By on March 21, 2017

2014 Lincoln MKT, Image: Ford Motor Company

Before we get down to the meat of this week’s question, a brief bit of housekeeping. If you have a question for “Ask Jack”, send it to askjack@jackbaruth.com. I will accept and privately answer questions on any topic, regardless of my qualifications to do so. Perhaps you would like to know how to catch the eye of that bored, fidgety, but remarkably attractive housewife down the street. Maybe you need to reshuffle Excel spreadsheets using Perl from a command line, or make a tattoo gun using only the items available in a Midwestern prison. I can help you with any of these queries and a million more. However, in keeping with the fundamental dignity of this website, only questions of an automotive nature will be answered here. No matter what the precise nature of your business might be, please title the email “Ask Jack”.

Now where we were? Oh yes: a fellow with the world’s best car is interested in trading it for the world’s ugliest crossover.


Our reader, dal20402, writes

As most of the B&B probably know, we have a leased Ford C-Max Energi (lease expiration April 2019) and a mint 2008 Lexus LS460 with 50,000 miles. The C-Max is my wife’s daily driver. I commute by bus or foot, so the LS460 sees action 1) on weekends, and 2) for road trips, of which we take several every year. We bought the LS460 when we had one young son and no expectation of more; our second son was, well, a happy surprise. Now the LS460, while being the best road-trip car imaginable from the front seat, is starting to feel cramped in back. Two giant car seats don’t leave a lot of room for gear or any for more passengers. (We often go to see family.)

The LS is in good shape for the long haul. I replaced all of the notorious front control arms with updated OEM parts, it has new-ish brake pads all around, and it’s sitting on a set of Continentals with about 6,000 miles on them. In short, it’s not a car I’d normally part with. But as the boys get bigger, it’s just going to be more and more awkward to take on trips, which is where it does 90 percent of its miles. It’s an issue that’s not going away. So I’ve been waffling over whether I should sell or trade the LS and get a car with more room inside.

My first choice is a 2013-15 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost. They’re ugly as sin, but they’re roomy, comfortable, surprisingly good to drive, and cheaper used than a Flex (thanks to the ugly). With the captain’s chairs, they’re hugely flexible and roomy inside. The LS is worth about $15,000 on trade, or maybe $18,000 on private party sale given that it has a bunch of rare options. I can find low-mile 2014 MKTs with captain’s chairs for about $30,000 in good shape. But the catch is that none — zero — of them are in the Pacific Northwest. We are MKT-proof up here. So I have to add shipping and the extra $1,500 or so in tax that results from not being able to trade the LS at a Washington dealer (which would allow me to pay sales tax only on the difference).

Do I: 1) just keep the LS and pack really, really efficiently; 2) bite the bullet and absorb the money/hassle to sell the LS and buy a MKT from elsewhere, or 3) do something else entirely?

Well, this is a pickle, ain’t it? ‘Cause on the one hand we have the world’s finest automobile, the Lexus LS460. If there is such a thing as a million-mile automobile being built today, the LS460 is surely it, even if it doesn’t quite measure up to the obsessive engineering standards of its illustrious predecessor — that iconic first Lexus LS/Toyota Celsior. I will confess that in my return email to Dal, I indicated a willingness to buy the LS460 from him at almost any reasonable price. It may not have the style of the S-Class, nor the gauche panache of the BMW Siebener, but it has a quiet dignity all its own, perhaps because its current owner base does not typically include the stretch-and-grasp social-striver type who will eagerly finance an S550 on credit-criminal terms just so they can be seen behind the wheel of the thing.

On the other hand, however, we have one of my all-time favorite vehicles: the MKT Ecoboost. This is the whale that carries the eternal mail, as the second mate of the Pequod once said. It’s hilariously, delightfully rapid, making quick work of freeway entrances and corner exits alike. The interior is a modern marvel of restrained yet evocative design. Every seat in the house is a good one. The sound system has depth and power. It is to be infinitely preferred to the sibling Flex and all other vehicles of its type, particularly if you can even begin to live with the looks. Now that the reliability of the Ford/GM transverse six-speed and the Ecoboost 3.5 in combination has been lightly validated by the ecumenical brush of Internet anecdotal history, it seems like a non-risky buy. Last but certainly not least, it’s a vehicle that scores very highly on all sorts of crash tests. This will only truly matter to you after you see your son’s feet scrunched back into his car seat by a peninsula of razor-sharp B-pillar, as happened to your not-always-humble author three years and three months ago.

It’s my understanding from reading his posts that Dal is a highly compensated individual who can likely survive the financial consequences of an enthusiastic decision, particularly if those consequences are in the four-figure range. If he doesn’t like the car, he can sell it to CarMax and eat the depreciation. If it breaks in a small way, as most complicated vehicles that are not Toyotas are known to do, it won’t be fatal. So instead of giving my usual lecture about how nobody really needs an SUV and how a full-size sedan is the proper answer to most questions, I shall instead recommend the purchase of a fully loaded MKT, without any reservation whatsoever, and this is how I’d play it:

I would buy one in a southern state. Then I’d take my kids across the country to get it, documenting the whole process. Let them see these amber waves of grain, et cetera. Sell the Lexus to someone who requires the security blanket of immortal construction. See the USA — in your Lincoln. What say you, B&B?

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170 Comments on “Ask Jack: The MKT-Bone Shuffle?...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    Couldn’t he just get a loaded Explorer? Yeah, he’d look like a cop, but at least he wouldn’t look like a limo driver and wouldn’t have to constantly explain himself to his horrified friends.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      MkT > Explorer

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’d rather have to explain something to my friends than myself.

      The Explorer is equally ugly, to my eye, and not nearly as roomy — the whole reason for contemplating this decision in the first place.

      Also, even in loaded form it doesn’t have nearly the material quality of the MKT. The thing is *nice* inside — only a step or two down from the LS.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        The MkT is roomier, especially in the 2nd row.

        • 0 avatar
          AVT

          With captain chairs, you can also have them slide even farther back and recline. They also gives you the option of heated and cooled seats in the second row as well as a full length console and fridge. I have the full length fridge in mine. I say its a hit or miss if you want it. I really don’t use it much and the shape makes it only ideal for carrying 16 oz cans of stuff, not bottles.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The fridge console gives the back seat a really upscale look, and gives adult back-seat passengers a comfy armrest. But it also makes access to the way-back harder. I feel conflicted about it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Dal, if you’re into the MKT, I’d get an Ecoboosted one and explain everything with your taillights. That rig’s seriously quick for this class of car. And I do believe you can tune the engine as well.

        Take the Han Solo approach, and tell everyone, “she may not look like much, kid, but she’s got it where it counts.”

        Then again, I’m the weirdo who lusted after the R63 AMG Benz, which may be the best stealth destroyer ever made by the hand of man.

        http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2007-mercedes-benz-r63-amg-first-drive-review

      • 0 avatar
        Yurpean

        Keep the Lexus and get a Thule box for the trips. Put the $15,000 you saved in a college fund.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I think the fallacy here is that the LS460 will continue to get worse: “Two giant car seats don’t leave a lot of room for gear or any for more passengers….it’s just going to be more and more awkward to take on trips”.

    In reality, the car seats will steadily shrink. They go from infant carrier to rear-facing to front facing to booster to backless booster, and each step means the seat is much smaller/takes up less space than in the prior step. Right now he is probably in the worst position, and it will get much better over time.

