- Distinctive styling wows the unprepared
- First- and second-row seating comfort
- Advanced tech features (including a fridge!)
- EcoBoost engine's smooth sailing
- Telescoping steering wheel standard
- Is that distinctive styling too polarizing?
- One of the best third-row seats is still tight
- Front headrests still sit too far forward
Supremely spacious and stunning from some angles, the 2010 Lincoln MKT gets truly arresting with its EcoBoost turbo V-6.
High Gear Media drove an MKT provided by Lincoln to produce this hands-on road test.
In the automotive world, the words "big" and "responsive" don't normally go together. The all-new 2010 Lincoln MKT puts those two words comfortably in a curvy shape that stands out at a standstill and in motion. Editors from TheCarConnection.com like the Ford Flex and, after spending some time behind the wheel of the mechanically similar MKT, have the same positive impression of the Lincoln. The $46,990 2010 MKT shifts Lincoln further away from its dowdy styling past and delivers vast interior room, while it brings a good measure of driving pleasure and sophistication along for the ride.
It shares its powertrain and chassis with the Ford Flex, but you'd be hard-pressed to identify the 2010 Lincoln MKT as a fraternal twin to the Ford. Where the Flex is a two-box design in the purest sense, the 2010 MKT flows from a canted twin-nostril grille to a sensual upkick in its shoulder line, finishing in a broad, angled decklid banded by a ribbon of taillights and badges. It's a standout design with details that will have you looking a second and third time to identify its heritage-but in retrospect it fits well with Lincoln's past, particularly with the Continentals of the mid-1960s and their broad hockey-stick bands of chrome. Inside, the MKT wears high-quality materials; the wood- or metallic-trimmed dash echoes the front end smartly, and LED white lighting and a sharp LCD screen draw attention, though a few rows of small black buttons do little for style or functionality.
Six-cylinders and automatic transmissions are the core of the 2010 Lincoln MKT's powertrain. The base 3.7-liter V-6 puts out 268 horsepower, and teamed with the six-speed automatic, does a reasonable job of shuttling around the 4,800-pound MKT without merging-lane drama. Adding all-wheel drive picks up a few hundred more pounds. Lincoln offers a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6-and you should choose it, if you can afford it. The EcoBoost V-6 spools up 355 horsepower and delivers impressive thrust that is completely in keeping with the crossover's character: refined, as a Lincoln should be, with a touch of noticeable engine noise. The heavy-duty six-speed automatic responds accordingly, always calling up the right gear at the right time, and paddle shifters will let you choose gears on command, though they seem a bit out of place in this barrel-chested crossover. Overall, the MKT's ride and handling feel grounded, solid, controlled, and responsive. The base version's suspension and electronic power steering are sharpened for EcoBoost models, which also get standard all-wheel drive; neither drivetrain is meant for clawing around canyon corners, but both provide a creamy ride and a responsive steering feel, with more sensitivity dialed into the EcoBoost version. Fuel economy suffers just a point on the EcoBoost; it's 16/22 mpg, versus 17/23 mpg on the base version.
Both the 2010 MKT and the Ford Flex are designed with adult comfort in mind. The MKT can be had in six- and seven-passenger versions, with bucket seats in the second row an option over the standard 60/40 split-folding bench seat. The front seats show the attention normally paid to the seats in Volvos; they're fantastic for long drives, with room in all directions (and a little contact with hard metallic trim at the knee). The front active headrests are improved over the Flex-they tilt too far forward-but could use a degree or more of recline before we pronounce them perfect. The MKT adds telescoping steering to the Flex package, which improves driving position. Second-row seats have copious foot- and legroom, and the third row is almost large enough for some adults, though mainly intended for children. Power "fold and tumble" second-row seats with heating, cooling, and power-assisted lumbar adjustment are also available, and third-row passengers can fold second-row seats out of the way by pressing a button-a nice touch. Cargo room behind the third row is as much as an Acura RL, at 17.3 cubic feet; fold down the second seat and it rises to 39.6 cubic feet. With both rear rows folded, the MKT has a cavernous 75.9 cubic feet of room for hauling home estate-sale finds.
It's difficult to come up with safety features not included on the 2010 Lincoln MKT. Ford installs front, side, and curtain airbags (which extend three rows of protection); stability and traction control; anti-lock brakes; a rearview camera; a blind-spot alert system; and adaptive headlamps. The MKT has been crash-tested by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), and it tops the safety rankings. Other safety features include Active Park Assist, which helps drivers guide the MKT into parking spaces through sensors, cameras, and adaptive cruise control.
