Are Lincolns good cars? Do they have good reliability and performance? We provide an honest assessment of their overall quality.
Lincoln isn’t the first brand most people associate with luxury cars nowadays, but the company was once the epitome of luxury. Despite losing much of its prestige over the decades, it still knows how to make luxurious vehicles.
Lincolns are good luxury cars for the simple reason that they are safe, comfortable and luxurious, easy to drive, and affordable for premium vehicles. While not perfect, they are a lot better than their reputation might suggest.
Our detailed analysis highlights the key strengths and weaknesses of Lincoln cars to make you a smarter, more informed consumer.
IN THIS GUIDE
About Lincoln Cars
In case you didn’t know, Lincoln is the luxury division of Ford, the same way Cadillac is the luxury division of General Motors and Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, and Genesis are the luxury divisions of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Hyundai, respectively.
The company was founded in 1917 and takes its name from U.S. present Abraham Lincoln. Initially a manufacturer of airplane engines during World War 1, it transitioned into a carmaker after the war and was subsequently acquired by Ford in 1922.
Lincoln was a dominant, trend-setting force in the luxury car segment for decades and became renowned for its large, powerful, and lavish sedans and coupes, including the iconic 1961 Continental. It vied with Cadillac for market dominance during the post-World War II economic boom.
But despite its long pedigree as a premier luxury car brand, the company experienced severe setbacks from the 1970s onwards and lost its dominance to European and Asian imports. The 1998 Lincoln Navigator was the first Lincoln SUV, an instant hit that gave it a second lease on life and foreshadowed the modern SUV craze.
If you want to learn more about Lincoln’s history and other interesting facts, read our overview of the brand.
Today, Lincoln competes in the “affordable” luxury car segment with a lineup that mostly consists of SUVs and crossovers, including a modern iteration of the Navigator. Here are all the Lincoln cars and SUVs currently available in North America:
|Gas engine / Hybrid
|Gas engine / Plug-in Hybrid
In 2021, Lincoln announced that it will become a fully electric luxury brand by 2030 and plans to release its first EV in 2022.
Electric cars have many benefits, and the transition will mark a new beginning for the company.
Are Lincolns Good Cars?
When buying a car, you need to consider its safety, reliability, performance, features and amenities, affordability, and cost of ownership.
Let’s look at how good Lincoln vehicles are based on those criteria.
Lincolns are very safe cars that meet the highest passive and active safety standards.
Thanks to solid structural integrity and advanced crash-avoidance technologies, they typically earn top scores in crash tests performed by the IIHS and NHTSA.
In addition to basic safety features such as crumple zones, dual-stage airbags, and seat belt pretensioners, all Lincoln models are available with a host of pre-collision systems that includes forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, automated emergency braking, a rearview camera, and adaptive cruise control.
You can even set driving parameters for young drivers in the family.
These advanced features are always working in the background to prevent accidents, helping keep you and your passengers safe on the road.
So, are Acuras safe? Yes. Lincoln cars are among the safest vehicles on the road, featuring the latest passive and active safety features and technologies.
Are Lincolns Reliable?
Lincoln doesn’t have a strong track record for reliability, and its vehicles tend to perform below average in reliability assessments. This isn’t too surprising considering parent company Ford is also not strong in the reliability department.
Lincoln vehicles do, after all, share many parts with Fords and are built on the same assembly lines.
RepairPal places Lincoln 24th out of 32 brands in terms of reliability, better than Cadillac and most European luxury brands but far worse than Lexus, Acura, and Genesis, all three of which have a solid reputation for dependability.
Who or what is RepairPal, you ask? Well, it’s a certified network of repair shops that uses thousands of real-world data points gained through surveys and analyses of actual repair invoices to assess the reliability of vehicles over multiple generations.
Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Surveys and J.D. Power’s Vehicle Dependability Studies, on the other hand, only measure problems within the first year of a vehicle’s ownership. But regardless, Lincoln tends to fall in the bottom half of their rankings, often near the bottom.
According to RepairPal, the most reliable Lincoln models are the discontinued Town Car and the MKC compact crossover (rebranded as the Corsair in 2019), both of which have above-average reliability.
Of course, how well you take care of a Lincoln greatly affects how long it lasts. Routine maintenance and careful driving are paramount to the reliability of any car.
So, are Lincolns reliable? Unfortunately, even though some of its vehicles have above-average reliability, Lincoln as a brand is marked by poor reliability and tends to perform below average in reliability studies. Lincolns can be reliable if properly maintained, however.
Unlike European premium brands and even archrival Cadillac, Lincoln has never had any pretense of being a performance brand. Lincolns of the past focused on delivering a quiet, comfortable, and luxurious driving experience, and today’s models are no different.
Expect a smooth, compliant, and serene ride rather than a nimble and sporty one. In fact, the brand doesn’t offer a single performance-oriented model or trim in its lineup.
All Lincoln vehicles feature modern powertrains that deliver a competitive level of power, refinement and fuel economy for their respective classes.
If you’re looking for something a bit more fun and exciting, a brand like Cadillac offers a more balanced lineup.
Mazda has been moving upmarket as of late, and its cars are also fun to drive.
So, do Lincolns have good performance? Yes. As long as you’re not expecting a fun and engaging driving experience, Lincoln vehicles have competitively powerful and fuel-efficient powertrains and deliver an incredibly quiet, comfortable, and luxurious driving experience.
Contrary to what you might have heard, Lincoln is a luxury brand that produces luxurious vehicles. As such, Lincolns typically boast better features and material quality than regular mainstream vehicles such as Fords, Toyotas, and Chevys.
