Doug's Comparison: Lincoln MKT Vs. Lincoln Town Car

Doug DeMuro
by Doug DeMuro

I recently wrote an article entitled “ Lincoln Can and Will Come Back,” in which I insisted that Lincoln would, someday soon, rise from the ashes and return to its rightful place as a top luxury brand for people who can’t afford an Infiniti. Many of you thought I was crazy, largely because Lincoln’s lineup consists of five re-skinned Fords, all of which share the same name.

But as a patriotic American, I am certain that Lincoln will come back. In fact, I believe its resurgence has already begun, as I will illustrate with a comparison between the Town Car and the MKT. I know what you’re thinking: Why are you comparing the Town Car with a … wait, what the hell is an MKT? Is that a sedan? The answer is: because that’s what Lincoln is doing. You see, Lincoln is telling current Town Car drivers – in other words, airport limo services and Jack Baruth – that the MKT is the Town Car’s rightful replacement. Also, the MKT is not a sedan, but rather a medium-sized hearse that Lincoln calls a crossover.

So let’s see how it stacks up in a comparison.

Interior Room

This is an important category, since the Town Car’s main purpose is shuttling passengers to and from the airport while the driver talks on a cell phone. Let’s start with rear head room. The Town Car has just 37.6 inches, while the MKT boasts a whopping 39 inches. This is wonderful. The last time I was in a Town Car, all I could think was: I fit perfectly, but I cannot comfortably stand a USB stick on my head. That problem is eliminated in the MKT.

Moving on to rear leg room, the Town Car claims 41.1 inches, while the MKT offers 41.8. And point seven inches, ladies and gentlemen, could mean the difference between fully extending your foot and keeping it at a slightly uncomfortable angle. Advantage: MKT. (To anyone eager to remind me that the Town Car offers a stretched wheelbase version with 46.9 inches of leg room, I can only ask: why do you hate America?)

Efficiency

Efficiency is an important category because, as airport limos, the Town Car and MKT will often be left idling for hours in airport parking lots while the driver talks to other airport limo drivers. Also, they will occasionally be driven.

You might think this gives the Town Car an advantage, since the MKT is a truck that weighs as much as a college football stadium. But you’d be wrong. That’s because the fleet-only version of the MKT – dubbed the MKT Town Car in an homage to its fallen comrade – offers a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that isn’t available to the general public. It makes 230 horsepower, which is only nine less than the Town Car’s 4.6-liter V8. And, at 20 mpg city and 28 highway, it’s far more efficient than the Town Car’s 17/25. Advantage: MKT. (Note: this category isn’t called “acceleration.”)

Nimbleness

The few Town Cars that aren’t in airport limo service are being driven, rather rapidly, through New York City. As a result, it’s important that Town Car and MKT be light on their feet, which they aren’t. But there are some interesting statistics I must share, which may, for a second, make you think you’re actually reading a legitimate comparison. This is, of course, not true.

Number one: length. The base-level Town Car is 215 inches long. The Town Car L is 221.4 inches long. The MKT, meanwhile, comes in at a spry 207.6 inches. This is a massive difference that strikes me as sort of like comparing a potted plant to a dump truck.

It gets better for the MKT. At 76 inches, the MKT is actually 2.2 inches narrower than the Town Car. And it loses the turning circle comparison by two measly feet. Since that goes against my argument, I will decry it as virtually meaningless. In other words: compared to the Town Car, the MKT is basically a Miata. Advantage: MKT.

Resemblance to a Hearse

Like the windshield wiper normalcy showdown in my LEAF vs. Fit comparison, this is an important category that is far too often overlooked by traditional automotive journalists. Of course, there’s no real comparison: the Town Car looks like a sedan, possibly from the 1980s, while the MKT looks exactly like a hearse. This is especially true of the hearse model. Advantage: MKT.

Pricing

I have to admit, I thought the Town Car would easily win this category. That’s because I, like you, haven’t looked up Lincoln Town Car pricing since the Clinton era, when the Town Car cost $19,500 and had a vertical rear window. Things have changed since then. What do you expect the Town Car’s base price was in its final model year? $30,000? $40,000? The answer is, with shipping: forty-eight thousand dollars. And that’s before options, which include luxuries like a trunk organizer.

The MKT, meanwhile, starts at a mere $46,000, and presumably far less for the four-cylinder version, which – let’s be honest – is probably incredibly slow and resembles a hearse. Also, the MKT is probably loaded with incentives, which may even include a free trunk organizer. Advantage: MKT.

Conclusion

Clearly, there is no comparison between the Town Car and the MKT: one is an outdated, body-on-frame sedan, and the other is a brilliant crossover with a voluminous interior and a 2-liter four-cylinder that also powers the Ford Focus. Therefore, I am happy to announce that the MKT heralds in the era of Lincoln Motor Company. It just does it very, very slowly, and possibly with a casket in back.

Doug DeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

Doug DeMuro
Doug DeMuro

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  • RRocket RRocket on May 21, 2013

    I think Doug missed one of the most important qualities for a vehicle used for shuttling one about: ride quality. And the Town Car wins hands down. As far as interior space, the "L" edition of the Town car has about SIX more inches of legroom than an MKT. Funny you missed that, Doug...since you had mentioned the "L" but only as it pertained to handling and wheelbase. I've been shuttled to the airport for work and often have both cars shuttle me in the same day. I prefer the Town Car hands down. Better ride quality, no rattles and because of that...quieter more serene ride. Oh..and another thing..the drivers said the Town Car is cheaper to service and parts are cheaper than the MKT. Definitely an important consideration if you're the operator. I'll take a Town Car every time.

    • Doug DeMuro Doug DeMuro on May 21, 2013

      Well I wasn't about to mention anything that would make the MKT look bad!

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.
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