It's been a while since I had a date.
Yes, I realize that this is a website with a focus on automobiles, but let me get to that part shortly.
There is, however, a connection between dating and the automobile. You have been on dates when one of you drove the other to dinner, a movie or a concert. You hid the flowers in the backseat…or candy or some other romantic gift. You were the one finding parking at a nearby coffee shop or driving as a chaperone for a lucky couple.
Come to think of it, taxis, Ubers and Lyfts are automobiles, too. You did use one of them to get to your date in a larger city.
The date I had was not with a human. It was with a car. Yes, a car.
This date was not an ordinary date with a car but one facilitated by the Lincoln Motor Company and its dealer network. Lincoln Date Night was designed for a potential customer to get to know one of their products intimately. As part of the Date Night plan, there is a gift – a gift card to use for diner, a movie or a night out somewhere.
You might think this works best with someone you are interested in being with. If that is a human, then the Lincoln of your choice becomes an important third wheel. Sometimes, it was just you and the car or SUV your local dealer provided for that night.
In my case, my date was a 2017 Lincoln Continental. There's no third wheel there – just me and the car.
It is quite easy to set up a Lincoln Date Night. If you are working with a Lincoln dealer that participates in the program, they probably want a few things from you to initiate the vehicle loan – a valid driver's license and current insurance, for starters. At the dealer, you spend about a half hour to be ready for your experience with the new Lincoln.
Other manufacturers and dealerships have similar programs. Buick offers the 24 Hours of Happiness for prospective customers of their current lineup. Toyota lets you use their Rent-A-Car program for extended drives, as well. These are just a couple of programs, but it is worth a look if you are interested in seeing how a vehicle fits you for your next purchase.
What makes Lincoln's program unique is the extension of perks during the Date Night period. They are great enticements and is fully backed by the Lincoln Motor Company, but keep in mind that there will be calls from the dealership to follow up. The hope is that the customer has fully utilized the vehicle they are trying out to see whether to buy one or not.
How was the date? It was great! The Continental went out for dinner with me – with a few friends – took a drive into the night on some sweet roads and came home without any drama. It woke up fresh and ready for the next day. So, I took it to breakfast and long drive in the countryside. We had a little lunch and met with friends for an early dinner. Of course, I took beauty shots of my date…
A funny thing, though. I never wanted to part with my date. It stayed another night. I hated to see it go. Overall, it was great…really.
However, I must talk about the Continental itself. This is the second time behind the wheel of one, but I was really going deeper with it. You might have noticed something in my description of the “date.” For a car to stick around for more than a fortnight, it had to be really good.
The 2017 Lincoln Continental has so far ranked among the best vehicle I have driven this year. The twin-turbocharged V6 is ball of power that spares no time catapulting one into hyperspace in no time. The cabin is fantastic, buoyed by the 30-way seats in this Reserve version and the combination of old and new elements of American luxury throughout. It is the same outside. In all, I enjoyed driving this luxury car, especially in Sport mode where things got really exciting.
The Continental is not the only Lincoln available for a Date Night. Sales are strong for their SIV products – the MKC, MKX and Navigator. One of these vehicles would also be available to take on a date.
Lincoln sales have improved towards the end of the last year and its momentum continues. Whether customer prospects are being cultivated through these Date Nights is something I wished I had data on. However, what better way to experience a car one is curious about by taking it on a date.
All photos by Randy Stern