2010 Lincoln MKT AWD EcoBoost Review

In EcoBoost trim, Lincoln's full-sized MKT crossover is a compelling alternative to European and Japanese competitors

2010 Lincoln MKT AWD EcoBoost Review

The Lincoln MKT is the sister car to the Ford Flex, which I reviewed very favorably a couple of weeks ago. Both vehicles have the same powerful direct-injection 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6, meaning that they can really put some serious power down on the pavement. With 355-hp and 350 ft-lbs of torque both the Flex and the MKT scoot to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds! That’s good enough to pull away from many so-called sports sedans. And that V8-like power produces V6-like 16-mpg city and 22-mpg highway gas mileage.

FAST FACTS

1. Based on the Ford Edge, the Lincoln MKT is a luxury crossover that offers seating for six or seven.

2. Pricing starts at $44,200, but the all-wheel drive EcoBoost model with 355-hp and 350 ft-lbs of torque starts at $49,200.

3. There’s anywhere from 17.9 cu.-ft. of cargo room to 75.9 cu.-ft.

4. Lincoln offers high-tech options like adaptive cruise control and an industry-best park assist feature.

Both crossover’s also have very similar handling characteristics. That means they have a comfortable luxury car ride, with more body lean than sporty sedans, but not so much as to feel sloppy. On dry roads it can actually take a turn quite well and if Mother Nature dumps a few inches of snow, having the full time all-wheel drive makes for worry free motoring. As for the brakes, they do their job well, but the pedal could use a bit more feedback.

SISTER CAR TO THE FORD FLEX, MKT CERTAINLY HAS ITS OWN LOOK

One thing that the Lincoln and the Ford do not have in common is the shape and look of the vehicles. From the outside, you’d never guess they were built off the same platform.  Gone are the old days when Ford and Lincoln siblings differentiated themselves from each other by using a different grill and bumper treatment. These twins are as different as Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

The Flex is a slab sided, large boxy vehicle that looks like a Tonka Toy on steroids. The Lincoln MKT, on the other hand, has a swoopy aerodynamic look, from the large chrome split waterfall grill, to the chiseled crease along the high beltline, and on back to the tail gate with a full width horizontal tail lamp treatment. The Flex shouts truck, while the MKT whispers elegant crossover. And oddly enough, the MKT is 6-inches longer than the Flex, but you’d swear it was a foot shorter.

LOOKS SMALLER, IS LARGER, BUT WITH LESS INTERIOR ROOM

That extra six inches must be all in the front overhang because with the MKT you get 2 fewer inches of legroom in the second row seats. The loss of legroom isn’t important because second row passengers will still enjoy limousine like room to stretch out. The real penalty for the sedan-like styling comes in the loss of headroom and cargo capacity.  Unless you play professional basketball, the loss of one-inch of headroom in the first and second rows won’t matter much, but there’s a loss of five-inches for the third row passengers, meaning only those under 5’3” need apply.

One of the things that impressed me the most about the Flex was the comfort that two full sized adults could enjoy in the way-back row. In fact, it’s the only third-row seat vehicle I’ve ever tested that I could honestly say would be comfortable enough to sit in for several hours, both for head and leg room. The MKT has the leg room, but only kids can sit comfortably without hitting their head on the roof. 

The interior of this MKT has all the luxury feel and appointments you’d expect from a Lincoln. It is serenely quiet on the highway and city streets. The leather seats are handsome and comfortable with an excellent lumbar control that both pumps up the lumbar bladder, and allows the driver to move it up and down to find just the right spot to comfort the driver. The seats are both heated and cooled, but I was surprised to discover that the seat bottoms didn’t get all that hot, especially compared to those on the Flex which could fry an egg after only a few minutes on high. The large center console has a USB port, a plug for MP3 players, and a power plug for recharging electronic devices.

The Navigation system uses Ford’s voice activated SYNC setup and features a large screen that displays a lot of good information such as the radio station, outside temp, and heat settings on the perimeter of the screen. Programming addresses is easy and Ford seems to have the user-friendly Nav system down pat. 

