RSS icon Home icon
  • 2016 Lincoln MKX Crossover

    Not just another pretty face

    By Nina Russin

    2016 Lincoln MKX

    2016 Lincoln MKX

    In the ever-increasing swarm of luxury crossovers, the 2016 Lincoln MKX stands out as the perfect ten: with room for the family, advanced safety features and a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine that puts many eight cylinder blocks to shame. The new turbocharged EcoBoost develops 335 peak horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque: 102 pound-feet more than the car’s standard naturally aspirated V-6.

    With a base price of $47,650 for the all-wheel drive model the MKX isn’t an inexpensive car, but buyers get a lot for the money. Standard convenience features include heated and cooled front seats, hands-free liftgate, panoramic sunroof, capless fuel filler, LED tail lamps, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery and voice-activated navigation.

    The EcoBoost engine adds $2,000 and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Other options on the test car include special exterior paint, a cargo management system, heated seats and steering wheel, active park assist, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, inflatable second-row safety belts, 20-inch wheels, roof rails and a 22-way power driver’s seat. Final MSRP is $63,275. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2015 Lincoln Navigator

    Lincoln’s full-size SUV is more than a pretty face

    By Nina Russin

    2015 Lincoln Navigator

    2015 Lincoln Navigator

    This year Lincoln introduces an all-new Navigator full-size sport-utility vehicle, building on the original formula with significant improvements to fuel economy, ride, handling and infotainment technology. First and foremost is a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that delivers 380 horsepower and 460 foot-pounds of peak torque. By comparison, the considerably larger 5.4-liter V-8 in the original 1998 model delivered 230-horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque.

    In addition to producing thirty percent more power, the new EcoBoost block is significantly thriftier at the fuel pump, averaging 18 miles-per-gallon for the rear-wheel drive model and 17 for the four-by-four test car. By comparison, the ’98 model puttered along at 12 miles-per-gallon.

    Designers refreshed the exterior with a new hood and LED lighting. Standard daytime running lamps make the SUV easier to see on winding canyon roads while adaptive front headlamps light the corners of dark rural roads at night.

    Pricing for the four-wheel drive standard wheelbase car tested begins at $66,055 excluding the $995 destination charge. Options on the test car include a reserve option package that adds Lincoln drive control, 22-inch alloy rims and power running boards and special paint. Final MSRP is $73,395. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2015 Lincoln MKC

    Compact luxury crossover

    By Nina Russin

    2015 Lincoln MKC

    2015 Lincoln MKC

    Crossovers run the risk of being jacks-of-all-trades and experts at none. They are to the car world what cross trainers are to the shoe world: carrying people and their stuff through rain, sleet, snow and occasionally mud, as work-a-day commuters and weekend warriors.

    Creating a car to meet all these needs isn’t particularly difficult, but giving it passion is the supreme challenge. It’s not the technology behind the MKC that makes the car so special, although features such as the 285-horsepower EcoBoost engine and push-button transmission don’t hurt. What makes the MKC magical is its ability to connect with the driver: something multi-passenger vehicles very rarely do.

    Getting behind the wheel of the new MKC, I instantly sensed kinesthesia between my hands and the steering wheel, my spine with the seatbacks, and my feet with the pedals. The car engaged my mind and body in a manner that was nothing short of exhilarating.

    This is not to say that the Lincoln MKC is a sports car in a crossover body. But it manages to make features that seem intrusive on competitive products completely intuitive. For example, the lane departure warning and assist system gently guides the driver back to the center of the lane when he starts to stray, with gentle haptic feedback. The 2.3-liter turbocharged engine achieves its fuel economy targets regardless of how hard the driver pushes the car, and the transmission saves space without forcing its user through a new learning curve.

    All-wheel drive makes the MKC a four-season vehicle. In the winter, an app enables the driver to start the car remotely and pre-heat it. Active park assist with available park-out assist will automatically pull the vehicle into a parallel parking spot on the street. Drivers who park in public garages and lots can use the rearview camera to monitor cross traffic, making it easier and safer to back out.

    Base price for the test car with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine is $40,860. Options include the ruby red exterior paint, active park assist, premium audio system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist, forward collision warning, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, automatic high-beams, rain-sensing wipers and adaptive cruise control. Final MSRP is $49,265. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2013 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost

    One of the most technically advanced vehicles on the planet

    by Jim Woodman

    2013 Lincoln MKT

    2013 Lincoln MKT

    As an Internet entrepreneur, a lot of my software engineers refer to me as an “athlete who’s a wanna-be geek” because I’m always tinkering with or curious about the latest technology.

