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Intrepidation

Detroit 2009: Lincoln MKT debuts with a big, toothy smile

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http://www.autoblog.com/2009/01/12/detroit...ile/2#c16513964

lincoln-mkt-lead-580.jpg

Ford has a major-league hit on its hands with the 2009 Flex crossover – with the media. Sadly, despite its varied and considerable charms, sales haven't met the Blue Oval's admittedly lofty expectations. Blame the recession, blame the marketing department, blame the Flex's divisive styling, blame what you will, but Dearborn is plainly going to have to find more volume for its D4 platform. Enter the 2010 Lincoln MKT.

It doesn't take more than a brief glance to realize that Ford's stylists have exacted much more than a quick nip/tuck on the rectilinear Flex en-route to minting this new Lincoln. But beyond the crossover's assertive looks, there is a host of new technology on offer inside and out that should help put the MKT on luxury crossover shopping lists. Follow the jump to learn more about the MKT and read Lincoln's official press release.

Gallery: 2010 Lincoln MKT

Starting with the MKT's most obvious discussion point, its sheetmetal, it is clear that Ford has gone in a different direction – literally. Whereas the Flex comes about its styling primarily through the use of horizontal lines, the MKT's design has a decidedly vertical orientation. From its two-piece wing grille, to the character ridge running down the hood, to its surprisingly crisp corners, the MKT is very much its own crossover. It's also very much a Lincoln, with its end-to-end taillamps and fast-becoming trademark two-piece wing grille. Few are likely to call the MKT "pretty," but in the metal, there's no doubting its originality or its presence.

2010-lincoln-mkt-dash-580.jpg

Inside, the Oakville, Ontario-built MKT takes the Flex's generously proportioned interior and elevates it with higher-quality materials, an LED-lit acrylic instrument cluster, prominent stitching and wood trim, and even second-row footrests. Those familiar with the Flex will find many similarities, including the latest version of SYNC, along with optional niceties like the second-row refrigerator. A THX II Certified surround-sound system with 14 speakers is available, and a 10-speaker single-CD player with Sirius satellite radio and USB connectivity is standard-fit.

Ford has bumped up the number of convenience and safety technologies with the MKT, including the availability of Adaptive Cruise Control (piggybacked with a collision warning system that is capable of priming the brakes), a blind-spot monitoring system, and Active Park Assist (a self-parking system that promises to be easier to use than those used by competing automakers).

The real story here, as it is with the rest of the Ford family for 2009, is the availability of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. Packing 355 horsepower (@ 5700 rpm) and 350 pound-feet of torque (@ 3500 rpm), look for the MKT to get out of its own way with genuine verve. The direct-injected, twin-turbo engine is paired exclusively with all-wheel drive and a six-speed paddleshift automatic that executes – wait for it – rev-matched downshifts. In a Lincoln. Crossover. Yes, we're rather eager to see how this plays out, too.

2010-lincoln-mkt-rear-3-4-580.jpg

If you must, the non-EcoBoost Duratec V6 comes standard and that 3.7-liter brings with it 268 hp and 267 lb.-ft. of torque. But given that this engine is slightly overmatched in the (presumably lighter) Flex, we imagine the EcoBoost mill will be worth the premium, especially since the twin-turbo's fuel economy ratings are expected to be similar to its less-powerful sibling. Besides, if you're worried about your son or daughter being tempted by the EcoBoost's substantial power reserves, you can order your MKT with MyKey, a comprehensive suite of features that allows owners to limit vehicle top speed and pester drivers with preset speed chimes to discourage teenage hooliganism.

Ford says that the rear suspension has been retuned to ride like a proper Lincoln without adopting nautical roll angles and major squat and dive. The proof will be in the dynamic pudding, as the MKT figures to be slightly portlier than the already hefty Flex, but the Blue Oval Box is a solid handler, so there is good reason to be optimistic. We look forward to getting behind the wheel and giving you some firsthand perspective.

The low-slung MKT will duke it out against taller imported alphanumeric competitors like the Audi Q7, Acura MDX, and BMW X5, along with domestic iron like the Buick Enclave and perhaps some body-on-frame SUVs like the Chrysler Aspen. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but officials promise that all models will be "more than competitive" cross-shops when they go on sale later this year. And while Ford has previously gone on record hoping to move 100,000 Flex units annually, the Lincoln officials we spoke with were quick to note that they see the MKT as more of a niche player. Ostensibly, the MKT should help expand the brand while keeping loyal customers in the fold who need more space than their MKX or less... everything than their Navigator. Given the Flex's surprisingly soft early sales, a slow-play by executives is likely the smart strategy here. Who knows, as the Flex continues to rack up the accolades, perhaps its increasingly strong bones will help provide a solid stepping stone for Lincoln's unique MKT after all.