The brake and gas pedals are electrically adjustable which is great for short-legged drivers who don’t wish to sit too close to the steering wheel. The wheel itself comes with cruise control, Bluetooth and audio controls built-in, as well as paddle shifters to operate the 6-speed automatic and either side can be used to shift up or down. Dash and ambient lighting throughout the cabin are excellent, even for the second row passengers who get their own set of climate controls, as well as 110 and 12-Volt outlets. 

As mentioned earlier, second row seat room is abundant. The test car had a 60/40 split bench, although dual buckets are available, which allow for an optional center console with refrigerator compartment. The buckets also move fore and aft, to give the third row even more legroom, without sacrificing comfort for the second row. With either second row configuration, access to the third row is excellent, as the seats will tilt forward to offer a wide opening.

That last row of seats will fold into the well in the rear to allow for a large unobstructed cargo floor and increasing cargo room from 17.9 cubic feet to 39.6 cu.-ft. Second row seats also fold flat to bring the total cargo room to 75.9 cu.-ft. The rear hatch is electronically controlled with a dash button, or key fob. This is a true luxury touch, although I’d trade it for a rear hatch with a little more window to see what’s behind you.

Looking up, passengers are treated to an expansive view of the sky with a double sized moonroof. The front section tilts and slides and the rear section is fixed. Both have sunshades, as do both rear side windows.

The MKT features a long list of standard features. It includes adaptive HID headlights with auto high-beam control, rain-sensing wipers, a reverse camera, Sync voice communication with Bluetooth, Electronic Stability Control, keyless access and push-button start. But the best standard feature is the blind-spot monitoring side mirrors. They flash a light in the mirror any time a car comes into the drivers blind spots in the adjacent lanes. This is a system that every car should have in the coming years.

OPTIONS LIKE ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL AND LINCOLN PARK ASSIST ARE MONEY WELL SPENT

But the two best features on my test vehicle were reasonably priced options. The first is Adaptive Cruise Control with collision warning and brake assist. If you do a fair amount of highway driving, like I do, this $1295 option will make your drive much easier. I drove 60 miles of three-lane highway without ever having to touch the gas, brake or cruise controls on the steering wheel – all while maneuvering through traffic at a comfortable and safe pace. This remarkable system makes highway driving much less hectic and is far more relaxing than standard cruise control.

The other great option on this MKT is Lincoln’s new Active Park Assist. Even if you live in a suburban setting where you don’t have the opportunity to parallel park often, you gotta spend the bucks for this. Trust me, every chance you get, you’ll load up the car with friends and head to the closest urban area to show it off.

Just press a button on the console to activate the system as you drive slowly down the street looking for a parking spot. As you approach an open space, the system will determine if the MKT will fit.  If it does, you’ll see on the LED info screen located on the speedometer the words, “pull forward.” So you’ll inch up until the front of the MKT is just ahead of the parked car on your right. The screen will tell you to stop, put the car in Reverse, and take your hands of the steering wheel.

Now folks, trust me, this is not an easy thing to do – especially for a control freak like me.  But I took the leap of faith and removed my hands from the wheel as I gently began to back up. Suddenly, the wheel spun rapidly to the right, and the front end moved out to the left, and just a second later, the wheel spun rapidly to the left, as the MKT tucked neatly into the space. The wheel turned back to near center, and the LED screen said, “pull forward” which placed the car in the center of the parking space about six or seven inches from the curb.

The driver operates the gas and brake pedals, and the system moves the steering wheel to perform the perfect parallel park! It’s really that simple. So not only is it the best such system on the market, at only $595, it’s a bargain.

THE VERDICT

The MKT is an outstanding large crossover with V8 power and V6 gas mileage. It coddles four or five adults as well as any vehicle in this class, and adds two short people comfortably as well. There is ample cargo room and a long list of technical and luxury amenities come as standard. Plus there are those excellent and well-priced options available. The base MKT with All-Wheel-Drive and EcoBoost engine is $49,200. With options and delivery, the bottom line on my test car was $56,080. Anyone shopping for a BMW X5, Acura MDX, or an Audi Q7, should definitely stop by a Lincoln dealer. You are likely to drive home in a more powerful, more spacious and more economical MKT,  all while spending less.

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