2013 Lincoln MKT Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
February 11, 2013

The shape of the 2013 Lincoln MKT might be polarizing, but there's undeniable charm in its luxurious cabin, its feature set and, surprisingly, its (EcoBoost) driving experience.

As a vehicle that's traditional and retro, yet quirky enough to possibly draw a cult following, the 2013 Lincoln MKT oozes a conservative and family-friendly charm, yet it looks right staying out late at night. And just like the characters of Mad Men, it'll do all that, and perhaps draw a few puzzled looks along the way.

The styling is smooth and suave, yet brash and chiseled. From the baleen scale of its huge winged grille--newly smoothed over for 2013--to the arrythmic uptick of the chrome shoulder line that runs forever down its sides--the MKT says something bombastic on the outside. Step inside, and it's all soft tones. It's been made even better for 2013, with fewer matte-metallics, upgraded trims, and soft tones--with the controversial MyLincoln touch added to the instrument panel and gauges revamped.

Any retro influences end here; the MKT drives like a modern vehicle in every way, with tight body control for such a large, heavy vehicle. The base 3.7-liter V-6 gains 35 hp over last year's engine--making 303 hp--while all-wheel-drive versions get a 365-hp, 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6. While we haven't yet driven the new base model, the EcoBoost versions, with their steering-wheel paddle-shifters and quick-shifting six-speed automatic, manage to be quite fun to drive. It can truly hustle, as an EcoBoost--and if it didn't weigh so much, or sit so long, its handling would come off as even more capable. Fuel economy isn't a strong suit, though--it's as low as 16/23 mpg with the turbo versions. And this year, new chassis tuning, quicker-ratio electric power steering, and new continuous damping should make the MKT an even better drive. 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.

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The MKT interior can seat six or seven passengers, and it's big and classy. Even three adults across the second row will find some air between themselves. The six-passenger version turns the second-row bench into twin buckets just as comfortably upholstered as those in front--and with a refrigerator tucked between them for all kinds of beverages, adult or not. The third-row seat is almost large enough to host adults, too, but it's mainly intended for kids, or to be folded flat. Do that (with available power-folding second- and third-row seats), and the MKT has more than 75 cubic feet of cargo space, well below that of the Buick Enclave but competitive with a wide range of models this size like the Acura MDX and Audi Q7.

For 2013 Lincoln has added a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies to the feature seat--altogether increasing the chances that you might be able to avoid an accident altogether. Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) are all available for 2013, as well as the MyKey system that lets parents program vehicle settings for teen drivers. The IIHS rates it a Top Safety Pick, and new inflatable second-row belt system may help avoid injury.

The 2013 Lincoln MKT is a luxury vehicle through and through. So its no surprise that there's no base model or budget offering in the lineup; there are only two MKT models in the lineup, and both of them come very well equipped. Heated-and-cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, power-folding rear seats, and voice-activated navigation are all available, and separate options include rear-seat entertainment, and a refrigerator console for the second row.

This review is based on seat time in previous-model-year versions, and in the comparably revised 2013 Ford Flex. We'll update this review with more driving impressions as soon as we get into a 2013 Lincoln MKT.
8

2013 Lincoln MKT

Styling

The MKT keeps its love-it-or-hate-it profile, but the more finely detailed front end and modern interior give you more to love throughout.

To its credit, at this time when Lincoln is in the midst of yet another identity crisis, the brash, polarizing style of the MKT is arguably a good thing, and it's the most distinctive product in the lineup at the moment, from a design standpoint.

While the rest of Lincoln might remain a bit foggy at the moment, the Ford Motor Co. has done a great job establishing a consistent face for the brand. Lincoln has retouched the MKT this year to bring that updated look here, in a new front fascia and grille. Simply put, the grille design remains essentially the same, but the slats are closer together, in finer form, and the lower air dam is more chiseled and detailed.

We're happy that Lincoln hasn't changed much else about the MKT. Unlike the luxury brand's other current models, which merely fit right into the luxury landscape, the MKT stands out, as if it's unabashedly in love with the martini-era Lincoln land yachts of the 1960s, yet bows to modern design inside. Lincoln designers have worked enough visual tricks here so that, from a casual glance, you'd never know that this is essentially the same vehicle as the box-o-matic Ford Flex. There's a masterful distinction between the pair, with the Lincoln being just as provocative as the Ford.

The MKT's sheetmetal flows from a huge twin-nostril grille, riding a big shoulder line all the way to a slinky upkick at the rear quarters. The only even vaguely disappointing aspect of the design is the relatively unfinished look of the tail, and its thin ribbon of taillights and badges. Whether you like it or not, the MKT is an arresting design with details that require a second and third look to fully digest, and it's almost touching in its Sixties homages.

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While the design theme of the interior remains the same as well (modern here, not at all retro), Lincoln has given it new materials and trims and revamped infotainment for 2013, and it's a pretty extensive makeover altogether. The sea of matte metallic material is gone, replaced by a darker look, with MyFord Touch infotainment and capacitive audio and climate controls--as in Lincoln's other recently reworked products like the MKS--subbed in. Gauges are new as well, with a reconfigurable cluster that can show place some MyFord Touch displays, like navigation instructions, right in front of the driver. Just as in the past, it looks closely coordinated from a detail standpoint.
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2013 Lincoln MKT

Performance

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

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.

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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2013 Lincoln MKT

Comfort & Quality

Excellent seats, exceptional interior room, and new continuous damping for 2013 all make the Lincoln MKT one of the best choices on the market for impressing passengers. .

