In Defence Of: The Lincoln MKT

in defence of the 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.

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.

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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  • Mackie Mackie on Jul 29, 2016

    Brilliant post. More of this, please.

  • Truckmen Truckmen on Aug 07, 2021

    I purchased one of these this past March (2021), have put ~5,000 miles on the car and absolutely LOVE it! The ride is top shelf. The creature comforts are numerous and in it's pearl-white wrapper looks beautiful (to me at least). I never thought I'd say that about a Ford (although I have nothing really against the make), just that this car rides like a dream and looks elegant. I've not had one second of buyer's remorse with this incredible machine. After reading this article, I can only say that I suppose, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.
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