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NOt sure about the exterior, but the interior looks really nice.

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I loved the concept MKT, but this is horrible. I'd much rather have a Flex EcoBoost.

I suppose this is the Town Car's closest spiritual successor. It could make a good livery vehicle.

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NOt sure about the exterior, but the interior looks really nice.

Agreed. Ford has one hit and one miss at NAIAS. The Taurus is a hit and the MKT is a bit of a miss. The interior looks fine, but the exterior is rather odd looking.

As much bashing as GM has taken over the new Cadillac SRX, I think I would much rather drive one of those than this. The SRX looks like a more cohesive design.

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My only real problem are the overhangs...I think it would look better if they had increased the wheel base a little. It has some nice detailing, despite some odd proportions.

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This will be a flop. No one bought the R-Class, no one bought the SRX. Cars that ask the question "is that a crossover or a station wagon?" don't usually sell well. People thought the SRX looked like a hearse, this is much more hearse-like...

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I cant wait for the MKT Paul Wall Special Edition.

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The Oldsmobile style grille with the shovel front ends are wearing thin for Lincoln, IMHO.

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My only real problem are the overhangs...I think it would look better if they had increased the wheel base a little. It has some nice detailing, despite some odd proportions.

I agree, if the front overhang was shorter it would help a lot. This is especially apparent in the front 3/4 view like the photo I posted. The design of it makes the overhang look even bigger in the view.

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I am the biggest Lincoln fan but they really piss me off sometimes. They build awesome looking concepts that get people talking but then they water the production version down severely. The MKT concept looked great and it looked like a true luxury vehicle. This one does not when compared to the concept. I am sure this vehicle is very nice I just have to get the concept out of my head then look again. WHY DO THEY DO THAT???

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I don't really like it too much, and the rear seats look really cramped. One of the guys at work is ranting and raving over it though lol.

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This thing is $50k with Ecoboost and AWD. I'll take an R-Class for that money.

BTW, it seems Lincoln must like the Subaru Legacy's interior:

ag_08legacy_interior.jpg

Note that the Legacy came out in 2002.

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This thing is $50k with Ecoboost and AWD. I'll take an R-Class for that money.

BTW, it seems Lincoln must like the Subaru Legacy's interior:

ag_08legacy_interior.jpg

Note that the Legacy came out in 2002.

2010-lincoln-mkt-dash-580.jpg

Well 1 they aren't the same, they are just both simple/elegant interior designs. 2.) the Legacy has integrated controls, since `02. The MKT does too, but my point is the Domestics have been late to the party with this, GM only debuting it recently with the CTS.

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I am dissapointed Lincoln abandoned the twin-rectangular pod motif they have in the Navigator and MKZ though. This dash, while nice, looks like could be in any Japanese luxury sedan or SUV.

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It also looks like some recent German designs.

Yes, nothing wrong with it, just not very distinctive. Lincoln is working on establishing a distinct design language on the exteriors, they need to do the same inside, IMHO.

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2010-lincoln-mkt-dash-580.jpg

Well 1 they aren't the same, they are just both simple/elegant interior designs. 2.) the Legacy has integrated controls, since `02. The MKT does too, but my point is the Domestics have been late to the party with this, GM only debuting it recently with the CTS.

The area below the center air vents in the MKT and the area below the NAV screen in the Legacy is almost identical.

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The area below the center air vents in the MKT and the area below the NAV screen in the Legacy is almost identical.

Well, I mean that is Ford's newish corporate button set, it's in ever recent vehicle they've introduced/updated.

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I like the MKS but this thing is just plain fugly. :yuck:

I saw an MKT on the road on Thursday along with a '10 MKZ and I will say that my opinion has softened a little. It's not fugly in person, just ugly. I'm not digging the MKZ too much either.

I also saw a '10 LaCrosse on the road Thursday. It was silver. It looked pretty good though it was going the other direction so I didn't get a good look at it.

Edited by 2QuickZ's
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