Other comfort and convenience features ladled on the 2010 Lincoln MKT include a large, standard, fixed-panel sunroof; dual-zone climate control; the Bluetooth-and-voice-controlled SYNC system; a keyless entry pad on the door frame; high-intensity discharge headlamps with automatic high beams; and push-button start with MyKey features that allow drivers to set preferences for speed controls, radio functions, and seat/mirror memory positions. A handful of options can be specific to bring the most expensive MKTs to nearly $55,000-including a power panoramic sunroof; 20-inch polished aluminum wheels; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; active parking assist and adaptive cruise control; a navigation system with a music hard drive and THX II-certified speakers; and last but not least, a five-quart refrigerator mounted between the middle seats.
2010 Lincoln MKT
The 2010 Lincoln MKT's exterior won't work for everyone, but those who are intrigued by the sheetmetal will be sold on the interior.
Love it or hate it, the one thing you won't be able to do is ignore the new 2010 Lincoln MKT crossover. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com reveal mixed reactions to the all-new MKT Lincoln, and all of them fall very far from indifferent.
For those who haven't been touched by the Lincoln marketing machine (a lot of you, we know), the new 2010 Lincoln MKT is "a midsize crossover SUV that seats up to seven" and is based off of the Ford Flex platform, according to ConsumerGuide. The MKT Lincoln is available in two models, base and EcoBoost, although the only real difference between them is the powertrain. The first thing you're likely to notice about the 2010 Lincoln MKT is what Car and Driver calls the "baleen-whale grille" and "funky proportions" that seem to dominate the vehicle. Car and Driver is less than impressed, commenting that they "don't think the look quite works when the grille is this enormous," but other reviewers are less critical. Jalopnik agrees that "the front is perhaps the toughest part to get on-board with" since "it's a little buck toothed, but it's handsome in person." Reviewers at The New York Times love the styling, however, claiming "this razor-mawed, boat-tailed, stretch-limo wagon will be a perfect antidote to the crossover blahs." Cars.com observes that some of the distinctive styling elements include "a distinctive forward-swept liftgate" and "the way a single line is drawn along the vehicle's face that includes the headlamps, grille and turn indicators," but overall they lament that "the profile looks incomplete." No matter how much you read about it, the 2010 Lincoln MKT is simply one of those vehicles you'll have to see in person before deciding whether the styling agrees with you.
While the exterior of the MKT Lincoln sparks a fierce aesthetic debate, the interior has much more mass appeal. The New York Times says "the news is almost all good inside, including an easy-to-master touch navigation screen," which is included whether or not you spring for the nav system. Autoblog raves that the touch screen is "among the easiest to use of any on the market, regardless of price." Jalopnik also finds that the 2010 Lincoln MKT's interior is significantly "less polarizing" than the exterior, thanks largely to the fact that "the various woods are flawless, the gadget load is heavy and the leather is supple." When seated at the driver's seat, you'll be confronted with "a clear and attractive gauge cluster with chrome accents, and both front occupants enjoy the flowing, uncluttered center console," Car and Driver reports. The welcoming interior also features a very large glass roof that The New York Times notes "floods the cabin with light during the day," allowing you to easily see all the gorgeous elements that comprise the 2010 Lincoln MKT's cabin.
2010 Lincoln MKT
The 2010 Lincoln MKT nails the performance trifecta of quick, agile, and comfortable.
Kia may be marketing its vehicles under the "power to surprise" tagline, but the phrase could just as easily apply to the surprisingly nimble 2010 Lincoln MKT.
From the outside, the large 2010 Lincoln MKT doesn't look like a sporting machine, but as Mom always told us, appearances can be deceiving. The 2010 Lincoln MKT is available with two engines: one powering the base model and one powering the EcoBoost version of the MKT Lincoln. Cars.com reviewers state that "the base 3.7-liter V-6 produces 268 horsepower," while the "optional EcoBoost V-6 is slightly smaller in size - it displaces 3.5 liters - but makes significantly more power (355 hp) thanks to direct fuel injection and two turbochargers." Yes, you read that right-Lincoln's crossover features twin-turbos, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com indicate that the setup is unbelievably quick and effective. Cars.com jokes that "the engine should just come with the name BiggerBoost," and The New York Times says the 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds for the EcoBoost is "blisteringly fast for a three-row crossover." Autoblog is so impressed, they claim that "anyone who was to climb in and drive off in a MKT without knowing what was under the hood would be hard pressed to guess that only six cylinders are doing the heavy lifting." Unlike some turbocharged models, the EcoBoost MKT Lincoln features "zero turbo lag. None," reports Jalopnik. As for the base 3.7-liter V6, Jalopnik reviewers call the engine "profoundly adequate and nothing more."
