2013 Lincoln MKT Performance

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Performance

The 2013 Lincoln MKT is offered, essentially, in two different models--each with its own powertrain. You can have the MKT either in front-wheel-drive form, with a new 3.7-liter normally aspirated V-6, or in all-wheel-drive form, with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V-6. And in either case, you're most likely not going to miss the V-8 engines that used to be so common in the 1960s Lincolns we see the MKT nodding to.

Models with the 3.7-liter six used to be the more sedate of the two, but this year they get twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), to raise output to 303 horsepower (35 more hp than last year) and 278 pound-feet. Based on what we've experienced of this engine in other vehicles, like the nearly identical Flex, it feels surprisingly strong through a six-speed automatic.

Boosted, all-wheel-drive MKT models make 10 hp more than last year (365 hp and 350 lb-ft) horsepower, via the six-speed automatic. And for anyone who enjoys driving, this is the MKT to have; its power delivery is strong, smooth, and refined, with just a touch of pleasantly aggressive engine noise. You can choose your own gears with steering-wheel paddle-shifters, although the automatic transmission tends to grab the right gear quickly and smoothly.

For a big American crossover, the 2013 Lincoln MKT is surprisingly quick on its feet.

And if you think paddle shifters are out of touch in a big crossover like the MKT, you might be surprised; along with the mechanically nearly identical Ford Flex, this is one of the best large crossovers to hustle along backroads. It's a barrel-chested linebacker, but the capable suspension still can handle a lot of roughhousing, even if some corners are just too small for such a long car.

Lincoln has quickened the steering ratio for 2013, added electric power steering, and added continuously controlled damping, with three modes (Sport, Normal, and Comfort) to react quickly to changing surfaces and conditions--so we expect this year's model to handle even better. 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. Lincoln has upgraded brakes, too, to match the added power.

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