With the ancient Lincoln Town Car sedan now history, the 2013 Lincoln MKT is not only the immediate inheritor to the throne, but something more. Especially considering all of this year's improvements to the MKT, including a more luxurious interior, as well as improved ride and refinement, this is a vehicle that can also be a particularly luxurious family wagon, good for up to seven.

As before, the MKT comes with a choice of a six-passenger version with twin bucket seats in front and in the middle row, with a two-seat bench in back, or as a seven-seater with a bench seat in the middle row. In the first and second rows, the MKT has uncommon support and space in every direction and with every sensation.

The front seats feel like those from Volvo (a high compliment indeed), and they're great for covering hundreds of miles in a day, with underlying firmness yet pillow-cozy comfort. Telescopic steering and a very wide range of seat adjustment make sure you get it all just right, and even in the second row, where seats can be heated and cooled, you'll find copious amounts of legroom as well as plenty of headroom and bog doors that make entry and exit easy. They're truly second-row seats built for adults, as opposed to the short, flat bench seats all too common in this kind of vehicle.

As for the third row, getting back there can be a bit of a challenge, and six-footers will find headroom tight; but others will find the seats passable. Power-folding 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 at the touch of a button, a nice touch.

Behind the third row there's about as much cargo space as a large sedan, at 17.3 cubic feet. Fold down the second seat and it rises to 39.6 cubic feet. Fold the second- and third-row seatbacks forward and you can get a van-like 75.9 cubic feet.

Although we haven't spent time with the 2013 MKT yet, its interior promises to be even quieter and smoother than that of previous model years. Lincoln has placed additional noise insulation at the front wheel wells, under the hood, and around the trunk. Additionally, the new continuous damping system should not only help this vehicle ride better but also help filter out road noise.

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2013 Lincoln MKT

Safety

With top safety ratings and some of the most advanced safety gear on the market, the MKT is a very secure pick.

The Lincoln MKT already had great crash-test results to build on. Now for 2013 Lincoln has added a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies to the feature set--altogether increasing the chances that you might be able to avoid an accident altogether.

For that reason, we've given the MKT our top safety score, because it's stout, rated well for occupant protection, and now loaded with nearly every safety feature imaginable--including some innovative new items. Each MKT has standard front, side,and curtain airbags (which extend through all three rows of protection); stability and traction control; anti-lock brakes; a rearview camera; a blind-spot alert system; and adaptive headlamps. Also new this year is an inflatable rear belt system that helps spread impact force across a wider area.

In addition to those, options include Active Park Assist, which uses cameras and sensors and electric power steering to steer the vehicle into tight parallel parking spots. Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) are all available for 2013, as well as the MyKey system that lets parents program vehicle settings for teen drivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the Lincoln MKT its top "good" scores across the board, and since it also has standard stability control, it earns the IIHS' Top Safety Pick award. The federal government hasn't rated the MKT in several years--not since it rejiggered its tests for the 2011 model year--but it was previously a high achiever in those tests as well.

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2013 Lincoln MKT

Features

Upgraded technology and infotainment complement traditional luxury features and a great gadget list.

The 2013 Lincoln MKT is a luxury vehicle through and through. So its no surprise that there's no base model or budget offering in the lineup; there are only two MKT models in the lineup, and both of them come very well equipped.

Stick with the default spec for the MKT, and you likely won't be let down; it includes a large fixed-panel glass panoramic sunroof; dual-zone climate control; Lincoln SYNC, MyLincoln Touch; a keyless entry pad with a control pad built into the door frame; remote start; high-intensity discharge headlamps with automatic high-beam function; and push-button start with MyKey.

Add a few options to the EcoBoost MKT and you can tip past the $50,000 price mark when it's fitted with the EcoBoost engine plus the two largest option packaged. Add the Equipment Package and you get a 12-way power driver's seat, a power-folding third-row seat, HD Radio, a heated steering wheel, voice-activated navigation, heated and cooled front seats, the six-passenger layout, heated second-row seats, and 19-inch premium painted wheels. With the Technology Package, you also get Adaptive Cruise Control & Collision Mitigation, Active Park Assist, and Lane Keeping.

On top of that, you can step up to a rear-seat entertainment package, as well as a second-row refrigerator console; with that, you might just become everyone's favorite chauffeur, though.

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2013 Lincoln MKT

Fuel Economy

The 2013 Lincoln MKT gets slightly better gas mileage this year, and if you plan to use its three roomy rows of seating it's not so bad.

The 2013 Lincoln MKT is not a very fuel-efficient vehicle; although when you consider its spacious interior and three useful rows of seating, it's easier to leave this calculation on a more positive note.

The EPA gives the EcoBoost MKT with the turbocharged V-6 and all-wheel drive a rating of 16/23 mpg. With only front-wheel drive and the normally aspirated V-6, it achieves a better 17 mpg city, 25 highway.

We haven't yet driven these revised 2013 versions to verify whether real-world mileage is in the range of EPA ratings, but our previous experiences with the MKT showed that the highway ratings especially may be a bit optimistic.

Lincoln is offering a special 235-hp EcoBoost four-cylinder Livery Edition of the MKT Town Car; it achieves 20 mpg in the city, 28 highway, and it has just front-wheel drive. But the brand has no plans to offer it to the public.

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September 15, 2015
2013 Lincoln MKT 4-Door Wagon 3.5L AWD EcoBoost

It has a FRIG!

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I've looked at all other top of the line family crossovers and the mkt was made for the passenger not the outsiders. You never know what you're missing until you get it, didn’t know having a frig would be so... + More »
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Styling 8
Performance 8
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