2013 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost Review
Lincoln's definition of luxury is very broad in the revised MKT.
December 11, 2012
By: Nick Saporito
Luxury wears a dynamic definition. Every individual and marque has a different meaning for the word and attempts to apply it to their brand in an novel way. Lately Lincoln has been seeking to give their spin on the meaning of luxury by re-launching the brand with the all-new MKZ. While the new MKZ is getting all of the attention of the new Lincoln Motor Company, the brand has a couple other new products, including the 2013 MKT crossover, that are helping give Lincoln a new meaning.
The MKT launched in 2010 as the curvy cousin to the shoebox-like Ford Flex. The media generally praised both large crossovers, but sales have consistently been muted due to polarizing exterior designs and high price points. For 2013 both crossovers received a do-over of minor design alterations and additional features, with the MKT receiving a few extra goodies as part of Lincoln’s revitalization.
One approach to luxury is design centric. Having a standout design or heritage infused look are common amongst luxury cars in today’s market. For 2013 the MKT’s front clip was actually toned down a bit. The massive gull-wing grille has been replaced by a smaller version with a finer pattern filling its bounds. Aside from the new grille and new wheel designs, not much else has changed. Left are some heritage cues, however, such as the reverse kick-up in the belt-line; a trait borrowed from the iconic 1961 Continental.
Whether or not you like the MKT exterior design is entirely up to each individual, but it is hard to dispute that it stands out. The MKT looks like nothing else on the market, particularly the crowded crossover market where everything has the same general shape. The tall wagon look of this Lincoln may be a point of discussion, but that’s arguably a good thing for a brand trying to get noticed again. Changes on the outside of the 2013 model may be minimal, but the toned down grille goes a long way at giving the vehicle a classier appearance, particularly in dark colors.
Exterior vanity aside, its often said that what matters most is on the inside, and MKT is much less polarizing in that regard. The overall look and form of the MKT interior has remained unchanged for 2013, but important hard points of this cabin have been altered or upgraded.
Following the theme of the MKX and other Ford products, the MKT is devoid of any physical buttons on the center stack. Instead a single piece of metallic plastic houses many capacitive touch buttons, including two finger slides for volume and fan speed controls. From a pure aesthetic point of view, the updated stack is more attractive. The black plastic buttons that filled the center stack of the first MKT are gone, and in their place is a seamless clean surface. The function of this change is where the debate is, but more on that in a bit.
The trend of simplifying the visual of the interior continued by changing out the analog gauge cluster with Ford’s MyLincoln Touch gauges, which encompass two 4.2-inch LCD panels flanking an analog speedometer. In front of the new gauge cluster rests a new Lincoln-specific steering wheel with lots of buttons. The new wheel design is a vast improvement over the previous, though the sea of buttons may intimidate some drivers. Rounding out the noticeable interior changes is the addition of Ford’s new global switchgear, which features chrome accents and is a bit more ergonomic than the outgoing gear.
Lincoln has also slipped in a few not-so-noticeable changes inside the revised MKT, including updated seats. To the naked eye the seat design is the same as the last MKT, but engineers have added more side bolsters to the front buckets, as well as a much-needed center armrest to the second row bench seat. Engineers have also isolated interior noise a bit further thanks to additional insulation in the A-pillars. Both additions make the already comfortable MKT, even more so.
From day one the biggest problem with the MKT interior is one that remains unchanged. Thanks to the MKT’s slopping rear roofline, third row passengers have very limited headroom and legroom isn’t much better. There is little question that the third row is exclusive for children or small adults for short trips.