By on March 19, 2010

If Lincoln were a person, it would have been committed to a psych ward years ago. Battered by corporate politics, economic cycles, and a desire to both retain traditional customers and conquest new ones, the brand has lacked a coherent identity for over a quarter-century. There have been times when each of its models was the product of a different strategy and expressed (or failed to express) a different design language. In the early 2000s Lincoln seemed to finally be getting its shit together, with a brilliant Continental Concept and a common design language applied to all of its 2003 models. Then the wheels came off the wagon—again—and a bankruptcy-skirting Ford had no choice but to cancel the ambitious cars in the PAG pipeline and redo Lincoln on the cheap. Did they spend their pennies well? What is a Lincoln in 2010? There’s no better place to find out than the driver’s seat of the current flagship, the MKS EcoBoost.

There’s absolutely no sign of the long, sleek Continental Concept in the MKS. To save money, Lincoln based its latest large sedan on the Five Hundred. To their credit, the designers made the most of the platform’s challenging proportions, scrunching the greenhouse, blacking out the rockers, and detailing the exterior much as Lexus would have. Aside from its chunky proportions, the car isn’t distinctive, but it has presence.

The tested MKS EcoBoost had the $2,995 Appearance Package, which takes the car in the wrong direction. The rockers are not only body color, but they’re extended with side skirts. The last thing this body needs is to appear taller. The package’s 20-inch chromed alloys accentuate the insufficiency of the wheelbase. And the extra-cost Red Candy Metallic paint? Not the right shade for this car.

Inside, vestiges of Lincoln’s earlier aesthetic remain in bits of satin metal trim. But the overall appearance is much less distinctive and, while a couple steps up from the related Taurus, not quite luxury class. High points: the upholstered IP upper, glitzy instruments, and soft brown leather seats. Low point: the black plastic trim panel on the rear face of the center console doesn’t have the metallic sheen of the other trim panels and wouldn’t even look suitable in a Focus.

None of this mattered one bit to my wife. She fell in love with the MKS because it does other aspects of luxury very well. The interior is hushed even at highway speeds. The large seats are heated, cooled, and cushy—no BMW emulation here. There’s less room than in the Five Hundred—function has been traded for form—but still plenty of it. And the car is chock full of gadgetry: automatic auto-dimming steering-linked headlights, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise, active parking, keyless access and ignition, THX audio, voice-activated nav, SYNC, and a rearview monitor that, combined with front and rear obstacle detection, makes the car’s severely restricted rearward visibility a non-issue.

Ford couldn’t afford to develop a new V8. So, through some odd twist of economics, it developed a twin-turbo DOHC V6 instead. The EcoBoost V6 doesn’t make lusty sounds, but at least it sounds more refined in the MKS than in the Flex. There’s no boost lag to speak of and all 355 horses are present and accounted for when you mash the go pedal. Despite the requisite all-wheel-drive, drive this car harder than it’ll typically be driven and there’s an occasional twinge of torque steer. The Eco bit isn’t just marketing hype. I observed 19 MPG in suburban driving, and 24 on the highway, surprisingly good for 355-horsepower, 4,400-pound car.

Know how some cars shrink around you the harder you push them? The MKS is not one of those cars. Mind you, it doesn’t fall all over itself in hard turns. It just prefers a more sedate driving style, and long stretches of highway most of all. You sit crossover high, and never does the MKS feel an inch smaller or a pound lighter than it is. Which is larger and heavier than it looks—the tall bodysides and large wheels trick the eye. How big is it? Compared to an Audi A6, the MKS is 10.6 inches longer, 2.9 inches wider, and 4.1 inches taller. It’s a “whole lotta car.” The Fusion-based Lincoln MKZ I drove the following week felt as sharp and tossable as a Miata in comparison. In Lincoln’s defense, it didn’t aim to create a sport sedan with the MKS, turbos and paddle shifters notwithstanding. Even with EcoBoost the suspension is biased in favor of ride quality (which is nevertheless merely good, not great). The Appearance Package’s side skirts and spoiler would be all wrong even if they looked right.

Not the most refined, but loads of features—sounds like a value play. Is it? Close comparisons aren’t easy to come by—there aren’t many truly large 350-plus-horsepower all-wheel-drive sedans on the market for anything close to the MKS’s price. Similarly load up an Audi A6 4.2 quattro, and the smaller, German luxury sedan lists for about $10,000 more. An Infiniti M45 AWD? About $11,000 more. While the Lincoln’s $54,000 price tag (sans Appearance Package) seems steep, others are significantly steeper. With one notable exception: the Hyundai Genesis 4.6 undercuts the MKS EcoBoost by about $10,000. Adjust for the Lincoln’s additional features, including all-wheel-drive, using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool and the Korean sedan retains a $7,000 advantage.

And so, what is Lincoln? Judging from the MKS EcoBoost, it’s size, power, silence, soft leather, and lots of buttons. These are all things Lincoln used to be known for, and all are turn-ons for the typical American luxury sedan buyer with no desire to carve a curve quickly. The MKS is a little rough around the edges, but many of these buyers won’t care or even notice. The relatively low price will help. But will potential buyers notice the MKS in the first place? The main thing missing: styling that is just as unapologetically American as the rest of the car. Something like that aborted Continental.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of auto pricing and reliability data

Lincoln provided the car, insurance, and one tank of gas for this review


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97 Comments on “Review: Lincoln MKS Ecoboost Take Two...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    What a great and informative review. Bravo!

    • 0 avatar
      Martin Schwoerer

      +1. No important aspects missing, yet none of my reading time wasted.

    • 0 avatar

      YES, Very, Very informative.

      My Uncle just got a brand new 2010 Ecoboost MKS and although he loves it, I’ve found plenty of reasons not too. With just $4600 down, he drove off the lot with every single optional feature and the 20″ rims – at $600 a month payments.

      http://www.epinions.com/content_506248924804

      #1 The interior IS BORING.
      Although there’s heated/ cooled seats and the Microsoft SYNC system on top of a bunch of other technologies such as auto park computer, adaptive cruise control, homelink, etc, the car’s seats and interior themselves feel lame and the technology grafted to them feels like an afterthought.

