More Expert Reviews
|2009 Lincoln MKS
|2009 Lincoln MKS
- Top-shelf interior with cooled seats
- Sync system is easy to use, even for a Luddite
- Trick “Easy Fuel” capless fuel filler
- Moderately athletic while still being a terrific highway cruiser
- Good thing Sync is easy to use, because the Nav system is rage-inducing
- Ford spec interior components remind you that you’re in a $45K Ford
- If you think you can squeeze into that parking space…you can’t
Ruling: The MKS is bigger than you think, more refined than you think and more pleasing than you think – assuming that you think.
In light of the turbulent changes we’re seeing in the US auto industry, if you went strictly by what many of the industry muckity-mucks say, you might believe the days of Lincoln and Mercury are numbered; too mundane, too redundant, too uncompetitive, too undesirable. And seeing the staggering number of Lincoln Mercury dealerships across the country closing shop is a sobering reminder of those muckity-muck sentiments. Keeping Lincoln and Mercury on life support simply won’t help Ford recover from its fall into the automotive abyss, they say. With stale, uninspired models like the Town Car and the Mark LT, it would seem Lincoln is only months away from lights out.
But then a car like the MKS comes along, and it makes you reconsider everything those muckity-mucks mutter. Candidly, the MKS is not a wunder-car by any stretch. It’s not a game-changer. Nor any other two-word cliche term with a hyphen squeezed in the middle. But it is a solid, luxurious and attractive machine that’s stylish, unique, features useful, intuitive technology and is a lot larger than it first appears.
Its size is masked very well by Ford’s designers, who used soft, curved lines on the MKS to enhance its sleek, aerodynamic look. Our first impression was that the MKS was a mid-size luxury car, but when we pulled into a parking lot next to a full-size Volvo station wagon, the MKS dwarfed the Swede by over a foot in length. At 204 inches, the MKS is only 11 inches shorter than one of the biggest land yachts available, the Town Car. The MKS scoffs at the notion of being called a mid-size luxury car. Additionally, our MKS was equipped with all-wheel-drive, which pushed the weight to nearly 4400 pounds, 150 pounds heavier than the front-wheel-drive MKS.
That’s right, front-wheel-drive, which is the question which looms largest with the MKS. In a world where most full-size luxury sedans are powered by the rear wheels, why is the MKS powered by the front wheels, especially considering its size? Could it be that Ford is looking towards the future, realizing that the quest for optimum fuel efficiency may well kill the recent trending back to rear-drive luxury platforms? Those muckity-mucks might think ‘nah, it’s front-wheel-drive because Ford simply badge engineered the MKS from a Taurus.’
But with the recent announcement that the MKS will be available in 2010 with a 3.5 liter direct injection Eco-Boost V6 with twin turbos, putting out 340 both in the horsepower and torque department while still delivering 23 mpg on the freeway, maybe Ford is actually ahead of the curve this time. The only problem with this announcement is that prospective MKS buyers might sit on the fence until next year.
The current and only engine available in the 2009 MKS, a 3.7 liter Duratec V6, puts out passable numbers. 273 horsepower and 270 lb. ft. torque propel the MKS to 60 from naught in 7.5 seconds and chugs through the quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds while delivering 17 city/24 freeway mpg in the FWD model and one mpg lower in the AWD model. Although the 3.7 liter powerplant has an arduous task of moving over two tons of mass, it does so respectively through the help of its 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. But for the MKS to really perform at the level of its competitors, the twin-turbo Eco-Boost V6 can’t come soon enough.
In the past couple years, Ford engineers have really started to nail down the art of making a well-insulated interior that absorbs nearly all road noise. The MKS is no different. On the freeway, the MKS is serene and relaxing, making for an exceptional highway cruiser. And off the beaten path, the MKS holds it own quite well with taught suspension and the added traction in AWD guise. It’s no 5-series BMW, but for the majority of full-size luxury car buyers, they’ll find the MKS perfectly adequate in the handling department; depending on whether you opt for the 18, 19 or 20-inch wheels. Our model had the 19-inchers which performed well, but consensus is that the 20-inchers are darty in corners and grooved pavement, and rough over bumpy roads.
Ford has also come quite a long way in build quality, particularly with the interior. Although we were a bit disappointed to see window switches and door lock buttons found in Fords costing $20K less, the overall quality of the plastics, high-quality leather seats, instrument panels and center stack were all impressive.
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