Full 2010 Lincoln MKT Review
What's New for 2010
The 2010 Lincoln MKT is an all-new midsize seven-passenger luxury crossover.
Remember how comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to tilt his head, adjust his necktie, and proclaim "Oooohhh, tough crowd!" when some of his material didn't go over quite as well as he'd hoped? Well, we think that classic line neatly describes what the all-new 2010 Lincoln MKT luxury crossover is up against.
You see, while this gussied-up version of the midsize Ford Flex is likable enough, it's debuting at a time when there are dozens of very good competitors -- including both luxury crossovers like the Audi Q7 and deluxe versions of mainstream models like the Flex Limited -- already on the market. Virtually all these upscale models are strong contenders, blessed with stylish exteriors and comfortable passenger cabins filled with lots of cutting-edge doodads.
What most of those competitors don't have, however, is a powertrain as good as the MKT's "EcoBoost" twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6. It puts out an impressive 355 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque and also gets a respectable EPA-estimated 22 mpg on the highway. Other advantages include a very smooth and quiet ride, respectable handling ability and a massive list of standard and optional equipment that includes such options as a hard-drive-based navigation system, adaptive cruise control and a refrigerated box for rear-seat passengers.
That said, the 2010 Lincoln MKT has a few shortcomings that keep us from giving it a more enthusiastic thumbs-up. These include somewhat contrived exterior styling and a third-row seat that has significantly less headroom than the Ford Flex's. Price might also be an issue, as the Flex (you can get the EcoBoost engine in it, too) costs less. Still, the new MKT has a lot going for it and compares well to vehicles like the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave and Mercedes-Benz R-Class. It used to be that people gave "no respect, no respect at all" to Lincoln, but the MKT might just be the vehicle to change that.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Lincoln MKT is a six- or seven-passenger crossover SUV offered in two trim levels: base and turbocharged "EcoBoost." Standard equipment for both includes an oversized, fixed panoramic sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights with an auto-high beam feature, 19-inch alloy wheels (20-inch wheels for the EcoBoost), keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors and a power liftgate. Inside, you'll find leather seating, 12-way heated and ventilated power front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory settings, a tilt/telescoping steering column, tri-zone automatic climate control, retractable second-row sunshades, a rear 110-volt power outlet and an 8-inch touchscreen that displays audio and climate controls and the image from the standard rearview camera. On the entertainment front there is a 10-speaker audio system with a 10-gigabyte hard drive, satellite radio, and the Sync system that offers voice control for MP3 players and cell phones.
As if that weren't enough, the MKT can be decked out with adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel-park feature, a navigation system, the Sirius Travel Link service, a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system, a powered panoramic sunroof, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, second-row heated and ventilated bucket seats (which drops seating capacity to six), a second-row center console with a built-in refrigerator/freezer, and a power-folding third-row seat.
Powertrains and Performance
Entry-level MKT models get a 3.7-liter V6 that puts out 268 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift feature that can be accessed via steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available as an option. The MKT EcoBoost is blessed with a more muscular, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that puts out an impressive 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The same six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system are standard.
Fuel economy numbers are just average for the midsize crossover category, with the front-wheel-drive base model returning 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway on regular 87-octane gas. The more powerful EcoBoost V6 should do nearly as well according to Lincoln engineers, who expect it to return EPA estimates of 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway on premium fuel.
The 2010 Lincoln MKT comes standard with electronic stability control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows.
There are also several new high-tech safety features, including the Collision Warning with Brake Support system that comes as part of the optional Adaptive Cruise Control package. The system flashes a warning on the windshield when sensors detect slower-moving traffic ahead and then pre-charges the brake system to reduce braking distances for an ensuing panic stop.
Other useful safety innovations include a rearview camera, a blind spot monitor and a "Cross Traffic Alert" system, which uses sensors to warn the driver of approaching vehicles when backing out of a parking space with limited visibility. Finally, parents will want to take note of the available new My Key feature. A special programmable key allows mom and dad to set limits on top speed and audio system volume in order to help keep their teenage drivers out of trouble.
Interior Design and Special Features
Both MKT models are offered with a choice of a six- or seven-passenger interior. Whichever layout you choose, you can expect stylish design and top-quality materials including leather upholstery and genuine wood trim. The six-passenger version swaps out the standard 60/40-split second-row bench for a pair of optional bucket seats that slide fore and aft to provide generous adult-sized legroom. Add options like the second-row console with built-in refrigerator/freezer and front headrest-mounted DVD screens and these easily become the best seats in the house.
The standard two-person split-folding third-row seat is another story altogether, as the sloping rear roof line results in a substantial loss of headroom compared to the squared-off Flex. Those looking for maximum people-moving capability should also be aware that the Buick Enclave offer seating for up to eight passengers by virtue of its three-place third-row seat, though its overall interior ambiance isn't is nice as the MKT's. The MKT's cargo space checks in with 76 cubic feet of total capacity, which is a little below average for the segment.
One look at the 2010 Lincoln MKT's substantial size and you'd likely scale back your expectations of what this new Lincoln people mover is like to drive. But the Lincoln actually drives quite nicely. Handling is surprisingly lively and the steering feels pretty responsive, even if it's a little light. Better still, engineers have tuned the suspension to deliver a refined and quiet ride quality, which is what we expect most MKT buyers are really looking for in a vehicle like this.
While we haven't had the opportunity to drive the MKT equipped with the standard 3.7-liter V6, our time behind the wheel of the EcoBoost V6-powered model has convinced us that this powertrain is the way to go. With its twin turbochargers producing abundant horsepower and torque across a wide rpm range, this new engine pulls strongly from just off idle all the way to highway (or higher) speeds. The new six-speed automatic works flawlessly as well, delivering smooth shifts and contributing to the very respectable fuel economy.