2011 Lincoln MKT FWD

Upon clambering in to the Lincoln MKT, a friend of mine, whom I was taking to the airport and who had stored her bag in the cargo area, remarked as she surveyed the interior, “This is much bigger inside than it appear outside.” There was surprise in her voice.

Upon clambering in to the Lincoln MKT, a friend of mine, whom I was taking to the airport and who had stored her bag in the cargo area, remarked as she surveyed the interior, “This is much bigger inside than it appear outside.” There was surprise in her voice.

Yes, the inside of the MKT is voluminous.

Which is a good thing if you’ve got five passengers you need to convey (there’s seating for six, but you’re the driver, not the passenger) or some cargo to ship.

If you don’t, then you’re piloting a rather large craft that is non-trivial in price (the MSRP is $44,200, plus $795 for destination and delivery, and here we’re just starting, as the vehicle we drove was optioned north of $52K) and with a base curb weight of 4,637 lb., not all that fuel efficient (the sticker has EPA ratings of 17/23 mpg, and while many cars I’ve driven of late actually tend toward the higher number or go beyond it, I barely eked the 23 number and that was after driving to Chicago and back, with the preponderance being at highway speeds on I-94).

 

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The MKT is the Lincoln version of the Ford Flex, yet it is significantly different in sheet metal such that this isn’t an exercise in badge engineering. While some people think the design of the Flex is polarizing, it has nothing vis-à-vis polarization compared with the MKT. The front end, with the massive brushed-satin metallic grille, is prow-like, as in a substantial ocean-going vessel. As you work your way back, it is much sleeker than the Flex by far, but has, as another automotive journalist pointed out to me, an eerie resemblance to something that will be the last ride for most of us (and we won’t be behind the wheel).

Given that this is a vehicle with a passenger volume of 142.3 cubic-feet, you may be wondering about the aforementioned six-person capacity. That’s because the crossover as configured came with second-row bucket seats and a console separating the two. Which is not only stylish if you’re driving grown ups somewhere, but which also provides sufficient spacing if you have a couple of kids back there. However, it does limit the ability of throwing stuff in the back seat, given the physical separation of the seating surfaces. However, with 17.9 cubic feet behind the third row (including a tub that swallowed my colleague’s roller bag) or the possibility of making the third row go flat with the tug of a couple straps that put the third-row headrests down and the simple push of a button (this is part of a $4,000 option package that also provides such things as a voice-activated nav system and a giant glass roof panel), you get 39.6 cubic feet.

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Chances are, having the third row down is the best way to travel because the headrests back there only accentuate the obstructed view out the backlight. It is truly remarkable that a vehicle as big as the MKT has such truncated visibility out the back. Sure, there is a rear-view camera, but that works when you have the vehicle in reverse. While the aforementioned $4,000-option package also includes a blind-spot detection system in the side-view mirrors, if there is a car up behind you, it is in a big blind spot.

And while we’re at the rear of the vehicle, there is another thing that is somewhat puzzling: Why is there no means to open the rear hatch unless you (1) push a button on the dash or (2) hit a button on the fob twice? This is not a particularly ergonomic approach.

The vehicle is powered by a 268-hp 3.7-liter Duratec V6 which gets the job done without any hesitation, but not any exhilaration. (There is an optional engine, the wonderful 355-hp 3.5-liter EcoBoost, which can provide head-snapping responsiveness, but even less in the way of fuel efficiency.) There is a six-speed automatic with a puzzling paddle-shift capability. Really: Is someone going to try to be racy in this land yacht?

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All of this seems to be damning the vehicle without even the grace of faint praise. But I must say that from the point of view of taking a long road trip, the car is comfortable and capable. But really, the Flex is such a good execution of this package that I think the derivative doesn’t advance it.

Selected specs

Engine: 3.7-liter Duratec, DOHC 24-valve V6

Material: Aluminum bock and heads

Horsepower: 268 @ 6,250 rpm (regular fuel)

Torque: 267 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 117.9 in.

Length: 207.6 in.

Width: 76 in. (without mirrors)

Height: 67.4 in.