2010 Lincoln MKT
2010 Lincoln MKT. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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2010 Lincoln MKT

Oakville, Ontario – Lincoln’s on a roll. After too many years of mostly selling gussied-up versions of Ford vehicles, the company’s luxury brand has found its footing again. It started with the MKS sedan, and now moves forward with the all-new MKT six- or seven-passenger crossover.

It’s built on the Ford Flex platform, and you’ll find a few familiar items from that model inside, including the available rear-seat refrigerator. (Both are built exclusively in Ford’s plant in Oakville, Ontario.) But there’s little else to tie the boxier Ford to this slinky new Lincoln, which has to be one of the prettiest of its species on the road. The problem, of course, is that you might not see all that many: these are tough times for luxury vehicles, especially full-size ones like the MKT.

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

This new model’s big selling point is a new engine configuration, called EcoBoost, which Ford will gradually roll out across most of its lineup. The base MKT uses a 3.7-litre V6 engine that produces 267 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque; thusly-equipped MKTs will start at $49,950. But my weekend ride was equipped with the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine, which starts it at $53,350.

The idea behind EcoBoost is simple: take a smaller engine, add twin turbochargers and direct injection, and get more power out of smaller displacement while using less fuel than the larger engine would need. In the MKT’s case, the 3.5-litre EcoBoost produces 355 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. That second number, always the more important one, peaks at an astonishingly low 1,500 r.p.m., which gives the MKT acceleration that you’d expect from a much smaller sporty sedan. Those figures are also more in V8 range than your average V6. Among its competitors, you’ll have to move up to the Audi A7’s 4.2-litre V8 to get 350/325 numbers, while the Lexus GX 470 produces 263/323 out of its 4.7-litre V8. And while 91-octane will produce the MKT’s best performance and fuel figures, the engine can run on an 87 rating if necessary.

The company’s rating for the engine’s fuel efficiency isn’t really stop-the-presses, at 14.7 L/100 km in the city, and 10.7 L/100 on the highway; in a weekend with the MKT, spent mostly on the highway, I averaged 10.8 L/100 km. But for those who want the extra power, the numbers look very good against the alternatives: Audi’s V8 returns 16.1 L/100 km in the city, while the GX 470 uses 15.3 L/100 km.

2010 Lincoln MKT
2010 Lincoln MKT. Click image to enlarge

Ford plans to eventually put half a million EcoBoost engines each year into vehicles sold in North America. The MKT’s 3.5-litre is also used in the MKS, Flex and Taurus SHO. “Ecoboosted” engines are scheduled to appear just about everywhere in Ford’s lineup, and also in four-cylinder versions that are expected to return the power and economy of a six-cylinder. Some critics have jumped on Ford for not starting at the low end of the scale, but to me, it makes sense: it’s easier to trickle down than it is to swim upstream. Start with a V6 that provides the power of a V8, and you can more easily convince skeptics that your four-cylinder will keep up with a V6.

The MKT uses a six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is standard. There’s a manual shift mode with wheel-mounted paddles, but I don’t care for them. They’re redundant, requiring that you push or pull them to shift up for down. I prefer pushing or pulling both, one hand for up, one for down.

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