As part of a thorough rebranding effort, Ford Motor Co. recently announced a name-change for their hurting luxury-division. Now called the Lincoln Motor Co., the automaker aims to get back to its roots, producing upscale models with obvious yet attractive differences when compared to lower-priced platform-mates from Ford. With models like the Lincoln MKT, they are well on their way.
While sharing a unibody platform with the Ford Flex and Explorer, the MKT wears a unique body-style that accomplishes Lincoln’s goal of standing out from its’ blue-oval cousins. Though not a new model (it was first introduced as a 2010), Lincoln’s SUV/crossover has been refreshed inside and out for 2013. Most notably (and improved), is the refined front grille that fits the nose of the MKT more elegantly than in years past. The drivetrain in the pricier of two available trims remains unchanged, featuring all-wheel drive and a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 providing 365 hp.
However, the front-wheel drive base model is now more powerful with 35 extra horses than last year, pushing the standard 3.7L V6 up to 303 hp. In addition, a list of technology upgrades are offered for 2013 like a new version of the MyLincoln Touch infotainment system and lane-keeping assist for enhanced safety. As already seen on other Lincoln/Ford models, inflatable safety belts are available for the second-row to keep latches from annoyingly slipping behind the seat-cushion. With this option, when either of the rear side-doors is opened, a bag in the outboard seat on that same side will inflate, causing the latch to slowly protrude from the seat-cushion for convenient access.
No matter the name, the Lincoln Motor Co. and 2013 MKT face strong competition within the young but important luxury midsize SUV/crossover segment. Acura's MDX shares many characteristics with the Lincoln MKT including powerful engines, lively handling, and small third-rows. Both the MDX and MKT offer nice value, yet the Acura’s sheet metal does not cause the instant hate-it-or-love-it sensation like that of the Lincoln. For buyers needing to fit adults in the third-row, the Mercedes-Benz M-class offers plenty of space but asks a higher price. Technology-buffs will be at home inside the INFINITI JX, unlike lead-foots, who may feel held back.
Like the man the automaker was named after, Lincoln Motor Co. has decided they must be honest if they want to stay relevant in the industry. After years of selling what seemed to only be higher-priced, rebadged Fords, a Lincoln is once again a Lincoln, and the MKT is proof.