Performance depends upon the engine. A test V8 LS accelerated to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is competitive for the class. Lincoln’s V6 models are adequate in undemanding driving, but considerably slower than V8s. Both engines provide good power in the crucial 30-50 mph range, but the transmission’s indecisive gear selection annoys in light-throttle cruising and its tardy downshifts hamper passing response.

Test V8 models have averaged 17.7 to 19 mpg, versus 20.3 mpg for a V6 sedan. Lincoln recommends premium fuel for both engines.

Although its ride is less composed overall than European rivals, the LS is comfortable enough over most bumps. Minor impacts from tar strips and expansion joints are fairly well-masked. Ride quality differs little with the V8’s larger tires and tauter sport suspension.

Operating with good grip and steering feel, the LS offers reasonably well-checked body lean. Lincoln’s sedan is capable and balanced in twists and turns. The V8’s sport suspension and larger tires enhance response. For an added measure of safety, look for an LS with the antiskid system, to combat skids in turns. Brakes offer strong stopping power.

Engines are subdued at cruise, but the V6 sounds gruff during aggressive acceleration. Wind noise is muted, though minor tire roar occurs on coarse pavement.

Clear gauges are a bonus. The climate system is mounted low, with a small display, but is easy to use. Lincoln’s navigation touch-screen absorbs most audio functions, but with less complexity than most. Most interior materials fall slightly below the class standard, though the Premium and Ultimate models’ wood trim is stately.

Firm, comfortable front seats deliver ample leg room, but the sunroof cuts into head clearance. Heating and cooling is a pleasant feature, which can be preset to maintain the same temperature as the automatic climate system. Large door mirrors offset visibility lost to thick rear roof pillars.

Rear passengers have no surplus of foot space or knee clearance, but the seat is set back enough to accommodate most adults, though two is the practical limit. Tall passengers may find their heads brushing against the sloping roof.

Only small suitcases can stand upright in the shallow trunk. Fore/aft length is limited, and bulky lid hinges can crunch cargo. A center-console switch controls the parking brake, freeing space for console storage and a large armrest.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2004 V8 Ultimate w/navigation system

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 58

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
114.5 193.9 73.2 56.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.5 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.5 37.3 42.8 36.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2004 LS 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Seat
Description: The climate controlled seats may stop working because the seat cushion crushes or the ducts may come loose. (2003-04)
Brake lights
Description: Water can get into the backup lights through the license plate housing which must then be replaced. (2003-04)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light and the wrench icon may light up because of a failure of the throttle position sensor. (2003-04)
Interior trim
Description: The headliner may droop in the rear because the Velcro fastener comes off. (2003-04)

Recall History

2005
Description: Fuel tank may crack because of localized thin wall section, creating potential for fuel leakage and odor.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.