2003 Lincoln LS
2003 Lincoln LS. Click image to enlarge

By Chris Chase

Discuss this story in the forum at CarTalkCanada

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

That said, the LS was bigger and cheaper than the 5-series, and has earned a fair amount of respect from enthusiasts, who talk about balanced handling, handsome styling and a strong available V8 engine. Perhaps the most intriguing model, though, was the lower-end V6 model, which could be had with a manual transmission, something that hadn’t been seen in a Lincoln for a long time, if ever.

Initially, V6 models offered 210 horsepower, while V8 LSs had 252 horses; in 2002, the V6 got 10 more horses. A 2003 mid-cycle update brought another 12 horsepower for the V6 (for 232 total) and the V8’s output rose to 280 horsepower. As mentioned, a five-speed manual was available in V6 models until 2002, after which it was dropped. That left a five-speed automatic as the only choice, but V8 cars carried on with the manual-shift function it had offered since the beginning. The V6 was dropped after 2005.

According to Natural Resources Canada, early V6 models used almost as much fuel as the more desirable V8 – on the order of 13 to 14 L/100 km in the city and about 8.5 L/100 km on the highway. Later V6 cars used 12 L/100 km in the city and 8.2 L/100 km in highway cruising.

2002 Lincoln LS
2002 Lincoln LS. Click image to enlarge

Unfortunately, reliability has been so-so at best. Valve cover gasket leaks and ignition coil failures are frequent, as are the ball joints in the front suspension/steering. This last item is an expensive fix, too. Automatic transmission issues are common too, with the most common fixes ranging from a reflash of the powertrain control module (PCM) to replacing shift control solenoids, which requires accessing the complex innards of the transmission. As well, the V6 engine is difficult to service; one Ford technician posting on an Internet discussion forum claims the intake manifold has to be removed in order to access all six spark plugs. Parts prices seem to be relatively expensive too, compared to other domestic cars. We’d recommend looking for a car with some warranty left, but one that’s had a few of the major issues addressed already.

What the LS has in its favour is an excellent crash safety record. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests, early cars earned five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal impacts, and four and five stars, respectively, for front and rear seat occupant protection in side impacts. Later cars fared nearly as well, but only got four stars for front passenger protection in a front impact.

2001 Lincoln LS
2001 Lincoln LS. Click image to enlarge

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the LS its “good” rating, citing a “low risk of any significant injuries in a 60 km/h frontal offset crash. And according to LincolnForums.com, CNBC (now part of the MSN empire) called the LS one of the five safest cars of all time, but we couldn’t find the original source of that claim.

Certainly, however, the car’s crash test ratings speak for themselves. Anti-lock brakes, traction control and side airbags were standard on the LS from the start, and Ford’s AdvanceTrac stability control system was offered as well.

Used prices are attractive, too. According to Canadian Red Book, a 2006 LS V8 “Ultimate” model, which sold new for almost $56,000, is now worth $34,325, and a 2000 V6 model carries a value of $10,400. It’s not often we recommend the most expensive used model, but that’s what we’ll do here. With depreciation as spectacular as this, it would be hard not to go for a newer version, particularly for whatever warranty is left over.

BMW’s 5-series offers a little more reliability compared to the LS, but the Lincoln is certainly the more affordable choice. We suppose the LS is a classic example of “you get what you pay for.” But if you can look past the iffy reliability to see the LS’s good points, it winds up looking like a pretty good deal.

Online resources

http://www.lincolnforums.com/lincoln-ls.html – This is where we’d start in our search for Lincoln LS information. The above link takes you to a page of general information about the LS, while this link (http://www.lincolnforums.com/forums) takes you to the reasonably active LS forums on the site.

http://www.lincolnsclub.org/forum/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=37 Another decent LS forum can be found here. It’s not as busy as LincolnForums.com, however.

http://forums.llsoc.com/index.php?showforum=196 – It looks like there’s a lot of useful information here. We’d tell you about it, but you have to pay to become a member, and many of the forum sections are closed to non-members. From what we’re allowed to see without surrendering a credit card number, discussions are split up into sections for technical issues, non-technical stuff and an FAQ section.

Related stories on Autos

Manufacturer’s Website

  • Lincoln


Transport Canada Recall Number: 2000273; Units affected: 3,947

2000-2001: On certain vehicles, the front suspension lower ball joints may not have been tightened to specifications during manufacture. This could result in loosening of the attaching nuts and, ultimately result in a fracture of the ball joint stud. This could adversely affect vehicle control and a crash could occur. Should the left side ball joint fracture, the wheel and tire could contact the fuel lines or the fuel filter potentially resulting in fuel leakage. Correction: Ball joint torque will be inspected and vehicles with loose ball joints will either have the fasteners tightened to specification or if necessary, the ball joints will be replaced.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 1999165; Units affected: 497

2000: Certain vehicles do not comply with the requirements of CMVSS 108 – Lighting System and Retroreflective Devices. The output voltage of 9.6 volts to the headlamp high beam system during DRL (Daytime Running Lamps) operation results in a brightness exceeding the requirement of the regulation. Correction: Dealers will install a revised Front Electronics Module (FEM).

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2003094; Units affected: 168

2003: Affects certain vehicles equipped with 17-inch chrome wheels. Of the 275 wheels with heat treatment lot code B1706; approximately 74 may have missed heat treatment during production. Chrome wheels that are not heat-treated, over time, may crack at the wheel hub lug-nut holes and which may result in a loss of lug-nut torque that could ultimately result in wheel separation. Correction: Dealer will replace wheels with heat treatment lot number B1706.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2005092; Units affected: 1

2005: On this vehicle, the fuel tank may have a localized thin wall section in the lower half of the fuel tank. The fuel tank may crack, creating a potential for a fuel leak and fuel odour. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could result in a fire. Correction: Dealer will replace the fuel tank.

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

Connect with Autos.ca