By on July 28, 2016

2014 Lincoln MKT

It seems so recent that the degree to which I detested the Lincoln MKT was off the charts. Few vehicles more sorely offended me.

The Lincoln MKT’s styling, it seemed to me, suggested that its designers wanted the MKT to appear as though it had a head cold; that its swollen sinuses were infected. The MKT’s taillamps were warnings to keep you away from its contagious front end. You, too, may end up with a runny nose if you come into close contact. “Dual exhausts are simply more orifices through which germs can flow,” I said in 2010. I joked that the MKT was perfect for people with small noses who wanted to make up for their nasally challenged status.

But I’m a changed man. I now look at the MKT’s styling, which I still consider to be hilariously awful, as a selling point. Wrapped around this spectacular package is bodywork so outlandish that it makes the Ford Flex seem downright normal. Also, the MKT is Canadian-built, like me. Then there are MKT sales. Always abysmal, MKT volume now barely appears on radar, meaning you can drive a luxurious, powerful, family hauler and never see yourself coming the other way.

This is the anti-Grand Caravan. This is perfect. What was I thinking?

ORIGINS
I know where my dislike of the MKT began — it was disgust at first site. The turnaround began when an old friend was on the hunt for a used Ford Flex, which made me realize that my appreciation for the Flex was based largely on the perfectly spec’d model. Base monotone trims appear dreadfully cheap. Newer models with blacked-out grilles and black wheels are trying too hard.

All Lincoln MKTs, however, are equal opportunity offenders.

2013 Lincoln MKT

It was during that Flex search that an older couple parked in front of me at the grocery store, nose to nose. “Madness,” I thought, probably aloud. “They could’ve bought something attractive.” Yet they were a classy-looking pair, a husband and wife who looked like they knew style, like they fondly remembered Kennedy’s Lincoln Continental and once considered importing a Citroën DS. And they chose to drive a Lincoln MKT?

Based on that fiction, I realized this truth: that Lincoln MKT owners have not been lulled into believing their crossover is handsome; they are not merely manifesting feigned confidence in their vehicular choice.

MKT owners truly don’t care what other people think. They can’t possibly care what other people think — look at their car, for goodness’ sake.

That’s real confidence.

MERITS
With an optional 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 365 horsepower and 350 lbs-ft of torque (on regular fuel), the 2016 MKT is a beast at $46,290; $42,540 with current incentives. We’re living in an age where Ford Explorer Platinums start at $54,180; the Explorer Sport at $46,150.

But the Explorer’s wheelbase is five inches shorter. The MKT stretches nine inches farther than the Explorer, bumper to bumper. Consequently, the Lincoln offers an extra 3.3 inches of total rear-rows legroom. The Explorer is downright common — no three-row vehicle sells more often in America.

“Body motions are nevertheless well controlled and the ride is very smooth — and better than the Flex’s,” Car And Driver wrote in 2009.

“Most anything touchable is wrapped in a leather-like material with triple stitching,” our own Sajeev Mehta wrote later that year.

“The strong engine, impressive steering, comfortable cabin, and competent handling exceeded my expectations,” wrote Automobile’s Eric Tingwall three years later.

Of course, I’m leaving out the bad parts. Of course, the MKT is no longer competitive, if it ever was, with top-tier European three-rows. But check out the resale values. AutoTrader is advertising 16 2013-or-newer all-wheel-drive MKTs for less than $24,000 in the U.S. There are no Audi Q7s, BMW X5s, or Volvo XC90s meeting that criteria.

2014 Lincoln MKT

AVAILABILITY
Besides my lack of urgency — the MKT returned to my dreams after our Honda dealer tried to push us out of our 2015 Odyssey long-termer and into a 2016 this past weekend — a major problem remains.

There’s not a single MKT listed on my local classifieds sites. In fact, the nearest pre-owned MKT at the moment is a 2010 with nearly 90,000 miles on the odometer, 210 miles away at a GM dealer in Prince Edward Island, priced at $19,995. I don’t need to buy one today, I just want to have a look-see to confirm my newfound yearning.

Although Cars.com shows nearly 700 new MKTs at dealers in the United States, inventory is essentially non-existent in the MKT’s adopted home market of Canada. (Ford assembles the MKT in Oakville, Ontario, along with the Edge, Flex, and MKX.) None of my local Ford dealers have a new or pre-owned Lincoln MKT in stock. No dealer in the two neighboring provinces has an MKT. The dealer nearest the MKT’s Oakville plant doesn’t even have a single MKT for sale, new or used. Moreover, in Canada’s largest city of Toronto, there are only three new MKTs for sale.