    Now, if he is looking for a reason to swap cars, by all means, go ahead, but it is going to be LESS awkward in the car in the future not more; I can’t imagine even four full-size adults finding the LS uncomfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The car seats get smaller, but the kid stuff doesn’t. And now there’s 2 instead of one. And the C-Max may look like it can haul stuff, but the battery takes up a lot of the trunk space.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        We never had much “kid stuff”. A stroller is really the only big thing. And you might carry a pack and play when the kid is really little. Otherwise, there was never anything other than a diaper bag and a duffel bag full of clothes for a long weekend away. Just took my daughter to Hawaii for two weeks, she had a backpack and a carryon sized suitcase.

      • 0 avatar
        brawnychicken333

        I disagree-There’s a lot less stuff once you get out of the stroller and diaper stage. Either the C-Max or the LS should be able to handle borderline unrestrained trips to Costco and Target.

        That said, if DAL wants something new because-go for it.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          His C-Max is an Energi so it doesn’t have much cargo room at all.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          We’ve taken one short road trip in the C-Max, and it was before kid #2. Even with just one car seat, it was a tight fit. There really is not a lot of cargo space at all, because of that battery.

          The car is a dream as an urban daily, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Landau Calrissian

            Have you considered a roof rack and cargo box on the LS for those longer trips? It may look a little silly to some (not me!) but it’s relatively easy to put on/take off as needed once you figure it out and definitely a cheaper solution.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I think what he may be getting at is that the LS doesn’t exactly have the largest trunk going, but I may be wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Agreed. If you sell the LS, you will regret it, and will be posting on TTAC under the most recent QOTD.
      If two kids can’t fit in the back seat, something is seriously wrong with this picture. If their stuff doesn’t fit, they have too much stuff.
      Raising a family isn’t easy, but there are many, many worse cars than the Lexus, and very few that are better. I suspect there is a wife in the background, nagging for a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This is an interesting point. The car seats will eventually start to get smaller, although the younger kid will be rear-facing for the next two summers and the older one can’t transition to a booster for three more years. But even when they are both old enough for no car seats, carrying a lot more stuff would mean having it in their laps.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        At what age do you booster? My kid went into a booster at 4, but she’s really tall for her age (about 44″ tall at 4.5 y/o). Frankly, forward-facing to booster isn’t THAT big of a deal, the real win is from rear facing to front. We did that at ~2 years. Once the kid is front-facing, all the space problems basically go away IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          My son is 52″ inches tall at 7… I put him in a full booster-with-back in the cars and a traditional car seat in the Tahoe.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            He fits in a car seat at 52″?? My daughter sized out of her Britax (shoulders above the line) right around 4, her pediatrician said just go to a booster. She weighs around 45lbs IIRC.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Don’t know the laws in Ohio, but at 52″ in Washington he wouldn’t be required to have a seat anymore.

            My boys are both very tall for their ages (the baby is in the 100th percentile), but height really doesn’t run in either of our families so I’m skeptical that they’ll stay so tall.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yes at 7 yo and 52″ a child safety system is required in WA. The law is 8 years or 4′ 9″. Of course it has been a while for me but I remember moving mine exclusively into boosters before 7 yo and 52″.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Car seat =/= booster. Booster still required (probably without a back). Car seat with 5 point harness and all seems like overkill, BUT I haven’t been in an accident with my kid where helicopters were required so I’ll not judge too harshly here.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      I call it the great paradox of modern parenting. As the kids get older the less room they take up in a car. And this goes right until teen years. For example, the time I rode with two friends in a Honda Civic Del Sol. Or the time in Boy Scouts when I rode home from a camping trip in the side-facing jump seat of an S-10 extended cab. Or me and two cousins in the back seat of grandpa’s Thunderbird.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      He still has another 7 years or so to go until he is completely car seat free, unless of course another kid comes along or his existing children reach 4’9″ before their 8th birthday.

      • 0 avatar
        rentonben

        We have three kids and go on road trips in a Buick Regal or Suzuki Grand Vitara – for us we just choose better things to pack:

        A Phill And Ted cloth kid-cage in VS the giant folding metal monstrosity
        MSR Stove vs Giant Colman WWII Stove
        Down sleeping bag VS giant comforters
        Kindle vs Books
        Headlamp vs Maglite
        Monarch folding camp-chairs vs Colman campchairs-for-400-lb-meat-beasts
        Tensile Tree Tent vs Colman 6 Room Tent

        EDIT: Because your family cooks

        Titanium plates vs Plastic plates
        REI Folding pans vs Cast Iron
        MSR kitchen tools vs standard stuff

        It can be done, and it’s a lot of fun

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I don’t think it’s about getting to “car seat free” it’s more about getting to forward-facing. Once they’re forward facing they really don’t take up that much room.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Once they are forward facing rear “leg room” becomes a big factor. Those car seats even boosters place the kid a few inches in front of the seat back. Have a driver that is tall and room for their feet can get pretty tight.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Well Jack..just from me being a B and B over the last 8 years under 2 different names, I have realized here just like everywhere else authors have their personal preferences. Yours appears to be Lincolns (still remember you going over the MKZ at an autoshow a few years back). I for one have been looking at the MKT myself due the fact that Flex’s can hold their value like I hold my water on an 8 hour trip…(stopping me brother).
    I say as long has he can afford it and it makes him happy do it. Life is way to short and with me turning 50 an few weeks ago I am going to make sure that in 3 years I either get my FLex of my dreams, the MKT or a Q70L v8.
    My only concern is the Infotainment system.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      MyFord Touch hasn’t been too bad to me in my 2014 MKS. Note that the 2016 cars all have SYNC3 now, which is a lot better.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        It’s betterish.

        Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are butt though. They don’t make the infotainment system better.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          @ Adam, yeah not too impressed with Android Auto. I much prefer Sync3 to that.

        • 0 avatar

          Disagree. They absolutely do. At least Android Auto, which provides all the navigational/searching excellence of Google Maps.

          And Sync3 is a vast improvement.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I have used the Android Auto. The Maps function is great. I don’t care for the rest of it. The few times I’ve used it I felt like I was a beta tester. And using a wire is for cavemen!

            Sync3 has a definite usability improvement. I HATE how it looks though. If Volvo’s Sensus can look good and work well, Ford can figure that out too.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I went out of my way to update Sync3 to 2.2 just to get Google Maps onscreen, only to find that my Galaxy S5 is apparently too old to do so. Weird list of supported devices from what I found.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The 2016 has resale that reflects the Sync3. I’m finding low-mile 2014s for $26-$30k; 2015s for $32-$35k; and 2016s for around $40k. Sync 3 is great but not worth that much, especially when the car still has the capacitive touch volume control. (The 2016 also has one other idiotic bit of cost-cutting, which is a shorter and less flexible front armrest.)

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Hey Kyree do you have any experience with the Q70 V8 or the L version? I have only spent about 20 minutes seat time in them and found them very pleasing?

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I do have a bit. They feel a little old-school, which is actually a good thing. Even if they don’t have the latest gee-whiz tech features, materials and attention-to-detail are impeccable, and you generally get the feeling that it’s a car built to last. I say go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Chocolatedeath,

      The evils of MyFordTouch (MFT) are heavily exaggerated. Because it was early to market, it had issues early on and the automotive press hasn’t forgotten. With updates, stability improved dramatically.

      MFT is one of the more stable and more mature products on the market. It’s sad that Ford caved to erronous market pressure and replaced it with Sync 3. Sync 3 is good, but if they’d put the same effort into MFT, MFT would be king.

      Don’t get me wrong, MFT is underpowered and can be quite sluggish at times. That’s really it’s only key failing. I suppose the look is starting to become dated as well.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Because it was early to market, it had issues early on and the automotive press hasn’t forgotten.”

        what launched for MY2011 was an unusable mess. It wasn’t even remotely ready for prime time until the big MY2013 update.

