Lincoln Mark LT Review

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
lincoln mark lt review

Remember when the words 'luxury' and 'pickup' went together like "reality" and "television?" Well neither does Ford. These days, Ford offers the F150 in three levels of lavishness. There's the understated luxury Lariat, the b-b-b-bad to the bone Harley-Davidson and the steakhouse on wheels known as the King Ranch. So when Lincoln charged its badge engineers with creating a replacement for the ill-conceived, ill-fated Blackwood pickup based on a pre-swanked F150, they figured– sensibly enough– that the road to success was paved with bricks of bling.

To distance the Mark LT from its genetic twin, Lincoln's retrofitters substituted a gigantic version of their "waterfall' grill for the F150's demure nose. The end result is bold– in the same sense that a sledgehammer slamming through a plate glass window is aggressive. Just in case you missed the big Lincoln's spizzarkleprow, the LT also rolls with half-chromed side mirrors and chrome appliqués running from the front bumper along the entire length of the lower body sides. Ditto the oversized badges on the grille, fenders and tailgate. If you're a pickup driving homie who thinks that too much of a good thing is a good start, you can option-up 18' chrome wheels, shiny bed rails and dazzling step bars. It's OEM pimpery, Lincoln style.

Fortunately, Lincoln left the F150's elegant interior architecture alone, spending its entire makeover budget on materials. Thicker side windows and double-layered door seals hush an already stately cabin. The expensive looking wood-effect plastic trim of the F150 Lariat makes way for genuine ebony wood trim– that looks like wood-effect plastic trim. While the King Ranch's buttery Castaño hides score higher marks with leather-loving fetishists, the Mark LT's pillows are plenty soft; with a quilted pattern and contrast-colored piping that pay homage to the timeless classicism of the Barcelona chair, created by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the 1929 world exposition. No really.

Ford calls the F-150's interior design theme "tough luxury." Fair enough. Like many vehicles rolling out of Detroit, the interior trim looks luxurious but feels tough. While the F-150 can justify the paradox with its working class cred, the Mark LT's brittle polymers in high traffic areas are hard to tolerate, considering the Lincoln-sized bill arriving at your doorstep every month. The LT sounds brittle too. Crank up the Audiophile stereo and experience tinny treble, muddy midrange and boomin' bass. It's a far cry from the mad skills of the Navigator's beatbox. Speaking of which, where are the other Navigator hallmarks: HID headlights, power running boards, ventilated seats and in-dash navigation? Their omission hints of a tight, post-Blackwood budget.

Under the hood, Lincoln took one look at the F150's engine bay and broke for lunch. Hey, why mess with a good thing? The corporate 5.4L Triton V8 kicks out enough grunt to ensure breezy passing power, accompanied by a throaty growl that almost justifies its pre-pubescent fuel figures. Equally important, the Mark LT has enough torque to tow 8900lbs.– a vital stat given the likely number of Lincolnians looking to pull a Sea Ray in their automotive wake. Although the LT comes in either 2WD or 4WD (with a bespoke low-range control program for slippery surfaces), the four-speed autobox is a cog or two short of class leading. The LT's vented disc brakes provide terrific retardation for one so large, although panic stops induce Titanic nosedive.

On smooth tarmac the Mark LT's ride is luxobarge smooth; an impressive accomplishment for a rig that can carry 1620lbs on its unflinching shoulders. Over potholed roads, Navigator envy continues apace. With its conventional rear leaf spring/solid axle combo, an unladen LT bounces and crashes like any other working class workhorse, while fast maneuvers send the back end into a two-wheeled tango. That said, with its nicely weighted rack and pinion steering, outboard-mounted rear shocks and stiff chassis, the Mark LT is shockingly competent though the twisty stuff. Aggressive cornering yields moderate understeer with a lot less body roll than you'd expect from a 5600lb vehicle sitting over eight inches above terra firma. Of course, the same driving experience is also available at your Ford dealer with few sybaritic sacrifices and considerably less sticker shock.

Like the F150 it is, the Mark LT is an extremely capable all-rounder. By affixing bigger, badder badges, a whole lot of chrome and a few welcome standard features (e.g. a better warranty and free scheduled maintenance for a year), Lincoln has diversified its weak product portfolio with a highly competent, non-Mazda derived vehicle. OK, so Lincoln didn't exactly 'create' the Mark LT. They took a Lariat, put their 'mark' on it and didn't screw it up. While that's not the highest praise ever afforded a modern Lincoln, it's not the worst criticism either.

Join the conversation
  • Lesley Lesley on Jul 02, 2006

    The last two sentences coincide pretty much with my overall impression of the vehicle too. While its a damn good truck, buyers of luxo marques want more superfluous toys to ensure them that they are indeed driving a status symbol that's far superior to the next guy's Lariat. Else... why pay so much more for it?

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Jul 15, 2006

    The irony is that I now see de-badged, DUB'd out F-150s wearing Mark LT grilles. When its this easy to make a Lincoln out of a Ford, people are gonna turn their Ford into a Lincoln, pocketing the extra cash in the process. Those seatcovers sure are snazzy, though.

  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.