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First Impressions: 2010 Lincoln MKT – Renewing its old-style elegance with modern technology

Friday October 2nd, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: Derek

2010 Lincoln MKT
By Derek Mau

Pros

  • 355 hp EcoBoost engine with a power band wider than the Grand Canyon
  • Active Park Assist feature that works 10x better than Toyota/Lexus
  • More standard luxury features than its closest competitors
  • A ride quieter than Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
  • No longer using switches and knobs from the Ford-Mercury parts bin

Cons

  • Oversize split-bow grill is more ugly than intimidating
  • Supposed to be smaller than a Navigator, but still really large

Introduction
Lincoln is on a mission. To retake their position in the luxury car market and take no prisoners. I spent some time behind the wheel of the all-new 2010 Lincoln MKT – Lincoln’s newest 7-passenger luxury crossover SUV – and it is ready to take on the big boys in its class. The new MKT brings to the table a supple and quiet ride, quality materials throughout the cabin, and more than enough power to pull your 22 foot MasterCraft to the lake for the weekend.

Re-energized and Lots of Positive Attitudes
I had the rare opportunity to meet with the chief players of Lincoln’s development team – Pat Schiavone (N.A. Design Director), Brett Hinds (Advanced Engine Design and Development Manager for EcoBoost), and Ron Heiser (Lincoln MKT Chief Engineer) to name a few. Everyone I met was truly enthusiastic, energetic, and glowing like a new parent when talking about Lincoln’s current product line-up and the forward direction of the company. Their enthusiasm and dedication to pumping out a desirable product with a high level of quality is evident after sharing some seat time with them inside the all-new MKT. What is even more impressive is the accomplishment of getting the car from design concept to production in a two year time frame. Now that is some teamwork!

2010 Lincoln MKT

Driving Impressions
Standard engine offered in the MKT is a 3.7L V6 which delivers 267 hp at 4250 rpm, 268 lb-ft torque at 6250 rpm. The standard FWD trim is estimated to be 17/23 mpg; the optional AWD trim gets 16/22 mpg. I had the pleasure of driving the MKT with the optional 3.5L V6 Ecoboost engine. Performance from this twin-turbocharged V6 was impressive.

With a base curb weight of 4857 pounds for the FWD version and almost 5000 pounds for the AWD version, the MKT is a hefty roller. Having 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque on tap, the new 3.5L Ecoboost V-6 engine barely grunts when tasked with moving the crossover down the road or up a hill. Pressurized direct injection helps eliminate the “turbo lag” associated with earlier turbocharged engines. With its 4500 pound towing capacity, the MKT has lots of power in reserve for those weekend getaways. Large ventilated disc brakes, front and rear, with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™), quickly brings all this shiny metal and glass to a stop without a hint of drama.

2010 Lincoln MKT

During the uphill and acceleration trials, the MKT w/EcoBoost rarely had to dip down into a lower gear. A wide powerband, and a torque curve flatter than an Arizona mesa, keeps the MKT rolling smoothly and quietly. No harsh lashing from the SelectShift six-speed automatic transmission occurred when automatic downshifts needed. Paddle shifters are at the ready underneath your fingertips and thumbs, but you have to throw the shifter into manual mode before the paddle shifters become active. Up and down shifting are possible using either the left or right hand. The paddle shifters are setup such that downshifting into lower gears (with rev-matching from the engine) is done with your thumbs and upshifting with your fingers. After experimenting with the paddle shifters several times, it was easier to leave it in automatic mode since it was difficult to track gears without a typical manual gear shifter, and only a small number indicating the current gear located on the dash.

If you think having an engine tuned for 355 hp hurts fuel economy numbers. Think again. The turbocharged, direct-injection 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine delivers the power of a V8, but sips gas better and produces fewer nasty emissions than some V6 engines. EPA estimates are 16/22 mpg for the city and highway. I observed 20 mpg overall during my week long test with the MKT. Highway mileage actually exceeded EPA estimates and I achieved 24 mpg on the highway by keeping it under 75 mph and being really smooth with my accelerations.

Lincoln MKT split-bow grilleLincoln MKT full-width tail lamps

The advanced Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) has good steering response and carries just the right amount of weight and feedback. On-center tracking at highway speeds was better than a hound dog on the hunt and maneuvering in parking lots was easier than twisting off a pickle jar lid. EPAS also enables the optional Park Assist feature.

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