      #2 The Throttle on this bad boy has a HAIR TRIGGER and the brakes aren’t as good as a set of Brembos.

      #3 This car is considerably smaller inside than the new E-class, the Chrysler 300 or even the Camry due to the low roofline and tight cockpit seating.

      There’s nothing here to get excited about unless you are the type of person who equates “Lincoln” with luxury.
      I don’t.
      I think the Taurus SHO is a better value but I still have a hard time saying Hyundai Genesis and Lincoln MKS in the same breath.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Flashpoint –

      1. The technology integration is best in industry, and is one of the best reasons to buy the car. You don’t have to fiddle with little wheels to program your nav system or set your climate control, almost every function of the car (nav, radio/audio, climate, etc) can be controlled via a simple voice command, and out of the box voice recognition is nearly 100% accurate for most drivers. As for the interior, you say boring, I say conservative, either way,the interior is very high quality and doesn’t alienate the core Lincoln buyers who are still skewing towards the upper age brackets.

      2. If you don’t want to go fast with a touch of the gas, go for the base V6. As far as brakes go, they stop the car fine, and this car is not marketed as a sports sedan, if you want a sports sedan, buy something else. It does easily hold its own though, as shown in the test at http://www.6versus8.com on a course requiring both power and handling the MKS spanks the Maserati Quattroporte, the Jaguar XF, and the Mercedes E550.

      3. According to edmunds.com interior measurements it is quite a bit roomier in all dimensions than either a Camry or a Mercedes E class, and beats the Chrysler 300C in most measurements as well.

      Whether you equate Lincoln with luxury or not doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, it is a luxury car, and a damn good one, it hits all the marks with a comfortable interior, good space, quiet and supple ride, good power, and all of the modern technology and convenience features.

    • 0 avatar

      NULLMODO

      I disagree with most of what you said.

      #1 “simple voice control” my ass.

      The voice control is terrible and it doesn’t work as “simply” as you claim it does. We played with it together following the guide books and even with the techs at the dealership and it was gimmicky at best. IT IS SO MUCH SIMPLER to just reach to the control and turn the knob or touch the buttons. Its ridiculously simpler.

      And as for your “turn knob” comment, I assume you are saying my S550′s Comand system is more complicated. YES and NO.
      Setting a destination is easier on his Sync than my Comand, BUT, when it comes to fine adjustments to the power lumbar, the power massage feature or the heating/cooling, or just tuning the radio (which does respond to voice commands in the same gimmicky fashion) I perfer the Comand system.

      SYNC is ambitious, yes, but Comand offers more.

      #2 Its not hard to beat the cars you named in straight line acceleration. I could do the same job in an SRT8. However, you take an MKS and a BMW 5 or 7 through a series of tight turns and straightaways and the MKS driver will have an accident.

      #3 If you are shorter than 6 feet tall, you probably won’t have any trouble at all with the interior of an MKS. But I will not back down from my statement that the interiors of the 300, Camry, S-class, LS460, E-class and BMW 7 are less restrictive and offer more interior space.

      Those “official measurements” mean nothing to me. I’ve got the MKS next door, a 300 and S550 in my driveway and my aunt’s Camry down the block – so I know which ones offer more space and can reaffirm my beliefs at will.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      @NulloModo:

      I’m leery about that “6versus8″ test, considering that it took place at near 12000ft and was basically a Ford-sponsored pimpatorial.

      Having driven the new SHO, I don’t doubt that the Ecoboost is up to the task (especially at high altitude), but Ford seemed to give the car a really low handling limit and brakes ill-suited for spirited driving. I’d expect the dynamics of the MKS to be similar or worse.

      Admittedly, I haven’t driven the XF, E550, or Q-Porte so it’s possible that they aren’t any better.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Flashpoint –

      Regarding the voice commands, they aren’t a gimmick, they work for me on the first try nine times out of ten. Granted, I’ve spent more time with Sync than most, and perhaps I’ve learned its little quirks, but it really isn’t difficult to use.

      Most of Syncs voice commands fall into two categories: 1. certain commands can be nested or strung together, others can’t, and it seems to be fairly arbitrary how the decision was made to allow certain things to work that way, and 2. the system is fairly unforgiving if you try to give a command too soon, the vast majority of user issues with Sync stem from people trying to talk before the car is ready to listen, being patient by allowing it to give you the ready chime or the listening ear graphic dramatically improve results.

      As an example of nested commands, although ‘Destination’ and ‘Street Address’ are two separate commands, you can say ‘Destination Street Address’ from the home screen to have it immediately bring up the screen and ask you to speak in a street address to set a destination. ‘Phone’ and ‘Call ‘ are also two separate commands, but you can’t say ‘Phone call ‘ and have it work, you have to say ‘Phone’ wait for the next prompt and then say ‘call ‘. Then there are some real oddballs, you can use the command ‘Sirius The Highway’ to immediately change the radio channel to Sirius’s ‘The Highway’ country station if you are already listening to Sirius, but you can’t if you are listening to FM radio, you have to use two separate commands then ‘Sirius’ then ‘The Highway’. I’m not sure why it works that way, but from everything I hear about the next-gen system (unfortunately dubbed MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch) it is much better at parsing natural speaking requests and won’t require you to know the ins and outs of what it expects you to say in what order.

      Even with the current system though, if you spend a little time with the car, and especially for owners who are spending a lot of time in their cars, you learn what works and what doesn’t fairly quickly, and once you have that down, everything is very very easy.