    So imagine my delight in test driving the new Lincoln MKT with some of the most advanced technology and safety features available in any 3-row SUV or crossover. Here, finally, was a car that met all my athletic needs while satisfying my thirst for the latest and coolest technology innovations and gadgets. While not the most aesthetically pleasing vehicle from the outside, it’s absolutely gorgeous inside.

    I’ll get into some of the innovative technology in a bit, but let me first cover the basics. My test drive vehicle came outfitted with the optional 3.5 liter EcoBoost turbo-charged V6 that delivers an impressive 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque at just 1500 rpm. Considering the MKT’s size, I was pleasantly surprised with the acceleration, especially in the 40-70mph range. I saw Edmunds ran a performance test for 0-60 mph and the MKT EcoBoost did it in 6.3 seconds, which is very impressive for a 4,900 pound 3-row crossover. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2011 Lincoln MKT AWD

    Six-passenger luxury crossover with fuel-efficient EcoBoost engine

    By Nina Russin

    2011 Lincoln MKT

    In the past, families wanting a luxury vehicle with cargo space were limited to full-sized sport-utility vehicles. While SUVs offer towing, cargo and off-road capability, poor fuel economy raises the cost of ownership. The 2011 Lincoln MKT changes the equation, combining a premium six-passenger interior with a fuel-efficient V-6 engine and all-wheel drive.

    Ford’s EcoBoost engine debuted in the new Ford Taurus SHO. The V-6 powerplant produces up to 355 horsepower. The bigger story is its 350 lbs.-ft. of torque, available at engine speeds as low as 1500 rpm. The MKT tows up to 4500 pounds, exceeding our ALV minimum standard.

    The EcoBoost MKT comes standard with all-wheel drive, which automatically transfers engine power to the wheels with the most traction. All models come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Formula-style shift paddles on the steering wheel let the driver select gears manually for sportier performance.

    The test car seats six passengers, equipped with bucket seats in the second row. Both second and third-row seats fold flat, extending the cargo floor to meet our bicycle-friendly standards. A five-quart capacity refrigerator located between the second-row seats is great for camping or a long day out on the trails.

    Base price on the test car is $49,200, not including the $795 delivery charge. A rapid-spec option package adds voice-activated navigation, a 5.1 surround-sound audio system, blind spot monitoring and a panoramic sunroof ($4000).

    Active park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to guide the car into parallel parking spots hands-free ($595). Second row bucket seats cost $995, the refrigerator is $895. Adaptive cruise control maintains a preset distance from the car in front ($1295), bringing the price as tested to $57,775. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2011 Lincoln MKS GTDI

    Flagship sedan is king of the road

    By Nina Russin

    2011 Lincoln MKSLincoln’s reputation as king of the road dates back to the days of bobby socks and lead sleds. Driving the 2011 MKS sedan conjures up memories of Charlie Ryan’s 1955 hit, “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Commander Cody’s ’72 cover version topped the charts when I was in high school.

    Ryan was most likely inspired by the 1955 Lincoln Continental Mark II: a behemoth two-door sedan with a 126-inch wheelbase, and 368 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 265 horsepower. Lincoln built 3000 Mark IIs. With its $10,000 price tag (about the same as a Rolls Royce), the ’55 Continental was the provenance of the super-rich.

    The full-sized MKS carries forth the Lincoln’s king-of-the-road heritage in a streamlined package which is equally stunning, and relatively speaking, more affordable.

    The available EcoBoost engine uses turbocharging to give six-cylinders the power of eight. The 355 horsepower engine reaches peak torque, 350 foot-pounds, at 1500 rpm. The engine runs on regular gas and averages 25 miles-per-gallon on the highway.

    A six-speed automatic transmission transmits the engine power to the wheels in seamless fashion. All-wheel drive, standard on EcoBoost models, enhances traction on wet and snow-covered roads.

     Segment-leading safety features including adaptive cruise control with collision warning, active park assist, a rearview camera, SOS post crash notification and Ford’s safety canopy side airbags protect occupants in all kinds of weather. MyKey enables parents to limit the speeds and audio volume when their kids are behind the wheel.

    Base price for the MKS EcoBoost is $48,160, not including the $825 delivery charge. A rapid spec package on the test car adds voice activated navigation, audio upgrade, a rearview camera and dual-panel moonroof ($3500). An appearance package includes 20-inch wheels, special floor mats and interior trim, and a leather coated steering wheel ($2995). Active park assist, which automatically parallel parks the car, costs $535. Adaptive cruise control with collision warning adds $1295, while the white platinum paint costs $595, bringing the price as tested to $57,905. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

    New engine technology raises the bar for luxury sedans

    By Nina Russin

    2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

    2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

    Rarely is a new car engine a game changer, simply because current technology is so good. Despite that, the Ford EcoBoost engine, available in the all-wheel drive version of the Lincoln MKS, goes to the head of the class. The engine is so powerful, smooth and fuel efficient that it raises the bar for every car in the segment.