        ” Sync 3 is good, but if they’d put the same effort into MFT, MFT would be king.”

        no way. SYNC Gen 2 hardware is way, way too underpowered to be able to carry into the future. It was based on an i.MX5, which is a single-core ARM A8 at about 600 MHz. It would never be able to support things like CarPlay and Android Auto.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          JimZ, I agree about the hardware being underpowered. One would hope that newer cars would have more powerful hardware.

          CarPlay and Android Auto are huge disappointments. They shouldn’t need power. Since before they existed, I’ve suggested that they develop an interface where the car system is little more than a display and input devices for the phone. This would have not only allowed flexibility, but huge potential for future growth.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            IIRC CarPlay and Android Auto run within a virtual machine, so you really can’t get around the need for CPU power.

  • avatar
    gaspassoregon

    An oft-overlooked response to the problem here is to add a rocket box. I early terminated a lease on my favorite for many year car to only be repeatedly disappointed. One can fit a lot of stuff in a rocket box. Get a few more years out of the car until its time to start taking the soccer team every where and it is then time for the Tesla minivan to arrive…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This is an interesting option. My question is whether it’s possible to mount a box on a naked roof without the mounts rubbing against the roof and damaging the paint. Back in the day when I mounted a ski rack on my ’87 Taurus its mounts left visible marks. Part of the problem I’m having is that the LS really is excellent and I’m (maybe too) reluctant to make it non-excellent.

      • 0 avatar
        gaspassoregon

        The rubber feet can affect the clear coat. the key is to clean the roof well before mounting the rack. The car is a bit affected in terms of NVH and having to remember roof clearance. That being said, when you aren’t traveling long distance, you can remove said rack. if Roof idea sucks, can also put a trailer hitch and a storage box on back.

        Honestly, if you swap to a bigger vehicle, you will, just like having a bigger house, find yourself taking more stuff, creating even more clutter, and not necessarily have a better trip or driving experience. YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “Honestly, if you swap to a bigger vehicle, you will, just like having a bigger house, find yourself taking more stuff, creating even more clutter, and not necessarily have a better trip or driving experience. YMMV.”

          As someone who lives in a small house, this resonates for me. I may have to play around with gear to see if there’s a better way to get it all to fit in the LS without piling it on top of the kids.

      • 0 avatar
        brawnychicken333

        Big luxo-cars just look weird with roof racks to me. They just don’t seem appropriate.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      He’d almost certainly be the only one in the neighborhood with a box on top of his LS.

      The problem is they aren’t that practical. They drop MPG significantly on modern cars, can add significant NVH, are a pain to load, keep the vehicle out of some parking garages and really aren’t that secure. I tried it for a few trips and it has been sitting for over a decade now. I should try and find the keys, or send the code to my locksmith friend and see if someone will give me a couple of bucks for mine.

      • 0 avatar
        gaspassoregon

        usually the major manufacturers (thule, yakima) dealers have both master keys and replacements for cheap if you can show the proof of ownership.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The types of locks used on most carriers that I have seen can not be master keyed. But they do usually have a number on that can be used to cut a new key or select a new key. I have a friend who is a locksmith, though he doesn’t live close. So I just give him a call tell him the number he looks it up and drops it in the mail to me. I also have him make me kits for me to rekey the locks on my rental properties. Just tell him the number of locks and keys wanted and again he puts it together and drops it in the mail to me.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I had a CX-9 with a box (lower rent x-cargo) which then rode around on my S55 AMG. Since we moved up to a Navigator, the box hasn’t seen the light of day. Honestly, I don’t miss that thing. What a pain in the ass to have to strap that thing on in cold weather or worry about roof overhangs, overloading the box etc. You can’t put a dog in the box either (well, it’s not recommended). It makes a surprising amount of wind noise and mileage dips considerably.
      I’ve tried small car big family and it’s just not worth it. Enjoy that MKT and the ecobooooooooost!

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Dal, I’m trying to imagine a scenario where a full sized Lexus isn’t a big enough sedan for 2 adults and 2 kids. What exactly are you bringing with you that this L-A-R-G-E car can’t accommodate?

    Car seats take up a good chunk of space, but not that much for an LS.

    The bigger the vehicle, the more needless and cursory garbage you bring with you that was really better left behind.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I know. Europeans get by on small sedans all the time, but ‘Muricans gotta haul their stuff everywhere.

      • 0 avatar

        @N8iveVA: Do you know families in Europe? I know quite a few fairly well, and none of them own small sedans. The smallest car they own is a hatchback (max one kid, and they’ll have a second car), but almost all of them own the highly vaunted people mover (think Peugeot 5008, Citroen C4 Picasso, etc.) or wagon.

        The problem with the LS isn’t its size, so much as how the size is used. If you took the LS’ footprint and turned it into a squared-off wagon or CUV, life would probably be a lot easier and he wouldn’t have to do anything.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      An LS wouldn’t hold enough stuff on some of our drives from our house in the Detroit area to our vacation place in Northern Michigan.

      I wouldn’t say that the stuff we fill our MkT with is “needless and cursory garbage”.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      We do a lot of cooking on vacation. My wife is an accomplished cook. The gear in the vacation rental is never any good. So we bring practically an entire kitchen with us.

      Also some bulky toys, and, depending on the particular vacation, outdoor gear. Those are the things we would have to leave behind. The LS with car seats has just about enough room for our clothes and the kitchen stuff, without much else.

    • 0 avatar
      brawnychicken333

      Rear facing car seats (mandatory until kids are 1), stroller(s), and diapers take up a lot of space.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Its not that difficult to manage. The LS isn’t that big of a car. I manage to nearly fill the 52 cubic feet of covered bed my Silverado has. People who don’t road trip often don’t get it.

      Here’s a rundown of stuff I always take with when visiting out of state and that’s with ONE toddler

      1) Jogging Stroller (takes up nearly 1/4 of my bed so would probably nearly fill an LS trunk
      2) Pack & Play (kid’s gotta sleep)
      3) Rubbermaid Tote full of toys, books, board games, puzzles, etc. Kids thrive on variety and stimulation.
      4) 2 large adult suitcases
      5) 1 suitcase of kid’s clothes
      6) 1 suitcase of child care accessories (diapers and such)
      7) Cooler with food/snacks.

      That ain’t fitting in an LS.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    I find the MKT interesting. Not ugly but not attractive. But looks are subjective. I say keep the LS. The kids wont be in car seats for that long and as they grow the 3rd row in the MKT becomes useless. It’s a sweet ride and has low miles, just buy a roof carrier or a tow hitch mounted basket thingy if that LS trunk gets too tight.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I say keep the LS. But if you insist on getting rid of it, here’s a $34K 2014 MKT EcoBoost with low miles near me: https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/679704215/overview/

    There’s also a ultra-low-mile 2015 MKT EcoBoost here for $36K, although I think you can do better:
    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/694829976/overview/

    On that second link, Joe Cooper Ford / Lincoln of Edmond are the people I bought my MKS from last month; they absolutely suck. Don’t let them tell you their Lincolns are certified; they just bought the dealership and aren’t yet allowed to certify Lincolns, nor do they have any already-certified cars left over from the previous owners. I really wouldn’t buy sh*t else from them or the rest of the Cooper Auto Group.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Damn dude …so why did you complete the process?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Because the car was aggressively-priced. And it became a *very* good deal after I found out they advertised it as CPO all over the Internet and made them certify my MKS. I’m sure they lost their collective shirt on that deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      Damn indeed, Chocolatedeath!

      I have been in OKC for about 20 years and could have warned the poor soul about that particular dealership group.