The 2010 Lincoln MKT's two versions come with the same "6-speed automatic" transmission, according to ConsumerGuide. Cars.com notes that the auto "comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for when the driver wants to control gear changes," and Jalopnik claims they are "actually capable of doing their job as advertised." Autoblog reviewers love the new transmission as well, describing it as "one of the smoothest shifting units on the market." On the base version, Edmunds observes that "front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available as an option," while the EcoBoost MKT Lincoln is exclusively available as an AWD model.
Despite its EcoBoost branding, the 2010 Lincoln MKT isn't the most frugal crossover on the market, as you may have guessed from its performance potential. Edmunds characterizes the MKT Lincoln's fuel economy numbers as "just average for the midsize crossover category." The official EPA estimates for the 2010 Lincoln MKT are that the 3.7-liter/AWD combination will return 16 mpg city and 22 mpg on the highway, while the FWD gets a 17/23 mpg rating. The 2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost, meanwhile, offers a rating of 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, which matches the performance of the naturally aspirated version of the MKT Lincoln.
Out on the open road, the new Lincoln MKT's suspension provides a surprisingly engaging and buttoned-down ride. Cars.com thinks the driving experience amounts to "a very fun ride, whether driving on the big oval, slamming through a road course...or just commuting to work." When was the last time you heard that about a crossover? That sentiment isn't limited to reviewers at Cars.com, however, as Autoblog raves that "you can manhandle the MKT hard into a corner, and the combination of well-tuned mechanical bits and seamless stability control intervention allow it to just track through at speeds that are surprisingly high." More comfort-oriented passengers will also appreciate the work Lincoln does with the MKT Lincoln's suspension. The New York Times remarks that the MKT offers "outstanding ride and handling for its size," while Edmunds deems their driving experience "very smooth and quiet." That's not to say the 2010 Lincoln MKT is without its flaws, however. Chief among the complaints is The New York Times' wish for "stronger brakes," while reviewers at Autoblog think the steering effort "is a bit on the light side." Despite the flaws, the big picture remains the same-the Lincoln MKT can flat-out move.
2010 Lincoln MKT
Comfort & Quality
The 2010 Lincoln MKT is well on the way toward restoring mainstream credibility to Ford's luxury division. Finally, Lincoln has a vehicle to match the new generation of Cadillacs.
The 2010 Lincoln MKT marks a return to true luxury for the Lincoln brand, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com still find fault with the interior layout of the MKT Lincoln.
The MKT Lincoln is the first ever three-row crossover from Ford's luxury division, and Cars.com reports that it arrives "with seating for up to seven people." The MKT Lincoln's standard layout will be "front bucket seats, a second-row bench seat and a two-person third row," according to Cars.com, but The New York Times asserts that "buyers can forgo the three-place second-row bench seat for an optional two-bucket layout with heated and cooled cushions." Up front, the 2010 Lincoln MKT offers extraordinarily comfortable seating, and Autoblog reviewers declare that the "seats are...outstanding, with nice, long lower cushions that provide excellent thigh support." Car and Driver characterizes the MKT Lincoln's seats as "cushy but not particularly supportive-it is a cruiser, after all." The middle row of the 2010 Lincoln MKT is a pretty comfortable place to cruise; Cars.com says it offers "lots of legroom and comfortable seats." Unfortunately, the two-place third row is another story entirely; The New York Times laments the fact that the MKT Lincoln features "a sloping roof at the rear that sharply limits third-row headroom, essentially rendering it a kiddie zone." Other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com unanimously agree, and one Jalopnik reviewer gripes that, "at six feet tall, I found the ceiling to be about six inches too low." The 2010 Lincoln MKT isn't the best people-mover on the market, but the seating for front and second-row passengers is well above average.
As a versatile wagon-like crossover, the 2010 Lincoln MKT offers quite a bit of usable storage space. Once again, the MKT Lincoln isn't the class leader, but it is certainly competitive. Cars.com reviewers break out the rulers and calculate that "the MKT has 17.9 cubic feet of cargo room," while folding the third row gets you "39.6 cubic feet of space." Edmunds reviewers head for the comparison book, pitting the 2010 Lincoln MKT against the Buick Enclave; the latter "has a bit more cargo space," as the MKT "checks in with 76 cubic feet of total capacity."
You could point to a lot of features and styling elements that help justify the 2010 Lincoln MKT's base price, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com almost invariably turn to the top-notch interior materials. Cars.com feels that "the improvement in terms of materials quality when compared to the two-row MKX crossover is dramatic," and Edmunds raves that whichever trim level you choose, "you can expect stylish design and top-quality materials." Car and Driver reviewers don't even have a production-ready model, yet they still find that "build quality [seemed] very good, and the materials, from the Scottish leather and genuine wood trim to the soft-touch plastics, feel competitive in the segment."
