Test Drive: 2010 Lincoln MKT

Based on its portfolio of aging models, a couple of years ago, I might have thought the once venerable Lincoln brand was going to end up a casualty of the economy and on a scrap pile next to an Olds 88.? After spending a few hours driving the new MKS sedan and MKT luxury crossover, I can see that the long hours spent by the Ford engineering and styling elves have been productive?very productive.

I am still a little uncertain about the naming strategy but imagine it will make more sense later, however, there is no confusion about the cars, they are now worthy of the Mark.

It is hard to believe the MKT comes from the same roots as the long boxy-looking Ford Flex.? The only shape shared by the two is the round tires and the outstanding drivetrain.? At 207.6 inches long and 76 inches wide, the full-size MKT crossover displaces a big chunk of the road, but the styling is dramatic and it works.? It?s easy to see the MKT coming with its signature twin waterfall grille.? The smooth line of the sweptback side is broken after the rear door where the window line rises and flows to the dramatic tail.? The rear end is clean and elegant with a taillight that runs from side to side.? There is nothing like it on the road.

The MKT is available in three models: front wheel drive, all-wheel drive and EcoBoost AWD.? The first to models are powered by a 268-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine using a six-speed SelectShift Automatic? transmission with paddle shifters.? The EcoBoost model gets the magical 355-hp, twin-turbo V-6 engine with the same transmission and all-wheel drive.? Pricing starts at $44,995, including the destination charge, for the MKT FWD.? AWD adds $1,995.? The EcoBoost model is $49,995.

The EcoBoost performs its magic producing V-8-like power, with only six cylinders.? As a result, 0 to 60 mph acceleration takes only 6.1 seconds.? The penalty in fuel economy is 1 mpg less than the base 3.7-liter V-6 or 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.? The combination of turbocharging and direct injection not only improves performance and fuel economy, it lowers emissions, too.

Size, looks and acceleration are not the whole story however.? With its comfortable ride, the MKT is not the car for racing through the mountains, but the ride is very well controlled and it handles corners much better than I would have imaged.? The brake pedal is a little soft when pressed hard, but stopping power is strong.

The Lincoln brand is famous for the way it treats passengers and the MKT is true to tradition.? With three rows of seating, it is designed as a six- or seven-passenger model depending on the seat configurations.? A five-button control unit mounted in the rear cargo space takes the work out of stowing and raising seats or closing the liftgate.

The MKT promises to be a great showplace for all the new Ford technology with features like active park assist, BLIS cross traffic alert, adaptive HID headlights and even the invisible Securicode? keypad.? Of course, it has the outstanding SYNC? audio and communications system, and voice-activated navigation system with integrated Sirius Travel Link?.? I don?t totally understand how the system knows where the traffic slowdowns are, but it works great.

After a few hours in the new MKT, I?m excited to see how well the Lincoln comeback is progressing and can?t wait to spend some more time in this dramatic car.

[Rating:8/10]

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