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2003 Entry Level Luxury Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Lincoln LS
2003 Lincoln LS

Upon driving the Lincoln LS upon its initial introduction in San Francisco in 1999, we expressed-in a bit of understatement-that we could imagine way worse things than being stuck in a Lincoln LS for, say, a decade or two. In 2003, as the LS receives is first major update since we made that statement, that comment still rings true (and yes, it's still an understatement).

You might not have noticed, but the '03 LS got a slight facelift, giving it a slightly revised grille, staggered-diameter headlights and a tidier tush. The wheels choices are new as well, with more thick spokes across the board. Overall, though, the styling remains conservative, walking a fine line of appeal to the buyers who are drawn to established Lincoln values as well as those who have more "Euro" inclinations. Color, we've found, makes all the difference in the world on this car, with the lighter shades appealing to the traditional set, and the darker colors giving it more of an edge.

The interior of the LS received more significant enhancements. Gone is the hard black plastic around the stereo and climate controls, replaced by classy satin-nickel-finish metallic surfacing. There are also changes to the seat materials and other interior components. Audiophiles will sing the praises of the offering of a phenomenal new stereo system codeveloped with hi-fi legend THX. Options include a navigation system, heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats.

The LS features rear-wheel drive, regardless of which enhanced engine you choose. The V-6 now makes a strong 232 hp, while the V-8 now puts out a Herculean 280 hp-both are mated to 5-speed automatic transmissions either with or without a manual control feature. The LS Sport boasts some of the best handling of any Ford/Lincoln/Mercury product anywhere, while the ride is silky smooth and whisper quiet, as only befits a Lincoln.