Lincoln MKT: “Love or hate” appearance

 Buyers looking for a memorable and luxurious new crossover sport utility vehicle that can seat up to seven people won’t have to look beyond the 2010 Lincoln MKT.
This new, 17.3-foot-long, five-door Lincoln grabs attention with its big, grinning grille, boat tail-styled back end and somewhat hearse-like side appearance.
Bottom line: They love the look
.The MKT is based on the platform of the Ford Flex, which is a boxy crossover SUV that debuted in calendar 2008 .
But all the sheet metal outside is new on the MKT as Lincoln designers seek to establish a modern, striking image for Ford’s long-running luxury brand.
The interior is all Lincoln, too, and establishes a nearly opulent environment.
Standard premium leather-trimmed seats tend more toward cushioned than firm and supportive, and the rest of the standard equipment list is extensive even on the base MKT, which was the test vehicle.
There were heated and cooled front seats with 12-way, power adjustments, Sirius satellite radio, three-zone climate control, push- button start, pretty ambient lighting, adaptive high-intensity discharge headlights, power liftgate, heated outside mirrors and four power points.
Even a reverse sensing system is standard on the MKT, which is smart because it’s difficult to see what’s behind the vehicle while it’s backing up.
Electronic stability control and side and curtain air bags are standard, too.
No matter where passengers sit in the MKT, the ride is refined and smooth. Passengers felt only mild vibrations over rough roads during the test drive, and long highway cruises were comfortable and fatigue-free.
The interior was quiet. I didn’t hear much of the traffic around me, including the diesel semis in the next lane.
I didn’t hear much from the 3.7-liter, double overhead cam, Duratec V-6, either. It supplied good power but nothing sporty or racy, as peak torque of 267 foot-pounds came on by 4,250 rpm.
Mated to a six-speed automatic, engine power was delivered smoothly and moved the MKT adequately.
But there was always a palpable sense of the large size of this SUV and how hefty it is, at more than 4,600 pounds.
Even without the newer engine, the test MKT delivered noteworthy fuel mileage. In mostly highway travel, I managed 20.8 miles per gallon, and with city travel added in, I still averaged 19.1 mpg. This, plus its 18.6-gallon gasoline tank, helps account for the more than 350-mile driving range of the MKT.
I appreciated that the rear tailgate went up and down with the push of a button.
But the boat-tail design was problematic after a rain, because I had to wait until all the water dripped off the tailgate before I could put things in the cargo area. The design didn’t seem to include channels for the water to drop over by the sides, away from people accessing the cargo area.

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