The Lincoln MKT is a three-row luxury crossover that recently received a mid-cycle refresh. Although its styling is not to everyone's tastes, the MKT does provide a long list of standard luxury features in addition to a comfortable and spacious interior.
Developed under codename D472, the MKT shares its platform with the Ford Flex, despite a considerably different appearance. For the latest model year Lincoln has refreshed the CUV so that it carries the same new cosmetic DNA as found on the rest of the lineup.
But looks aren't the only thing freshened for the latest model year as Lincoln has upped its game for the standard engine - a 3.7-liter V6 that now sends 303 horsepower to the front wheels, up from 268. Torque comes in at 278 lb-ft, and fuel economy stays at 17 mpg in the city but increases by one to 25 mpg.
But while those changes are all well and good, the reality is a staggering nine out of 10 MKT buyers opt for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, good for 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque - unchanged for the latest model year. The EcoBoost models comes with all-wheel drive standard, but a computer can automatically disengage the rear wheels when not needed to improve fuel economy. The switchover occurs in just 16 milliseconds. The EcoBoost-ed MKT returns 16/23 mpg.
Both engines make use of a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, although the EcoBoosted models get a slightly stronger version. SelectShift gives drivers of the MKT full gear selection control, with no engine override, and can be controlled by paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel.
Biggest change is underneath it all
Although changes can be found throughout the new MKT, likely the biggest update comes in the form of new chassis technology, including Continuously Controlled Damping on the EcoBoost models. CCD makes use of 46 different inputs to send over 23,000 different packets of data to a computer each second, all helping to make decisions and adjustments to several aspects of the suspension based on the immediate road conditions.
CCD calculates the optimal damping force 500 times per second - making the mechanical changes 20 times per second on average, but up to 50 in the same time frame. The result? Body roll is down by up to 20 percent, understeer down by as much as 25 percent - while all the while improving comfort.
Another system aiding drivers and occupants in their travels is Lincoln Drive Control, which offers three default settings: Sport, Normal and Comfort. Sport Mode changes include a more responsive throttle, more precise steering, higher upshifts, less intrusive traction control and electronic stability control and a firmer suspension for minimized body roll.
Opting for Normal Mode will provide the best balance for daily driving, while Comfort Mode is intended for long Sunday drives or bumpy roads.
More Technology, Comfort, Features Inside
Luxury cars are defined by their elegance, style, power and refinement, but interior technology is continually becoming a major hallmark of the modern luxury vehicle. To that, Lincoln has equipped the latest MKT with the latest version of MyLincoln Touch, an infotainment system with two 4.2-inch reconfigurable LCD screens and a single eight-inch LCD screen.
Standard audio comes from an eight-speaker, 210-watt system, while optional equipment includes an audiophile-approved, THX II certified system with 700 watts and 14 speakers.
Occupants will enjoy 12-way adjustable seats, with the first two rows covered in Bridge of Weir leather, from Scotland, giving a truly high-end luxury appearance and feel. The driver is treated with adjustable pedals and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel that is also heated.
Lincoln says that it has also made the cabin more quiet than the outgoing model, another hallmark of luxury.
Other improvements include the addition of inflatable seatbelts to the second row, which helps distribute force in an accident across five times as much area.
The crossover also gains Curve Control to help regain control if drivers take offramps too quickly, Lane Keeping Alert, Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System and MyKey.
Other standard safety equipment includes dual front and side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags and traction and stability control systems.
The MKT competes against other three-row luxury crossovers like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, the Audi Q7 and the Infiniti JX35.