The 2011 Lincoln MKT may not be everyone's idea of beautiful on the outside, but on the inside it's quite stunning in terms of fit, finish and raw available real estate.
For the latter reason--as well as for its exceptional safety rating and its class-leading set of infotainment features--we're giving the MKT a FamilyCarGuide rating of 8, with some misgivings about its high price and the controversial looks.
Families with seven-passengers needs and a budget that can swing the $50,000-plus MKT will be wowed by its interior space. Like its mechanical twin, the Ford Flex, the MKT is positively cavernous inside for the five people riding closest to the front. Big, plush, cozy chairs in front, with improved active headrests, make this one of the most pleasant vehicles we know to take on a long highway trip. It's virtually the same experience in the second row, where bucket seats have the kind of leg and head room reserved for limousines and the like (fitting, since the MKT is now Ford's replacement for the old Lincoln Town Car).
Even the MKT's third-row seat is useful for adults on quick trips from the airport, though it's more friendly to those five feet and under. When more space is needed for cargo, the third-row bench and second-row seats fold nearly flat to open up a huge cargo area that can swallow everything from ladders to grandfather clocks.
With the vast interior comes a huge array of infotainment features, everything from Ford's SYNC Bluetooth controller, to satellite radio with real-time traffic, weather and sports scores; a THX-certified audio system with exceptional sound quality; a DVD entertainment system for the back two rows of seats; a panoramic sunroof; even a between-seat refrigerator for the second row.
The MKT also comes standard with some of the highest safety scores in the segment. It's an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick, and its standard safety features include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitors and Ford's MyKey, which lets parents limit stereo volume, vehicle speeds and other variables for safer, less distracted driving. The MKT doesn't yet have Ford's MyLincoln Touch suite of complex voice controls, but it's coming for the 2013 model year.