October 15, 2009

MKT Rsch


Dadblogger/car guy Dave Thomas is reviewing the new Lincoln MKT for Cars.com and is looking for the dad's eye view of the thing. The MKT is a three-row, SUV-sized not-a-van/not-a-wagon that shares a platform--and a second-row fridge option--with the Ford Flex and the Mazda CX-9 [or not, see comments. -ed.]. Me, I'd put it in between those two in terms of looks.

That grille reminds me a bit of a marauding baleen whale out for revenge--which is good--and a Pontiac Vibe at SEMA--which is not. The truest thing I can say about these rigs, though, is that I like the Mercedes R-Class much better, and that's saying very little.

Dads, Would You Drive a Lincoln MKT? [dadtherapy.com]

Disclosure: I'm sure they regret it, but Ford's publicists once dropped off a Flex for me to drive one weekend.


To answer the question, "yes." But would I buy one? No. Lincoln has done a decent job making this car their own but it is a Ford Flex in all the ways that count and you're paying a hefty premium for a Lincoln badge which stopped being a selling point long ago. The styling is slightly better but that's subjective and it seems like interior space has been compromised vs. the Flex. It doesn't even seem like it offers any meaningful features/content that can't be had with the Flex. This is a step in the right direction away from "badge engineering" but it still isn't all the way there. Toyota and Honda are the masters of "platform sharing" where cars are related but still unique. (The Camry becomes the Highlander, the Venza, the Lexus ES350, the Lexus RX350. The Accord becomes the Pilot, the Ridgeline, the Crosstour, the Acura MDX, the Acura ZDX. Not all of these cars are successful but they are more differentiated than the Flex/MKT.)

Also, I may be wrong but I think the MKT and Flex are related to the Taurus, MKS and a host of Volvo products. The CX-9 is on a different platform related to the Mazda6, Fusion, Edge and others.

So looking back on my first point I guess Ford is doing a good job of platform sharing overall. Making a single platform work on a Volvo S80, Volvo XC90, Ford Taurus and Ford Flex is commendable and makes sense. But making a Flex and an MKT doesn't do it for me. They're just too similar. (Of course this could take off like the original Navigator and I will pretend I never said anything.)

Personally, I'd go for the Flex over the MKT, because I prefer the Flex's styling. Both of these vehicles are way too big for me (the kid goes into a Mini Cooper now), but if I ever had a couple of more kids I'd certainly grab a twin-turbo Flex over a Honda Odyssey, which seems to be the default choice for parents around here.

The 3.5L twin-turbo engine has enough cojones to make even something as big as the Flex interesting, and it just might be enough power to make me forget I wasn't shifting gears on my own.

And seth is right--the Flex/MKT are based on Volvo architecture, like the Taurus and MKS. The CX-9 is a cousin to the Edge.

I don't like the marauding baleen whale look (though I do love the idea) but more importantly I don't like how Lincoln has boosted all the good music in their ads and ruined it for me.

The other problem with the MKT, Flex and everything else in that category is size (again with the whales!) and fuel gluttony. It's why I don't have an SUV, thing-that-pretends-not-to-be-an-SUV, or a van. I'm still holding out for a hybrid clean diesel Jetta-esque wagon with 3rd row seating and self-cleaning floor mats.

Um. But I'm not a dad. So nevermind.

i don't really like the look of it.


No. I prefer vehicles which DON'T look as if they wallow about in muddy ponds (it looks like a smiling hippo to me).

I'm also not a fan of the 'ginormous vehicle' school of thought. If I need a transport larger than my Subaru Outback Sport I'll probably move up into a Honda Element, or Subaru Forester, even though I'd love a tiny little Nissan Cube.

I also tend not to like the interior styling and feel of American vehicles. It seems that luxury = 'feels like I'm sitting on a comfy sofa' to Americans. I like a rock-hard, well bolstered sport seat, and it's unbelievably difficult to find that in any American car, ESPECIALLY luxury vehicles.

The gas mileage would be a deal breaker for me as well. 18mpg average is not cool.

Thanks for the post. Great feedback.
In my 5 days with it (commute 50 miles a day) and no weekend or kid errands yet, there are a few differences with the flex.
This handles better IMHO.
It has a much nicer interior.
Many more features. You're paying about a $7000 premium for the Lincoln. But you get stuff like the 8 inch LCD screen and stereo system included (not navi) heated and cooled leather seats etc.

I'd say you're paying about half the markup for the looks, half for the content.

It is 207!!! inches long. The Flex is 201 inches long. A Honda Odyssey is 202 inches long.

But with the Ecoboost the thing really moves and it gets around my downtown parking garage pretty easily.

at 16/22 mpg it gets similar mileage with AWD and a 355 hp turbo as a V-6 odyssey 16/23 mpg.

To answer the other questions this and the flex are based on the Volvo platform that houses the S80, and new Ford Taurus. It is a great platform though so nothing to be ashamed of. CX-9 was so overhauled it doesn't really fall under that category anymore. Although I like the CX-9 too.

The real drawback is the headroom of the 3rd row, length (if you have a smaller garage) and oh yeah, price. But it starts at $44 and the Lincoln Navigator starts at $53 with similar suburban utility. I think it may win over BMW/Mercedes owners who don't want to drop $60K on a 2 row SUV before adding options when this is loaded at $53 w/a great engine.

Could also win over baby boomer golfers. But it's a niche vehicle I think overall.

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