2010 Lincoln MKTPosted on October 14th, 2009
Crossover vehicle is a showcase for new technology
By Nina Russin
From an engineering stance, the MKT may be the best car Lincoln has ever built. Ford’s new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine produces ample power while maintaining good fuel economy, thanks to variable camshaft timing and progressive twin turbochargers. The six-speed automatic transmission is buttery smooth. All-wheel drive automatically shifts engine power to the wheels with the best traction, giving the MKT exceptional ride and handling.
Unfortunately, the MKT is not a perfect car. There are some significant problems with ergonomics on the interior. An extremely thick D-pillar produces large blind spots to the rear. Although the optional blind spot monitoring system eliminates the problem, I can’t excuse an easily correctible design flaw.
I feel like a Lilliputian
For readers who never read Gulliver’s Travels, the Lilliputians are a race of diminutive creatures hailing from the fictional island of Lilliput. When I get behind the wheel of the MKT, the effect is not unlike a Lilliputian trying to hijack Gulliver’s ship.
The first obvious problem is the seatbelt. I always thought seatbelt design was a no-brainer, but this week I learned that is not the case. In order to accommodate drivers with wide hip points, the MKT design team put a plastic extension over the right anchor. If the driver’s hips are wide enough, they push this piece of plastic out and to the side. My hips are narrow, so the anchor pokes into my waist, hard enough to make a dime-sized bruise.
The MKT comes with adjustable pedals and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel: both devices to help shorter drivers feel more comfortable. But the seat bottom and back are so wide that I slide between the side bolsters when I go around a corner.
The steering wheel is also big. Years ago car manufacturers made steering wheels wide to give the driver leverage, since most steering systems did not have power assist. In this case, I’m assuming that the decision had more to do with styling, since the steering wheel incorporates a wood inlay on top and an array of redundant infotainment buttons across the bottom.
The good news lies beneath the MKT’s hood. Ford has received many accolades for its new 3.4-liter V6, since the automaker unveiled the engine on the 2010 Taurus SHO. The engine is an outstanding performer. While a figure of 355 horsepower is impressive on a V6, it’s the 350 foot-pounds of torque that give the new engine its exceptional low-end power. Thanks to progressive twin turbochargers, the engine reaches peak torque at 1500 rpm and maintains it to redline.
Despite weighing close to 5000 pounds, the MKT accelerates like a sport sedan. Average fuel economy is 18 miles-per-gallon: pretty good for such a heavy vehicle. The standard six-speed automatic transmission displays little if any shift shock. Normally, I would wonder why a driver would want Formula-style shift paddles on a three-row crossover, but the MKT’s performance justifies them.
Twenty-inch aluminum wheels give the MKT an extremely wide footprint, to help balance off the long wheelbase. Designers kept the car’s front and rear overhangs short, to push the wheels to the corners.
The fully-independent suspension is compliant without feeling overly soft. Engineers used an electric power steering pump on the EcoBoost model. The pump eliminates hydraulic components that add weight to the chassis and wear out over time. Some electric pumps can make the driver feel disconnected from the wheels, but that is not the case with the MKT.
Despite carrying most of its weight up front, the MKT shows no tendency to understeer in the corners. I was impressed by the way the vehicle hunkered through a decreasing radius cloverleaf ramp.
The optional blind spot information system illuminates a LED signal in the side mirrors when vehicles in adjacent lanes enter the driver’s blind spots. I can’t say enough good things about this technology. If it was standard on all new cars, it would probably prevent a lot of accidents.
Vented disk brakes on all four wheels stop the car on a dime. Four-channel antilock braking enhances the car’s wet-weather performance.
Seating for up to six passengers
The test car comes with second-row captain’s chairs, giving the MKT a six-passenger capacity. Designers did a good job of providing first and second-row passengers with ample access to cup and bottle holders, storage bins and power points. A floating center stack similar to contemporary Volvo designs creates a storage area in back. A 12-volt power point behind the center stack recharges portable electronic devices.
Dual-zone climate controls together with heated front seats keep the driver and front passenger comfortable in temperature extremes. Second and third-row passengers get a separate set of climate controls: ceiling vents circulate air through the back.
