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Monday, June 09, 2008

I Sample The Lincoln MKS

Today my local Lincoln dealer had a reception to show off the 2009 MKS. For some reason, they sent me an invitation, even though I am not a Lincoln customer (though I did fill out a survey on the web once...) It was a modestly upscale affair, with a live jazz band, real plates, and lots of good quality refreshments.

They were showing off two pre-production samples, a dark red car with a charcoal interior and a light blue car with a tan interior. I sat in them pushed buttons, twisted knobs, and munched.

(I didn't bring a camera, so the photos are stolen from Edmunds)

Stuff I liked:
  • Exterior styling is much better than any large car Lincoln has sold in a long time. The last large Lincoln sedan I liked was the poor selling LS, and before that, the Mark VII (but that was a coupe).
  • The interior is sharp, with a good balance between style and ergonomics. The leather-like material (maybe it is real?) covering the dash is soft and has a pronounced grain. The wood grain and chrome look trim is tasteful and restrained, not too much of it.
  • The middle front arm rest is split, and the driver and passenger can adjust their two halves independently. Silly but neat.
  • Rear seats are heated and cooled.
  • The UI on the nav touch screen is sharply designed, with a black/blue color scheme, much better looking than the square grey "Windows 2000" look of the previous generation Ford nav systems.
  • There is lots of room in the 2nd row, and I was easily able to sit behind the driver seat adjusted to my size, which is demanding because I am taller than average.
  • The steering wheel is thick and substantial.
  • The trunk is huge. Very long, so long that golf bags may fit in the long way as well as sideways. Probably more golf bags than passengers.
  • Capless fuel filler neck.
  • Standard stability control.
  • Push button start.
  • Almost hidden light-up keypad
Stuff I didn't like:
  • Because of the up-swept rear styling, the rear passenger is enveloped by a rising belt line and a sloping roof line. I like the visibility from the second row of the much more blandly designed 500/Montego/Taurus/Sable cars.
  • AWD is optional.
  • The name. Would this car be any less sharp if it was called "Continental"? Why is the Lincoln F150 called "Mark LT" but the other cars called Em-Kay-whatever? "Continental" has a long heritage.
  • Keyless ignition is part of the optional "technology package".
  • Where is the turbo direct injection "Ecoboost" engine?
  • The trunk opening is comically small, compared with the inside depth and width of the trunk, and has a very tall lower edge. This is a side effect of having swoopy rear glass combined with a rising rear end. What were they thinking? How do you get full sized suitcases in and out? And while the huge trunk will easily swallow 5 sets of golf clubs, by my guess, I would hate to have to wrestle them through the high and short opening.
  • The price. Opt for a few electronic goodies and you are soon looking at a $45,000 vehicle.
  • The hidden keypad on the door pillar was not completely hidden--it has a slightly different color to it which gives away its location. It would have been much cooler to have it be truly hidden.
Overall, from what I have seen so far, I like it, though I wouldn't buy a car this expensive at this point in my career. Like the Zephyr/MKZ, this is more proof that Ford has figured out how to build solid, well rounded Lincoln cars. Ford badly needs Lincoln to take off, and having a credible portfolio of cars is key. They can't rely on anachronisms like the Navigator or abominations like the Mark LT.

Lincoln is using the "Starships Don't Need Keys" tagline in their marketing for MKS, I hope that this one is more like the starship Enterprise, and less like the band Starship.*

*The last vestige of Jefferson Airplane, "We built this city, we built this city on rock-and-roll..."


Anonymous said...

Just wondering, why do you include push button start on the favorable list? Keyless and push button start systems are just begging to fail at some point, and add another pointless step to the process. I much prefer the time-tested key in the ignition.

I have had to replace two ignition switches over the decades, but can only imagine how many times keyless and push button systems will fail, and good luck finding the right batteries, software, and hardware to keep current versions working six years from now, when makers are a couple of generations down the road with newer systems.

Unknown said...

I too have had an ignition lock go bad, which is why I like the idea of a transceiver based all electronic system. Electronics, particularly embedded controllers, are very reliable. How often do you hear of someone being stranded because their key's antitheft chip broke? I haven't ever seen one.

Unknown said...

It was a valuable information....Though you have mentioned about a lot positives, i still would not prefer to buy Lincoln series because once of my pal was owning Lincoln series car and he often had a mechanical problems. amy be this series would have solved those issues. Lets wait and watch...


Anonymous said...

Auto prophet, I am looking for copy of April 2008 Detroit SAE Supercharger magazine. The office is oout of back copies. Do you have one?

Anonymous said...

Mine just arrived. The rear seats are heated but not cooled. My only complaints so far are that the rear sunshade was not available, and that there are only 3 exit assist pulls. None for the driver, the guy who gets in and out most often.

Anonymous said...

Sir...tell the pros and cons of the features and mechanical issues between purchasing the Catty CTS and the MKS. Buying for an 80yr old. Can't find problems with MKS like CTS on the net. Lost about value and reliability of which one to buy for 2009 based upon 2008 issues. Willing to buy 2008 or 2009.

Anonymous said...
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