- Spacious for people and luggage
- Super-supportive seats
- Strong turbo V-6
- Bristles with technology
- Bulbous back end
- Third-row seating access
- Falling behind in safety ratings
- Middling fuel economy
The styling may be polarizing, but the comfortable, spacious interior and muscular turbo V-6 still make the MKT an outside pick against luxury crossovers.
Although the Lincoln MKT hails from another era in the Ford Motor Co. luxury brand's history (it remakes itself every few years), this three-row crossover utility vehicle continues as a competent if controversially styled family hauler and livery vehicle.
It earns a 6.0 on our overall scale thanks to its versatility and numerous features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and Performance
The MKT's exterior styling stands as quite daring even today, seven years after it was introduced. It might not be attractive or appealing to all tastes, but it's helped show that both large crossover wagons and Lincoln don't need to be so rigidly defined. The MKT's design has several symbolic nods back to the martini-era Lincoln land yachts of the 1960s, though underneath it's essentially a version of the boxy Ford Flex. The most controversial element is the heavy, unfinished look of the tail, which has a thin ribbon of taillights and badging. Some may even note that the rear portion of the silhouette is oddly hearse-like.
Inside, the MKT has a dark look, with the new Sync 3 infotainment system sitting front and center, coupled with capacitive-touch audio and climate controls in place of conventional knobs and switches. And there's a nicely detailed, configurable instrument panel cluster that can show some all types of information, like navigation instructions, right in front of the driver.
The base MKT has front-wheel drive and a 3.7-liter V-6, while the optional engine, a 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6, is paired exclusively with all-wheel drive. The 3.7-liter V-6 makes 303 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. This engine feels surprisingly strong and works well with its 6-speed automatic transmission. However, the EcoBoost V-6 is much stronger. It produces 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Power delivery is smooth and willing, and drivers can choose their own gears thanks to steering wheel shift paddles. There is even a touch of a sporty engine note.
The MKT has very nicely sorted ride and handling characteristics, making it controlled when hustling along backroads. It's a barrel-chested linebacker, and the capable suspension can handle a lot of roughhousing, even if some corners are just too tight for such a long vehicle. EcoBoost models are better because they have a three-mode continuously controlled damping suspension that can react quickly to changing surfaces and conditions.
Interior, Safety, and Features
Lincoln's Town Car is long gone, and it's the MKT that's the inheritor to that throne. It's a vehicle that works well as an executive shuttle or a luxurious family wagon. As such, you can choose between a six-passenger version with twin bucket seats in the first two rows and a two-seat bench in back, or a seven-seat version that replaces the middle row of captain's chairs with a bench.
In both the first and second rows, the MKT provides uncommon support and space in every direction. The front seats remind us of those in Volvo products (which is high praise), and they're great for covering hundreds of miles in a day, with underlying firmness yet pillow-cozy comfort. In front, there's a very wide range of seat and steering-wheel adjustment to help tailor a great driving position. In the second row, you'll find wide-opening doors and plenty of leg room for adults. The third row is a challenge for adults—not so much because of space itself but because it's hard to enter and exit.
There's about as much cargo space in the MKT as you'll find in a large sedan. Fold down the seats and you can have access to a nearly flat load floor and almost 76 cubic feet of cargo space, which is a lot of room but small for the class.
The MKT comes with a decent set of safety features, including a rearview camera, six airbags, rear park assist, and the MyKey system that lets parents program certain vehicle settings to rein in teen drivers. Buyers can also get active parking assistance, lane-keep assist, forward collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross traffic alerts, adaptive headlights, and a seatbelt airbag system for those in the outboard positions of the second row.
An aging design, the MKT hasn't been subjected to all of today's safety tests. It has earned the top "Good" scores from the IIHS in all tests, but without a rating in the small overlap front crash test, it can't earn Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ honors. The only rating it gets from the federal government is four stars out of five in the rollover test.
Otherwise, the MKT is very well equipped. It comes standard with tri-zone climate control, Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8.0-inch screen, a 10-speaker audio system, a keyless entry control pad located in the door frame, remote starting, heated and cooled 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a power tilt/telescoping steering column, adjustable pedals, ambient interior lighting, second-row sunshades, keyless ignition with MyKey, a power liftgate, high-intensity discharge headlamps with automatic high-beams, fog lamps, a large fixed-panel panoramic sunroof, a rear spoiler, and 19-inch alloy wheels. With the EcoBoost engine, buyers also get all-wheel drive and continuous damping control.
An Elite Package for the EcoBoost model adds a power-folding third-row seat, HD Radio, a THX II-certified audio system, a heated steering wheel, and voice-activated navigation. And with the Technology Package, which requires the Elite Package, you also get adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation, active park assist, and active lane control. On top of that, you can add a second-row refrigerator console, a rear-seat entertainment package, a power panoramic roof, 20-inch wheels, and a tow package.