2009 Lincoln MKS Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 17, 2008

The 2009 Lincoln MKS’s smart performance, subdued good looks, and roomy interior put the brand back in full-size, luxury-sedan territory.

Experts from TheCarConnection.com were among the first journalists to drive the Lincoln MKS. These experiences, plus our reviews of other trusted opinions from the Web, enable TheCarConnection.com team to offer you a definitive opinion on this luxurious sedan from Detroit. This review also compares the 2009 Lincoln MKS with other vehicles in its class in order to give you the best advice, even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.

The 2009 Lincoln MKS is new for Ford’s upscale brand, though its basic running gear links it to a large family of Ford products, including the new Volvo S80, as well as the current Ford Taurus, Ford Flex, and Volvo XC90.

The 2009 Lincoln MKS's distinctive styling sets it apart from its close kin. The MKS is the first production Lincoln to use the division's new grille design, which the company previewed on the MKS and MKT auto show concept vehicles. The winged design reaches back to Edsel Ford's 1941 Continental and gives the newest Lincoln a welcome bit of character that's grounded in something other than a designer's imagination. Inside, the MKS’s combination of clean lines, luxurious materials, and lighter trim colors plants it squarely in the Lexus idiom of luxury, instead of the darker, more somber German sphere.

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A new 275-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 powers the MKS. The engine performs adequately, with a high degree of smoothness and little noise or fuss. While premium fuel is required to hit the 275-hp mark, using regular fuel delivers a still healthy helping of horsepower with no change in fuel economy (17/24 mpg for front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg for all-wheel drive).

The new Lincoln's six-speed automatic is seen in other Ford products such as the Edge, but has been thoroughly recalibrated for this upscale installation. In the MKS, the transmission includes a sport mode as well as manual shift capabilities. Throughout the hills of Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., with the transmission in the sport setting, the gearbox shifted aggressively. Its performance was close to anticipatory and did an excellent job of keeping the Lincoln in the right gear at the right time—just what an automatic transmission should do.

Another bright spot for the 2009 MKS is its chassis. The MKS features a totally new multilink rear suspension (not shared with the Ford Taurus or any Volvo) with coil-over shocks and a retuned front strut suspension, then bolts them both to a reinforced chassis that is 35 percent stiffer than that of the current Taurus. The resulting ride is Goldilocks taut: not too soft and not too hard, even with the optional 20-inch wheels. Steering response is quick, and when driving at street speeds, the understeer one expects from a largish front-wheel-drive sedan is totally absent. The MKS is also available with all-wheel drive.

The safety equipment you'd expect to see in a car of this caliber is all present and accounted for: multiple airbags, stability control, and so on. While the 2009 Lincoln MKS has not been tested, the related Ford Taurus scored very well in government crash testing.

Pricing starts at around $38,000 for a front-wheel-drive MKS without any fancy options—but including standard features as heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, Ford’s SYNC entertainment system, and HID headlamps—and runs up to $46,000 for a decked-out, all-wheel-drive edition.

8

2009 Lincoln MKS

Styling

The styling of the 2009 Lincoln MKS will help this new luxury sedan get noticed, in a good way.

The 2009 Lincoln MKS's distinctive styling sets it apart from its close kin.

The MKS is the first production Lincoln to use the division's new grille design, which the company previewed on the MKS and MKT auto show concept vehicles. The winged design reaches back to Edsel Ford's 1941 Continental and gives the newest Lincoln a welcome bit of character that's grounded in something other than a designer's imagination.

Just about every review recognized that Lincoln has been wandering in the design desert for decades, but they all agreed that the 2009 Lincoln MKS was a step in the right direction. Edmunds admitted, "After so many fits and starts in Lincoln styling, we haven't a clue what a Lincoln is supposed to look like."

Popular Mechanics had the boldest compliments for the MKS, observing that “In the metal, the MKS appears handsome, with cohesive themes that begin with two tapered headlamp clusters, continue with a gently undulating character line, and resolve in a rear end that vaguely reminds us of the Maserati Quattroporte.”

Automobile said, "The 2009 Lincoln MKS's double-wing grille is a derivation of the one from the Lincoln MKR concept and was inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental. Flanked here by standard HID headlamps, the grille is something you will definitely see in future Lincolns." Edmunds found that in addition to the grille, other Lincoln design cues "include clean, uncluttered flanks and horizontal, full-width taillamps." They concluded, "We're not wholly convinced that the MKS has real beauty, but it at least presents itself convincingly as a luxury car."

Automobile's review also noted the absence of the faux vent on the front fender: "Thankfully, the space on the front fenders aft of the wheels is adorned simply and effectively with the Lincoln badge rather than the already-clichéd vents that we see elsewhere so often."

