With its recent debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2013 Lincoln MKT full-size luxury crossover may not look all that different, but there are actually quite a few changes inside and out.
As hinted in TheCarConnection coverage of the 2013 MKT, the automaker is undoubtedly counting on this refresh to keep buyers interested until the cascade of redesigned Lincoln models, which signals the birth of the revamped Lincoln brand begins, starting with the 2014 model year product offerings.
In the meantime, what’s new about the 2013 Lincoln MKT? Here’s a rundown.
Exterior styling changes
The exterior of the MKT is, in essence, not changed all that much. Calling the styling, especially the new grille and front fascia “a lot more refined and elegant,” Max Wolff, Lincoln design director, said the intent was to make the crossover “feel wider, and a bit less tall, less vertical.”
That may be as good as it’s going to get until a new MKT appears.
Powertrain and chassis technology improvements
If the exterior isn’t dramatically changed, what’s under the hood is a definite improvement. Start with a more powerful base engine in the front-wheel drive MKT, the 300-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 that also delivers 25 mpg highway fuel economy. The automaker says that the MKT now offers more standard horsepower than the Acura MDX and Audi Q7 and nearly matches the 302 horsepower in the Mercedes-Benz R350.
Buyers can also opt for the 355-horsepower 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine and its 22 mpg highway fuel economy and standard all-wheel drive (AWD). Lincoln says that nine out of 10 MKT buyers choose the twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine, a powertrain that “has no direct competition.”
Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which include paddle shifters with full manual control and rev-matching downshifts. Electric power-assisted steering is also standard on all new Lincoln MKTs.
Certain MKT models also come with Lincoln Drive Control, which allows drivers to select between Normal, Sport and Comfort modes, depending on the type of driving experience desired, road and weather conditions. The new system automatically adjusts the suspension, steering, engine and transmission based on whatever mode the driver selects.
EcoBoost-equipped MKTs also get Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD), which continually monitors and adjusts the suspension for even better ride and handling. Real-time damping, as compared with the fixed-rate damping that was standard on 2012 MKTs, measures changes in road surface and vehicle dynamics about 500 times per second and makes adjustments in just 11 milliseconds.
The emphasis on comfort, functionality, styling and safety is quite evident in the interior changes for the 2013 MKT three-row luxury crossover that seats up to seven passengers.
All-new instrumentation and a Panoramic Fixed-glass Vista Roof are standard.
Leather for the first two rows of seating comes from the Bridge of Weir leather company in Scotland. Other standard features include 12-way adjustable front seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and adjustable pedals. A heated steering wheel is optional, as are heated and cooled second-row seats and second-row refrigerator that’s integrated into the center console.
What the driver and passengers will notice is that the new MKT is much quieter than the 2012 model. That’s due to the additional sound-deadening material in the front wheel wells, around the shock towers, under the hood and in the trunk area, as well as the redesigned side-view mirrors that reduce wind noise.