In other words, if my craving for Lincoln MKT ownership remains strong when our next new-vehicle purchasing decision comes along, there likely won’t be an MKT for me. We do tend to want what we can’t have, don’t we?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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63 Comments on “In Defence Of: The Lincoln MKT...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I see Mr. Tonge is using his new moderator status to HOLD HOSTAGE the writing staff for praise of the MKT! :O

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Mark VIII neon brake light DNA, fender flares that hark back to the sixties. 300+HP twin turbo V6. Essentially the aggressive style and horse power that enthusiasts bemoan OEM’s for not utilizing to bring back greatness to their luxury brands.

    Here is all is. Packaged into the modern demand for a CUV.

    Yet the internet still b1tches and nobody buys it.

    Everyone should hate themselves a little more when they plant their ass behind the wheel of their vanilla 4 door sedan or their wife’s jelly bean on wheels.

    The MkT is the modern day version of my ex project car hell turbo diesel Continental.

    Tim, you were part of the problem when you initially penned that piece. You also possibly cost your country jobs as the D47X line never did run to capacity.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, yeah, Tres, it drives great (at least for what it is), but it looks like a yuppie hearse.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        The looks have grown on me. I loved the concept but thought the production execution left out some important details.

        The more ‘luxury’ marque carbon copied LED accent detailed head lights, tail lamps and bangle butts flood the streets, the more I appreciate oddities and standouts like this vehicle. It’s unique, but not flashy in your face Merc or Audi-like.

        It’s easy to bully the red haired girl in elementary school because they are a minority and look different. The auto press is no different. Kick FCA when they’re down. Mock the OEM’s that god forbid actually cut a tool that doesn’t make a milquetoast beige piece of sh1t.

        This is why we can’t have nice things. Everyone’s got a god [email protected] opinion and everyone wants to be popular.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Autojournos loved the concept then complained about the looks of the very similar looking production version.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I never liked the styling on either…neither did buyers, apparently. Shame, because it works out to a pretty good Mercedes GL competitor.

        • 0 avatar
          mu_redskin

          I have a flex. The reason why I like it vs a regular SUV/CUV is that it’s lower to the ground and drives like a car yet has 3 rows. Since Lincoln does sell to an older audience wouldn’t it make sense to make something like this in the future that is somewhat lower to the ground yet still has the functionality of a wagon/cuv? I did not buy an explorer since it is higher, it does not drive as well as the flex. Also the Explorer’s 3rd row and cargo area is not as good as the flex.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Freed, it does drive very nicely. I drew one of these as a rental for night driving on a curvy highway. It was comfortable, quiet, roomy for the driver, and lined with posh-looking and feeling materials. Over the road, it drove very pleasantly and delivered ample power without straining despite lacking the turbos.

        Yeah, it looks funny, but I don’t really consider it an eyesore like, say, the last Acura RL’s and TL’s. It just looks…odd. And even at that, its oddness gives it a lot of space.

        If I were in the market for a car this size and type, I’d definitely consider hitting one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Yeah, I didnt like the MKT at all initially. We used to call it the “MKTurtle” because it looked like one of the Slowskys (Google it). In the past year, it has grown on me though. The powerplant is second to none, it is very comfortable, and the styling refinements have helped massage the front end into something moderately intimidating.

      Sure, the rear end is a bit droopy, but when thats the only thing every other crossover is staring at when you floor it, who cares?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Looks like its Guantanamo Bay for Tim.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Having taken the MKT on a test drive 1st, I bought a Flex on the strength of its increased 3rd row headroom. Where the MKT’s sloping rear roof made me feel like a teenager stuffed into the back of a 70s GM F-body, the Flex’s rear seat headroom was tall enough for me to sit upright in the back and read a book for an hour. Give the MKT’s 3rd row some improved seating ergonomics and it’d be a winner for me.

      The love expressed by MKT and Flex owners for their vehicles is something I’ve encountered numerous times at the gas pumps, as is their universal loathing for the dumbed-down Explorer which killed both.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit33

        Felis, you’re right about the third row headroom in the Flex vs MKT. Night and day difference if you are over 5’8″. I leased an MKT for 2 years and now have a Flex. Across the board, the materials in the MKT are much nicer, the ride is better, both smoother and quieter. One item I really miss is the THX stereo, which is not an option in the Flex. My wife hated the MKT styling, though, and never could resist verbalizing her opinion. To be fair to her, she likes the Flex and readily admits it. i personally miss the old waterfall grill, the new one just looks so plain to me.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I don’t really mind this car. Certainly good on Ford/Lincoln for producing something unique, but I would never ever consider owning one. On my regular flights from O’Hare, I see a gazillion of these with livery plates.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Those are the “Town Car” variants of the MKT. Pretty much the same chassis and body, but modified for livery use. I definitely wouldnt buy one in black. People would be trying to hail your car at every corner!

