2010 MKS New Car Test Drive
We were moderately impressed with the Lincoln MKS when it debuted in 2009. It had traditional Lincoln presence and advanced cyber-connectivity, which we liked, but as an over-the-road automobile, we found it merely competent.
For 2010, however, MKS has smelled the coffee, and the result is bracing. As before, the car remains commodious and dignified, providing comfortable seating for five and offering, for those who choose it, the original mildly interesting 2009 drivetrain. But for those who want more, a lot more, the 2010 MKS provides a brilliant new engine package and a range of canny under-the-skin additions that transform this car into a serious performer in the luxury sedan segment.
Chief among the 2010 additions is Ford's all-new EcoBoost engine. Combined with an enlivened suspension and a goodly list of new standard conveniences, this engine makes the latest MKS vastly more than just competent. Press down the accelerator of the EcoBoost V6 and it races ahead with V8-like forcefulness, while still delivering efficient V6 fuel mileage. In fact, the new engine, at 355 horsepower, provides a massive 82 more horsepower than the older engine, yet it actually delivers better fuel mileage, at 17/25 mpg EPA City/Highway. The twin-turbocharged Ecoboost also provides a massive 350 pound-feet of torque, giving the new MKS plenty of thrust from any speed. Both engines deliver their power through a smooth, first-rate six-speed automatic transmission.
Combine this new power with the brilliantly retuned new suspension, and the 2010 MKS will devour twisting country roads with a poise and enthusiasm sorely lacking in the 2009 model. The result is a vigorous, big luxury car with a sporting heart. It delivers accurate, lively road feel that keeps the driver alert and thoroughly engaged. This improvement in handling is anything but frivolous. For buyers who have no interest in performance driving, keep in mind that the agility and control necessary in emergency collision avoidance is identical to firm controllability exhibited by a fine performance sedan. And for buyers who enjoy vigorous driving, the 2010 MKS leaves Lincoln-sedan dullness light years behind.
In other respects, the 2010 MKS continues to deliver the dignity and clout consistent with the Lincoln brand. Its muscular, long body is trimmed with chrome highlights, giving it the flash of a thoroughbred American. And the interior's class-leading roominess in the rear compartment seconds the motion. Its styling and materials, typified by elegant standard-equipment leather upholstery, confirm that this is an automobile for those accustomed to fine surroundings.
Also high on the list of MKS attractions are its advanced technology and comprehensive connectivity. Sure to appeal to younger Lincoln buyers, the MKS offers real-time, real-world onboard communications. Time is the ultimate luxury, and the MKS electronics can save goodly amounts of this precious commodity. Following on Ford's successful Sync voice-activated audio systems, the MKS goes one long step further. Its Next-Generation Navigation System with Sirius Travel Link allows the switched-on owner to control vast audio programming resources, follow threatening regional weather patterns in real time, pinpoint and avoid traffic jams ahead, keep up on the latest sports scores and find movie listings and show times.
We found the big MKS eight-inch display excellent and its systems easy to operate, which can't be said for some much more expensive German luxury cars. Personal CD photos can be loaded on the in-dash monitor. Local gas stations can be searched, arranged by nearness or price per gallon. During our time in the car, we followed the progress of a violent storm on an in-dash Doppler radar monitor, and pressing a couple of buttons displayed the five-day forecast. The system will play DVD movies with rich surround sound, and the touch-screen monitor takes running your iPod to new levels. Its voice-command system indicates this technology has moved beyond the gimmick stage.
The 2010 Lincoln MKS is available with front-wheel drive ($40,870) all-wheel drive ($42,760) and EcoBoost all-wheel drive ($47,760).
The Navigation Package ($2500) adds voice-activated DVD navigation system with integrated Sirius Travel Link, THX II with 5.1 premium surround-sound audio and MP3 capability, and a rearview camera. The Ultimate Package for the MKS ($7,000) and MKS EcoBoost ($3,500) includes the Navigation Package, dual-panel moonroof, 19-inch premium painted wheels, adaptive headlamps with auto high beam, rain-sensing wipers, forward-sensing parking aid, rear-window power sunshade, intelligent access with push-button start, seating trim with seat color-keyed suede strip in the center of the seatbacks and an embroidered Lincoln Star logo on the front headrests.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags plus seat-mounted side airbags for head and torso protection, as well as safety-belt pretensioners and load-limiting retractors. The Occupant Classification System's sensor automatically determines by weight whether the front passenger seat is empty, occupied by a child seat or by a small, medium or large occupant, and deploys the airbag accordingly. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, standard. Optional safety features include all-wheel drive and a rearview camera that can help spot a child behind the car when backing up.