    Twin turbochargers give the EcoBoost V-6 engine power and performance comparable to a V-8. Thanks to its low compression ratio, the EcoBoost can run on regular gas, though premium is recommended for optimum performance.

    According to EPA statistics, the engine averages 25 miles-per-gallon on the highway: a mile-per-gallon better than the Duratec V-6 on the front-wheel drive MKS. Not only does the EcoBoost produce 82 more horsepower and 80 more foot-pounds of torque than the Duratec, it compensates for parasitic fuel economy loss from the all-wheel drive.

    Engineers have configured the turbochargers to be virtually invisible to the driver, with no turbo-lag. The six-speed automatic transmission is equally seamless: paddle shifters on the steering wheel allow the driver to change gears manually for more aggressive performance.

    Because of the turbochargers, the engine develops peak torque as low as 1500 rpm: just off idle. As a result, the MKS can soar up hills and entrance ramps into high-speed traffic. Its power and nimble handling make the MKS feel like a much lighter and smaller car than its 4300-pound curb weight would suggest.

    Since the EcoBoost engine is smaller than the Duratec V-6, it’s lighter and more compact, making it easier to package under the hood, and reducing overall curb weight. Since all-wheel drive adds weight to the MKS chassis, weight savings under the hood are important.

    Base price on the EcoBoost MKS is $47,760, not including an $825 destination charge. Adaptive park assist on the test car can automatically parallel park the car ($535). Adaptive cruise control automatically maintains a preset distance from the car in front, enabling the driver to use cruise control in urban traffic ($1310).

    Navigation is part of a convenience package that also adds an audio upgrade, rearview camera and dual-panel moon roof ($3500). Sirius travel link provides real-time traffic and weather updates. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2010 Lincoln MKT

    Crossover vehicle is a showcase for new technology

    By Nina Russin

    2010 Lincoln MKT

    2010 Lincoln MKT

    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. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2009 Lincoln MKS

    New flagship sedan rolls out this summer

    By Nina Russin

    2009 Lincoln MKS

    2009 Lincoln MKS

    The new MKS may be Lincoln’s most important car of the current decade: its fresh design and technology set new standards for the brand. Based on the MKR concept, the sedan is one of a series of production vehicles intended to give Lincoln a sexier, more youthful image.

    Chief designer, Peter Horbury, culled the grille from the 1941 Lincoln Continental. A beltline that rises over the rear wheels is another cue from Lincoln’s pre-war era.

    But the MKS looks to Lincoln’s future more than its past, with features such as adaptive cruise control, keyless start, adaptive headlamps and  Sync infotainment interface. Ford’s unique keypad entry system has evolved into a heat-sensitive display that illuminates when the driver touches the B-pillar.

    The driver unlocks the car by brushing his hand over the display with the key in his pocket, or by entering a numeric code. The advantage of keypad entry is that it gives multiple passengers access: I find it a great convenience when my husband and I travel together to a race or a trailhead.

    Advanced safety systems include a body structure that makes extensive use of high-strength boron steel, Ford’s safety canopy, electronic stability control, and an adaptive collapsible steering column. A new forward sensing system alerts drivers about obstacles in front of the car when parking, while an available rear back-up camera with audible assist eliminate blind spots to the back.

    At the heart of the car is a 3.7-liter V6 engine based on the 3.5-liter block in the MKX and MKZ. The 273-horsepower engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission: it runs on regular fuel. A capless fuel filler system eliminates a piece of hardware and reduces evaporative emissions. Available all-wheel drive improves the sedan’s wet weather performance.

    Fuel saving features such as a two-speed fuel pump and deceleration fuel shut-off enhance gas mileage. A fuel meter in the gauge cluster coaches the driver on fuel-efficient driving. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 2007 Lincoln Navigator

    Lincoln’s flagship sport-utility vehicle features seating for up to eight passengers.
    By Nina Russin

    2007 Lincoln Navigator

    2007 Lincoln Navigator

    At this moment, I feel like biggest thing on the planet. I’m driving the 2007 Lincoln Navigator, a Titanic-sized sport-utility vehicle whose interior mimics a well-furnished yacht. From where I sit, people look like ants. Every vehicle on the road, except for the Hummer, seems diminutive by comparison. I think I might need a ladder to disembark, but fortunately, there’s a sideboard that deploys when I open the door. Still, I feel like a Lilliputian aboard the great ship Gulliver.