      It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to use voice commands, everything you can do by voice you can do via touch controls and the touchscreen. I was flabbergasted when I drove a recent BMW trade-in that the screen wasn’t touch responsive, who let that fall through the cracks? As far as fine tuning of the power lumbar, that is adjusted by a button on the side of the seat, as is the massage feature. Heated and cooled seats are identified by clear icons on dash-mounted buttons, just touch it if you want it on.

      For point 2 – The MKS didn’t just beat them in a straight line, it beat them in a twisty mountain pass. It didn’t beat the BMW, but it did beat all the other competitors. Given that the BMW is designed and marketed as the sports sedan of the luxury segment, I’m OK with that.

      For point 3 – I’m 6′ tall, and mostly torso at that, and I have plenty of head room in the MKS. Numbers don’t lie, the MKS is roomier than the E class, Camry, 300C, and a lot of other cars, maybe you had the height-adjustable seat raised too high when you sat in one.

      Ajla –

      Whether Ford sponsored the test or not isn’t the question, they hired the knowledgeable staff at Automobile and Motor Trend to do the test in an impartial manner because they were confident in the results. I’m sure the altitude helped the MKS because of the turbo engine, but even if it hadn’t come in 2nd out of that pretty prestigious group, the fact that it can run with them all is impressive.

    • 0 avatar

      NULLmodo

      #1 Until Science invents a computer that can pass the Turing Test, Voice command will continue to be a gimmick. You’re telling me about it as if I don’t have one sitting next door to test whenever I want to. To have to wait for the system to go *bling* and *boop* to prompt me to say stuff is a WASTE OF TIME

      A W A S T E O F T I M E

      In the time it takes you to enter a single voice command, I could push a button, twirl a knob or flick a switch. Andd that’s how it is.

      #2 NO MKS IS BEATING A BMW 7.

      #3 The pillars, armrests and seat cushions in this car and the SHO are overly thick. That’s where all the space went.

      There is no denying the coupe roof reduces space for the head of the rear passengers. If you get 4 adults in this car all above 6’2, at least two of them are going to be uncomfortable.

      The CAMRY, 300 and E350 have less restrictive, more spacious interiors. RESTRICTION is the key.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      I don’t know about the Camry, but I do know about the Lincoln MKS…as well as a few other cars in this class…or near class. I test drove the MKS along with it’s siblings, the Taurus and Volvo S80 and all suffered from a cramped back seat interior. I tend to buy a full sized car that I can drive my friends and family in comfortably. I’m the shortest male in my family at 6 foot tall. It would be cruel to put my 6 foot, three inch tall boys in the back of the MKS for anything longer than a ride to the grocery store.

      The proper way to test the interior is to put the front seat in the position you are comfortable in. When I did this there was a severe lack of knee room in all of them. Also, I’ve noticed the first trick manufacturer’s do, to yield more rear seat headroom is drop the seat height…exacerbating the ingress and egress issues caused by the lack of knee room. The Hyundai Genesis we finally bought was actually comfortable in the rear seat…with the front seat all the way back.

      Manufacturers definitely fudge numbers.

      The worst rear seat, of the cars we looked at, was the Buick Lacrosse. My head was squashed against the ceiling and the headliner was below my eyes…very claustrophobic.

      “#3 If you are shorter than 6 feet tall, you probably won’t have any trouble at all with the interior of an MKS. But I will not back down from my statement that the interiors of the 300, Camry, S-class, LS460, E-class and BMW 7 are less restrictive and offer more interior space.

      Those “official measurements” mean nothing to me. I’ve got the MKS next door, a 300 and S550 in my driveway and my aunt’s Camry down the block – so I know which ones offer more space and can reaffirm my beliefs at will.”

    • 0 avatar

      DISASTER

      I agree with everything you said. Putting adults in the back of an MKS should be used by the CIA instead of Waterboarding – it’s torture.

      For $40,000 loaded, the Lacrosse is an awesome option. and yes, the front and back seat can be tight for the larger among us.

      What do you think of the Chrysler 300 and S550?

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “Whether Ford sponsored the test or not isn’t the question, they hired the knowledgeable staff at Automobile and Motor Trend to do the test in an impartial manner because they were confident in the results. I’m sure the altitude helped the MKS because of the turbo engine, but even if it hadn’t come in 2nd out of that pretty prestigious group, the fact that it can run with them all is impressive.”

      Please…the only the rebadged Taurus was able to hang with the big boys was BECAUSE it was at 12K feet. Had that been at “normal” elevations, the car would have been crushed.

      The MKTaurus is too mediocre to be evaluated on a “level” playing field.

      IF the test was impartial, they would have dynoed each car up there to see how much power the N/A cars lost.

      But Ford’s not honest…

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Flashpoint –

      You can push a button or flick a switch to activate most features of an MKS directly as well, you don’t have to use the voice commands, they just simplify things by allowing you to control a lot of features without taking your eyes off the road, which no other system allows you to do.

      The Turing test requires a computer to be able to hold a conversation with a person without the person knowing they are talking to a computer, basically, the litmus test for real AI, and expecting that in a car anytime soon is ridiculous. All the car should need to do is respond to natural voice commands in a predictable manner, which Sync pretty much does right now, and will do even better with the coming 2011 models.

      You may have a car with Sync next door, but I have a lot with over 800 of them that I send over 8 hours with every day. I show customers how to use Sync every day, and all but the most elderly and most technophobic amongst them pick of the basics easily. It’s not a hassle or a waste of time to hit a button and wait a second for a chime to say a command, it is a waste of time to try to enter an address on a nav system using a scroll wheel and a screen that can’t even take touch input.

      As far as space goes, I fit fine and comfortable in the front or back of the MKS at 6′, and the average height in the US for a male is only 5’10″ (for women it is 5’4″). Considering that Lincoln buyers skew towards the higher age brackets, and older people tend to be shorter, the vast majority of people are going to fit fine in either the front or back seat. It might not be the best car for you if you need to transport four 6’3″ people on a regular basis, but that is such an extreme and uncommon requirement that it is silly to build it into a design. Most cars carry 1 or maybe 2 people most of the time, and if you really need the extra space you can get a Lincoln MKT which can carry 5 6’5″ people all wearing 10 gallon hats plus a couple of 5’4″ women in the third row all with plenty of room to spare.

