Full 2014 Lincoln MKT Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Lincoln MKT is unchanged.
Thanks to good genes, the seven-passenger 2014 Lincoln MKT does a lot of things right. Based on the highly regarded Ford Flex, the Lincoln MKT shares much of that large crossover wagon's attributes. These include solid all-around performance, comfortable seating and a well-built cabin with a satisfying array of high-tech features. Given that the MKT is the Ford's uptown cousin, you'd expect it to be even better -- and certainly, it has a more luxurious cabin ambience. Compared with the box-shaped Ford, though, this more stylized Lincoln crossover comes up a little short in the utility department.
First, the positives. The Lincoln's interior boasts a classy design, high-quality materials and plenty of sound insulation to ensure a tranquil ride on those long road trips. You won't be wanting for luxury and convenience features either, as even the base MKT comes pretty loaded, while options include automated parallel-parking assist, heated and ventilated second-row seats and a lane-departure warning/avoidance system. The MKT also has a confident attitude on the highway, and when equipped with the available 365-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine, it's pretty quick.
However, the 2014 Lincoln MKT's swept-back roof line and sloping rear window translate to less interior volume -- compared with both the boxy Flex and most other three-row luxury crossovers. As a result, there's less space available for cargo and passengers riding in the third row. Another annoyance is the MyLincoln Touch electronics interface (which is similar to the MyFord Touch system in the Flex): It looks slick, but it can be annoying to use due to the sluggish response from the touch-activated controls.
These might not seem like major demerits, but the 2014 Lincoln MKT competes in a segment with some highly desirable models. Parked tire-to-tire with other three-row luxury crossover SUVs such as the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Buick Enclave and Infiniti QX60, the MKT simply isn't best in show. The Acura is both more useful for families and more engaging to drive, while the Buick is amazingly roomy and the Audi and Infiniti offer more fuel-efficient engine options. The Flex shouldn't be discounted either, since it's essentially the same vehicle as the MKT, yet costs thousands less. That said, if you're drawn to the unusual design of this Lincoln, it's still worth a test-drive.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Lincoln MKT is offered in two trim levels: MKT and MKT with EcoBoost.
Standard MKT equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, automatic high beams, keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, 60/40-split-fold heated second-row seats (outboard only), 50/50-split-folding third-row seats, power-adjustable pedals, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, tri-zone automatic climate control, retractable manual second-row sunshades and a 110-volt power outlet. Electronic features include the Sync voice command system, the MyLincoln Touch electronics interface, mobile WiFi, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod interface.
The MKT EcoBoost model adds a more powerful V6 engine, all-wheel drive and adaptive suspension dampers with three driver-selectable modes.
The Elite package (EcoBoost trim only) adds a power-folding/tumble third row (with tailgate seating feature), a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and a 14-speaker premium audio system.
A Technology package (available only in combination with the Elite package) includes adaptive cruise control, a collision-mitigation system with brake support, a lane-keeping alert/assist system and an automatic parallel-parking assist system.
Stand-alone options for the EcoBoost model include 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated sliding second-row captain's chairs (which reduce capacity from seven to six passengers), a second-row refrigerator console (between the captain's chairs), a power panoramic glass roof and metallic interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Standard MKT models have a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 303 hp and 278 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. EPA estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/25 mpg highway).
The Lincoln MKT EcoBoost has a more powerful turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 making 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive system are standard. Fuel economy estimates are 18 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway).
The 2014 Lincoln MKT comes standard with rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags covering all three rows. Parents will also appreciate the standard MyKey feature that restricts wheelspin, vehicle speed and audio volume for teen drivers. The second-row airbag-fortified seatbelts are available on both models. Sync also offers emergency crash notification that automatically dials 911 in the event of an airbag deployment.
Safety features that are available only on the EcoBoost model include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts, a lane departure warning system with lane keeping assist, and a collision warning and mitigation system with brake support. This 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 a potential panic stop.
In a simulated panic stop during Edmunds testing, the MKT stopped from 60 mph in an acceptable distance of 127 feet.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the MKT earned a top rating of "Good" for its performance in moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The three-row MKT's interior is available with six- or seven-passenger seating -- it comes down to a choice of bench seating or captain's chairs in the middle row. Either way, Lincoln's large crossover offers handsome styling and upscale materials, including premium leather upholstery and genuine wood trim. The high-quality stitching on all the seats adds to the cabin's upscale vibe.
The standard MyLincoln Touch interface consists of three display screens and gives owners the ability to input commands for various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice, touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It's a smart idea in theory, and it does provide some handy customization possibilities. Unfortunately, there's a learning curve involved, and we've found the system can occasionally be slow to respond, while the touchscreen's icons can be difficult to locate and press on the move. On the upside, the voice recognition interface is pretty robust, and it's a less distracting alternative to the touchscreen, especially when you're still getting familiar with MyLincoln Touch.
On paper, at least, the 2014 MKT offers sufficient passenger and cargo space for this class of vehicle, with adequate head- and legroom plus cargo capacity that begins at 17.9 cubic feet (behind the third row) and tops out at 75.9 cubic feet (with its second- and third-row seats folded). Second-row passengers will generally find enough room for comfortable cruising, but the third row is snug by adult standards and tighter on headroom than many competitors. In addition, rivals like the Enclave and MDX offer considerably more cargo space.
Of the two available trim levels, the 2014 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost would be our choice, as its powerful turbocharged V6 engine shrugs off the big crossover's considerable weight and provides brisk performance. Meanwhile, the non-turbo 3.7-liter V6 in the base MKT provides adequate acceleration in most situations and should satisfy most shoppers.
We've yet to drive a Lincoln MKT with the adaptive suspension and will update this section upon doing so. In general, however, the MKT provides a smooth highway ride. Around turns, the MKT feels steady and secure. Due to its length, though, it can feel ponderous in tight parking garages, and you'll want to use extra care in these situations.