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Intrepidation

Lincoln MKS Test Drive

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At the New England International Ford was having an offer to Test Drive one of their vehicles and receive a $50 MasterCard gift card. I figured: sweet, getting paid to drive a new car, its win/win. With all of the Christmas shopping and such I kind of got sidetracked, but today I finally went down to the local Lincoln-Mercury dealer to take an MKS for a spin.

I got to drive a red MKS with all-black leather interior. The exterior of the car is quite handsome. It’s not gorgeous nor is it eye bold like a 300C, but the proportions are nice for a FWD based car, and the lines are pleasing to the eye. I appreciated the details of the exterior, such as the thin sliver of chrome on the door handles, and the detailing of headlights. Exterior wise, the front end was definitely my favorite element. The split grille is very nice and quite distinctive, and the slim headlights are a nice break from the recent trend of huge headlights. Out back the car is nowhere near as distinctive, however it looks fine. It would be nice if the MCE would incorporate longer tail lights like the MKZ and Navigator.

The interior is where the car really shines. It is a nice place to be. Everything I touched had a sold, high quality look and feel to it. Everything was screwed together with precision. The leather was supple and high quality, and covered many surfaces. The seats were very comfortable and had a wide range of adjustments. The power tilt/telescoping steering wheel also helped make it easy to find a comfortable position. It was relatively small and thick, and felt nice in my hands. I only used the climate controls but they were intuitive and there was no learning curve. On top of that, the dials moved fluid precision as well. The interior alone makes the car worth considering.

On the open road the car was pleasant to drive. Bumps and expansion joints were easily dispatched, with no harshness coming into the cabin. Yet the car doesn’t float all over the place like Lincolns of yore (or the Town Car). It road with relative firmness, and while I didn’t get to flog it at high speed around the hairpin turns, the car’s body motions felt well controlled around corns and highway ramps. It’s no BMW, but it strikes a nice balance between ride and handling.

Ford’s 3.7 litre V6 provided good power for the car. It never felt like it needed more, although the upcoming EcoBoost will surely add more fun to the car. The engine was hushed most of the time, only making itself heard under throttle. I wasn’t sure what to make of what I heard though. I didn’t hate the sound but I didn’t love it either. The 6-speed automatic transmission however, felt somewhat slow to respond. It didn’t downshift when I would have liked, causing a pause before it finally gave in, downshifted, and gave me the power I requested. There was a manual mode, but I didn’t try it out.

On the highway the car was very quiet and stable. At one point I felt like I was going slow, like around 60. When I glanced down at the speedometer, I realized I was going a little over 80. Whoops! The brakes registered no complaints, and the pedal had good feel and modulation. The gas pedal felt a little sensitive at initial tip-in but was otherwise progressive. The steering had nice weighting and even some feedback. Accuracy was never an issue, though I doubt it's anywhere near as sharp as the class leaders.

Visibility was pretty good, although there some blind spots which made looking over my shoulder trickier than I’m used to.

Overall my impression of the MKS is that it’s a very nice, wholly competitive car. That being said, I feel that it would compete more with Acura and Buick (better than any car Buick sells right now) than Cadillac, BMW, and so on. The MKS’s strength’s are its high quality interior, comfortable but not floaty ride, power, AWD, and front end. However the lack of distinctiveness of the rest of the exterior makes the car harder to stand out compared to a CTS.

As for the dealership, well I’ve never been there before, but let’s just say the Mercury will be going to Wall’s Lincoln-Mercury from now on. I was impressed by the friendly atmosphere and the fact that they actually enjoyed talking with you, which is more than I can say for Clark Chrysler, and even Nassar Ford.

Best of all, Ford paid me $50 to drive the car. :D

While I was there I snagged a few photos of it before the batteries in the camera died, enjoy!

