Lincoln's all new large crossover model has arrived.
After years of design lethargy, Lincoln is finally leaving behind its old ways by embracing a bold new styling direction and the cutting-edge technology to go with it.
Venerable model names such as Continental and the Mark Series are long gone, as are some of the more recent Lincolns including the LS and Aviator. Today's Lincoln marque has largely been transformed, making a solid effort to compete against some of the best European and Asian brands as well as its chief adversary, Cadillac.
Lincoln began to signal its new direction when the Zephyr midsize sedan was renamed the MKZ for the 2007 model year while the MKX replaced the Aviator as the brand's midsize crossover model. In 2008, the full-sized MKS sedan was released and this past fall the MKT, a large crossover, made its debut.
The MKT represents a true game changer for Lincoln - a daringly stylish seven-passenger, three-row crossover that successfully blends performance with opulence.
On the outside, the toothsome double wing grille advances current Lincoln design logic while the bustle back rear quarter hearkens to a style first popularized in the 1930s and again four decades later. Even the centered crosswise light display is a fitting tribute to yesteryear Lincolns, spanning the full rear length of the MKT. From stem to stern, the MKT defies easy classification, appearing to be both a wagon and extended sedan all at once.
Inside, the cabin is cavernous and whisper quiet, making good use of Scottish Bridge of Weir leathering and complemented by walnut swirl, olive ash or woven-metal trim. Tall drivers will savor generous head, shoulder and legroom with 12-way power adjusting seats featuring lumbar support, and a heating/cooling feature.
The MKT dazzles with innovative technology, offering some of the most sophisticated equipment available including a panoramic roof which spans all three rows. A touch navigation screen doubles as a rear view camera when the Lincoln is shifted into reverse, while the SYNC hands-free control system allows drivers to speak commands that adjust cabin climate, choose songs and convert incoming text messages into speech.
An intriguing, optional feature is the micro refrigerator situated between the second row bucket seats, a configuration available for customers who choose that arrangement and dispense with the seventh seat. Holding as many as seven cans of soft drink, the unit can either chill or freeze whatever is placed within it.
For the third row passengers, the cramped confines and restricted headroom means that these last two seats are expressly for children. No matter, the seats fold completely down to create additional storage capacity or can be reversed to face the rear, making tailgating an exciting possibility.
The stock engine for the Lincoln MKT is a 3.7L V6 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, powered by its front wheels. Optionally, a potent 3.5L EcoBoost V6 is matched with the same transmission and is powered by all four wheels. Paddle shifters allow drivers to operate the MKT in manual mode upon command; towing capacity is 4500 lbs.
But it is EcoBoost technology which truly sets the MKT apart from its principal competitors which Lincoln identifies as the Acura MDX and Audi Q7. The twin turbocharged direct injection V6 engine produces V8 equivalent power, offers V6 fuel economy while emitting fewer emissions.
Producing 355 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft of torque, the EcoBoost-equipped model accelerates quickly and hits 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds while still returning 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway. In contrast, the V8 equipped Audi Q7 produces 350 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft of torque, while delivering just 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway. Moreover, the Lincoln MKT reaches its peak torque at lower rpms, allowing it to hit the 60 mph threshold a full second faster than both the Audi and Acura.
Lincoln leaves nothing out when it comes to safety features on the MKT. All wheel drive and EcoBoost go hand in hand, with the torque sensing drive system constantly checking the wheels to deliver power when wheel slip has been detected. A safety canopy system and rollover sensors protects passengers in all three rows by launching air bags and side curtain airbags when a side impact accident has been detected.
Other sensors detect when a crash is about to occur by issuing a warning that displays on the windshield, engaging the brakes to avoid hitting the car in front. Credit Volvo technology for this feature, a safety benefit Lincoln enjoys thanks to the Swedish brand's relationship with Ford.
Pricing for the Lincoln MKT begins around $44,000 for the base model and nears $50,000 for EcoBoost. Fully optioned the MKT retails for just under $60,000, putting it squarely between the Audi MDX and Acura Q7, giving new car buyers an excellent reason to consider Lincoln.