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    It’s a very comfortable way to get picked up from work or to get to the airport – more spacious and easier to see out of than the old Town Cars, and much less likely to induce motion sickness; miles more knee room than a Tahoe or Escalade with a less brittle suspension. As an avid customer of livery vehicles, it’s got my vote.

    • 0 avatar
      usernamealreadyregistered

      100% agreed. Best backseat of all current livery vehicles IMO. Don’t have to climb up or down, comfy seat for my average height and not so skinny physique, and a nice ride.

  • avatar
    Nukester

    I guess you never tried auto trader. I found 12 2o13 MKT’s listed within Ontario alone. Buying a made (assembled) in Ontario vehicle is important to me, why I own a Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      We’re in Nova Scotia.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        my son turned down an opportunity with EA games there on PEI.

        Always wondered if it was a good move.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          EA has an HQ on PEI? That would seem very odd.

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy Cain

            PEI’s big into gaming.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Is that cause there’s nothing to do but outdoor things, for only a part of the year?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            not headquarters….just one of many EA studios around the world that specialize in something.
            I think this was a mobile game location

            the EA studio in Orlando where scott studied does their madden sports games and such.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            How long has it been on PEI? I imagine that was an expensive operation prior to the Loonie’s normalization.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            not just because there is nothing to do…they have a pretty nice nightlife scene…if you go out.

            However, these game developers never even go outside unless forced. They are like cave people. Scott actually was amazed when he looked up and saw the sun a few years back.

            but Scott got a little put off when the art directer told him…it does get cold up there.
            plus, all the peope on the beach were solid white and I think he realized the water was likely around 55 in summer.

            People who swim in southern florida water don’t get fooled by pic from the north atlantic beach scenes….

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well it don’t matter if it’s cold if you’re inside all the time anyway! I fit in well with pale people too. Maybe I should move to there.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            28

            dunno.
            but has moved to this location frm another across town..
            seems like nice company….
            in the main city…think charlottetown or something….???

            Mark of TTAC used to live there nd now I see so does Tim…well Nov Sc anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @TT

            Thx. I might like to visit there, but not sure on living there given the climate. Your son might have been onto something.

        • 0 avatar
          scwmcan

          The temp of the water in PEI depends on where you are, if you are on the east side, it is the Atlantic Ocean a d cold, the west side is the Northumberland Straight and is pretty warm ( warmest salt water Noth of South Carolina ).
          as for the winter it is pretty cold and you can get a lot of snow.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Tim, you can’t buy a MKT in the US and register it in Canada? Just curious…

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That should be reasonably possible with most newer cars, but it’s a lot of hassle to go through unless you REALLY want it.

      • 0 avatar
        mmreeses

        “but it’s a lot of hassle to go through unless you REALLY want it.”

        “Free trade” (US-Canada) is an Orwellian misnomer. “Managed trade” is more like it.

        years ago researched into buying a Mercedes B-Class in Canada and shipping it to the US.

        definitely more hassle than it’s worth.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Interesting given that, unless I’m way off, the cars for the US and Canadian markets are exactly the same…

        And it does appear that Canada gets the Buick LaCrosse, which I heard had to have a different name in the Great White North because “LaCrosse” is a slang word for spanking the monkey.

        (Or so I heard…)

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    I always thought the MKT was much better looking than the Flex. Yeah, the front end needs to be toned down and they need to get rid of that giant eyesore strip of red plastic across the hatch, but otherwise, it’s a very nice car. To me it looks more wagon than CUV/SUV, a big plus as far as I’m concerned.

    • 0 avatar

      You know, I agree with you. It’s something that is simply different and likeable. It is fundamentally well-proportioned, and that’s all the matters to me. Sure the Flex looks better in some trims, but you don’t get the value used with the Flex that you do with the MKT.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I like the packaging a lot, but the MKT’s exterior is still bad to my eye.

    Maybe ten or fifteen years from now I won’t care what my car looks like anymore, but for now I do.

    I would like to see the concept continued with the new Lincoln styling theme though.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    My neighbor has one, in black. It’s quite nice.
    I suspect the resale value will be stunningly low.
    If they have any long term reliability, might be a nice buy as a 3 yr old.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The point about the older people being the sort who’d consider importing a Citroen is interesting. Next time I see an MKT which isn’t a livery vehicle, I’m gonna check out who’s driving it.

    The last time I saw an older couple where I thought something similar, they were in a Continental GT.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    It always looked to me like something that could be easily converted to hearse duties.

  • avatar
    TheDward

    I was a Ford/Lincoln salesperson for several years and I still remember the one time I was able to actually sell someone an MKT.