      Then again, almost every one of the local big-name dealerships has royally pissed me off at one point or another for various reasons, so I’m not sure ANY of them around here are worth my $$$ at this point! (One significant exception is Eskridge Lexus, which is one of the best I’ve experienced anywhere.)

      My last two vehicles were bought out of state (Houston and CO Springs), and each of the dealer experiences was almost completely frustration-free; I’d give either of them repeat business before looking locally.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Oh, Joe Cooper has quite the reputation. It used to be Reynolds, and they were okay. They still have their two Ford stores in OKC and Norman, as well as Reynolds Mazda in Norman. However, I did have a good experience with Cooper BMW’s service dept, but I bought the BMW at CarMax across the highway.

        Funny about Eskridge Lexus, because it’s next door to the Lincoln dealership. Maybe I should have gone there instead.

        In terms of bad dealer groups in Central OK…Big Red Kia in Norman (which also owns Norman Mitsubishi, Norman Yamaha and Mayes Kia in Moore) is the worst. David Stanley is not far behind, followed by Anything Chrysler / Jeep / Dodge / RAM.

        There’s also that cursed Kyle Hill Kia, which has a number of used luxury cars that no one would buy from a Kia lot. My friend and I went a little while ago, and they had several 7-Series, some Range Rovers, a few Audis, a Fisker and a Bentley Continental GT. We bought my grandma’s 2014 Soul there back when it was Bob Moore Kia Edmond.

        I do like Bob Howard and Bob Moore in general, as well as Diffee, Fowler and Reynolds.

        • 0 avatar
          Dawnrazor

          I see a Fisker at least once per week in the 150th & Western area. I wonder if it is the same one you saw on the lot? It’s very hard to imagine the existence of TWO of these cars in our area. I always do a double-take because the cars are as rare as turtle fur and it’s still surreal to see it out in traffic, and I’ve never seen one on the road anywhere else. I wonder how and where the car can be serviced in our area (the only place I could remotely imagine is Santiago Sports & Classics)?

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Huh. I’m not sure. The one at Kyle Hill was silver, but there is a white one that I see at Memorial and Western, near the OnCue.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I say keep the LS.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Yeah, I agree. Specifically buying a historically unreliable car that you admit is hideous means, Dal, you’re not gonna be happy with it. And as someone who grew up sandwiched between two large sisters in an ’88 Cavalier on cross country road trips (and still enjoyed the vacations), you can absolutely fit two kids and all their crap in the back of an LS.

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        Historically unreliable? I’ve heard nothing but good things about the MKT, Flex, etc that share that powertrain.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I was about to say, I’ve been following reliability stats on the Flex/MKT and they are actually excellent. The 2010 had a few common issues that were fixed in later production. 2011 and up have been outstanding, especially for cars that send torque from a powerful twin-turbo engine through a FWD-derived drivetrain and have a million electrical gadgets. The Flex and MKT forums are notable for the absence of issues. Honestly, the early LS460 has significantly more issues (although my car has the biggest one fixed already).

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Brother Bark has 115k miles on his Flex. It needed new rear brakes at 105k. That’s been it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Off-topic: tell your brother to write some more stuff on raising his son (and the soccer hijinks that involves). The parenting pieces are some of the best stuff that both of you guys write, although you do it very differently from each other.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            The 3.5L EB has a nasty and fairly common issue with timing chain stretch that can get real pricey real quickly. It basically forced us out of my wife’s Flex 6-12 months earlier than we otherwise would have gotten rid of it.

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            Tell your brother to get the PTU drained and refilled. It’s the same unit on the MKT, MKS, CX9, etc. It has no service interval, but is a consistent failure point. The amount of gear oil it contains is relatively small given it’s load and sludges around 80k. My CX9’s failed a hair under 100k. You’re left with a FWD ride and a $900 repair bill to get that transfer case out and replaced (it’s well buried).

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      DINKS with two dogs did OH to Keywest for 12 days and 3,000+ miles in an XTS with no problems. Children take up allot of space.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    The MKT is a modern luxurified wagon so I think it would serve you well on your family trip needs.

  • avatar
    riccorizzo

    The LS460 engines start to consume oil at a rapid rapid pace as they age. This is a well known issue with these cars.

    A three row vehicle will come in handy with playdates, grandparents and cousins.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I keep the LS but he really does not use it, would the wife drive it? If he loved the LS , and can not does not want out of his lease, rent a mini van or a MKT for when he is traveling with family ( it seems the only time the car seats become an issue from his note. Comes down thaw much he loves the LS.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      For various reasons we have discussed at length before, it’s important to my wife that her daily driver be as electric as possible. We also live in a dense city and she doesn’t want a large car for a daily.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    i am guessing you are taking 3-5 trips a year. for that frequency why not just rent a big van for the trips?

    unless you just want to get rid of the LS for whatever reason and then in that case you should.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You’d think, but renting minivans specifically is costly — if your trip doesn’t fit exactly into a week, which our longer trips don’t, it can be $800+ a pop. A few trips at that cost and I could have bought myself a MKT.

      • 0 avatar
        john66ny

        34K / 800 = 42 trips. What am I missing?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The fact that I’d pay $27k for the MKT and get $15k on trade for the LS. To make the difference even smaller, I’d probably end up paying more for maintenance on the LS as it ages. It has low miles, but some things fail after time, and if I keep it for another eight years it will be 17 years old by the end of that time.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Since Mercury went away, Lincoln exclusive dealers seem like lonely little outposts of commerce

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Lincoln exclusive dealers are pretty much non-existent they are usually the red headed step child at the Ford store.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        There’s one I pass on the way to my daughter’s house on US 31 north side of Indy. Compared to the ginormous inventory the Caddy dealer has, it looks positively sparse.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      But they’re nice outposts. TBH I love the smell they pump into the air in the dealerships. They designed some fragrance and I know I should not, but I go in there now and again just to smell that smell.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    I think I’d rather sell a kid than drive a MKFlex. It’s a rolling disaster and gushes mediocrity from every angle. The power train leaves a lot to be desired, the interior is fantastically boring, and the shape makes it very cramped, especially the cargo area. It truly is one of the worst vehicles in modern history.

    Keep the Lexus. The little bit of inconvenience is much better than constant headaches.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Your username is hilarious.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      EBFlex, I’ve seen, sat in and driven an MkT. IMO, your assessment is silly flame bait:

      •I drove the NON-turbo version. It was smooth and it went just fine.

      •”Fantastically boring”? It has very nice leather, visibly real wood, nice touchpoints, comfortable seats, oodles of features. Angry you didn’t check the optional reacharound box?

      •”Very cramped”? For its size, okay. But overall, just no.

      •”One of the worst vehicles in modern history”? You need to get out more to your local Nissan or FCA dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        As have I Tony. Only I’m familiar with the Egoboost version.

        Leather is so-so. A wood trim piece is not exciting and I’m not sure what hard plastic qualifies as a “nice touchpoint”. The seats were fine, not great but not filled with rocks and the features present for the price were awful. The only thing exciting about the interior was the trademark THX sound. The sound system was, over all, very good.

        Yes, for it’s size, which is somewhere between water buffalo and whale, the interior space is terrible. All of the D3 vehicles make use of space very poorly. Terrible designers.

        Further more, I would much rather drive a Dodge Durango over the MKFlex. Proper V8 engine, proper (ie: working) infotainment system, very attractive looks, a very high quality interior, and the best transmission on the market. Plus it had proper RWD.

        The MKFlex is an answer to a question nobody asked. Hence the absolutely horrid sales since day one. I don’t think there was a month during the entire time it was on sale where sales went over 1K. There are so many better vehicles on the market, anyone that buys an MKFlex should have their head examined.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The idea that a Durango has a nicer interior than a MKT is as hilarious as your username. I like the Durango. But it’s typical FCA circa 2011 inside.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Well you’re completely wrong.

