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Car reviews - Ford - Fairlane - LTD sedan

Our Opinion

We like
Loads of luxury, space and chintzy trim
Room for improvement
Still limited by its rough and ready EB Falcon genes, thirsty too

Ford logo7 May 2003

By MALCOLM LIVERMORE

FORD'S flagship, the LTD, has been popular with big-car buyers for well over 20 years. The huge interior space, comprehensive equipment list and effortless highway cruising have made it great value for money.

The LTD may not have the refinement of its European and Japanese rivals but it has the advantage of being built to suit Australian conditions.

And it is not a mechanically complex vehicle which keeps running costs to an affordable level for a luxury limousine.

The DC series LTD, introduced in August, 1991, is based on the Falcon but uses a longer wheelbase to add space behind the front seats. Four people can be seated in luxury.

There is room for one more in the centre rear seat but the transmission tunnel intrudes into the floor space, which spoils the comfort.

Luxury and prestige are the major selling points for the LTD and the comfort, entertainment and safety equipment list will not disappoint.

There are automatic climate control, power front seats and windows, trip computer, cruise control and an Alpine six-speaker AM/FM radio/cassette, plus a lot more.

In April, 1992, Ford released the Series 2 LTD which added a six- stack CD player and saw the unpopular digital speedometer replaced with a more user-friendly analog instrument. Later the same year the LTD got a Smartlock anti-theft system.

Safety was upgraded in early 1993 with stronger anti-intrusion bars in the doors and a lap sash seatbelt for the centre rear seat passenger.

The DC LTD was discontinued in early 1995 to make way for the next model.

Ford introduced a 5.0-litre, 165kW V8 engine as standard in the LTD but the 3.9-litre, six-cylinder engine carried over from the previous model as an option.

It has a power output of 139kW with 338Nm of torque so is not too far behind the V8 in performance and certainly has the advantage at the petrol pump.

The LTD will accelerate from zero to 100km/h in under 10 seconds and cover the standing 400 metres in 16.8 seconds. The 4.0-litre engine will marginally better these times.

Ride comfort is always top priority for a luxury car and the LTD is well up to the mark.

The steering is very light but still has some feel and feedback.

The LTD is often criticised for the lack of independent rear suspension. In the real world of speed limits and traffic penalties, most drivers would find little to fault and in overall terms the handling is good for a car the size and weight of the LTD.

Anyone in the market for a large, luxuriously equipped car with reasonable running costs and the toughness to handle almost any road in Australia should include the LTD on the short list.

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