    Actually, I really didn’t sell it. Like you observed, some older folks of a certain pedigree just love the thing. In my case, a woman of favorable socio-economic status came in with her middle-age daughter looking for a new car. She was smitten as soon as she saw it, a white EcoBoost MKT that was a 2012 leftover that needed to be gone yesterday. Her daughter’s reaction was something along the lines of “mom, you like THAT thing?” – a mix of shock and disgust. But the crossover had everything she wanted, and the only objective that remained was the daughter’s concern that the Lincoln was too powerful for her mom. She went home with it that day, and probably still drives it.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    This is the problem with auto reviewers and early misconceptions of cars.
    I liked the early MKT and the Flex as well.
    To me…they looked like both a retro as well as future design classic.
    The looks have always grown on me.
    IF I had not already purchased the MKS earlier, this is the car I would have gotten…and have in fact been looking through Autotrader for many times.

    The only problem I ever had was the MPGs.
    It is large and I wanted more miles per around town.

    There is a strange fenom with this car as well as the Flex…those that buy them…keep them.
    A fierce loyalty is formed with owners of these cars…so there must be something here.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    when I first purchased my MKS EB in 09, the manager of the dealer repart wanted to customize it…so he did.
    He was the first to paint the roof piano black. And it really make the MKS a must nicer looking car. It lowered the look and made overall size seem smaller.
    I see Lincoln started doing this on the MKTs a few years later. The one in the pic has it and I think it really helped the proportions of the car.

    The manager sent pics off to Ford afterward, he was so proud of his work.

    As a side note, I will tell you the customizing department at the dealer had an awful time getting the car back together. It seems there headliners are chuck full of electronics and if not properly replaced…the car simply does not work.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      You’re right about the loyalty. It’s a combination of design and functionality that draws the owner in. Owners of both cars get emotional when I tell them the product has no replacement (that I am aware of) and that it only has a few MY’s left of production.

      The Explorer is essentially the same thing with a raised belt line. I haven’t met a person who is emotionally invested in their Explorer.

  • avatar

    The MKT is one of the coolest highway cruiser on the market. With 4 bucket seats, rear cooler, 3rd seat, cargo area the ideal vehicle for any road trip.

    Unfortunately it does not resonate with the average customer. Its not perceived as a utility vehicle, and perhaps Ford never made an effort to position the MKT as a “cruiser”. Its also a little big for urban use.

    You can’t find one because nobody wants one. Most dealers only have in inventory popular models. There are a gazillion models from a manufacturer but only a percentage are very popular and in inventory at dealers.

    Ford dealers in the Maritimes will have Escape, Focus, Fusion, MKX, MKC and obvious a ton of F150 in inventory.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Tim you should definitely check out the MKT. I test drove a 2014 MKT EcoBoost and it really is one of the best riding SUVs, more compliant and absorbent than the MDX, Pilot, Acadia, Enclave, Durango, Sorento. It handles very nicely too. I happen to like the outrageous styling but then I’ve always had a thing for unloved, unpopular ugly duckling vehicles. Here in Manitoba a 2011 with 67,000 miles is 17,400 USD, a 2012 with 40,000 miles is $20,900 USD and a 2013 with 58,000 miles is $22,700 USD. And none of them are black cars. The only thing I can’t get past is the crappy rear visibility.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Count me in as one of the few that likes the way it looks. One rolled by me the other day and I thought it looked pretty sharp. It’s unique but I don’t find the styling that over-the-top or polarizing.

  • avatar
    shaker

    As a part-time pedestrian, I would much prefer to be hit by one of these as opposed to a Flex.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I actually like the lines, sort of a wagon look.

    They do really ride nice, great rear legroom and ride. Got a ride from the airport in one. I’m always amazed how many “big cars” you see that have cramped rear seats.

    I’m surprised they don’t sell better

    I don’t trust the long term quality though, but my guess is you could get a used one for a song if you can find it. If somebody like Toyota or Honda made it, I would be all over it.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    My parents have an Outback, which I dislike, and they are getting to the point where they are driven in it more than they drive it. I’ve contemplated replacing it with a used Flex or MKT. Mom bought the Outback because it “sits high” thinking that means ease of getting 300 disabled pounds in and out, but the highish floor means you have to do a sit-and-swivel maneuver, and the back seat accessibility is not great either. And the CVT, oy.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    The Buick Enclave pretty much stole Lincoln’s lunch with their Enclave. It turned out to be the vehicle that the Lincoln should have been (and with a real name, to boot, and not some stupid, hard-to-remember numbers). The higher seating position of Enclave wins it a lot of fans.

  • avatar
    Mackie

    Brilliant post. More of this, please.

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