            The interior is from 2014 when all of Chrysler’s SUVs got the 8.4″ uConnect system. A system that makes MyFordTouch look like something from the 80s.

            The interior on the Lincoln Flex is nothing to write home about. Materials are terrible for the price point and being a (psudo) luxury vehicle. Lincoln has been a joke for the better part of 20 years.

            The Durango, by all measures, is a much better vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          I agree completely about the awful space utilization of every Ford on this platform (Explorer, Taurus, MkS, MkT; have no experience with the Flex). Just saying that’s not the same as “very cramped,” although I would use that description for driver’s legroom on the sedans due to the stupid wall of a console.

          When you talk about features for the price, in this context that’s no longer true because we’re talking a hugely depreciated used price.

          And as for the Durango, you might rather drive it, but you’d have to be a certified masochist to prefer owning it, or FCA anything.

          I heartily agree with you about “a question nobody asked.” Lacking butch looks to justify its inconvenient dimensions, the MkT’s sales died like a dog. But, all the better for late-model used vultures who can get past the looks. I personally don’t think the MkT is ugly, just peculiar. Peculiar I can handle. Ugly is the current Prius.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “And as for the Durango, you might rather drive it, but you’d have to be a certified masochist to prefer owning it, or FCA anything.”

            Why? There is nothing, based in reality, that supports that statement.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Why? There is nothing, based in reality, that supports that statement.”

            That sums up your posts rather nicely.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    Sometimes, as a parent, you have to accept facts and get a minivan. I recently gave in, got one, and it feels like someone slipped me a piece of paper with a parenting cheat code on it.

    Up, down, left, right…no. No, it’s “MINIVAN.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The MKT is basically a minivan with swing doors, a bit of space lost to the raked hatch, and a *much* more interesting powertrain. Like a minivan, it has a near-flat, low floor and every seat can fold away (although the second row doesn’t fold *into* the floor a la Stow ‘N’ Go, which allows it to be comfortable).

      • 0 avatar
        GermanReliabilityMyth

        dal, that sounds like the ideal practical vehicle for your needs then (I have a soft spot for foodies and accomplished cooks). That said, I’ve got to add that sliding doors are a Godsend. My suggestion, FWIW, if space allows, is have your wife drive the Energi until the lease expires. In the mean time, drive the Lexus on occasion and hold onto it until that time, at which point she can drive the Lexus if she has no objection. Or vice versa between the MKT and the Lexus. You’ve done so much to improve an already good car, I’m certain you’d regret cutting it loose. I know I would.

      • 0 avatar
        gaspassoregon

        don’t underestimate the value of the sliding door. Motorized even more so…

        best of luck.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Sliding doors do make it way easier to put your kid in a car seat and buckle them in particularly in a parking lot with other vehicles close by.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          Yes on the power sliding doors.

          I can’t describe how much nicer it is to pull in somewhere and not worry about my kid kicking the door of my Charger wide open and into the door of someone else’s ride.

          Loading is also amazingly simple, particularly when raining.

  • avatar
    TCowner

    As someone who moved from a Saturn SC 2 to an ’89 Town Car when our (now 21 year old) son was born, and has driven nothing but Panthers since, I think Dal needs some training on packing the car properly. I remember when our 2 were little, there is an amazing amount of plastic stuff to pack (portable crib, etc) when you go an a road trip, but I never recall not being able to have most everything in the trunk and having plenty of room in the cabin.

  • avatar
    Pantherlove

    Have you looked at a CX-9?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If the current generation: I’m one of those people biased unfairly against turbo fours.

      If the previous generation: I don’t need corner-carving in my three-row CUV, and it has less room than the big guys.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        I had the FMY and while it’s changed a lot, there is nearly no room behind the third row. With two kids and the 3rd row flat, it’s quite roomy. I put a spinet piano in mine with all seats folded.

  • avatar
    Caboose

    Our LS430 is our only car. I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old (i.e.- “veal” to the English aristocracy) and a third on the way. We have no trouble fitting everything we need for our annual summer trek from Tennessee to SoCal in the 430. That includes a side-by-side stroller, diaper bag, luggage for me, the wife, the wife’s hair, the kids; snacks and supplies. You can pry my LS from my cold, dead hands.

    For what it’s worth, we already have a plan for three-across kids’ seats in the rear of our LS, and your LS is bigger than ours in every dimension.

    The only Lincoln worth having is the Conti avéc EcoBoost.

    The Lincoln MKWhatever will have more wind noise from the front and more tire noise from the rear. Noise is fatiguing on a long drive.

    The crossover will give you more luggage space and immediate access to it, but it will handle like ass in comparison (the tall crossover will handle less well than the semi-floaty sedan, because CoG).

    A crossover will not prevent you from giving your kids phones or tables to play games or watch movies on. Unless you seat them in the way-back, because then they will get car-sick.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A MKT is not tall and does not have a high CG. Tire noise is largely determined by the tire, not the vehicle and tires are an easy change.

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        Agreed that tire noise is determined largely by the tire. But all tires produce greater-than-zero noise.

        Having the rear wheel-wells *IN* the cabin has made for greater perceived tire noise in all the hatchbacks I’ve had. My sedans, with the rear wheel wells in the trunk, have all been quieter in that department.

        Has your experience been different, Scoutdude?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well I can’t say I’ve done a real apples to apples comparison. I’ve not had modern station wagon only SUVs and CUVs which have come to me with AT tires and have been replaced with AT tires and/or winter tires. Meanwhile I don’t run AT tires on my cars. I will say that on my sedans the added noise of the winter tires coming more from the front than in the rear. But I’d also still say that the majority of the tire noise in the CUV and SUVs also comes from the front.

          For me the more noticeable added noise in a wagon/CUV/SUV is the wind noise coming from back there and what ever is in the cargo hold rattling around.

          So yes I agree a sedan is typically quieter but to me I don’t notice the tire noise as much as the other noises associated with not having a trunk.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      Actually, the MKT is basically just as quiet as the LS. I own an MKT and have ridden and drove an LS. The difference even a higher speeds (80-90MPH) is indistinguishable. MKT’s actually handle pretty well due to the variable dampers and 55 series 20 inch tires. In real world driving, the MKT feels a lot more powerful.

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        What value does Big Powah have when the car will spend most of its miles with the cruise set to 80 or 90?
        Either car can do that.

        Okay, passing and entrance ramps, but are you telling me that an LS460 doesn’t have enough passing power to get around a semi or up a ramp?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The LS has a lot of power, but the engine is surprisingly peaky for a luxobarge. It almost feels like my old Taurus SHO, with a surge of power at 4000 rpm that doesn’t stop all the way to the 6600-rpm redline (and an intoxicating sound up there).

          Acceleration numbers say the LS is just a bit quicker than the MKT, but I’d believe that the MKT feels quicker with all that low-end torque.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “It almost feels like my old Taurus SHO, with a surge of power at 4000 rpm”

            I loved when the secondary butterflies opened at 4K RPM in the phenomenal Yamaha 3.0/3.2 V6.

            One of the only V6s ever made that didn’t suck.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      Have you driven an MKT? Or is it best just to assume its as loud as an Econoline cargo van because its not a sedan?

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        Yes, I have; when I compared it to the Flex a year-and-half-ago.
        I assume nothing of the sort.

        I’m not saying there’s a huge difference; they’re both nice cars and I wouldn’t kick either of them out of bed for eating crackers. But there are differences and even small differences in noise (and isolation and comfort) can make a big difference in fatigue at the end of a multi-day family road trip.