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Edited by Dodgefan
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the new duratecs do not have the racy engine sounds the older ones (see contour svt) do.

the mks is a 3.7, no?

i have heard that the manual mode is slow to repsond but in pure auto mode, ford is supposed to have fixed slow shifting. my taurus x which i think has a similar transmission shifts light years quicker than all my other fords have.

the mks does not knock one out in terms of design, but the interior especially has a quiet sense of substance about it that is nice to see return to domestic products. its substantial, and the leather quality is very good for any make. was it the standard leather or the optional bridges of weir leather?

to some degree its more appropriate for ford to chase this type of car instead of mercedes and bmw. this as you say is perhaps in line with buick or acura or whatever. to me, its the car you get when you might intend to check out a lexus ES or GS, but decide the ES is too girlie and the GS you find is indeed a pretender. So you pick a substantial and comfortable car that feels like you got a good buy compared to other lux cars and got some of the substance and performance and nice amenities and don't have to bear the burden of the stigma that goes with it. i.e. drive a BMW you're a prick, drive an Audi you are a stuffy uptight wad, drive a lexus you are a poseur.

i do admit though, i can't wait to see how this car is transformed with the ecoboost.

i would like to see them put more effort into the center stack. i also want to see a bolder front end design.

no one will ever compare this car to a CTSv and that is at the same time a blessing and a curse.

did you give the audio system a listen?

Edited by regfootball
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I like the MKS looks, but don't like how big the car is. It is near DTS size and weight, which is just too big to be at all sporting, even with Ecoboost. Center stack is too much black plastic. I am looking forward to seeing this styling theme put on the MKZ. This styling with ecoboost in a midsize package would be pretty appealing.

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Good writeup DF. The camera takes some great pictures. I like the level of detailing Ford has put in this vehicle. However the stereo looks like the GM piano black finish corporate radio from the Sky. But much less complex than Germans and Japanese (Acura are you listening - numerous buttons do not mean sophistication).

I think I will go and drive one. I think with this car they are gunning for ES, TL and partly Audi crowd more than the RWD snobs. The rear looks like baby Bentley in person, which is not a bad thing. The car does look upscale in person.

the new duratecs do not have the racy engine sounds the older ones (see contour svt) do.

the mks is a 3.7, no?

i have heard that the manual mode is slow to repsond but in pure auto mode, ford is supposed to have fixed slow shifting. my taurus x which i think has a similar transmission shifts light years quicker than all my other fords have.

the mks does not knock one out in terms of design, but the interior especially has a quiet sense of substance about it that is nice to see return to domestic products. its substantial, and the leather quality is very good for any make. was it the standard leather or the optional bridges of weir leather?

i do admit though, i can't wait to see how this car is transformed with the ecoboost.

i would like to see them put more effort into the center stack. i also want to see a bolder front end design.

no one will ever compare this car to a CTSv and that is at the same time a blessing and a curse.

did you give the audio system a listen?

Yes it is a 3.7. It seems like Ford went with a less aggressive shift program with the 6-speed than GM did. I drove the Edge and Fusion, and boy those things take ages to shift up or down.

When will this car have ecoboost? Late 2009?

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I must say this is the best looking and most stylish product (to me anyway) that Ford has had in years. Stylish here meaning attractive, suave, smartly detailed and styled, something to actually indeed be proud of for purchasing (please forgive me for my tastes if you disagree; that's fine of course). So, basically, this is one of the first Lincolns of recent times I find attractive other than the LS, and overall, I like the new styling of the MKS more; front drive or not.

Speaking of Buick; I still feel that the exterior of the Lucerne (especially the CXS models) is more attractive overall to me than the MKS but in my opinion the Lincoln really does feature a better and more attractive cabin as well as what would be perceived as more advanced powertrains.

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I didn't give the audio system a listen, I will when I go back again. It didn't have the optional NAV and THX sound system though. I want to give Sync a try too.

The center stack is fine, IMO, as the plastic is nice quality and finish. I didn't find a single cheap piece when I poked around the interior.

Edited by Dodgefan
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So, the THX of the Lincoln versus the Harman Kardon of the Lucerne?

Expected outcome? I love sound systems, but only get to sample a limted selection generally. When you listen to it, I can't wait to read that! Good audio systems are such a delight to me.

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So, the THX of the Lincoln versus the Harman Kardon of the Lucerne?

Expected outcome? I love sound systems, but only get to sample a limted selection generally. When you listen to it, I can't wait to read that! Good audio systems are such a delight to me.

Agreed! I'm very picky with how music sounds. I liek to be able to hear everything, including bass but not so much that it drowns out the rest of the elements.

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Agreed! I'm very picky with how music sounds. I liek to be able to hear everything, including bass but not so much that it drowns out the rest of the elements.

Indeed. I'ved noticed that in my VW's ten speaker system, the bass is the most, I guess you could describe it as being uncomfortable with itself. It's the worst aspect of the speaker system in use.

