2018 MKT New Car Test Drive
Despite its capability for passenger-hauling, the Lincoln MKT three-row crossover SUV hasn't made much of an impact since its 2010 debut. Limousine services like it, but retail customers tend to turn away.
While excelling in comfort and utility, the MKT falls well short in eye-appeal. Few regard it as attractive, while many might call in ungainly, if not downright ugly.
Nothing of consequence has changed for the 2018 model year, except for some new colors and newly named trim levels. In fact, the MKT has seen minimal change through its lifetime.
Almost reminiscent of the barge-like Lincolns of the distant past, the MKT is actually an offshoot of the boxy, far more popular Ford Flex, wearing its own sheetmetal.
Two trim levels are offered: Premier and Reserve. Beneath Premier hoods, a standard 3.7-liter V6 develops 303 horsepower. The Reserve edition gets a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 that generates 365 horsepower. Both versions use a 6-speed automatic transmission. Premier models come only with front-wheel drive, while the twin-turbo engine mates with standard all-wheel drive.
Infotainment is top-notch, making good use of Ford's intuitive Sync 3 system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Advanced safety technology is one area in which the MKT falls short. Only the Reserve edition can be equipped with such technology as collision warning, lane-keeping, and adaptive cruise control. Rather than standard, those items are offered in a $2,000 optional Technology package, which also included active park assist. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is standard in the Reserve model. Automatic emergency braking is not available at all, though it's offered on many other 2018 vehicles.
Six airbags and a rearview camera are standard on each MKT. Inflatable rear seatbelts are optional. Unfortunately, those belts are uncomfortably bulky, as well as incompatible with some child car seats.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency of the federal government, has not crash-tested an MKT. In its crash-test program, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MKT a Good score for the moderate front overlap collision, and for several other factors; but that agency has not subjected an MKT to the more challenging small-overlap test. In addition, MKT headlights were deemed Marginal.
MKT Premiere ($43,530) comes with the 3.7-liter V6, front-wheel drive, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, HID headlights, a power liftgate, Sync 3 infotainment, and remote start. Heated and cooled front seats also are standard. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
MKT Reserve ($49,025) upgrades to a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with all-wheel drive. Standard features also include an adaptive suspension, heated steering wheel, navigation, THX II-certified audio system, power-folding third-row seats, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Heated/cooled second-row bucket seats are available.