Review – 2011 Lincoln MKT AWD Ecoboost: Is This What Lincoln Should Be?

If you asked me about Lincoln around five years ago, I would have said “Town Car what?”  Yes, the Navigator hit it big during the large SUV boom and the LS was an interesting car, but Lincoln has not revisited those old glory days in a while. And when I say a while, I am talking long before I was born.

Now,they are in the midst of what I would almost call a rebirth – or a reboot, if you will.  They are trying to build a brand identity and bring the team together.  So how does the MKT play a role in that?  Is this what Lincoln should be?  Lets find out.

Exterior

As I mentioned above, Lincoln is rebuilding brand identity.  There is no question the exterior of the MKT is polarizing.  Some will like it, some will not – few will be indifferent to it.  When the MKT first rolled up, I was on the fence but leaning towards liking it.  After spending a week with it, (are you sitting down for this?) in my opinion this is exactly how a Lincoln should look.  The front is bold, with a strong crease running up from the Lincoln emblem on the front clip into the hood.

The large (read huge) dual-winged grille sits on both sides of the Lincoln emblem, and two sculpted character lines run from the front fenders into the side of the MKT.  There is also slight sculpting down near the bottom of the doors to bring the sides in a bit.  I even like the window line dip on the side near the rear.  The rear features large light pipes that make up a big rear light.  It looks terrific and really unique at night.  For me the exterior is a huge win.


Interior

The interior in the MKT again makes a strong statement.  The perforated leather is thick and feels of good quality.  The seats are road trip comfy and are both heated and cooled (a great feature).  The touch screen navigation/climate control/infotainment/etc system worked quite well and never appeared washed out by sunlight.  Physical buttons get you around to the function screens you want quickly, and you then manage the details via the touch screen.  It was an easy system to learn and operate quickly, although it does lock you out of certain navigation functions while driving.

The THX sound system simply rocked! Everyone seems to agree this is one of the finer sound systems in the industry offered by an OEM.  With HD radio and Sirius satellite radio available, you have some great choices on board.  Lets also not forget about the Microsoft Sync system, which paired with my iPhone 3Gs seamlessly and operated easily.

The rear had the flowing center console option with a small fridge/freezer in between the rear buckets.  The third row was power-operated and folded flat when not in use.  The interior materials were first class all around.  Everything was soft touch with a nice finish, while all plasticsl felt of high quality.


Powertrain and Driving Impressions

This MKT was equipped with the (awesome) 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine, which pumps out 355 horsepower and 350 pound feet of torque to all four wheels.  The power goes through a one-choice six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.  The bottom line?  This thing is a rocket ship for its size.  Seriously, it is just silly! The torque curve is flat from 800 rpm to 5250 rpm.  That is nearly the entire power band.  That is thanks to the twin-turbo direct-injection set up on the V-6.  Essentially the concept is V-6 fuel economy with V-8 power.  Bravo!  The transmission actually played nice and I had no gripes with the programming.

The MKT Ecoboost rode on 20″ wheels and it can actually handle better then you would expect a vehicle of its size to handle.  The steering is light but not overly so.  The adaptive cruise control worked terrific on the highway all the way up north and the active park assist worked as advertised (though a little creepy the first time you do use it, and the second).

The EcoBoost engine is completely worth the $3,005 price.  The MKT with all-wheel drive and EcoBoost is rated at 16/21.  During my week with MKT, I averaged 17.2 in a mix of city and suburb highway driving.  That was without really trying to achieve the best mileage possible.  On the open road loaded down with four adults and the rear packed with gear, I averaged 21.2 with the cruise control set at 77 mph.  Neither of those numbers are bad at all.  I would call those good considering the MKT has three rows and weighs quite a bit.

Gripes? Well, the A-pillars are quite large.  I am not sure what it is with this recent trend, but it is almost a safety hazard on some vehicles.  Also that touch screen system I mentioned earlier – it had a melt down.  I am talking a 13-year old girl tantrum melt down.

I started the MKT after leaving it in the sun for four hours.  It was approximately 92 degrees outside.  Upon entering the car, I went to input a destination into the navigation system.  The entire screen/system froze up.  After restarting the vehicle and realizing that was not going to fix it, I had no choice but to drive using my iPhone as my navigation.  I was going to be late for a meeting.  About five minutes into the drive the screen changed to a inform me a system fault has been detected and I would have limited functionality of the screen.  Terrific.

It also informed me I should head to my dealership.  Luckily for me, my appointment was at a client that happened to be an auto repair shop.  They pulled codes and found the yaw control sensor and something to do with the cruise control sensors had both faulted.  After resetting the sensors, we could not get the system to malfunction again.  I will note that Ford reached out immediately to try and resolve the problem, without me prompting them or making contact, Seeing as I only had the vehicle for a week and cannot fully determine what happened or how it was caused, I am saying it was a fluke. However, it did happen and I wanted to note that incident.

The MKT I was in was pretty much fully loaded.  The total sticker price rang in at $56,980,which included $7,780 in options.  The bottom line is this segment (like many of the luxury segments now) is packed with great options.  I would put the MKT right next to the Audi Q7 TDI (along with other competitors) and say drive both.

They are very different vehicles both in personality and execution.  The Lincoln MKT is most definitely a winner.  You would be missing out if you did not consider it when purchasing a vehicle in this segment.  I truly believe this is what a Lincoln should be.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by Ford

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Review – 2011 Lincoln MKT AWD Ecoboost: Is This What Lincoln Should Be?”

  1. Timmy T-rex #

    “Ecoboost” just a fancy word that makes it sound like your saving gas $$$.

    08/20/2010 at 2:46 pm Reply

Leave a Reply