Whale of a time in freshened Lincoln MKT
"That the MKT has a presence is not open to debate…just what that presence is does leave room for interpretation."
With a face only a mother whale would love, you’d expect people to point at the 2013 Lincoln MKT and yell “thar she blows.”
All that aside, its innards would make even Jonah comfortable.
I don’t know anyone named Jonah but I did use it to “swallow” up friends and family for a couple lengthy land voyages. It all went over with nary a belch.
This Lincoln has another thing in common with a whale: it has few predators to threaten its position in the food chain.
MKT has had a bit of a facelift for 2013, including that whale face along with a new lower bumper and new alloy wheels.
Settling into the driver’s seat of the MKT, I notice I have a new multi-function steering wheel to grip, a new instrument panel to look at and new switch setup on the door panel. There’s a new console centre stack that features audio volume and fan-speed adjustment at the swipe of a finger.
Sigh. I quickly find that one needs to be careful with that swipe, lest you blast your eardrums with a roar from the 700-watt sound system. Can I please have a simple knob? Electronics CAN be taken too far. I’m okay with the fan speed because a miss-swipe won’t cause pain.
My tester has the $6,000 Elite package added to its already-impressive list of standards. That extra bill brings a power-folding third-row bench seat (add the standard power liftgate and it’s terrific when I find I need extra space to load a bulky package), adds ventilation to the heated second row seats and touch-screen navigation to keep me in touch with my whereabouts.
Parallel parking this tank is not a problem, though. Elite gives me active park assist which will tuck the MKT – hands-free – in a far tighter spot than I would have the nerve to manage. On the highway, the lane-keeping assist system gently reminds me if I wander over the line. The vehicle even keeps watch over my state of wakefulness and will remind me to take a break if it figures my driving indicates drowsiness.
These are all in addition to the standard electronic babysitters. Now if it would only serve tea.
On the highway, the MKT is quiet, even sedate. Sun shines in through the panoramic glass roof as we head out on another road trip.
Under the hood is a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine rated at 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque which puts power to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with sport shift.
The powertrain is superb and the turbocharging gives the V6 the power of a V8 with less of a hit on the wallet at gas stops. It’s still a relatively thirsty brute, but way thriftier than two more cylinders would be and given its size, I suppose I should count my blessings as I watch pump prices climb.
Handling is reasonably crisp for a big people hauler and the ride is firm without being harsh.
This is not a vehicle to push in the corners. It is, after all, a utility vehicle, not a sports car. Driven the way it’s intended, it inspires confidence and comfort.
That the MKT has a presence is not open to debate…just what that presence is does leave room for interpretation. While I think “whale” and look for a harpoon, Lincoln says the grille was inspired by the spread wings of an eagle.
Whatever the exterior look, nobody who gets into the MKT has anything but accolades. There’s plenty of leg room, every leather-clad seating position is comfortable, the audio system is terrific, the convenience features all work well and second row passengers like the console refrigerator.
The cargo area is adequate with the rear seats set up for passengers and downright roomy with the power folding rear seat stowed.
The thing even listens when you talk to it!
2013 Lincoln MKT
Price as tested (before taxes): $61,500
Options on test vehicle: Equipment Group 201A ($6.000) inc.: Elite Package with voice activated navigation, THX II Surround Sound, power fold rear seat, blind spot monitor, driver technology package, adaptive cruise control with collision warning; P255/45R20 A/S tires ($1,200), 20-inch polished aluminum wheels ($1,150); power panoramic vista roof ($900); second row refrigerator ($500); woven metal appliques ($200).
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.5L turbo V6/ 6-spd auto. with sequential shift
Power/torque: 365 hp/ 350 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): regular (70L)
Fuel economy ratings: 13.1 L/100km city; 8.8 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 11.9 L/100km over 1,092 km
Warranties: 4 years/ 80,000 km (basic); 6 years/ 110,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, Infiniti JX
Strengths: drivetrain; space; comfort
Weaknesses: size; thirst; looks