        On the other hand, I’m not convinced that big differences in horsepower add that much to the overall experience when the primary intended use will be steady-state highway cruising.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      C&D picked the Hyundai over the L460 in 2010/2011. Which is the better deal used today?

  • avatar
    AVT

    As an owner of a used 2010 MKT Ecoboost (frost white, a little over 120,000 miles, very well maintained) who looked at LS’s for a while (and borrowed a friends for a full week just to be sure), I’m not going to make your life easy. You will miss certain characteristics about your LS. It’s steadfast reliability and ride comfort and overall isolation, its a step above an MKT. That being said, as a vacation vehicle, the MKT is worth it. The extra space is handy, and really usable with the fold flat third row. I have mine spec’d identical to what you want and it fits my needs perfectly. 4 people to the cabin and back for Christmas (gifts and luggage) and plenty of power. I will suggest downgrading the tire size however, your model has the adaptive dampers unlike mine so this may be moot. Make sure you get blind spot as visibility in the rear quarters is horrid. Get the adaptive cruise control package and RSE and you have the ultimate vacation vehicle. But this comes with a huge astrik. I ONLY suggest this if you need the extra space for the luggage or will require AWD (or whatever you can’t fit, you can tow it behind the MKT. Mine tows a 3500 pound boat just fine). Otherwise, the effort and expense are not worth it given the condition and service history of the LS. I’m not saying the MKT is a better car. I’m saying it could be a better vehicle for your circumstance. By no means mistake that as me saying the MKT is on the same level as an LS. I can’t verbally describe it, but drive the MKT for a while and you’ll understand why it’s NOT an LS. And as always, like they tell us at Philmont right before we hike up the Mountain, pack only what you need, not what you want.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I just had to toss my Philmont-branded boots because the soles finally wore through. Great memories.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Thanks for this thoughtful comment. The 2013+ all have blind spot monitoring, and the tech package (which includes adaptive cruise) is a BIG plus.

      Whether I “need” the extra space is really the central question I’m trying to figure out. The responses have given me a lot to think about, even though they haven’t given me a clear answer.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      Logged in to reply to this comment. I see someone finally said what I was thinking: “pack only what you need, not what you want.”

      Whenever my family and I go on vacation, my questions to my wife start as soon as she is packing.

      “Darling, why are you bringing that? You brought it last time and used it once. ONCE. It can stay home this time.”

      Repeat that exchange about 20 times and I can easily whittle down the luggage from 6 pieces (for a family of 3) to at most 4.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I’d keep the Lexus. Sounds like a fine car that will be more reliable than an MKT, anyway. Americans by and large tend to want bigger cars just because they’re bigger. Not because they need them. You seem like you may actually need one, but I’d make due with the car you have, if I could. It sounds like a great automobile.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      One other thing to note is your particular model years have the “upgraded” captive touch controls. On a day to day basis, they are absolutely frustratingly annoying. Comparing the LS’s ergonomics to the MKT’s, well in all honesty, the MKT doesn’t have any. Part of the reason I bought a 2010 model. Physical controls and buttons.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I don’t understand how the LS could be too small. Growing up, we had an Infiniti G20 and a Honda Civic Hatchback. We did road trips to Miami to see family and a multi week cross country family road trip from Colorado to Wyoming. We put a TV/VCR combo in between the front seats and had bags full of VHS tapes to watch. I was already in middle school and my sister was going into 5th grade. It was cramped but we managed. A Lexus LS would’ve been insanely spacious compared to that little G20.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    DAL, I feel compelled to respond as I think we share a similar profession and two closely-spaced boys. Mine are 6 and 4. They are inseparable, play together constantly, love doing things outside, and our minivan played a big role in making that happen.

    You’ll never once wish you had a smaller vehicle. I’d go with the MKT at a minimum, or if I may throw a turd in the punch bowl, consider a used import or post-2011 Chrysler van.

    Soon they’ll have bikes, power wheels, t-ball stands, and friends to take places or do things with. Yes, it is possible to put a roof rack on the LS and make their friends ride separate, but why? Tents take up a decent amount of space, and I’m too old to sleep on a Thermarest.

    In the future, who knows whether family or grandparents may relocate closer, and the ability to carry everyone isn’t something to be taken lightly. We took my inlaws on a great road trip with our boys right after he was diagnosed with cancer, something we will never forget. No minivans were available to rent from the rental counter as it was peak demand – the trip was planned and executed inside of 2 weeks.

    A larger 7-seat vehicle is a perfect enabler for father-son bonding and (mis)adventure. I just took my sons and 2 of their friends to a science museum out of town because I could (their crap filled up the back, including a decent stroller for my younger son who occasionally will use it).

    Minivans also make great metal tents if you take up a silly hobby like racing.

    Heck, you can get a used non-Ecoboost Transit from Enterprise for about the trade-in on your Lexus.

    Also, I’ll buy your Lexus today.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Dal: Get the Lincoln. Your boys are getting older, and once they’re both front facing, the game changes. We cut loose our ten year minivan a few years ago as I was done paying for repairs and took on a job where I could take the bus. My ’13 Fusion became our family vehicle. I’ve packed it to the gills with camping gear, two boys, a dog and set off on adventures. Big sedans can swallow stuff, and maybe you can pack more efficiently, but its the damn kids that make long sedan rides a crapshoot. Which is why Ms. Galvin is getting a new (to us) minivan next month.

    2nd row captain chairs put some distance between brothers that will, in the near future, do something to piss each other off. If you or Mom needs to get to them, its easy to get into the back without opening doors. One kid can sit in the third row. All that glass and upright seating? Yeah, that has a calming effect on kids.

    The Lincoln is going to be a great family hauler – you drive a bit differently with the family on board, see more, and your passengers get more out of it. And maybe you don’t lose your mind in the process. Its tough to let go of an immaculate luxury cruiser, but its for the right reasons. Why not drive into Arizona and pick one up and take a trek back through the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and go full Griswold? Best of luck!

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I would personally keep the LS and pack lighter.

    That said, it sounds like packing up the whole damn kitchen (even the sink? harharhar) works for Dal and his family. Packing everything for every trip would drive me crazy, but if they don’t mind and think being able to cook and eat the food they are used to is worth the hassle, then I guess it is time to get a more flexible vehicle.

    The road trips are the primary purpose for the LS. If it also served as a long-distance commuter it would be harder to drop it just to take more stuff on road trips. If the whole point of the vehicle is for the road trips, you might as well have something that requires the fewest road trip compromises.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      We actually cook better on road trips, because we have more time, both of us can usually participate, and sometimes we have a family audience. And my wife has turned herself into quite the chef. It’s very worth packing pots/pans/knives/bowls/small appliances/gadgets.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Carmax will mail you a ’14 MKT Ecoboost with Adaptive Cruise(!!!) and 14,000 miles for $31k.

    http://www.carmax.com/car/13229715

    It is so easy to deal with them if you’re getting a decent price on trade-in and new car (can be a bit of an ‘if’).

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      No captain’s chairs on that one, unfortunately. If I average out all the low-mile facelift MKTs on the market (all 160 or so across the country) it seems like the captain’s chairs carry about a $2k premium and result in faster sale. But they’re key to easy third row access and therefore to the car’s utility.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        I would respectfully and slightly disagree. In my Captain-seat equipped Caravan, I end up putting the car seats in the 3rd row if adults will be traveling, as there’s no way am elderly person will squeeze through the gap (probably even smaller in an MKT).

        With the car seats in the ‘way back’, you just pop the lever, fold down the 2nd row, install kids, then install kids.

