Ford's global product boss Derrick Kuzak, a former aerospace engineer with a PhD, is a man who believes in the data.
And the "MKT by data is quieter than an Audi Q7," he says. He also says the MKT offers better value than the Q7 and Mercedes-Benz R-Class, and better fuel economy, too.
It has the best interior Ford's ever done, says Kuzak - with fine fit and finish and an excellent choice of materials. Not too bad for a high-end crossover that starts at $51,500 and tops out at $54,900, freight and AC tax included.
Kuzak also says that although the Lincoln shares its architecture or "platform" with the Ford Flex, the two do not share any body panels. In fact, these two Ford products look, ride and handle quite differently and they have completely different interiors and equipment.
The MKT, for instance, has its version of the Lincoln grille and a sheet-metal bump on the hood designed to suggest power (268 horsepower for the normally aspirated version, 355 with the 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine).
The MKT is big enough for three rows of seats, yet from behind the wheel it does not feel lumpy or heavy at all. The ride is calm and controlled and, most of all, quiet. The EcoBoost V-6 is a monster in terms of delivering power to the wheels (AWD standard), though the base 3.7-litre V-6 is just fine.
The EcoBoost V-6 is interesting because it delivers V-8 power and V-6 fuel economy. The secret is a combination of direct fuel-injection and two turbochargers. Of course, if you punch the EcoBoost around, then V-6 fuel economy becomes V-8 fuel consumption. So be careful in your driving.
Kuzak and his colleagues keep pushing their case, that the new Lincolns are not the lumpy ones of old. And there is truth here. The MKT's steering, brakes and shifting are all pretty responsive.
Meanwhile, the cabin appointments include elegant upholstery, authentic wood trim, harmonized dashboard lighting and a generally pleasant, upscale ambience created largely by the softer lighting. Kuzak says this is the best interior Lincoln has ever done.
Nonetheless, the third-row seat has less headroom than the Flex. Blame the rear styling for that. The Flex is a pure box and this is a most practical shape. The sleeker MKT trades some substance for racier styling.
Then there is the technology story. It starts with Active Park Assist, a self-parking option. All by itself, this feature can parallel-park with the best of them. Lexus came first with this, but the MKT's is easier to use.
There is also adaptive cruise control; it lets you specify a gap between you and the car ahead and maintains it a set speed. Again, this tech feature is pretty straightforward to use.
Overall, the MKT is a realistic rival to the other big luxury crossovers out there. I'll admit it, that I was surprised.
2010 LINCOLN MKT
Type: Large crossover wagon
Base Price: $51,500
Engine: 3.7-litre V-6, DOHC
Horsepower/torque: 268 hp/267 lb-ft
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 13.0 city/9.2 highway; regular gas
Alternatives: Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz R-Class
- Really well-done cabin
- Comfortable, but not lumpy, ride and handling
- User-friendly technology
- Third-row seating is tight
- EcoBoost gets thirsty if you punch it around