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TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the latest edition of the Lincoln MKS, with both available powertrains, for this road test. Editors have compared the MKS to vehicles in its size and price class to help you narrow your choices in the segment. Finally, editors have compiled a full review of quotes from other trusted sources to bring you the most comprehensive reference guide to the 2010 MKS on the Web.
With the 2010 Lincoln MKS, Ford finally fields a truly competitive luxury sedan with the acceleration and high-end features of prime European and Japanese nameplates. The MKS isn't a handling champion-it's a large, wide sedan with an emphasis on a creamy ride-but it's very quick on its toes and has an exhaustive list of features in its luxury-liner cabin. With a base price of about $42,000, the 2010 MKS can cost upward of $55,000 if all available features are specified.
Though the 2010 Lincoln MKS shares some running gear with its distant Ford company cousin, the Volvo S80, its sheetmetal and cabin are completely distinct-and distinctive, giving the MKS a classically handsome shape with heritage cues inside and out. The twin grille up front is its most recognizable touch, though the wide band of chrome around its tail has been a brand hallmark for decades. There are passing resemblances to the Lexus GS and the Volvo S80, but especially in dark colors, the MKS snares an identity all its own-a triumph for Ford's upscale brand. The interior of the MKS refines a linear, spare theme that Lincoln has been evolving all decade, with a wide dash and delicate metallic trim harking back to the Lincolns of the Sixties. Electroluminescent gauges give the MKS a soft glow at night, and leather and wood details bring it ever closer to Lexus levels of quality.
Lincoln offers a big V-6 engine to MKS buyers and turbocharges it for those looking for a good substitute for V-8 power. The basic 3.7-liter V-6 is a smooth, if adequate, performer, capable of a 0-60 mph run in 7.5 seconds and quiet, fuss-free exploits. It can be run with either regular or premium fuel, and turns in fuel economy figures of 17/24 mpg (front-drive) or 16/23 mpg (all-wheel drive). For a good amount more, Lincoln's new EcoBoost V-6 adds turbocharging and 82 hp for a total of 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It's a dramatic infusion of power in the big Lincoln, pushing it to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and to a top speed of 135 mph-while delivering a nice, ripe engine note and better fuel economy than the base engine, earning 17/25 mpg. Both engines team with a six-speed automatic; EcoBoost versions add paddle shifters that might seem odd in a car of its size, but end up more useful for sport driving than you might think. The gearbox does an excellent job of keeping the Lincoln in the right gear at the right time-just what an automatic transmission should do. While it's influenced by European sedans like the Mercedes E-Class, the Lincoln MKS handles with typically American-car ride and handling. That's American of this decade: The MKS has a pleasantly damped ride and responsive steering (electric steering on EcoBoost models are artificial in feel), and the result on front- and all-wheel-drive models alike is a responsive sedan that's not too soft and not too hard, even with the optional 20-inch wheels.
Exceptional comfort in big Lincoln MKS isn't limited to the front seat passengers. The driver and front passenger have good legroom and headroom, with plush power seats that are heated and ventilated. There's enough shoulder room, but the driver will notice Ford's active headrests push too far forward for absolute comfort. The MKS' telescoping steering has a shorter travel than it should, which can force a closer driving position. The MKS' rear seats are more spacious and supportive than any Lincoln in memory, and in all, the cabin is among the best executed by Ford, period.
The 2010 Lincoln MKS is among the safest vehicles on the road today. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) awards it five stars for all crash tests, save for a four-star rollover rating. The insurance-industry-funded IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) names it a 2010 Top Safety Pick, in a year when it made qualifications for the award stricter. The MKS has standard dual front, side, and curtain airbags, along with anti-lock brakes, plus traction and stability control. A rearview camera and front parking sensors also are standard, while adaptive cruise control and active park assist are options. Active park assist uses sensors to determine steering angle and "parks" the car for drivers, who operate only the gas and brake while the MKS with EcoBoost (and its electric power steering) turns the wheel for perfect parking.
Pricing starts at around $42,000 for a front-wheel-drive MKS without any fancy options-but every MKS includes an AM/FM/CD changer with Sirius Satellite Radio and Ford's SYNC voice-activated entertainment controller. Also standard are cruise control; automatic climate control; ventilated front seats; heated front and rear seats; and HID headlamps. An all-wheel-drive edition is a few thousand dollars more, and the $48,000 MKS with EcoBoost adds 19-inch wheels, MyKey (which sets top speed and seatbelt reminders for younger drivers), a power rear sunshade, push-button start, active park assist, ambient lighting, and automatic high beams. Options include a dual-pane sunroof, wood trim, an EcoBoost appearance package, adaptive cruise control, DVD navigation, THX-certified audio, and 20-inch wheels.