        The Chrysler seats have a ‘tailgate’ mode that rotates the seat on the rear peg, allowing it to face backwards with the tailgate open. Car seats mount to the seat itself through LATCH and tether anchors, so I’ve also flipped the rear seat backwards, installed kid in seat, and flipped kid forward (making sure to test both seat and belt tightness). Everyone had a great time.

        For other kids, you can squeeze 2 seats together in the middle (not optimal for long trips, but totally doable) and get an adult-size pathway to the 3rd row, which you’ll need to make sure kids are properly strapped in.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          This is interesting. I hadn’t thought of trying to squeeze both car seats into the 60 section of the 60/40 rear bench in a non-captain’s MKT. If that is actually possible in a safe manner, I can see real advantages to it. Too bad I don’t have more examples locally on which to try it out.

          • 0 avatar
            AVT

            Note that on the models with captain seats, the second row seats are power tumble. Third row is optional power fold with that cool tailgate mode as well. Also, consider how much longer the kids will need the boosters in relation to how long you want to keep the vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick 2012

            Putting seats next to each other is called ‘puzzling’ in the car-seat.org world. With the proper seats, it is safe and very possible. Obviously, narrower seats like Diono Radians work best for this.

            We often wish our van had a center bench FWIW, if only because Mom could sit back there between the boys on a longer trip.

            We puzzle a booster for the 6 year old in the passenger outboard and a Diono Radian RXT in the middle position of the second row in Grandma’s 2016 Pilot.

            It works great because she can easily remove the booster if she needs to haul 2-3 adults without unstrapping anything and retains access to the 3rd row if she’s taking more than 3 other people.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    Go for the MKT if you are not interested in GL or E-Class wagon.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    Lincoln. The 100+ comments above have already given my reasons, now you know my vote. :)

  • avatar
    Daverino

    – I can’t imagine that a full sized sedan with as big a trunk as the LS460 is not enough room for two adults and two healthy kids on vacation. But then I suppose there are many things that I am wrong about in the world.

    – Used Lincolns are traditionally great used car buys, as the depreciation is steep, the models long lived (works out the kinks), and the platform sharing with Ford means that service is easy to find on the road.

    – I have looked online and do not see the prices less on MKTs compared to Ford Flexes. There is the usual price break between the two, with the MKT being just a few thousand more expensive. You are still paying a premium for luxury in this scenario, but the small difference would make it worth it in my mind.

    – If you like the LS460, but simply need more cargo room; why not try a small trailer? We do not typically think of cars towing trailers in North America, but they do it all the time in Europe. And if any car has the drive-train to tow a small trailer it is the LS460. Look around online, I bet you can install it yourself in an hour or two, and be able to carry a literal ton of stuff with it.

    – Buying a trailer and its accessories would be far less expensive than taking the big hits in depreciation that you are setting yourself up for.

    – The LS460 is the type of car that one buys because they know the benefits of keeping a car for a long time and taking care of it. Your research and fixing of the suspension weaknesses in this particular car point in this direction as well. This is not the type of car that we usually see thrown away on a whim. To my mind this is like throwing away a pair of hand made boots because they need resoling. But that is just some idiots opinion in the internet.

    – If want more cargo capacity, AWD, possible towing capacity, but still like your LS460; then try a Lexus GX460. They can be found in your price range (of the MKTs you are looking at anyway). And have the same reputation for refinement and reliability as your LS. In fact they share the 4.6 V8 with minor modifications.

    – With the amount of money being lost in these potential transactions. Then renting from an agency or Turo begins to really make sense.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The LS is not rated for towing, mostly because of the way the underbody fairings are put together. You have to do a lot of invasive surgery to mount a hitch. Some owners have, and there’s nothing mechanically about the car that would keep it from towing 3000 pounds or so, but it’s quite the hack job and I don’t think I could bring myself to do it to my beautiful car.

  • avatar
    frankev

    dal: If I recall correctly, you’re​ in a more urban part of Seattle, but I was wondering about your parking situation–is it possible to have a third car? That way you can keep both the Ford and the Lexus and still add the Lincoln to the fleet. I think the LS you presently have will become increasingly difficult to replace (in terms of its configuration and condition) as the years progress–it’s a keeper in my view.

    In light of all the discussion, I’ve enjoyed having a larger vehicle for long road trips: our 2011 Kia Sedona has been a comfortable hauler for our family of five and we also had a Chevy Astro in the past. We’ve done two cross-country trips originating in Chicago using two different Camrys (1994 wagon to DC and Maine in a sort of triangle, 2005 sedan to LA and back), but the vans were more comfortable by far.

    Such excursions build great memories: we’ve been to all 48 contiguous states (I kept track via a spreadsheet) and even while my kids are much older now (17, 19, and 21 this year), this summer we will start chipping away at the Canadian provinces and territories, beginning with Ontario and Quebec. Admittedly, I’m not sure how or when we’ll drive to Nunavut. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I have space to park three cars, but don’t really want to spend the money to have three cars. (Well, really four cars, counting my Acura Legend that lives in a different part of the city.)

      • 0 avatar
        Stevo

        Dal,
        I will give you a great deal on a ’12 R350D. Super low miles. I am near you (B’vue). Keep the LS, drive the R on road trips (which is it’s only happy place). My other comment is that the car seats turn forward and get smaller far faster than you imagine.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Diesel is out — even modern diesels emit too many particulates to mess with in our situation. But you made me do a bit of research into the gas R-Class (post-facelift 2011-12 versions). It is not compelling compared to a MKT, although it’s vastly prettier outside. It’s heavier, slightly smaller inside, no cheaper for similar age/mileage, has a significantly worse reliability record, gets worse mileage despite having much less power, and isn’t as well-equipped even when fully loaded (which is hard to find, with only one such example currently for sale in the country).

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    MkT is the right answer. Embrace the awesomeness of a C-Max-MkT household. We use our two vehicles exactly how you are planning. The C-Max is a tremendous urban vehicle while the MkT devours highway miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I agree with your thinking. Around town it’s always the Volt. Anytime I leave town for the weekend w/3 kids, towing or not, we are in the Tahoe. Even if we can do it in the Volt, we’re still gonna be in the Tahoe. Even if the Volt was Camry/Accord size, we’d still be in the Tahoe.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “So I have to add shipping and the extra $1,500 or so in tax that results from not being able to trade the LS at a Washington dealer (which would allow me to pay sales tax only on the difference).”

    This is simple: find the one you want on Autotrader, and find a local dealer–could be an individual with his dealer’s license–who will sell it to you.

    You pay the transportation and $500 for his troubles, and he processes the paperwork.

    Just do the math and see what that looks like compared to paying the entire tax bill because of not doing it through a local dealer.

    There’s a guy locally who will help you find any car you want at auction, anywhere, and who will sell it to you. He has a flat fee for doing this. And he is a licensed dealer. He even has a small used car dealership. But he makes good money finding cars for people and for playing bad cop to the auction house should the car come in and you find the auction house has misrepresented it.

  • avatar
    facelvega

    Since Dal is actually reading this, I’ll chime in, old though the thread is by now. I now have one kid (rear-facing), two dogs, a long-legged wife, the need to take long road trips regularly, and we’re considering a second kid now. Even with just the one, our manual E91 is laughably tight, and we don’t even bring a stroller. I completely understand that the LS460 is too small, and I lived in Europe for years and mostly buy small cars.

    So, with a second kid maybe on the horizon, the wife and I went to look at our options. We don’t look down on minivans, but we don’t like the ones that are for sale now. The new V90 and E-class wagon, though stylistically great, are just not sufficiently larger to be worth it. The big luxury crossovers all seem kind of tasteless and overpriced in person, except the new XC90 (Ingenlath is killing it lately), which has reliability concerns. I’ve tested many of the leading non-luxe crossovers, and they all felt sad to me and awful to drive.

