Weidel on Wheels: Lincoln adds its luxurious touch to big

The Lincoln MKT offers a multitude of amenities as well as good performance
By: Jeffrey Weidel
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Does anyone in this country really want to voluntarily downsize? Given the choice, Americans desire items that are both big and extravagant, preferring to worry about the consequences later. Of course, that’s not exactly the prevailing feeling right now in this wayward economy. People are generally holding onto their money, avoiding large purchases and hunkering down until the economy starts the long climb back uphill. Although many people are going small, there remains a group that won’t budge from buying more lavish vehicles. And that’s what the folks at Ford are banking on, introducing an attractive, upscale sport utility vehicle in the 2010 Lincoln MKT. Haven’t heard of the MKT? Join the club, not many people know it exists. The MKT is the latest offering from Ford’s luxury Lincoln division. The striking metallic black MKT driven here for a week oozed with class, style and provided terrific comfort and performance. Classified as a luxury mid-size crossover SUV, the MKT is a three-row, seven-passenger vehicle that catches one’s eye immediately. The exterior features an oversized back end, an attractive front grille and has certain sleekness, thanks to its low-level rear roof. The upscale MKT shares the basic design of the Ford Flex, but that’s where the comparison ends. Slotted between the smaller Lincoln MKX and the Navigator, the MKT comes in only two trims. The basic model has a 3.7-liter, V-6 engine with 268 horsepower that surprisingly doesn’t have all-wheel drive, which should be included when the price tag is $44,200. For an additional $5,000, the all-wheel drive comes standard, along with a racy, turbocharged 3.5-liter, V-6 that puts out 355 horsepower and can get you places in a huge hurry. While the extra power is nice, the standard MKT is no slouch in any driving situation. What one also gets in either trim is a ton of standard features, which makes the sticker price a little easier to digest. There’s not much one can find wrong with the MKT with the exception of the third row headroom, which is a bit limiting due to the sloping rear roof. Even the gas mileage of 18 to 23 miles per gallon is pretty good for this brand. The MKT’s performance is highly regarded and so is the handling for an SUV that feels a little larger than a mid-size. The steering is very responsive, the braking leaves one confident and the ride is quiet and refined. The MKT is the type of vehicle you take out for a drive — just for fun. The interior features a classy brown leather and wood trim that sets the MKT apart from some of its rivals. There is no cheap plastic material — the overall design is sensible, and the vehicle is roomy for all passengers. A large cargo area is one more nice touch to the MKT. __________ 2010 Lincoln MKT Price: Starting at $44,200 Mileage estimate: 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway Power: 3.7-liter, V-6 engine with 268 horsepower Standard features include: Electronic stability control; antilock disc brakes; panoramic sunroof; xenon headlights with an auto-high beam feature; rear parking sensors; power lift gate; leather seating; 12-way heated and ventilated power front seats; heated outboard second-row seats; driver memory settings; tri-zone automatic climate control; retractable second-row sunshades; 10-speaker audio system with a 10-gigabyte hard drive, satellite radio, and Sync system that offers voice control for MP3 players and cell phones