      P71 –

      The MKS Ecoboost and the competition all have fairly close 0-60 times at sea-level, and the extra altitude doesn’t effect handling, so, no, even at sea level the MKS would hold its own very well.

    • 0 avatar

      nullmodo

      my dissapointment with the MKS is that for its size, over 200 inches long, it doesn’t have more cabin space – and its too restrictive for taller drivers.

      As for the Sync Voice command system…using it is the hugest waste of time you could possibly undertake in this car. The whole point of voice control is to allow the hands to stay on the wheel while being able to enter voice dialing/ navigation finding / and if neccessary, temperature changing commands.

      Besides the fact it doesn’t work with the windows down or the music up and isn’t intuitive (and I don’t have an accent), its a GIMMICK.

      The data delivery services in Sync and the connectivity is top notch though.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Flashpoint –

      While I will admit I have never tried to use the system with the windows down at freeway speeds, I’ve always found it responsive with the windows up or with them down during around town driving. As far as the music up, if you were familiar with the system you would know that when you hit the voice command button it automatically pauses the music and brings it back after you are done giving whatever command you want to. It isn’t it a gimmick, it works well if you invest a tiny bit of time to learn how to use it.

      As far as space goes, again, even for tall drivers there is plenty of space. Everyone has their own driving position where they feel comfortable. I prefer to sit with the seat all the way down, the seat reclined a good bit, and the wheel telescoped to make up for it. If you prefer to sit with the seat more forward or a more upright driving position I can see how it might cause you to feel like there was less headroom. Most cars are going to feel tight on headspace for that top 2% of drivers that top 6’2″. Then again, as it has been said before, everyone on the internet seems to be over 6′ and have a 10″ johnson, not saying anyone in particular is fibbing here, but the space is plenty for what is
      statistically the vast majority of the population.

    • 0 avatar

      NULLMODO

      You reached my exact same conclusion about the voice control.

      #1 It can’t be used with the windows down at highway speed.
      #2 It doesn’t allow you to use it while the radio is up – and has to paus it with the *bling* before it will function. My car’s voice control is just as gimmicky, but it doesn’t force disconnect the radio. You can set it not to.
      #3 It also coincidentaly won’t work with the AC on full blast.

      We also played with the Parrallel park feature this morning. It works but we needed almost 4 pass scans before it would.

      TELL YOU WHAT.

      I’ll be posting MKS videos on youtube
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SkxAEcFWGc

      YOU DO THE SAME and SHOW US HOW WELL THE VOICE CONTROL WORKS when entering navigation commands and dialing phone numbers from the phone book >_>

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I never said it didn’t work with the windows down, I just said I had never tried it.

      It does work with the AC on full blast.

      You want it to pause the radio, I can’t think of a situation where I would want to have to talk over the radio to give a voice command.

      With the auto-park feature, you can get it to work reliably on the first pass, but it does take a bit of practice. The system won’t see the spot if you are driving too slow, which seems a bit counterintuitive, but you have to learn to trust it and results go up.

      The YouTube video isn’t a bad idea, I’ll see what I can come up with.

    • 0 avatar

      NULLMODO

      When will the MKS get the Multicontour chairs that are offered in the SHO?

  • avatar
    snabster

    I must be getting old — I actually like this car, although I have a small, insane, soft-spot for the 500 as well. I got into a cab a year ago, a bit drunk, and couldn’t figure out what car I was in, but the leather was really world class. Turned out to be a Lincoln.

    Strikes me the new SAAB 9-5 is also targeting this market. I just don’t see this market going anywhere for the next few years. A shame, because this seems like a very solid effort by Ford.

    • 0 avatar

      As mentioned in the review, my wife loved this car, and hated that we had to return it. A friend of mine who test drove a regular MKS with me last year also really liked the car. People who’ve bought one have repeatedly told me how much they enjoy it. So it’s very appealing to some people.

      One thing I didn’t discuss in the review is reliability. The MKS started off worse than average, but has recently improved to average in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.

      Always looking for more participants in the survey. Not yet signed up? Details here:

      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    jmo

    $54k!!!>?!>?! What?

    A Taurus AWD limited is only 33k. I could see 44k but 54k?

    • 0 avatar

      You’re underestimated the price of a similarly equipped Taurus.

      Compare a similarly equipped MKS and Taurus SHO, and the price difference is $9,745 comparing MSRPs, and $8,967 using invoice prices. Adjust for remaining feature differences, and the difference is about $8,000:

      http://truedelta.com/comparisons301/MKS-vs-Taurus-price-comparison.php

    • 0 avatar
      basho

      The AWD Limited Taurus is not the Ecoboosted Taurus, the Taurus SHO is. A loaded up SHO will be $42-44K. The MKS is about a $10K premium. The interior is definitely nicer in the MKS. But I agree it’s not worth a $10K premium. However, I believe the pricing of the MKS was not intended to compare to Taurus, it’s supposed to compare to other premium makes. It’s a bargain when you cross-shop luxury makes with comparable equipment. The fact that it is not a bargain when compared to the Taurus SHO tells you how much of a value the SHO is.

    • 0 avatar
      basho

      MK beat me to it.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      Given the so so trappings of the MKS interior $8000 is wayyyy too much to pay to upgrade from the Taurus, which, IMHO, is already a bit overpriced.

  • avatar

    Michael,

    Did you try the active parking? If so, how does it work?

    I’ve seen demonstrations of it and it looks pretty slick. Much better than Toyota’s equivalent. Ford has made leaps when it comes to technology.

    • 0 avatar

      I tried to try it, but failed to look up the instructions beforehand, so was unable to get it to work. I pulled to a stop near a possible space then hit the button. Apparently you’re supposed to hit the button while the car is moving forward slowly, and then let it find an appropriate space.