The highs are clear and vibrant though. Depending on settings (and I like to change them depending on the song!) it can be almost harsh. I have also discovered that the sounds of music are more "layed out before me" as in it sounds as though some instruments are coming from in front of you through the window (and no, it does NOT have dash top speakers) and seems incredible to have it seem like the music came from so many places differently.

The midlevel is also wonderful. For powerful femal vocal artists (Celine Dion, Laura Branigan, or Whitney Houston etc) sound incredible, full and clear. And yet, Rock music is a total go as well. I was listening to Godsmack on my way about this evening. Just alter the settings a little bit for each music type.

I love it.

Edited by MyerShift
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I also want to add that Lincoln has chosen some very attractive interior color scheme for the MKS. In addition to the Tuxedo (black on white) and the all black, both with metal and dark wood, they have a black on light tan with metal and light wood that I saw. very, very nice and upscale looking.

Edited by Dodgefan
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I always want to say Lincoln has chosen some very attractive interior color scheme for the MKS. In addition to the Tuxedo (black on white) and the all black, both with metal and dark wood, they have a black on light tan with metal and light wood that I saw. very, very nice and upscale looking.

So, then, you're saying it by telling us you want to? Very clever.

I do really like the metal and whole presentation of the MKS.

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I like the MKS looks, but don't like how big the car is. It is near DTS size and weight, which is just too big to be at all sporting, even with Ecoboost. Center stack is too much black plastic. I am looking forward to seeing this styling theme put on the MKZ. This styling with ecoboost in a midsize package would be pretty appealing.

Then don't buy it. It's not supposed to be a sporting car. It's supposed to be a 2009 replacement for the Continental. You never say anything positive about any domestic vehicle.

It is, however the likely closest direct Aurora replacement out there.

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So, then, you're saying it by telling us you want to? Very clever.

I do really like the metal and whole presentation of the MKS.

LOL I worded that retardedly, hopefully it reads better now.

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I still have not gone for my test-drive.

I think I will pick the Mustang GT myself! :metal:

BTW: You should have asked the Lincoln sales associate

if you could try to tray-slide the Stinkin' Lincoln.... or do

you think that would have been unprofessional? :globe:

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So, then, you're saying it by telling us you want to? Very clever.

I do really like the metal and whole presentation of the MKS.

LOL I worded that retardedly, hopefully it reads better now.

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I still have not gone for my test-drive.

I think I will pick the Mustang GT myself! :metal:

BTW: You should have asked the Lincoln sales associate

if you could try to tray-slide the Stinkin' Lincoln.... or do

you think that would have been unprofessional? :globe:

I'm guessing a bit unprofessional. :P

Edited by Dodgefan
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LOL I worded that retardedly, hopefully it reads better now.

Man, I really got a kick out of that! Lol.

OH! I just noticed your "I'm guess a bit unprofessional". That's fantastic.

Edited by MyerShift
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Then don't buy it. It's not supposed to be a sporting car. It's supposed to be a 2009 replacement for the Continental. You never say anything positive about any domestic vehicle.

It is, however the likely closest direct Aurora replacement out there.

Agreed, he has nothing good to say. Also agreed that it's not designed to be a sporting car. It rides very comfortably and the body motions are controlled well enough so you don't get motion sickness, unlike a Town Car. It'd make a great cruiser.

It give the Aurora a nod buy using the Aurora's tail lights as inspiration. :P

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Thanks for the review! Good write-up. I'm very interested in test driving the MKS myself.

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Thanks for the review! Good write-up. I'm very interested in test driving the MKS myself.

Thanks! It's well worth it to take one for a spin I think!

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Oh, a bit of good news for Ford. The salesman who went with me told me they've been selling well for the dealer so far.

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Then don't buy it. It's not supposed to be a sporting car. It's supposed to be a 2009 replacement for the Continental. You never say anything positive about any domestic vehicle.

It is, however the likely closest direct Aurora replacement out there.

you know, i like that comparison a lot. i think an aurora owner would find the MKs to be a nice follow up.

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a legit question. you are a casual car fan with money to burn and want to buy detroit iron.

CTS or MKs?

The CTS is more stimulating, but honestly, a case can be made that many of the masses might sway towards an MKs because it is more vanilla.

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