2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost
2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost. Click image to enlarge

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2010 Lincoln MKT

For an automotive brand to be profitable, it has to go where the money is. For upscale manufacturers, it used to be enough to build sedans and the occasional station wagon, but these days, much of the money for a luxury brand is in crossovers. While many of its competitors have been in the crossover game for close to a decade, Lincoln was a late bloomer, introducing the MKX in 2007, and its newest addition, the MKT, for 2010.

The MKT builds on Lincoln’s latest styling direction, which is a good one, in that sense that it’s distinctive – even if you don’t like the look of the MKT, chances are you’ll notice it, from the prominent, twin-port grille to the raked rear end. Getting noticed is key with luxury vehicles, where part of the attraction for many buyers is that the car not only feels and drives like it’s worth more than $50,000, but looks like it, too.

So, Lincoln finally has the visuals down, and is taking care of the touchy-feely stuff through some wise platform-sharing with Ford. All of Lincoln’s latest models are directly based on Ford products: the MKS and MKZ sedans on the Taurus and Fusion, the MKX on the Edge and the three-row MKT on the excellent Flex.

2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost
2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost. Click image to enlarge

Standard power in the MKT comes from a 3.7-litre V6 with 268 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, while a 3.5-litre “EcoBoost” twin-turbocharged V6 with 355 hp and 350 lb-ft is the option. A six-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard. All-wheel drive is standard in EcoBoost models, and optional with the non-turbo engine.

My tester was an EcoBoost model, with a starting price of $53,350 (the base MKT is priced at $49,950). To that price, Lincoln added White Platinum Tri-coat paint for $500, charcoal black leather seats for $500, the $5,000 Elite Package (voice-activated navigation, THX surround-sound stereo, BLIS blind spot monitoring, and power panoramic vista roof), Active Park Assist (APA, $700), engine block heater ($80), a Class-III trailer hitch for $500 (the MKT is rated to tow 4,500 pounds/2,041 kg) and a $1,300 adaptive cruise control system. All in, it added up to a $62,980 vehicle, including $1,450 freight.

All MKTs are seven-seaters, with standard heat and cooling for the front seats, and standard heat in the second row. Power-folding second-row bucket seats with cooling are an option, as is a power-folding third row.

2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost
2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost
2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost
2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost
2010 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost. Click image to enlarge

As tends to be the case in recent Ford-built vehicles, the MKT’s front seats are terrific, with just the right amount of give in the padding but enough lateral support to keep the butt planted in corners. Space is good up front and is more like great in the second row, where head and legroom are generous despite the large, dual-pane sunroof. The third row should be usable in a truck this large, but here, it isn’t, thanks to the sloping roofline that renders the very back seat useless by anyone much taller than five feet. Also, a little fabric loop that serves as the second-row seat release for third-row riders to let themselves out is hard to find, buried as it is below knee level.

The big sunroof creates an airy, bright cabin (note that all MKTs get a fixed glass roof, with the power-opening front panel being an option, though all models get power sunshades for both panes). In my tester, it rattled over bumps whenever the car had sat overnight in cold weather. To the MKT’s credit, so did the all-glass roof in the Porsche 911 Targa I drove a few years ago; that’s just how the cold affects a car.

The too-small buttons for the radio and climate controls are my only complaint about the centre stack. Mitigating this are the automatic climate control and redundant climate and sound system controls in the navigation touch screen, both of which eliminate the need to use the hard buttons at all.

Two other ergonomic quibbles include the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for the six-speed transmission: the left-side paddle is too close to the turn signal/wiper control stalk, and the two interfere with each other when the steering wheel is in just the right (or wrong) spot. Unrelated but equally annoying is the poor rearward visibility afforded by the small rear three-quarter windows and backlight, and the bulky C- and D-pillars.

The view in from the open tailgate is almost identical to that in the Flex: there’s a deep well behind the third-row seats that can swallow 507 litres (17.9 cu.ft.) of your stuff. Behind the second row, there’s 1,121 litres (39.6 cu.ft) and 2,149 litres (75.9 cu.ft.) with the third and second rows stowed respectively. The curves that earn the MKT its style points take away from its practicality, as those cargo numbers are all a little smaller than those of the squared-off Flex.

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