      Not many places to test it near where I live, in the burbs, so I wasn’t able to make another attempt. By all accounts it works great once you know how to use it.

    • 0 avatar

      Active Parking:
      http://www.epinions.com/content_506248924804

      #1 Hit the button behind the shift stick.
      #2 the side scanners scan the sides of the car searching for a spot large enough as you slowly move forward parrallel to the suspect spot.
      #3 The LED screen says “parking spot found” and instructs you to put the car in reverse and take hands off the wheel.
      #4 The car backs into the space

      YES – It works as advertised and it works a hell of a lot better than the LS460′s. http://www.epinions.com/content_278165753476
      In a situation where its dark and you can’t see the curb – its awesome.

    • 0 avatar

      HERE IS A VIDEO I MADE OF THE AUTO PARK FEATURE IN ACTION:

    • 0 avatar

      The last video didn’t load right.

  • avatar
    86er

    The main thing missing: styling that is just an unapologetically American as the rest of the car. Something like that aborted Continental.

    Maybe someday…

  • avatar
    Orangutan

    No real competitors? I can think of one that 99% matches the MKS: the Taurus. Why buy an MKS over the new Taurus?

    • 0 avatar

      See above for my price comparison–the Lincoln is about $8,000 more after equipping the two the same then adjusting for remaining feature differences.

      How might the Lincoln be worth $8,000? I test drove a Taurus SHO while I had the Lincoln to find out. What I found:

      –the Taurus has a more attractive exterior

      –the Taurus feels considerably less luxurious inside, with door panels that unconvincingly imitate upholstered leather, and its seats are less cushy

      –the seating position feels higher in the Taurus, behind a less imposing IP; normally I’d like the lower IP, but it didn’t work for me in this case–I felt like the seat was too high as a result

      –the Taurus is a little less quiet, and doesn’t ride quite as smoothly, but the ride and handling difference isn’t substantial

      –the Taurus SHO isn’t much more of a sport sedan than the Lincoln is

      So, is the Lincoln worth it? Depends on whether its more luxurious interior is worth it to you. It does look and feel like a more expensive car when you’re sitting in it.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      you’re missing the point. Why buy an A6 instead of a Passat? Why buy an ES350 over a Camry? you’re buy into a “luxury” brand

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      OK…I GOT to jump in.
      I have been away since moving.

      I KNOW thgis car.
      I have had 2.
      Yes, 2.

      I replaced the 09 AWD when the ecoboost came out. Had to, even if it meant the wife never talking to me again.

      Let’s take a few point to issue here…
      First, stop comparing it to the Taurus, SHO or otherwise.
      Having driven (the 09 was turned in with 20K after 8 months!!)both Taurus SHO and MKS, if you do not know the difference in seating alone, you don’t understand luxury or deserve the MKS. The Taurus is a great bargain, but the simple differences in seating is alone enough to explain the two.
      The quietness of the MKS is more.
      All the options available on the MKS do not exist together on the SHO.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the SHO…but for those who love power AND having luxury, there is a big difference.

      Why oh why does everybody say this car is not sporty?
      I drive this car like a bat out of hell in the Ozarks. You have to really lie to me to show me a similar car, yes with all my luxuries, to get one comparable.

      You cannot. Like MK says, you will end up 10 grand more, easily.
      And still NOT get that kick in the ass torque that stats at 1000 RPM.
      We really need to start giving Zero to 30 MPH numbers more than Zero to 60.
      I want to get started fast.

      Oh, did I say I love this car!

  • avatar

    It’s clear Ford’s scrimping on Lincoln has exacted its toll on the luxury brand, though I applaud its efforts and believe the MKS is a solid player.

    When funds are limited and the economy is in the doldrums, it’s better to spend money on your core products (Fusion, Taurus) and push them upmarket, than waste resources on the high end (as Gov’t Motors has arguably done with Cadillac) and hope some of that effect trickles down.

    It’s an ironic example today, but Ford’s approach is similar to Chrysler’s in the 80s, and it did pay off for the Mopar gang at the beginning.

    • 0 avatar
      basho

      Is it really scrimping on a brand if they can offer content and performance matched only by cars costing $10K more? It’s easy to point to the Taurus and say that’s a cheaper MKS, but Ford is not a luxury brand and Lincoln is (regardless of how some people feel). If anything the Taurus has gone too far upmarket with it’s content and pricing.

    • 0 avatar

      @basho — Your comment made me realize that, while we’re talking about the Taurus/MKS, I was thinking more along the lines of the Fusion/MKZ when I posted my original comment.

      Indeed, I think the Taurus has gone over-the-top with the SHO and Limited, but mid-range SE and SEL models are fairly close to their intended price point and market for large cars.

      Now, how to convince the blue-hairs to give up their Crown Vics…

  • avatar
    salhany

    The one color to get this car in is the brownish “cinnamon” color they offer. It turns the shape from humdrum into stunning. If you’re going to sell a luxury car you need luxury colors and that one’s perfect.

    Nice review, Michael.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, cinnamon is the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      My 09 was a favorite white choc, but it was discontinued for 10 so I ended up with some kind of white…really, really miss that white choc and its pearl like color….

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      White Chocolate was replaced with White Platinum. White Chocolate leaned heavy towards the pearl with a little metallic thrown in, White Platinum leans heavy towards the metallic with a little pearl thrown in.

      The car does look good in Cinnamon, as well as the Atlantis green. The Atlantis Green needs a big car like this to really shine, so you can see all of the highlights when the light hits the big body panels.

      I am in complete disagreement about the Red Candy and the Ecoboost Appearance Package though, I think they look badass in combination. The Red Candy is the best red auto paint on the market right now, although on a snowy cloudy day like the one from the photos it doesn’t shine out well. Check it out under full sunlight to get the full effect. The bodykit making the car look taller and more massive just adds to the imposing factor of the design.