The center console includes cupholders in front of dual armrests. A deep bin includes both an auxiliary port and second 12-volt power point. The overhead console provides two overhead reading lamps and a sunglass holder. The optional panoramic sunroof on the test car floods the vehicle’s interior with light.
A button on the B pillar tumbles the second-row seats forward, to ease access and egress to the third row. This is especially important because of the car’s large wheels and wheel wells.
Second-row seats have ample head, leg and hip room. The rear center console includes two cupholders, a shelf for portable electronic devices, 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets. A chilled bin at the back of the center console keeps drinks cold on long trips.
While access to the back row is better than average, the seats themselves are small. My head touches the headliner when I sit in the third row. There isn’t an abundance of legroom either, though I could live with it on a short trip.
Both second and third-row seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor. Since the seats don’t create an uninterrupted surface, it’s harder to load large items in the back. A power liftgate frees up the hands when the driver needs to load groceries into the car.
All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, vehicle stability and traction control and antilock brakes. Adaptive front headlamps swivel according to steering input, to light corners of the road. This is a great safety technology for drivers who live in dark suburban areas, where normal headlamps don’t illuminate pedestrians on either side of the crosswalks.
Base price on the test car is $49,200, not including a $795 destination charge. Lincoln produces the MKT at its Oakville, Ontario Canada assembly plant.
Likes: A six-passenger crossover vehicle with outstanding power and performance. Ford’s new 3.5-liter V6 is one of the best engines on the market
Dislikes: Uncomfortable seatbelts. Large rear blind spots due to thick D pillars. Lack of headroom in the third row.
Base price: $49,200
As tested: $55,885
Horsepower: 355 Hp @ 5700 rpm
Torque: 350 lbs.-ft. @ 1500 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 16/22 mpg city/highway
Comments: The manufacturer recommends premium 91 octane fuel for best performance.
3 responses to “2010 Lincoln MKT”
ron williams December 8th, 2010 at 16:08
beware the MKT has a big design defect that prevents you from lowering a rear window. If you do and you are moving above 35 mph you will think a helicopter landed on your roof. thump thump thump thump.
Mike Davis February 5th, 2011 at 12:38
Beware, in addition to the THUMPING sound from lowering the rear windows, the rear seatbelts FLAP,FLAP, FLAP on the rear seats when not connected,(I connect them to prevent sound when rear windows are open). This could easily be resolved if the rear side windows would open. In addition, the MKT is not designed for an the average tall driver. I’m 6.2 and the driver’s leg room is cramped. It seems as if it was designed for a shorter person. This is no good for long trips.
Finally, the MKT I own was purchased in Feb of 2010. I’ve returned the car three (3) times for transmission slippage(It’s currently @ the dealer). They re-installed software, hoping to resolve the problem, however I’m still experiencing the same problem.
Other than the above, I love the performance of the MKT and most of all the positive looks and comments I receive when driving it .
Dave Jamroziak April 25th, 2011 at 13:39
My wife and I purchased our MKT recently and love it. I am 6’3″ and have not had any problems with feeling cramped in the front or second row seats, even on longer trips (drove 4+ hours last weekend). The driving position can be tailored so easily with the power seats (the lumbar adjustability is awesome), power pedals and wheel reach and rake adjustments I find it hard to believe anyone from 5’2″ to 6’11” would have a problem getting comfortable. My nephew is 6’11” and he was able to find a comfortable driving position!
We purchased a FWD 3.7L version and find the power more than adequate with fuel economy averaging around 23mpg combined driving so far.
The thumping issue caused by lowering a rear window is annoying but easily solved by also cracking a front window open. A design flaw yes but not a deal breaker.
The only thing we really need to get used to is the storage area size with or without the 3rd row seat up. We traded in a Honda van and the MKT is much smaller in this area. The higher quality, better ride, passenger comfort and quiet cruising of the MKT more than make up for it though. We can learn to pack lighter, purchase one of those shelves that fits in the trailer hitch receiver or some sort of a roof carrier. This is a small price to pay because the MKT does everything else so well.
We also love that the MKT doesn’t look like every other vehicle on the road. We could have bought another Honda or a Toyota van if we wanted that.
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