Autoblog wrote, "On the road, the new MKS has far more presence than any production Lincoln in years, including the late lamented LS." Jalopnik, in their traditionally pithy prose, noted, "It rides low enough to the road that I'd be concerned about scraping its cute-as-a-penny bottom in more than a few steep driveways, but it does look pretty damn cool."

Inside, the MKS’s combination of clean lines, luxurious materials, and lighter trim colors plants it squarely in the Lexus idiom of luxury, instead of the darker, more somber German sphere. “With its clean instrumentation and impressive attention to detail, the MKS's interior gets high marks for its luxurious livability,” Popular Mechanics reported. “This is a place we'd say is entirely habitable for many long hours on the road.” Edmunds wrote glowing things that capture the thoughts of nearly every reviewer: "It's too bad Lincoln can't turn the MKS inside-out. The interior is the car's greatest strength."

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7

2009 Lincoln MKS

Performance

The 2009 Lincoln MKS has ordinary acceleration, but its sporty-shifting automatic and taut ride give reviewers new respect for the brand.

The 2009 Lincoln MKS performs well enough to earn its luxury status, but its handling is more notable than its acceleration.

A new 275-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 powers the MKS. The engine performs adequately, with a high degree of smoothness and little noise or fuss. While premium fuel is required to hit the 275-hp mark, using regular fuel delivers a still healthy helping of horsepower with no change in fuel economy (17/24 mpg for front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg for all-wheel drive).

Edmunds said "the MKS is motivated by a more powerful version of the Duratec motor…bored slightly to increase displacement to 3.7 liters.” As a reminder, they noted that “if you use 87 octane in the MKS, the peak power drops to 273 hp and torque totals 270 lb-ft." Power is adequate in the MKS, but not lavish; Jalopnik wrote, "My concerns about pickup and handling were pretty much assuaged when I had to take a left turn across 4 lanes of highway traffic to head back to D.C. and laid rubber in the parking lot." Popular Mechanics agreed, noting the "3.7-liter V6 delivers smooth and entirely acceptable thrust considering the 4,127 pounds it's required to haul around. In other words, this isn't exactly the hot rod Lincoln of yore.”

Automobile notes, "Those thirsty for V-8-style power will have to wait until next spring, when the MKS will be the first recipient of Ford's new, twin-turbo, direct-injection, 3.5-liter V-6 engine," which Lincoln promises will deliver the "performance of a V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a V-6." Estimates are for 340 hp, 340 pound-feet of torque, and an estimated 23 mpg on the freeway.

The new Lincoln's six-speed automatic is seen in other Ford products such as the Edge, but has been thoroughly recalibrated for this upscale installation. In the MKS, the transmission includes a sport mode as well as manual shift capabilities. Throughout the hills of Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., with the transmission in the sport setting, the gearbox shifted aggressively. Its performance was close to anticipatory and did an excellent job of keeping the Lincoln in the right gear at the right time—just what an automatic transmission should do. Popular Mechanics felt “the 6-speed's ratios are well chosen, but aggressive driving can lead to unpredictable downshifts—on several occasions we attempted passes which required one, then another kickdown.” Motor Trend “preferred the Sport Drive mode the most, which means quicker up- and downshifts, yet there is little need to opt for the Manual mode.”

Another bright spot for the 2009 MKS is its chassis. The MKS features a totally new multilink rear suspension (not shared with the Ford Taurus or any Volvo) with coil-over shocks and a retuned front strut suspension, then bolts them both to a reinforced chassis that is 35 percent stiffer than the current Taurus. The resulting ride is Goldilocks taut: not too soft and not too hard, even with the optional 20-inch wheels. Steering response is quick, and while driving at street speeds, the understeer one expects from a largish front-wheel-drive sedan is totally absent. The MKS is also available with all-wheel drive.

Commenting on the 2009 MKS's new chassis, Autoblog wrote, "Moving the [rear] dampers closer to the wheels allows for greater travel, thus improving their effectiveness. The extra travel allows greater latitude for the engineers to tune the damping behavior for the optimum balance between comfort and handling. On the road all of this works remarkably well." Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard, while 19- and 20-wheels are optional. The bigger wheels “fill the wheel wells nicely,” but Popular Mechanics points out “they also transmit road imperfections resulting in a somewhat busy ride. Big concrete expansion joints and potholes send a bit too much motion up into the cabin, but the MKS certainly handles big sweeping turns with stability and confidence.” Autoblog adds that the car's interior "calm isn't disturbed by the action at the road either. Even with low profile rubber on those big wheels, occupants don't take a beating…the new suspension setup proved its worth." Motor Trend says that overall, “The car drives with a substantial feel, yet is never ponderous.”

As for the Lincoln MKS’s brakes, Motor Trend notes that they “feel linear, responsive, and feel as though they have plenty of stopping power in reserve.”

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9

2009 Lincoln MKS

Comfort & Quality

A roomy interior, underpinned with high-quality materials, set the 2009 Lincoln MKS apart from past efforts.