  • avatar
    ConejoZing

    It is pretty good, actually! Exterior is very decent… I pick up a hint of BMW there amidst the American glitz. Inside looks ok yet.. that armrest is disturbing to me (this coming from a guy whose avatar is a pretty bunny girl riding a phallic missile – it’s Hikaru from Parodius btw).

    Quite a bargain for the loaded up luxury market. Yes, you could just get a Taurus for way less… yet if you want it LOADED, then.. go luxury.

    Can I get the MKS with a manual?
    Ahahahah just kidding everyone knows these things are made for luxo automatic drivers.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Yes, a manual – and then if they made it a turbo-diesel wagon with nitrous they would sell all that they could make!

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    I hope the senior citizens likes the styling.
    Don´t bother sending it to Europe, it wouldn´t stand a chance.

  • avatar
    roadracer

    My neighbor has one of these. Seems to like it enough, except for a large trunk with a small opening. Very hard to get a cooler back there.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I noticed that too when I tried to fit a Graco stroller into the trunk, it wouldn’t even fit the opening. Didn’t bother with a test drive after that. The Lexus GS has the same issue.

    • 0 avatar

      Had this in my notes, but didn’t fit it into the review. Also, there’s no good handle inside the lid with which to close the trunk, so you get your hand dirty. They do use non-intrusive hinges though.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Ya, there ARE problems with the MKS…
      1…the trunk opening is stupid.
      2 The cup holders are stupid. You can’t have 2 drinks side by side.
      3 rear vision is terrible, so I learned to drive with back up camera.
      4 the center stack could have used less plastic.
      But please, the car is awesome.
      Really….drive the ecoboost and it seems to me it came out from the trainers room feeling,light and fun and fasdt as hell.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The exterior is sure bland and overly plain for a 54K car. Great writeup otherwise. The other thing Ford needs to do is calm down on the interior center storage console size. It is so massive that it takes up valuable front seat room and legs are cramped. Other wise this is a decent effert, especially the Ecoboost powerplant. The small trunk opening would sure be a turn off to former Town Car owners however.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Yeah since this thing is the replacement for the Town Car, we’ll see how it fares. I think that Ford did need to bring things in their large cars up to date, but I have a sneaking suspicion that these would sell better at the same price but as RWD instead of AWD. Just something tells me it would be easier for the Panther Platform owners to swallow this.

    I too disagree with bright red as an exterior color for luxury cars. I saw a Buick LaCrosse a few weeks ago in BRIGHT “the fire chiefs car” red. It was all wrong for the vehicle, right for an Impala, but wrong for a Buick.

  • avatar
    drivebywire

    What’s the relationship of this vehicle to the Volvo S80? I suspect it’s closely related, as you reference the FiveHundred and Taurus, which are.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I think this car looks really good. Whenever I see one, I do think they are very stately and smart looking. Although I could easily justify the extra coin for a loaded supercharged A6. Under no circumstances would I ever consider the Genesis. I do prefer the style of the MKS over the Infiniti M, which is probably its most direct competitor, given that neither Infiniti or Lincoln has the brand equity to pull off this segment.

  • avatar
    IGB

    The new LaCrosse might compete favorably with the MKS. It’s only a 5-6 inches shorter overall. Markedly less expensive and from what I’ve read fairly luxurious compared with the Lexus ES.

    • 0 avatar

      a loaded Lacrosse comes with Navigation, Moonroof, dual rear headrest DVD players, chrome rims and a heads up display at just $42,000.

      If you can get past the fact it doesn’t park itself or have a hair trigger 6 second to 60 throttle, then the Lacrosse is an excellent choice.

      http://www.epinions.com/content_483387018884

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Agreed. You would be hard pressed to find a more underrated car than Buick…

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    When your Lincoln is the same color as a Kia Sorento (the review prior to this one), you know it’s the wrong color! That Renault Laguna EV red is more appropriate.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    I think the car looks good. First time I saw one, I thought it was a Maserati from the back. The tail lights clearly crib.

    The stubby look works for me, but I’m not so sure the Crown Vic/Town Car crowd will go for it.

  • avatar
    dperreno

    “Ford couldn’t afford to develop a new V8″

    Not exactly correct. In fact, Ford has just introduced 2 new V8 engines for the Mustang (5.0L) and their trucks (6.2L).

    This is a strategic decision to use smaller displacement, turbocharged (Ecoboost) I4/V6 engines ilo larger V6/V8s to meet future fuel economy standards. Aside from the Mustang, I don’t know of any plans to put V8′s in future FML passenger vehicles. Time will tell if this was a good decision.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think Ford tooled up for the V8s until after they’d passed through their darkest hours. They were shelved for quite a while.

      But, yes, fuel economy was also a consideration.

      Also, it’s doubtful that the transaxle could handle an up-to-date V8. I think the EcoBoost V6 is limited to its torque capacity. With a higher capacity transmission I suspect this engine would be easily capable of 400 horsepower.

      I do wonder how the manufacturing cost of the EcoBoost V6 compares to that for a V8.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    In a couple years when this thing has depreciated through the floor, it’s going to be a great deal.

    Of course, the Hyundai is facing a similar problem. I’ve already seen V8 Genesis sedans for a shade above 30K. I would personally take the Lincoln, because RWD is a pain in our arctic winters, but if I lived somewhere warmer, I’d probably have the Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      If you can deal with a set of snow tires the Hyundai Genesis does just fine. I drove it in one our worst storms this year, in Michigan, and it handled with aplomb, atop Michelin X-Ice2′s.

      I suspect the exclusiveness of the Genesis sedan will serve it’s resale value better than the Taurus derived MKS, when it comes time to sell it…especially with the moves Hyundai is making recently.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      It’s doable, sure, but you can’t deny the advantage you get from a 4 wheel drive system.

