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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #128: How to fail by building a vault-safe car that lasts a million miles

Lambert appeared like a ghost on the corner of 6th and York; I caught a familiar silhouette in the back corner of my left eyeball and turned to see the mirror-polished black Lincoln already motionless in the appointed spot. The long rear door pulled open with the slightly flimsy click familiar to me after almost [...]
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-128-how-to-fail-by-buildin...
23 REPLIES 23
Djarum
Intermediate Driver

I actually wanted to like the Taurus. I was looking for something bigger and a higher hip point than my Mazda 6.
1. The Taurus drove worse than the Edge in normal driving road manners. I mean, I felt like I was driving an SUV. I mean I can drive a 90's Crown Vic with a similar hip point and it drove vastly superior IMHO.
2. The packaging was awful. I felt like I had overall less hip and legroom than I did with comparable Accords and Camrys.
3. Gas mileage was bad.
fueledbymetal
Advanced Driver

You nailed my aversion and what I’m guessing were most others with this: “Also, they looked weird.” - so much so that even those just looking for an appliance couldn’t go for them.
CitationMan
Gearhead

I always liked these, but they do remind me of a hearse.
I would love to see a stylish 3 box sedan built off of a modern SUV platform, but that's never going to happen. Dodge is/was the last nameplate to thumb their nose at the accepted automaker "conventional wisdom", it's too bad no other company will.
To paraphrase General Patton, if everyone's thinking the same thing, someone's not thinking.
BMC
Pit Crew

Numerous relatives, upon seeing it for the first time, were completely unaware the model even existed, and all of them, without speaking to each other, all commented on the hearse description. That's the nickname now. "Are you bringing the Hearse?" But that door sill design is great for old people. No sill to climb over, just sit down like you would a chair, and then swing your legs over. Once in it, everyone loves it.
hearsedriver
Detailer

stone reliable? looks like a hearse? AWESOME, now i need to go look for one, the wife needs a good vehicle, and the last Lincoln she drove was a 75 Town car.
Hmmmm, seems to me i have a spare set of landau bars in the garage
seems to me some smart aftermarket outfit should be able to make cast aluminum pumps for these to replace the crap plastic ones.....
BMC
Pit Crew

I actively searched for used 18-19 Flex when my wife's old Equinox starting giving out at 160k. While our 2018 replaced a small SUV, I considered it a minivan replacement, without the ungainly proportions. We've had six adults on 3 hour drives, plenty of room for the grandkids, and it's been great. We stuck with the FWD version, since my wife drives almost entirely local and she rarely called upon the auto AWD features of the Equinox - which I kept as a work travel beater and refuses to actually die, as it had no trade in value.
And I think it looks sharp. I was disappointed they didn't call it the Galaxy.
mhealy1
Advanced Driver

Cops have a love-hate relationship with the Explorer. Love the room. Like the performance (with the naturally-aspirated engine; I haven’t talked to anybody either the turbo) and the handling. Tolerate the front suspension, which isn’t as sturdy as the Crown Vic’s. Hate the PTU/transfer cases and water pumps.
Right now we have 2 2016 Explorers. The PTU’s have survived but they’re only at 45K at this point. The front end has been rebuilt and the head gaskets replaced. Two water pumps each, although once was PM while the head gaskets were replaced. In fairness, the motors have the equivalent of 255K on them (roughly 8500 engine hours).
In another department, which once had the Explorers, we drive Tahoes. Handling sucks but more room and 10000 engine hours (300K miles) without touching the motors. 100K on the front ends. Tellingly the powertrain warranty on the Fords is 3/36. On the Tahoes it’s 5/100. Since I don’t ride partners or pay the repair bills I’ll take the Explorer, but I know from experience what the durability of them is like. Or maybe 2016 was a bad year?
Pablob
Pit Crew

Pretty sure the original Mazda CX-9 was the same platform and are generally considered indestructible except for the transfer case
SuperDeLuxe
Advanced Driver

How I love American cars! Ford used to know a thing or two about building them, now the only car they build is the Mustang. It seems the remaining automakers who share that love are in Korea. The ironically named Genesis comes to mind.
Steve1957
Intermediate Driver

Just great writing.
Maestro1
Technician

Jack, well done again. I had an indestructible '88 Lincoln and after giving it to my aging Uncle who still drives it occasionally at 275,000 when it was given to him. I then found a '93
V-6 Continental (all rise and laugh, fools, he sayeth) high mileage in the back wall of a used car dealership in California. They didn't know what to do with it. I bought it for practically nothing, replaced the airbags and did another 2000 dollars worth of work on it, and it awakened and became a monster. My access is on a mountain road and I could blow the doors off of everything except a Porsche. Further, I could cruise in it and get 27
mpg. The digital dash was a nightmare (they all are) but the rest of it was wonderful.
It died at 166,000 plus, and I donated it to an FM Station. I had it for a few years, drive it all the time, it never let me down.
More good work from you. Let's not forget the book project with you and Sajeed. The book is titled First Gear. Amazon. Make a fortune and show everybody else how to write. Stay well.
Rider79
Technician

