Strengths and weaknesses:
- MKS: styling
- MKT: comfort
- MKS: handling
- MyLincolnTouch MKT: MyLincolnTouch
Lincoln pumps up MKS sedan and MKT wagon
"For the 2013 model year, both the MKS and MKT will be available only in all-wheel drive iterations, which isn’t exactly a bad thing."
It’s clear Ford doesn’t want its Lincoln luxury arm to go the way of Mercury, the third Ford division that went under in 2011. The Blue Oval is making a concerted push to transform Lincoln from top to bottom, starting with a refreshed MKS and MKT for the 2013 model year.
It’s not just the vehicles that are getting reworked, either. Lincoln is doing its own version of Extreme Makeover: Dealership Edition, with dealerships getting jazzed up in order to make the overall vehicle-buying experience as upscale as possible.
For the 2013 model year, both the MKS and MKT will be available only in all-wheel drive iterations, which isn’t exactly a bad thing considering the array of weather conditions Canadian drivers encounter.
MKS customers can opt for one of two V6 engines - a 3.7-litre naturally-aspirated offering, or a 3.5-litre EcoBoost powerplant (the only available engine in MKT). Both get a slight increase in horsepower for 2013 to go with an improvement in fuel economy numbers.
For years now, Ford has been putting a huge focus on developing and adding advanced technologies for its vehicles, and from the looks of the MKS and MKT, that theme is going to carry over to future Lincoln products in a big way.
For instance, the MyLincolnTouch infotainment system is standard on the MKS and MKT, but it’s been upgraded to be faster and more responsive than the first generation.
I play around with the touch-sensitive climate and audio controls that are activated with finger swipes, and while I still prefer good old fashioned knobs, it is easier to adjust fan speed and radio volume.
The 2013 MKS and MKT get a slew of safety systems as well. Things like Curve Control and Lane Keep Assist help keep the vehicle on the intended path, even when the driver doesn’t seem to realize what that intended path is. Passive safety features such as Ford’s rear inflatable seatbelts also make an appearance.
I try out the Lane Keep Assist, which is an option on both models, and it does a good job doing what it’s supposed to do. The system uses a forward-facing camera mounted behind the rearview mirror to keep track of lane markings. If the driver begins to wander into another lane unintentionally, the system will turn the steering wheel to keep the vehicle in the proper lane.
The best thing about the Lane Keep Assist system is that it isn’t in-your-face like similar systems from competitors, beeping at you and nudging the wheel every few seconds; the vehicle is smart enough to know when you legitimately need assistance. And if it still becomes an annoyance, you can easily adjust the sensitivity or turn it off completely.
In terms of driving dynamics, Lincoln hits the bulls-eye in terms of comfort. Both the MKS and MKT provide quiet, supple rides, with very little wind, road, or engine noise making their way into the cabin.
I take a 2012 and 2013 MKS back-to-back on an autocross course to compare handling and braking, and there is a very noticeable difference between the two models. The 2013 MKS still exhibits noticeable body roll, and acceleration leaves something to be desired in a track-like setting, but it’s still far ahead of its predecessor.
Lincoln representatives talk up the improved feel and effectiveness of the brakes on the 2013 MKS and sure enough, they’re fantastic - not too grabby or soft, and they do hold on tight when you press the brake pedal to the floor.
It’s very encouraging to see that the MKS and MKT aren’t even fully redesigned vehicles, yet they show a big leap over their predecessors, especially the MKS. That bodes well for new models coming down the line for Lincoln.
As it stands, these vehicles certainly do signal a warning on four wheels to competitors that Lincoln is ready to play the luxury game to win.