Full 2010 Lincoln MKS Review
What's New for 2010
The big news for the 2010 Lincoln MKS is the debut of the optional "EcoBoost" twin-turbocharged V6, which is packaged with an electric power steering system. New standard features include adaptive xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry/ignition, paddle shifters, interior ambient lighting and a power sunshade for the rear window.
Now that Jaguar has been sold off, the 2010 Lincoln MKS is Ford's flagship sedan. And if you are to believe Lincoln's marketing, it's their starship, too. However, we doubt the designers of the starship Enterprise would ever base their baby on a cargo freighter. Related to -- and not particularly different from -- the workaday Ford Taurus, the MKS doesn't deliver the goods as effectively or as inexpensively as other luxury sedans.
There is at least some good news for the MKS as it enters its second year of production. An optional "EcoBoost" twin-turbocharged V6 is now available, and it cranks out 355 horses, a considerable improvement over the 273-horsepower output of the base V6. The EcoBoost model also gets standard all-wheel drive. However, the mechanically similar Ford Taurus SHO gets the same amped-up powertrain -- with an extra 10 hp to boot -- for a whopping $10,000 less than the approximate $48,000 MSRP of the turbocharged MKS. In today's marketplace, the turbocharged MKS is overpriced compared to the 375-hp Hyundai Genesis V8 (about $37,000) and outclassed by similarly priced cars from BMW, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. The base MKS, with its coarse-sounding V6 and front-wheel-drive layout, is even less appealing.
The 2010 Lincoln MKS does have a couple things going for it, though, namely its massive interior and long list of luxury features. But these are mostly consolation prizes. Besides the aforementioned and highly regarded Hyundai Genesis (V8 or V6) or more prestigious Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XF or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, you could also do better (and spend less) with cars like the Acura TL SH-AWD or Volkswagen CC VR6 4Motion. Even affordable front-wheel-drive cruisers like the Hyundai Azera and Toyota Avalon could be considered as viable alternatives to the base MKS. In short, it takes more than a tarted-up Taurus to do battle with some of the world's best all-around sedans.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Lincoln MKS comes in three trim levels: FWD, AWD and EcoBoost. The FWD and AWD models come standard with 18-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, heated power sideview mirrors with memory and auto-dimming on the driver side, adaptive xenon headlamps, keyless entry/ignition, ambient interior lighting, a power rear sunshade, cruise control, the voice-activated Sync system, leather upholstery, a tilt/telescoping power steering wheel with memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated 12-way power front seats, heated rear seats, a rear center armrest with pass-through slot, a THX-certified AM/FM stereo system with an in-dash six-CD changer, Sirius Satellite Radio and an auxiliary jack, and a slick version of Ford's venerable touchpad entry system that's embedded in the base of the B-pillar. The EcoBoost is similarly equipped but has a more powerful twin-turbocharged engine and 19-inch wheels.
Optional features include 19- or 20-inch wheels and a dual-pane sunroof. Interior options include wood or aluminum trim, a touchscreen hard-drive-based navigation system with Sirius Travel Link, a back-up camera, adaptive cruise control (which uses radar to adjust speed based on traffic in front of the car) and an upgraded 14-speaker THX-certified surround-sound system with two subwoofers and 10GB of digital music storage. These features are typically bundled together in Lincoln's Navigation, Technology or Ultimate Packages. A late-availability EcoBoost Appearance Package adds sporty exterior styling cues like unique 20-inch chrome wheels, exclusive seats, illuminated sill plates and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Powertrains and Performance
Both FWD (front-wheel-drive) and AWD (all-wheel-drive) trim levels share the same powertrain, a 3.7-liter V6 matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control and paddle shifters. This engine generates 273 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque with regular 87 octane, but Lincoln says filling up with a higher octane can boost power by a couple horses. We managed a sluggish 7.5-second sprint from zero to 60 mph in an AWD test car with this engine; expect the lighter front-wheel-drive model to shave a couple tenths off that time.
The all-wheel-drive EcoBoost model comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that makes 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost is considerably quicker without exacting a penalty in fuel economy -- at a Ford-estimated 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, it gets essentially the same mileage as the non-turbocharged models (17/24 for FWD, 16/23 for AWD). Note, however, that premium fuel is recommended.
The 2010 Lincoln MKS comes standard with stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and antilock brakes with brake assist. A collision warning system with brake support comes with the optional adaptive cruise control. In government crash tests, the MKS received a perfect five-star rating for occupant protection in both frontal and side-impact crashes. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the MKS its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side impact testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 MKS's overall interior design is pleasing, featuring standard leather upholstery and an attractive dash layout. Materials quality is a mixed bag, however, with too much chintzy plastic and Ford-grade switchgear. Believe it or not, the cheaper MKZ sedan and even the Ford Flex wagon have equal or better interior materials. Lincoln's ventilated seats are a nice touch, as are the MKS's standard rear heated seats. The 2010 MKS offers plenty of interior and cargo space -- the trunk will hold 18.4 cubic feet. Rear passenger room and comfort are particularly impressive.
The 2010 Lincoln MKS drives like what it is: a really expensive Ford Taurus. In fact, the base MKS with its 3.7-liter V6 would have trouble keeping up with a Ford Fusion SEL V6, and its coarse noises aren't exactly what buyers with $40,000-plus budgets are hoping to hear. The twin-turbocharged engine is far more satisfying from a driving standpoint. When taken on a curvy road, the MKS's handling is a letdown, feeling dull and overly soft. Yet this softness doesn't translate into comfort, as the MKS is in fact rather firm-riding. It's the worst of both worlds -- rides like a sport sedan, handles like a boat.