Ford has gone to great lengths to improve the interiors of its vehicles, and products like the 2009 Lincoln MKS show the results.

The front seats in the 2009 Lincoln MKS offer “plenty of headroom for the tallest drivers,” Motor Trend reports, “and the cabin feels airy and plenty comfortable.” Car and Driver compliments the MKS’s “large, well-bolstered seats with just the right degree of firmness.”

Motor Trend adds that “back seat passengers will feel lucky, as the MKS has more rear interior room than cars like the E-Class and 5 Series,” and gives “kudos too for a large and usable trunk.”

Edmunds says the 2009 Lincoln MKS's interior, comfort, and quality take "a thoroughly modern route that is, dare we say, elegant. The center stack that smoothly flows into a high center console is particularly nice, in a coupelike way. There's a ton of space inside the cabin." Importantly, Edmunds also observed, "The MKS gets acoustic laminated glass for the windshield and the front side windows. In steady-state cruising, the MKS rides around making a gentle hushing sound."

When you're driving or riding in the 2009 Lincoln MKS, Automobile points out that the leather is "nice, and it does have a slightly richer hand feel than much of the plasticized leather you see these days, but it doesn't have much of that pleasing leather smell that you get in more expensive cars. Both heated and cooled front seats are standard, as are heated rear seats." According to Car and Driver, “the leather for the seats comes from Bridge of Weir, the Scottish company that supplied hides for the Continental Mark II 50 years ago.”

Overall, Motor Trend sums up the comfort and quality of the 2009 Lincoln MKS pretty well: "We've criticized Ford for cheapish interiors, but it has really bellied up to the bar for the MKS's cabin. The design is cool and classy, the materials are excellent, and it is a comfy, roomy place to live."

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9

2009 Lincoln MKS

Safety

The 2009 Lincoln MKS provides a strong, safe environment for passengers, but it hasn’t been crash tested yet.

Since it’s a brand-new vehicle, the 2009 Lincoln MKS has not been crash tested yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The safety equipment you'd expect to see in a car the caliber of the 2009 Lincoln MKS is all present and accounted for: multiple airbags, including side curtains, stability control, and so on. While the 2009 Lincoln MKS has not been tested, the Ford Taurus on which it is based scored very well in government crash testing, earning five stars in all four test categories.

Consumers could also consider the Lincoln's optional adaptive cruise control a safety feature, as it helps to maintain a safe distance from traffic while engaged.

The Ford/Microsoft SYNC system also encourages safe, hands-free operation of Bluetooth phones and hardwired MP3 music players.

The option of having real-time access to weather through the Sirius system can also help drivers steer clear of dangerous weather (or toward it if one happens to be a storm chaser).

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10

2009 Lincoln MKS

Features

The 2009 Lincoln MKS may have the best technology features available today, but opting for all of them will cost you more than $46,000.

Ford’s commitment to cutting-edge technology inside its cars is evident in the 2009 Lincoln MKS.

Automobile sums up the impressive equipment list on the 2009 Lincoln MKS: "Every modern telematics feature is either standard or optional, including a state-of-the-art navigation system with traffic reports supplied by Sirius Satellite Radio.”
They also note the “push-button-entry feature that debuted years ago on Lincolns? It returns here…heat-sensitive, backlit numerals integrated into the B-pillar, and they become visible only after you run your hand over them."

Also on the standard-feature list for the Lincoln MKS are HID headlamps, power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and leather upholstery. Car and Driver observes that “this is the most advanced and easy-to-use information-technology package on the market, at least for now.”

Automobile, however, accurately points out that "The optional, 600-watt, sixteen-speaker THX II 5.1 surround sound stereo is absolutely superb, and the interface for controlling it through the high-resolution navigation screen is top-notch. Ford's SYNC system, which allows you to control an iPod or any other MP3 music player and a Bluetooth cell phone through voice activation, is standard. The Sirius Travel Link system can also provide nearby gas-station prices, movie listings, sports scores, and other real-time information through the navigation screen, which is the virtual command center of the vehicle."

Motor Trend believes "the optional nav system may be the best on the market. It places an 8-inch, VGA quality, high res screen high on the center stack, where it is easily seen and accessed. It packs four times the res of current Ford nav screens."

According to Autoblog, even the windshield wipers are smart: "I set the intermittent wipers on their lowest setting to try out the Rain-Sense system. Sure enough, as the volume of rain picked up, so too did the interval shorten and they eventually went into normal continuous mode. As the rain stopped, so did the wipers. No more dry wipers dragging across the windshield."

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September 14, 2015
2009 Lincoln MKS 4-Door Sedan FWD

Beautiful luxury car

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I love my 2009 Lincoln MKS. It screams luxury! It's fully loaded and provides a smooth driving/riding experience.
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