The confusion probably stems from the fact that the Lincoln badge isn’t as prestigious as it was prior to the 1980s, when Lincoln was one of the top luxury car brands in the world.
Today, Lincoln competes somewhere in between the mainstream and premium segments, alongside Acura, Buick, and even Infiniti, placing it a notch below full-fledged premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Jaguar.
You get better material quality compared to the average mainstream vehicle, as well as a wider selection of tech and convenience features.
Leather upholstery, real wood trim, heated and ventilated seats, and heated steering wheels are norms, as are an advanced infotainment system with a large touchscreen display, a premium audio system, a head-up display, wireless charging, and Jeweled LED headlamps.
Lincoln’s flagship “Black Label” line kicks the premium experience up a notch. All Black Label models feature even higher quality materials and provide owners with highly personalized customer service, including a vehicle maintenance plan and complete interior and exterior detailing once a year
So, do Lincolns have good amenities? Yes. As luxury vehicles, Lincoln cars and SUVs feature high-quality materials and are offered with a wide array of modern tech and convenience amenities. Black Label models even come with complete vehicle maintenance and detailing plans.
Being as they are luxury vehicles, Lincolns command a higher price than the average Ford or mainstream vehicle, often in line with Buicks, Acuras, and Infinitis. Remember, they typically offer higher quality materials, more powerful engines, and more advanced features and creature comforts than market norms.
However, their prices tend to be lower than comparable luxury vehicles from more prestigious premium brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and even Volvo.
You will find that Lincolns are very cheap on the used car market, among the cheapest luxury vehicles, in fact. Used Lincolns are cheap because of a lingering stigma that Lincolns are cars that only old people drive and a reputation for poor reliability.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad vehicles. It’s just that you can get a great deal on them.
Just make sure to read our step-by-step used car buying guide before buying any second-hand car, SUV, or truck, regardless of the make.
So, are Lincolns affordable? Yes. Lincoln cars are some of the most affordable luxury vehicles on the market, providing a lot of luxury and tech at an attainable price. Used Lincolns are even more affordable when compared to their competitors.
Cost Of Ownership
If Lincolns have below-average reliability, it stands to reason that they are very expensive to maintain, right? Not quite. Lincoln vehicles are surprisingly affordable to own.
Lincolns cost less to own than many other luxury vehicles in large part because they are inexpensive to maintain, service, and repair should something break or stop working properly.
Since they are mechanically similar to Fords, their parts are readily available and cheap.
Aside from the massive, gas-guzzling Lincoln Navigator, Lincoln cars are also fuel-efficient for luxury vehicles, meaning less money spent on fuel, and are no more or less expensive to insure.
The average scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repair cost for all Lincoln models is $879 per year, according to RepairPal’s data. Although higher than the industry average of $652, the brand performs better than every European luxury brand.
So, are Lincolns expensive to own? No. Despite their high depreciation and subpar reliability, Lincolns are more affordable to own than most luxury vehicles, especially those from Europe. They are fairly inexpensive to fuel, service, and repair.
Lincoln Cars FAQs
Want to know more? Here are additional questions about Lincoln cars that people often seek answers for.
Is Lincoln Better Than Ford?
Lincoln is the luxury division of Ford, meaning Lincoln vehicles are a step above Ford vehicles.
Lincolns can be considered better than Fords because they boast higher-quality interior materials, offer a wider selection of luxury features, pack more powerful engines, and provide a more pleasant ownership experience.
Just keep in mind that these improvements make them more expensive than the average Ford.
Are Lincolns More Reliable Than Ford?
Lincoln and Ford vehicles share platforms, powertrains, and technology and are generally built in the same factories by the same workers. As such, they have similar reliability.
Lincolns tend to be a little bit less reliable than Fords as a result of having more advanced and sophisticated features.
Are Lincolns Good On Gas?
Except for the massive Lincoln Navigator, all gas-powered Lincoln models get respectable gas mileage that, at the very least, is competitive for their class.
Lincoln happens to be one of the few automakers to offer hybrid vehicles, and it plans to have an all-electric lineup by 2030.
So, yes, Lincolns are generally good on gas.
Is Lincoln A Good Used Car?
Yes. Lincoln vehicles are good used cars because they provide a high value to reliability ratio.
Used Lincolns tend to be cheaper than other used luxury cars, and despite Lincoln’s reputation for poor reliability, are affordable to own.
They are inexpensive to maintain and fix as a result of sharing parts with Ford vehicles.
Owned by Ford Motors, Lincoln is a luxury car brand with a long and storied history of making premium vehicles. While no longer as prestigious as it once was, the company fields a strong and modern lineup that offers buyers a lot of value.
Lincolns are safe vehicles for both drivers and passengers thanks to their comprehensive suite of advanced passive and active safety features; deliver a quiet, comfortable, and compliant ride; and are powered by capable, fuel-efficient engines.
Reliability isn’t their strong suit, but they manage to be more reliable and less expensive to maintain and fix than competing vehicles from most European luxury carmakers.
If you’re in the market for an affordable luxury vehicle, consider getting a Lincoln. On top of being well-made and equipped, they tend to fall on the lower end of the luxury car price spectrum and are incredibly cheap on the used car market.
That’s to say you get a lot of bang for the buck.
So, are Lincolns good cars? Yes. While not as prestigious as their European rivals or as reliable as the Japanese competition, Lincoln cars are a solid option for those looking for ample luxury and performance at an affordable price.