New & Used Lincoln MKT: In Depth
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The Lincoln MKT is a large crossover that can seat up to seven passengers and has ample cargo room, all underneath stylish sheet metal and a luxury badge. It sits beneath the full-size Navigator and above the MKX crossover in the Lincoln lineup.
See our 2013 Lincoln MKT review for pricing with options, specifications, and gas-mileage ratings.
Though it pools its running gear with the Flex, the sheetmetal and interior are completely its own. While the Flex is all angles and straight lines, the MKT riffs on the heritage of Sixties Lincolns with big bands of chrome, a kinky uptick in its sideview, and splits the air with a massive batwing grille that's easily the most daring, controversial thing the brand has sold in decades. Inside, it's much less divisive: there's a high-quality dash well tailored in wood, leather and metallic accents, lit brightly by white LEDs, and capped by a big LCD screen for ancillary controls.
Lincoln offers a choice of six-cylinder engines to buyers. The base MKT included a 268-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic--a close relative of the powerplant in the Lincoln MKS sedan and even the related Mazda CX-9 crossover. In the 2013 Lincoln MKT that's been upgraded to a new 303-hp version. The more sporty versions get a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 with 355 horsepower (365 hp for 2013), channeled through a six-speed automatic. Either version can be outfitted with all-wheel drive, and turbo versions also can be fitted with paddles for shifting. It's a somewhat odd sensation, paddle-shifting a vehicle this large, but the MKT responds very well to a heavy foot and quick fingers: electric power steering is light and quick, body motions are as well-controlled as they can be for such a long vehicle, and while you wouldn't call it nimble, the MKT isn't numb or indecisive during fast-paced driving maneuvers. Fuel economy suffers just a point on the turbo "EcoBoost" MKT; it's 16/22 mpg, versus 17/23 mpg on the base version.
The MKT can be had in six- and seven-passenger versions, with bucket seats in the second row an option over the standard 60/40 split-folding bench seat. The front seats are large and cozy, even if the active headrests still push on the back of passengers' heads a little too intently. Second-row seats have copious foot- and legroom, and the third row is almost large enough for some adults, though mainly intended for children. Power "fold and tumble" second-row seats with heating, cooling, and power-assisted lumbar adjustment are also available, and third-row passengers can fold second-row seats out of the way by pressing a button-a nice touch. Cargo room behind the third row is as much as an Acura RL, at 17.3 cubic feet; fold down the second seat and it rises to 39.6 cubic feet. With both rear rows folded, the MKT has a cavernous 75.9 cubic feet of room for hauling home estate-sale finds.
While it's not ranked by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for crash safety, the MKT earns the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. It shares the Ford Flex's safety package, and adds options like Active Park Assist, which helps drivers guide the MKT into parking spaces through sensors, cameras, and adaptive cruise control.
Other comfort and convenience features ladled on the MKT include a large, standard, fixed-panel sunroof; dual-zone climate control; the Bluetooth-and-voice-controlled SYNC system; a keyless entry pad on the door frame; high-intensity discharge headlamps with automatic high beams; and push-button start with MyKey features that allow drivers to set preferences for speed controls, radio functions, and seat/mirror memory positions. A handful of options can be specific to bring the most expensive MKTs to nearly $55,000-including a power panoramic sunroof; 20-inch polished aluminum wheels; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; active parking assist and adaptive cruise control; a navigation system with a music hard drive and THX II-certified speakers; and last but not least, a five-quart refrigerator mounted between the middle seats.
The MKT was essentially unchanged for the 2012 model year. The 2013 Lincoln MKT received many drivetrain and interior changes, starting with a more powerful 3.7-liter V-6 that's good for both 303 horsepower and 25 mpg highway fuel economy; also new were Town Car livery versions (which for 2013 are to begin offering a higher-mileage EcoBoost four-cylinder alternative that won't be sold to the public). The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 returns with 365 horsepower and 23-mpg highway gas mileage. Both are teamed to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and full manual control, as well as rev-matching downshifts. Some version are fitted with Lincoln Drive Control, which allows the driver to select between Normal, Sport and Comfort modes, depending upon conditions, road and passenger feedback.
Ecoboost versions also get a new Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension, which Lincoln claims will strike the optimum balance between handling and ride comfort. Inflatable rear seatbelts and a revised MyLincoln Touch infotainment system round out the changes for the big crossover.
The MKT has been a slow seller, and it's seen a boost in the most ironic of ways: Ford's now building a version that can be used as a hearse, and it's given it some new life on the sales charts. There's also a Town Car version marketed to livery fleets.