Lincoln MKS Review

Lincoln MKS Review

Lincoln hasn't always kept up with the competition in the luxury sedan segment. As rivals evolved with more modern styling, better handing and the latest technology, Lincoln lagged behind, struggling to break free of its antiquated image. The Lincoln MKS is an attempt to gain back some territory. Roomy and comfortable, the MKS boasts available all-wheel drive and a bevy of standard and optional features.

Mechanically, it's related to the latest-generation Ford Taurus, meaning it shares that car's general underpinnings and powertrain. This relationship, however, has limited the MKS's appeal. For the first few years in particular, its driving dynamics and interior appointments made the MKS seem more like a gussied-up Ford than a true luxury sedan. A major overhaul for 2013 has improved the MKS considerably, though. As a used model, the MKS remains a tough sell compared to other midsize luxury sedans, but it might be worth a look for shoppers keen on a large American luxury sedan.

Current Lincoln MKS
The Lincoln MKS received significant updates for 2013, including engine upgrades, suspension enhancements, additional equipment, more luxurious cabin appointments and revised styling inside and out.

There are three trim levels tied to drivetrain choice. FWD and AWD trims come with a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The EcoBoost trim comes with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that sends 365 hp to all four wheels. Its fuel economy is actually only slightly less than that of the base engine.

Expected luxury features like leather upholstery are standard on both, but Lincoln ups the ante by including items that are usually options, like an adaptive suspension, heated and ventilated seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and even mobile WiFi capability. Options include a rearview camera, heated rear seats, a lane-departure warning system, an automatic parallel-parking system and a 16-speaker stereo.

The MKS also features the MyLincoln Touch system, which was widely criticized in its early iterations for usability, speed and reliability issues. The current version has been greatly improved, although there's still a learning curve involved. Either way, this new technology creates a clean, futuristic look inside the spacious, well-constructed cabin. Few cars in its class can match the amount of passenger space in the MKS, including its 18.4-cubic-foot trunk.

Used Lincoln MKS Models
The Lincoln MKS debuted for the 2009 model year, and models produced between then and 2012 differ from the current model. The styling is less distinctive, the quality of interior materials and construction is lower and there were fewer features available. Not only were the engines less powerful, but it lacked the current car's adaptive suspension. Without it, the ride was surprisingly stiff and the handling not especially good either. The steering was also needlessly heavy. On the upside, some may find the interior controls easier to use than those in the current car.

The MKS was initially only available with a standard 273-hp 3.7-liter V6, while the 355-hp turbocharged V6 (EcoBoost) arrived the following year. As with today, base MKS models could be front-wheel or all-wheel drive, while those with the turbocharged engine are all-wheel drive only.

In reviews, we found some problems with these early MKS models, many of which were corrected with the midcycle changes for 2013. Besides some of the issues alluded to above, we found the base engine to deliver lackluster acceleration and the entire car to have little advantage over a loaded Ford Taurus. Thanks to its 355 hp and broad torque band, the turbocharged Lincoln MKS EcoBoost was more appealing.