Good looking, but anonymous, the 2006 Lincoln Zephyr shares most of its bits and pieces with the 2006 Ford Fusion and upcoming 2006 Mercury Milan, and joins the new Mark LT pickup truck in creating a revised "face" for the luxury brand. Distinguishing characteristics of the Zephyr are limited to clear-lens projector beam headlight elements, a thickly vaned waterfall grille, wide-spoke 17-inch chrome wheels, and oversized taillights. Otherwise, the Lincoln Zephyr's flanks are dull and featureless - almost invisible.
The 2006 Lincoln Zephyr but comes fully equipped with the luxury conveniences that make a Lincoln special. Leather upholstery is standard, and the gauges are electroluminescent with Lincoln's signature white lighting. The company is particularly proud of the optional THX II-certified audio system that is available on the 2006 Zephyr, and is quick to note that a DVD-driven, touch-screen navigation system is also offered.
A full complement of standard safety gear includes side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags, and "roll-fold" technology for the side-curtain airbags that is designed to inflate the airbag between the window and an occupant's head if the head is resting on or near the glass. Antilock brakes and traction control are standard, but there's no sign of a stability control system for the 2006 Lincoln Zephyr.
Initially, the Zephyr slots under the LS as the entry model in Lincoln's lineup, but with the LS departing after 2006, the Zephyr will become the company's bread-and-butter car. But is this really what Lincoln needs to rejuvenate sales? A badge-engineered, front-wheel-drive Ford Fusion with as much surface excitement as a presidential address?
We'll take a rear-drive Lincoln LS V8 Sport, please, with a nice, big, fat, juicy $10,000 rebate.
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company