I would sure have to argue about the D3 cars (Taurus and Sable) looking better than the W-platform GM's. The W Grand Prixes of 1997-2003 were very sleek and stylish cars, and the 2005-2009 Lacrosse was very curvaceous and beautiful. Yes, I owned a 1998 GP GTP coupe, and a 2002 GT sedan, as well as a 2009 Lacrosse Super, so I may be prejudiced - but still. The Ford products looked bloated and bland by comparison.

Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I was strictly referring to the interiors and the modernity of the styling.

Agree with you that some of the Ws were quite handsome.
Rider79
Technician

I have always liked the Flex, even while lifetime Ford fans that I know despised it. It was definitely a love it or hate it thing, with its polarizing looks.
brb
Instructor

Good article. It has always amused me that Ford increased Five Hundred sales simply by renaming the car Taurus. Had I ever needed a wagon, the Freestyle/Taurus X were on the list.
CarterMunich
New Driver

What great reading. When the Five Hundred and Freestyle came out, I had a black loaded 500 company car that I loved. And I helped my parents get a Freestyle with CVT transmission. The Freestyle got handed down in the family, only ever needing AC work.
Being Ford‘s first CVT, I never expected it to reach 100k, but ours turned out to be bulletproof.
whitef
Pit Crew

Sounds like Lambert is a wise gentleman.

We've bought in the neighborhood of 50 Ecoboost F-150s over the past several years and have found the motor to be alarmingly short lived when doing pickup things. Hopefully it stands up better in a passenger car.

I had a Flex as a rental once and found it to be quite handy.
Al
Intermediate Driver

Jeez, an article by Jack that I enjoyed reading! What happened?
Soggytom
Intermediate Driver

Bought a used 2010 SHO from Carmax with 70k miles. Supremely comfy, awesome place to sit on my ass for 8-ish hours watching a country club overnight (the reason I bought it). But it was harsh as hell on the highway (made my previous Mustang feel Lincoln-ish), and of course, the dismal fuel mileage. Really should have spent less on the regular Taurus, taken the performance hit for a better ride and better mileage and longevity (as Jack so elegantly expounded).
kyree-williams
Detailer

I did like my CPO 2014 Lincoln MKS. It was an interesting car for someone in his early twenties to be driving, but I bought it for $22,500 in early 2017 and with 29,000 miles on the odometer, which was cheaper than a nice Civic. I used to get so annoyed when I took it into the dealer and they gave me a CD4-based MKZ loaner or MKX. Yeah, they were never, but they were built cheaper, especially inside. And you could tell. They also suffered from the same water pump issue was the MKS (all of the transverse 3.5/3.7 Duratec engines did).

If there’s one thing that bothered me about it more than it should have, it’s that it wasn’t programmed to play the prettier radio-based warning chimes that other contemporary FoMoCo cars did, and would only ever generate the tinny ones from the cluster. I assume your MKT is the same?

Oh, and the MKS (black with off-white leather and the Ultimate package) was also rather flashy. To date, it’s gotten the most attention of any car I’ve ever owned.

Unfortunately, it met its untimely end when I ran it into the back of a Buick at speed…to date my only at-fault accident.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Can't say I have liked much about them. They do look like a hearse and considering the way some people drive them today it could serve double duty when they wreck themselves to death. It may just need a tow truck.
JGeske
Instructor

I hear so many people hate on the Flex, then I told them to suck it up and take a test drive. Hard to find one who wouldn't admit it was fantastic, if you got past the looks long enough to get inside and drive.
chrisawyer
Intermediate Driver

Jack:

I think you have forgotten the first and, perhaps, most formidable obstacle placed in front of the D3 platform: It was Ford's "Third Age" car. The company went to great lengths to talk about how they had designed the Five Hundred and Montego for aging drivers, and pushed story after story about engineers and designers wearing bulky suits that limited movement and glasses that altered their field of view so they could understand the needs of drivers as they entered this third age. (If I remember correctly, the ages were Youth, Middle Age, Third Age (a.k.a. Old Age), and -- eventually -- Death.) Some genius thought it would be a good idea to highlight this choice, and sell it to younger buyers as a plus because the vehicles were more ergonomic and easier to use.

What was really sad, however, was that Ford had shown the 427 Concept one year earlier. Rear drive, high-waisted and looking like a Fusion on steroids, it had a thumping 427 cubic inch V10 under the hood, and nothing in common with the 500. There was good reason; it was a look at the design language of the 2006 Fusion, while the 500 had the look of an over-inflated second-gen European Focus in sedan form.