      And it’s just as easy to put snow tires on an AWD, which makes you neigh on unstoppable. Just ask all the trucks I’ve pulled from ditches with my Subaru.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    To me, those headlights look like they were lifted straight from the 1st gen. Acura TSX. Even the sidemarker lenses look the same.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Perhaps this car will sell to traditional Lincoln buyers (the few that are left) but I think that’s about the only market it will attract. I don’t see really anybody else cross shopping it. Styling wise I don’t like the high beltline, I think it makes the proportions of the whole car look out of whack. It is a shame Ford couldn’t produce something more similar to the auto show concept which I thought had outstanding styling. Personally I think the new LaCrosse has much more attractive styling and is a much better value.

    Is this Lincoln available only as an AWD model?

    The Jaguar XF base price is 52k so it is about the same price and I think a much more distinctive vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      No…You can get the MKTaurus in FWD or AWD…but if you get the Twin Force engine…you are required to get AWD (so much for Twin Force costing only $700.00).

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Lincoln is a brand you look at and shake your head saying “what are they thinking? Why are they destroying a once great brand?”

    In the real world, Lincoln has about as much luxury cred as a Buick…but yet are priced far too high into *real* luxury car territory. And they are laughed at.

    A rebadged Taurus that costs $55k? That’s outrageous…and the car is no better than the car it based on.

    V6/FWD? That is not a Lincoln flagship. It needs to be V8/RWD. Ford has an anti-V8 agenda which is going to cost them more than developing an efficient V8. GM can develop an efficient V8, Hyundai can develop an efficient V8…Ford…they resort to reinventing the wheel (DI/TT/AWD) to get good mileage…and the result is no better than the V8s.

    And these problems are Lincoln wide. The whole brand is a mediocre rebadge that is overpriced and never true luxury. No Audi/BMW/Mercedes/Lexus/Acura/Infiniti owner/driver is going to take Lincoln seriously. There is a reason that the sales of the Taurus rebadge have been down since July 2009.

    Buick has done a much better job with the LaCrosse in styling, quality, and understanding where Buick is in the minds of buyers…thus the 4K sales a month versus 1,500 for the Lincoln.

    The D3 platform had been a massive failure for Ford. Volvo should have kept the platform for themselves and Ford should kill Mercury/Lincoln and NOT sell Volvo. Volvo has some street cred left…Lincoln hasn’t had any since they forgot to refresh the LS. The LS is the last true Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar

      GM doesn’t appear to be developing a new V8 for any cars beyond the Corvette and Camaro. A DOHC V8 to replace the Northstar was shelved.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The 2010 Taurus is aimed at, and priced to match well against, the Buick LaCrosse. It is just as nice a car, just as high quality an interior, a great ride, and outsells the LaCrosse as well. Buick isn’t a luxury brand, it’s the upper trim level of Chevy. Lincoln competes with Cadillac, not with Buick.

      As far as Cadillac goes, the MKS outsells the STS and DTS combined.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      You are only kidding yourself if you think Lincoln competes with Cadillac.

      The Lacrosse makes every Lincoln appear even more mediocre than it is…comparing Lincoln to Cadillac is like comparing a 65″ 1080P TV to a 10″ black and white TV from 1978.

      Lincoln just can’t compete with Cadillac.

      I mean think about it…for $5,000 more than the mediocre Lincoln Taurus rebadge, you can have a CTS-V.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Cadillac has one competitive product, the CTS. Not only does the MKS outsell the DTS and the STS combined, but so does the ancient Town Car.

      Killing Oldsmobile, which actually had some good vehicles and was starting to attract younger buyers, in favor of Buick, whose clientelle makes Mercury buyers look like spring chickens, was one of the stupidest mistakes GM made in a long line of idiotic decisions. Buick has no panache, no cache, and no brand equity, ask 10 people on the street if Lincoln is a luxury brand and at least 9 will say it is, ask 10 if Buick is and you’d be lucky to get 3.

    • 0 avatar

      NulloModo is right, Lincoln has way more street cred then Buick. Buick alway had that “old man’s car” vibe to it, while Lincoln always had the classic luxury vibe. I know you dont seem to like Ford but just because you don’t like them, that doesnt mean everyone hates them.

    • 0 avatar

      NATE CH

      When Lincoln MKS’ become the background wallpaper in rap videos, then and only then will LINOLN gain a “youthful” image.

      Cadillac’s Escalade, and CTS have far more on Lincoln in terms of image.

      You’re right, Buick doesn’t come close either – in America anyway. In China, Buick is a car Chinese new money want.
      http://www.epinions.com/content_483387018884

  • avatar
    catbert430

    I had been seeing the MKS in pictures and on TV commercials and thought that it was a really attractive car.

    I finally saw one in the flesh.

    I was in my 2008 Honda Accord which is itself quite a bloatmobile when I saw the MKS right beside me and then from a rear angle at a traffic light.

    It was one of my favorite colors for a luxury sedan, a pearlescent white.

    Ye Gods! That thing is a monstroosity! It is so much bigger than I had expected. I immediately lost all interest in it.

  • avatar
    Kamaka

    Nice review.

    I actually like to side toward understated elegance, think of old Acura vs. beak-job Acura, but Lincoln needs more style to differentiate themselves from a Ford.

    I do however agree with Ford’s strategy of improve Fords and rebadge them to be Lincolns, especially given their limited financial options.

    I think the MKS looks good but not great. It did intrigue me every time I passed one at work and at lunch I’d see it’s owner escape to his Lincoln and just idle and relax inside.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Thought I’ve seen this before. Apart from the nose & tail treatments, it’s a ringer for the “FG” series of Aussie Fords.
    http://www.driverdynamics.com/news/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/fg%20falcon%20xr%208.jpg
    These have been out for a while, not with AWD as that is unnessary down under. (snow chains are good enough) but can be had with a straight 6, turbo 6, V8 and for the rev heads a BOSS 290, 5.4l DOHC 4V with a 6 speed manual. Yes you can have a manual in your Lincolns!

