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2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

2dr Conv w/Hardtop Premium

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 23 MPG Highway

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  • $38,890 original MSRP
Printable Version

2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Printable Version

2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

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2002 Ford Thunderbird

Source: MSN Autos

I don't often call a car a current fashion statement.

But Ford's new Thunderbird, with its nostalgia-inspired styling—complete with porthole windows—and awfully fashionable, bright colors, is a rare, rather playful bird that seems as much at home on the pages of a fashion magazine as it does on a showroom floor.

In fact, the best way to look fashionable this year may just be by just sitting behind the wheel of your own 2002 T'bird.

Get in and drive
Best of all, the new T'bird is easy to drive.

Many times, the newest, jazziest cars on the market turn out to be sports cars that provide a jarring, uncomfortable ride, overwhelming, raucous power and a strange interior.

Not the new Thunderbird.

There are no ill-mannered body motions here. No jarring, uncomfortable ride and no overbearing power.

Rather, the T'bird ride is decently damped over bumps and feels almost plush on some road surfaces. The independent, short- and long-arm suspension, front and rear, works subtly to manage the car in the curves.

Cowl and body shake is minimized by weighty body reinforcements, and steering response via the variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering is predictable and confidence-inspiring. It's also not touchy—so it won't pitch you off the road if you partake in some sightseeing from behind the wheel.

Conversational interior
The T'bird interior, even with the top down, is designed to be passenger-friendly. It's quieter than I expected, in fact.

"What [focus group] people talked about is, 'I invited someone into my Thunderbird, I'm gone for a drive [and] I'd like to talk as I drive,'" explained Nancy Gioia, chief engineer for the 2002 Thunderbird. "So, one of the objectives we set is it would be nice if you're going 70 miles an hour down the freeway with the top down and still have a conversation with the person next to you."

Enjoyable V8
The test Thunderbird's smooth transmission shifts and steady V8 power were impressive.

Both the five-speed automatic transmission and the engine come from the Lincoln LS sedan, Gioia said, explaining that with just 25,000 Thunderbirds scheduled for production annually, Ford needed to find ways to control costs on such a low-volume car. Sharing components is one solution.

"About 50 to 60 percent of the components [in the Thunderbird] are carryover parts [from other Ford Motor Co. vehicles]," Gioia said.

In the rear-wheel-drive T'bird, the 3.9-liter double-overhead-cam V8 develops a maximum 252 horsepower, and torque is 267 lb-ft at 4300 rpm.

I felt it—and heard it—come on steadily, yet not forcefully, during the test drive as I zipped around slower cars on the highway with ease.

It was only during acceleration—even a slight press on the accelerator—that I heard the Thunderbird engine under the hood. It was strong sounding, but not at all a boy-racer tune.

When I just maintained a steady speed or coasted, there was nearly no engine sound. This, plus occasional noise over rough pavement, were the only intrusions into a surprisingly quiet interior—with either the soft-top or hardtop on.

Obviously, there was wind noise when I rode with the car open to the wind, but I found I still could hold a conversation.

Color, color everywhere
Note that different wheels (17-inch) and color packages are among the options for T'bird buyers. Remember the baby blue T'birds of the '50s? Gioia said color is important to T'bird buyers.

In focus group discussions, "people keep telling us, 'I want to make it my Thunderbird,'" she said.

So, buyers can opt for a full accent package that swathes the door interiors, the lower dashboard and the center console in bright colors like Thunderbird Blue and Inspiration Yellow.

Note these two colors are only offered for the 2002 model year, while three others will be offered again. Gioia said each year Ford expects to offer special, one-year colors. Again, this responds to consumers interested in having a vehicle that's unique, she said.

She said they told her, "'I want to know exactly how many are built, so I know how special my car is.'"

This year, my pick would be the Thunderbird Blue color. It was the color of the test car, and the blue paint matched the blue needles inside the instrument cluster. These blue needles in the gauges are in all 2002 T'birds, but it only looks color-coordinated in the blue car.

This and that
The Thunderbird is a two-seater, with a 6.7-cubic-foot trunk that can accommodate two standard-size golf bags, but not a lot more.

There's an airbag on/off switch so drivers can bring along a youngster in the front passenger seat.

The T'bird seat cushions are a bit short in length, flat in their overall shape and not well bolstered, so I slid around some during aggressive driving.

If you take a long drive and want to get some sleep, note that the seat recline can be limited.

But the dual-zone climate control system is a nice touch, and the Ford-issue stereo system provides strong sound. Too bad the speakers on the sides of the center transmission tunnel looked stuck on and not well integrated in the test car.

I also find something's not quite proportional between the front and rear ends of the car, at least in my eyes.

Note that the Thunderbird's automatic transmission doesn't include a sport shift mechanism that would allow drivers to shift manually, sans clutch pedal.

And the hardtop, which adds $2,500 to the price of the car, is heavy. It weighs 83 pounds, but thankfully it comes with a wheeled cart.

Watch as you adjust the rearview mirror in the Thunderbird. I found that each time I grabbed the mirror to move it, I inadvertently turned on a reading lamp that's installed at the bottom edge of the mirror. And one time, the lamp stayed on for hours before it was noticed.

Printable Version

2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Passenger On/Off Std
Side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Ford Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. See dealer for details.. See dealer for details. Rental Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer / less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

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