    With seating for up to eight passengers and a 135-foot cargo floor, the new Navigator is not a vehicle for the feint of heart. Curb weight on the four-by-four model is just over 6,000 pounds. Don’t even ask about fuel economy. There is none.

    But for those who can afford it, the Navigator is a very luxurious way to transport lots of people and their gear on or off the road. Despite its weight, the Navigator accelerates hard off the line, propelled by a 300 horsepower V8 engine, which delivers up to 365 lbs.-ft. of torque. The standard six-speed automatic transmission shifts seamlessly. I never noticed shift shock during my week-long test drive.

    Visibility around the truck is remarkably good. The ample side mirrors are easy to adjust, and feature side marker lights that flash with the turn signals, to make the vehicle more visible for cars to either side. While no vehicle with a 119-inch wheelbase turns on a dime, the rack and pinion steering system feels positive at all speeds. The test vehicle came with optional twenty-inch rims and low-profile tires ($1,495), providing a wider footprint than the standard eighteen-inch wheel package. The fully independent suspension is plush but not overly soft.

    Standard four-channel antilock brakes provide a margin of comfort for a vehicle with so much mass, especially for drivers living in winter climates. Roll stability control is also standard. Ford’s safety canopy with rollover sensing utilizes side-curtain airbags with tethers to hold all three rows of passengers in place in the event of a rollover.

    Standard high-intensity discharge headlamps provide a long, bright beam of light for night driving.

    Engineers reduced the noise-intrusion over the previous model by adding additional insulation to the headliner and dashboard. They also utilized additional padding in the carpeting to reduce road noise, and thicker side glass to minimize wind noise. The body of the current model has a stiffer chassis than the old model: that translates to less squeaks and rattles, and better handling characteristics. Finally, engineers tuned the side mirrors to minimize wind noise into the cabin.

    Luxurious, spacious interior

    The Navigator can seat up to eight passengers, with a 40/20/40 split second-row seat and 60/60 split third row seat. All passengers have plenty of cupholders to choose from: all big enough to hold water bottles. There are map pockets in all four doors as well as on the seatbacks of the first-row seats. Ten-way power front seats with seat heaters are standard. So are power-adjustable pedals for smaller drivers. The driver’s seat is easy to adjust for comfort and forward visibility, and is firm enough to provide good lower lumbar support.

    The center console up front has a large, deep storage compartment that’s big enough for a purse or small pack, a change dispenser and a MP3 jack. Both first and second-row passengers have access to a 12-volt power point. The second row seats fold and tumble to easy access to the third row.

    Buyers who regularly haul lots of gear will love the power folding rear seats. They deploy with a single button, folding flat into the floor. A single lever to the side of each second-row seat folds the seat flat as well, creating an exceptionally long, functional load floor. The Navigator will easily hold a couple of bikes inside with the third-row seats folded, assuming the front wheels are removed.

    Buyers looking for additional cargo space can upgrade to the extended-length, Navigator L model. The Navigator L’s wheelbase is twelve inches longer than the standard car, adding 25 feet of additional cargo space behind the third-row seat. However the standard car is quite long as it is: 208 inches end to end. The L model adds another fifteen inches, making it almost impossible to park in a standard garage, or fit comfortably in most driveways. 

    The test truck came with an elite option package ($5,450) that included satellite radio and a rear-seat DVD system. I didn’t test the DVD player, but the fourteen-speaker audio system delivered excellent sound throughout the vehicle. The option package also includes a free six-month subscription to Sirius satellite radio, an electro chromic dimming rear mirror and the power deploying running boards.

    Plenty of towing capacity

    The Navigator is a body-on-frame design, which is ideal for towing large loads. The four-by-four truck tested can tow up to 8750 pounds. The rear-wheel drive model adds another two hundred pounds of towing capacity, for buyers who don’t need the off-road capability.

    The Lincoln Navigator and Navigator L are produced in the United States, at Ford’s Michigan truck plant. They are currently available for test drives at Lincoln dealerships throughout the country.

    Likes: Excellent ride and handling characteristics, with above-average steering response for a vehicle of this size. Visibility is good all the way around the car. The interior is comfortable and versatile. The power folding third-row seat is a great feature.

    Dislikes: Poor fuel economy means relatively high maintenance costs. Those drivers living in urban areas where parking is limited should make sure that they can accommodate a vehicle of this size.

    Quick facts:

    Base price: $50,655
    Price as tested: $58,420
    Horsepower: 300 Hp @ 5000 r.p.m.
    Torque: 365 lbs.-ft. @ 3750 r.p.m.  
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: No
    Towing: Yes
    Off-road: Yes
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Fuel economy: N/A