    But on the flip side, Ford Australia is planning to import the range of American engines and dump the sixes. Trying to sell a 4 cylinder turbo in this bodyshell is going to be great marketing. The V6 will make it, as GMH succesfully dropped it’s straight 6′s and put in the alloytec motors into the Commodores.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Not offering a V8 is (part of) the formula to profitability. As is, Ford is in the best financial situation among D3.

    Honda, the only major player not having any V8, was THE most profitable car company in 2009.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    To me this car in reality looks more tall than long. I wouldn’t have guessed that it’s much bigger than an A6. The driver community I observed was old farts primarily and then over 50 small town business people. Now seeing the full price I am surprised this audience can afford it or more importantly is willing to throw that much coin at such an unremarkable piece of machinery. But perhaps that’s exactly why they buy it.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    “The main thing missing: styling that is just as unapologetically American as the rest of the car.”

    Last time Lincoln had that: 1990-97 Town Car.

    Last time Lincoln REALLY had that: 1961-69.

    (Full disclosure: I have a 2005 TC. Nice car. But it lacks the timelessness of line, the on-the-road presence, the quality of materials and finish found in the 1990-97 generation).

  • avatar
    tib

    I love everything about this car, except for one thing – the dead pedal. It takes away much of the leg room for those of us with long legs and big feet – and I drive a MKZ which is fine for my 6’5″. Ford please fix this problem so I can buy a MKS.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Mmmmm, a 90′s vintage Town Car. My grandparents bought a beautiful 1991 Town Car Cartier edition a couple of years ago. I’ve driven it once (but I have plenty of experience driving TC’s) and I hope that they will it to me. I have absolutely no use for a car like that, but I really want it! The MKS is a nice car, but let’s face it, the TC of the 1990′s, now that’s, to quote Lincoln from a number of years back, “What A Luxury Car Should Be”.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    A very good review. I can’t help getting over the feeling that this would be a very good top-of-the-line Mercury, but I’m just not seeing it as the pinnacle of Lincoln.

  • avatar
    noreserve

    Nice review Michael. Now for the car… well, it’s just a fat pig with boring styling that relies on a gaping grill and tacky chrome bits for flash – just like the Taurus and a number of other Fords. The new F-150 is horrendous. Talk about two steps back. Anyhow, back to the car… The rear tail lights are terrible. The chrome wheels are so 2000. The “V” rear bumper is Cadillac. The front lights are previous gen Acura TL. And what’s with the ridiculous MK S with the S in a different size and color? Crazy. And the topper – $54K is just crazy for an uninspiring Lincoln. I’ll take a CPO Audi A8, BMW 7-series or similar for that price. And have true luxury, tons of back seat legroom, handling and distinctive styling. And dealerships that actually know how to take care of their customers.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      And I’ll take the Lincoln and have reliability, less operating costs and enough speed to blow your German compensationmobile out of the water.

      But hey, you can tell your passengers my wheels are so 2002 afterwords. Saving face is important.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Advice to newbies:

      Whenever someone talks about he would take a used car A over a new car B, it implies that A is a piece of junk that no one would want to buy new and remains a piece of junk when old.

  • avatar
    runwithscissors

    Nice review, Michael.

    I must be getting really old or really poor or really disoriented, but the thought of paying 54 large for what’s essentially a gussied up Taurus SHO (the thought of paying 42 large for a SHO, for that matter), simply blows my mind.

    If I was in the market for a quiet, easy riding car, I’d pocket 24k and go with a Buick Lacrosse or get an Avalon and pocket about 20k (based on real world pricing).

  • avatar

    Q: “WHAT IS A LINCOLN”

    A: “Not the most refined, but loads of features”

    That sentence sums it up entirely.

    With some more refinement, I’d say the Ecoboost could be a solid replacement for the V8 in Ford’s cars, but unless they can cut mass, and develop better suspensions, they’ll never have solid sports cars. The SHO is no sports car – its a dragster.

  • avatar
    newcarscostalot

    I read (somewhere!) that the MKS is more quiet at highway speeds than the Taurus. Is this correct? I am asking here because NullModo, Flashpoint and Michael Karesh have personal experience in with these cars. Thanx!

  • avatar
    Monty

    There’s a reason that the MKS and the Taurus, actually every new offering from Ford, are so expensive. Ford needs to make a profit, plain and simple. Ford is pricing the line-up to reflect that salient fact.

    Does anybody really believe that GM is selling their upscale cars for a large profit? Or does a bankruptcy and government largesse maybe allow for some creative pricing?

    The knock on the D3 was that between huge amounts of cash on the hood, 0% finance rates and channel stuffing was that they were incapable of making profits. Now that Ford has taken steps towards profitability, I see many comments that their prices are too expensive. You can’t have it both ways.

    The MKS competes against the Infiniti M series, the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS and the Lexus GS. Surprise, surprise, it’s priced about the same! It may come up short in some areas of comparison, but almost every review I read, including the above review, it’s a worthy competitor. And maybe there will be incremental improvements with each model year until it becomes a benchmark. Ford only has so much cash to spread around and is unable to spend untold billions to immediately improve every single model every year in each segment. At this point Ford is making baby steps with each new model and refresh. It will take years to remake the entire lineup; Ford is on the right track with each new model, and the Euro based Fiesta and after that the Focus will set the bar very high for competitors.

  • avatar

    I have owned various cars including Corvettes, an A8 Audi and a Porshe 928S.  I find the Lincoln MKS with the ecoboost to be an excellent car.  In fact, I like it more than any car that i’ve had since the Audi A8 without having to shell out almost $100,000.   For $100,000 plus I would hope that the S550 would outshine the MKS.  Not to mention that the $100,000 Mercedes depreciates within 2-3 years in an amount equal to the full price of the MKS. And if you think the sync system is gimmicky, I’m sure you don’t mess with new fangled gadgets like Iphones or Droid phones.


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