Another aspect of the MKT Lincoln that helps add to its aura of luxury is the eerily quiet and isolated interior. Reviewers from nearly every publication surveyed by TheCarConnection.com mention the hushed noise levels, and Autoblog says occupants can "cruise in comfort at speeds well beyond 100 mph" while maintaining normal conversation levels. Car and Driver calls the interior of the 2010 Lincoln MKT "serenely quiet, even at triple-digit speeds, thanks to heaps of sound deadening," and The New York Times simply deems the MKT Lincoln "uncannily quiet."
2010 Lincoln MKT
The 2010 Lincoln MKT puts parents in control with its My Key feature, while myriad safety features work to keep all occupants safe and sound.
The 2010 Lincoln MKT crossover is loaded with just about every safety feature imaginable, and some that you might have never realized you needed.
As a brand-new model for the 2010 model year, the MKT Lincoln has been crash-tested by the NHTSA, which gave it five stars for front and side-impact crash protection. The IIHS has awarded the MKT a "Top Safety Pick" designation as well.
Beginning with the more pedestrian items, Cars.com states that the 2010 Lincoln MKT offers "ABS, traction control, antiskid system, [and] curtain side airbags." Cars.com reports that the standard safety features list for the MKT Lincoln also encompasses "rear parking sensors and a backup camera," while some of the "optional features include Collision Warning with Brake Support." Edmunds reviewers add to the list of available safety features by mentioning the "optional Adaptive Cruise Control package," and a "'Cross Traffic Alert' system...uses sensors to warn the driver of approaching vehicles when backing out of a parking space with limited availability." As the 2010 Lincoln MKT is primarily marketed as a family vehicle, it's probably not surprising that Lincoln has decided to include a few family-oriented features. One of the most innovative is My Key, which Edmunds says "allows mom and dad to set limits on top speed and audio system volume in order to help keep their teenage drivers out of trouble." While there are quite a few aftermarket speed monitors and similar devices, this is one of the first dealer-installed, parent-friendly safety applications.
The 2010 Lincoln MKT has quite a few available features to help aid driver visibility, but unfortunately some of the sightlines are still compromised due to styling elements. The New York Times reports that a new rear hatch design helps save "26 pounds compared with a conventional steel hatch," but unfortunately "the driver's view out is restricted" by the horizontal reinforcing. Otherwise, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com find the MKT Lincoln has decent sightlines.
2010 Lincoln MKT
The 2010 Lincoln MKT steps up to the plate in the tech department, equaling or exceeding any of its major competitors.
The 2010 Lincoln MKT may be based on the Ford Edge crossover, but the Lincoln far exceeds its corporate cousin on the features front. Some consumers might initially face sticker shock, but once they realize the quality and number of features inside the 2010 Lincoln MKT, they'll likely find that the crossover is a relative bargain.
The MKT Lincoln enters the marketplace with a base price of $44,995 for a base model, while the turbocharged 2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost bows with a sticker of $49,995. The base MSRP is high, especially given the current state of the economy, but Lincoln tries to deliver value by packing the MKT Lincoln with standard features. ConsumerGuide reviewers report that "leather upholstery, heated and cool[ed] front seats, a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and power-adjustable pedals are standard" on all 2010 Lincoln MKTs, but other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com highlight some of the more exciting standard features. Cars.com, for example, points out that "standard features include adaptive xenon headlights with an automatic high-beam feature and keypad entry," while Edmunds simply raves about the "long list of standard features." Chief among the standard features is Ford's SYNC system, which ConsumerGuide says allows for "voice-activated control for cell phones and MP3 players." A 10-speaker sound system with a 10-gigabyte hard drive provides the entertainment on both versions of the 2010 Lincoln MKT.
For consumers who still have cash to burn after matching the MSRP, Lincoln offers a number of tremendous options that Edmunds appropriately deems "cutting-edge." Car and Driver reports that "adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake assist ($1295) is one of the few major options" on the MKT Lincoln, while Cars.com references the available "THX certified 5.1 Surround Audio System with 14 speakers." Edmunds heads straight for the big-ticket items, noting that the MKT Lincoln "can be decked out with...an automated parallel-park feature, a navigation system, the Sirius Travel Link Service" and "a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system." Among the major remaining options, the available "second-row center console with a built-in refrigerator/freezer" is probably the most noteworthy, according to Edmunds.