    So, I was arriving at the same solution as you: the MKT is not boring, the interior is surprisingly good, and I for one love how the weird art deco styling is off-putting to most people. Obviously convincing my wife that the baleen whale was a good idea was going to be tough, but maybe doable.

    BUT, then we test drove the new CX-9 signature. It’s what we’ll get. The interior is almost as good as the Lincoln’s, it drives better, and it just feels like a wonderful, substantial car inside and out. We saw a sub-5k mile trade-in with a cpo warranty for $38k asking. Yes, yes, it’s just a small-displacement turbo, but it feels great. That said, I may just keep the BMW for a beater.

  • avatar

    We took a four year old, eight year old, and twelve year old for an extended camping trip in the Upper Peninsula, with all our camping gear in a two door Chrysler K car.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    The fact that you pretty much use the LS exclusively for family road trips is a good reason to dump it and go for the MKT. Personally I like the way they look. The MKT is a heads and tails much better vehicle in that scenario than the LS or any luxury sedan could ever hope to be. Go for room, go for comfort. I suspect if you go that route you’ll never regret doing it.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    @Dal

    “The LS is worth about $15,000 on trade, or maybe $18,000 on private party sale given that it has a bunch of rare options.”

    This seems low, annihilated these pull 8. Extra clean attorney driven? At least 18 to the proles, where else are they gonna find anything close and for how much? You can’t find a junior partner (or corporate bankster) somewhere which isn’t looking to step into an Of Counsel grade ride on the relative cheap? I know space is an issue for you but I wouldn’t just dump that cherry LS to just anyone (I’d also like to know if the LWB could still fit your needs just for S&G)

    MY08 Lex LS460 SWB

    03/09/17 Manheim Southern California Regular $18,400 59,733 Above Black 8G A Yes
    03/15/17 Manheim Fort Myers Regular $15,200 62,041 Above Gray 8G A Yes
    03/16/17 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $15,000 78,076 Above Blue 8G A Yes
    03/15/17 Manheim Seattle Regular $14,500 78,375 Avg Blue 8G A Yes
    03/15/17 Manheim Dallas Regular $15,300 84,637 Above Blue 8G A Yes
    02/22/17 Manheim New Jersey Lease $12,600 84,749 Avg Silver 8G A Yes
    03/14/17 Manheim Orlando Regular $13,800 85,248 Avg White 8G A Yes
    03/10/17 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $15,800 96,545 Above Red 8G A Yes
    03/16/17 Manheim Atlanta Regular $13,900 99,442 Avg Burgundy 8G A Yes
    03/17/17 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $14,000 101,931 Avg Black 8G A Yes
    03/16/17 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $12,800 108,388 Avg Silver 8G A Yes
    03/09/17 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $10,500 108,565 Avg Black 8G A Yes
    03/07/17 Manheim Jacksonville Regular $15,650 109,918 Above Black 8CY A No
    02/22/17 Manheim Lakeland Regular $13,100 112,476 Avg Green 8G A Yes
    03/02/17 Manheim Atlanta Regular $12,000 112,974 Avg Silver 8G A Yes
    03/09/17 Manheim Texas Hobby Regular $11,250 114,165 Avg White 8G A Yes
    02/22/17 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $11,500 117,612 Avg White 8G A Yes
    03/10/17 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Regular $11,500 120,276 Avg Burgundy 8G A Yes
    03/06/17 Manheim North Carolina Regular $12,400 121,408 Avg Black 8G A Yes
    03/15/17 Manheim California Regular $10,250 129,076 Avg Blue 8G A Yes
    03/01/17 Manheim San Francisco Bay Regular $12,300 133,445 Avg Gray 8G A Yes
    02/23/17 Manheim Palm Beach Regular $10,900 135,209 Avg Black 8G A Yes
    03/15/17 Manheim California Regular $11,750 140,510 Avg Black 8G A Yes
    03/16/17 Manheim Atlanta Lease $8,000 152,280 Below Silver 8G A Yes
    02/22/17 Manheim San Francisco Bay Lease $9,000 154,648 Below Black 8G A Yes
    02/21/17 Manheim Atlanta Regular $9,000 155,191 Below Silver 8G A Yes
    02/28/17 Manheim Denver Regular $8,500 156,197 Below White 8G A Yes
    02/28/17 Manheim Statesville Lease $8,400 166,014 Below Black 8G A Yes
    02/27/17 Manheim North Carolina Lease $8,300 170,658 Below Black 8G A Yes
    02/21/17 Manheim Atlanta Regular $8,200 198,160 Below Black 8G A Yes

    Bball, er Adam, did well by his MKFlex. I mean, ODB Achieves right? I would ask to talk to his Detroit dealer or take Jack’s advice and head south to make a road trip out of the acquisition. Hit up FlyBrian’s shop in Tampa as he can find a clean one: http://motorsportsflorida.com/

    Make sure to clean the PTU and just don’t ask about the water pump.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Interesting. That could be why the Nissan dealer from which I got an (unsatisfactory) quote for sh!ts and giggles keeps calling me back even after I told him in no uncertain terms that his offer was too low. I expect my car is nicer than literally every car on that list.

      The worst strike against it is the chromed 18s, which are in good but not perfect condition (no road rash, but some minor pitting near the hubs). Everything else is pretty much perfect, and it has Comfort+, Mark Levinson, and all other available options except the very rare adaptive cruise.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Precisely my point. Hell the Nissan dealer principle may have wanted yours for himself, who knows.

        Start exploring LS4xx forums and shop it around your industry/city if your decision is to part with it. You never trade something cherry, esp to the new car dealer. I have no doubt you will find an LS lover or someone willing to step up to one.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        The dealership I go to sources inventory from all over the country. They sell more CPO Lincolns than anyone. Not surprisingly, the two largest Lincoln dealers in the country are within 10 miles of each other in Detroit’s Western suburbs.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I thought you had mentioned as such, but of course there’s always Florida car lots.

          No, I am not a shill for FB :D

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            My particular vehicle was a Ford executive lease. They seem to have a number of those. There are also a lot of Lincolns from Detroit area snowbirds. They CarFaxes are always funny because half the service is done in the Detroit, and the other half in Tampa, Boca, or Orlando.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Thank you Jack for running this and everyone else for all of your interesting and helpful responses.

    When I tally comments that express a clear opinion or have reasoning that leads me to a clear conclusion, I get a pretty evenly divided B&B with a narrow edge toward keeping the LS – LS 17, MKT 15.

    I’ll keep you all posted on what I decide…

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    Putting car seats into SUV/CUVs are a PITA compared to a Minivan. I mean, if I’m going to go get a vehicle to be a road trip queen and I need space and comfort, the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna aren’t bad places to be.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    A first-gen Ford SuperCab with the inward-facing jump seats (not the 3-person bench seat in my avatar) is the best vehicle for young children on road trips. Cooler between the seats is their card table for four hours of Old Maid and Go Fish. Not the safest vehicle by any means. But the best. Trust me, I’m a doctor.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I may suggest this to my wife just to see the expression on her face.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I thought they were only an option on the ’74-79 models, and maybe some early ’80-86s. To my pleasant surprise, jump seats were available all the way through the 1996 OBS models. How could she say no to this?
        https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.ford-trucks.com-vbulletin/2000×1504/80-img_20160703_073533097_77cee4612a39af5a89bf3dc72cb75f41a94cf803.jpg

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    More Drivel from the Drivel King. Blah, Blah, Blah…!

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