Let's just get this out of the way and state the obvious: the Lincoln Town Car is big. And not sport-ute big, more like driving a luxury-liner big.

Enough said. The test-drive of the Town Car Signature Touring sedan followed on the heels of the Focus wagon. It was easy to get used to the powerful 4.6-liter V8 as I headed back to Cleveland from Detroit. This powerplant delivers 215 hp at 4,500 rpm and 285 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. It links to a four-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission which shifts on the steering column, definitely something I needed to adjust to. In fact, after the week with the Town Car, I got into my Toyota and reached for the gearshift on the steering column, clearly forgetting I drive a five speed.

After enjoying nearly two decades as a premier luxury car, modifications to the 2000 Town Car are nominal and geared towards safety. An emergency trunk release lets a person trapped in the trunk open it from the inside. This is not good news for people who actually use that sort of technique as part of doing "business." The release handle glows in the dark and is standard equipment on all Lincolns. Additional safety features include a child safety-seat anchor, front side-impact air bags, a belt-minder system that reminds you to buckle up by sounding chimes and a flashing light, as well as antilock brakes and all-speed traction control.

As large as this vehicle is, it's surprisingly easy to maneuver. A responsive, crisp turning radius makes it easy to forget the size of the vehicle. For a great ride, the Signature Touring Sedan package includes larger front and rear stabilizer bars. The Town Car glides over rough roads like skating on fresh ice. And, speaking of ice, a sudden snowstorm quickly reminded me of the drawbacks of rear-wheel drive. As I drove down slippery streets, the Town Car was a little shaky, but any potential sliding was quickly corrected by the traction control.

As far as looks are concerned, let me just say it: I love Lincolns! There's something about the elegant touches of chrome on the grille and door handles, to the smooth lines leading back to the dual-exhaust rear end, to the 16-in. chrome wheels that scream "get in and drive me." The luxurious interior complements the elegant exterior. Window and power lock controls are easy to access and conveniently lit at night by a somewhat eerie green light. Fuel and trunk release buttons are chrome (what a surprise) and clearly marked so there's no embarrassing mix-up when refueling. I'll admit that I've hit the wrong button on my car at least once, opening the trunk instead of the fuel door. Easy-to-access heated seat controls are on the driver and passenger door panels, with dials providing low to maximum heating.

Options on our test vehicle included a six-CD disc changer which mounts in the trunk and power moonroof for a whopping $2,100. Speaking of the trunk, it's cavernous and looks as though my car would fit neatly inside.

Other optional equipment included 16-in. chrome wheels for $700, and glorious heated seats for $290. These options, added to the $40,630 base, drove the final price to $43,885. Would I buy this vehicle? Let me explain. In my dreams, I own a three-car garage that houses a Porsche Boxster, a Lincoln LS, and a Lincoln Town Car. Unfortunately, because of the big price tags, all these vehicles will remain where they belong -- in my dreams.

-- Sherri Koucky