2014 Lincoln MKT

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
August 18, 2014

Buying tip

We say skip the base V-6 and step right up to the turbocharged edition. A big Lincoln deserves big power.

features & specs

4-Door Wgn 3.5L AWD EcoBoost
4-Door Wgn 3.7L FWD
16 city / 23 hwy
17 city / 25 hwy

The provocative Lincoln MKT has undeniable charm--a fantastic cabin, great infotainment features, and paddle-shifted EcoBoost power--but you have to buy into the look.

The Lincoln MKT is so daring in its styling--and so rare to see on the streets--it can draw some stares, but not for the usual reasons welcomed by crossover drivers.

The big seven-passenger utility vehicle has a polarizing, brash look, and arguably, it's let the MKT stand out in a soggy-shaped crowd of almost-minivans. We'll also admit to being fans of the look--some of us, at least, especially since its recent redo left it with a slimmer grille and headlamps.

We're happy that Lincoln hasn't changed much else about the MKT. It stands out, as if it's unabashedly in love with the martini-era Lincoln land yachts of the 1960s, though it's essentially the same vehicle as the boxy Ford Flex. 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.

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.

Review continues below

Lincoln MKT performance

The MKT is offered two ways. You can have it with front-wheel drive and a 3.7-liter V-6, or in all-wheel-drive form, with a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6. Neither will leave you wanting for the Sixties-era V-8s of Lincolns past.

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 now make 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, via the six-speed automatic. This is the MKT to have; its power delivery is strong, smooth, and refined, with just a touch of pleasantly present 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 quickened the MKT's 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. 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.

Lincoln MKT gas mileage

The 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.

Ford has pressed the MKT into fleet duty, replacing its old Town Car. As such, the MKT can be fitted with a special 235-hp EcoBoost four-cylinder in the Livery Edition. It achieves 20 mpg in the city, 28 highway, and it has front-wheel drive. But the brand has no plans to offer it to the public.

Lincoln MKT comfort and space

With the ancient Lincoln Town Car sedan now history, the MKT is not only the immediate inheritor to the throne, but something more. Given the recent 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.

Lincoln MKT safety and features

The MKT has been rated well for occupant protection, and it's 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 on the list 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, 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.

As for other features, there's no base MKT or budget offering in the lineup. Both versions 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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Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 9
Features 10
Fuel Economy 6
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