LA Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Lincoln MKT

Just like the Ford Flex with which it shares its platform, Lincoln’s big MKT is receiving a mid-cycle refresh for 2013. The three-row crossover gets a restyled grille that’s less mouthy than before, a power bump for its base V-6, and a host of new luxury and technology content. As if to emphasize the MKT’s newfound style, Lincoln is debuting it—along with the refreshed 2013 MKS sedan—at the 2011 L.A. auto show.

The 2013 MKT’s biggest stylistic departure is its tweaked split-waterfall grille that now features thinner, more-elegant slats than before. The move is both expected—recent spy photos revealed the slimmer slats—and welcome. The previous MKT’s slats bore an uncanny resemblance to teeth, which, combined with the shape of the grille openings, gave the MKT the countenance of a certain Pinocchio-swallowing sea mammal. The new grille doesn’t cascade quite as far down the front bumper and lacks any horizontal elements, noticeably reducing the visual height of the front end and giving the MKT a wider and lower look. Other than a more prominent crease down the middle of the hood and new wheel designs, the rest of the MKT’s exterior styling carries over unchanged.

In addition to the 2013 MKT’s styling tweaks, there are a few notable mechanical updates. Lincoln had already pared the MKT lineup to two trim levels for 2012—a base front-driver powered by the 3.7-liter V-6 and an uplevel all-wheel-drive version powered by the 355-hp, EcoBoost V-6—and this scheme carries over to the 2013 car. However, the 3.7 now pumps out 300 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, increases of 32 hp and 8 lb-ft over last year’s figures. City fuel economy remains at 17 mpg, while the highway figure rises by 1 mpg to 25. The twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 goes unchanged, which is fine by us: a 2010 MKT with the burly mill was able to rocket to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds in our testing. Fuel economy for the EcoBoosted all-wheel drive MKT is the same as last year: 16 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.

We never had any qualms with the MKT’s ride, which was already fairly buttoned down for such a cushy and smooth setup, but Lincoln took things a step further for 2013. EcoBoost-equipped MKTs now have a standard adaptive suspension along with Lincoln Drive Control, which is Lincoln’s fancy name for selectable suspension and drive modes. Drivers can select Normal, Sport, or Comfort drive settings. The first two are selected not by a button on the console but by moving the shift lever into either Drive or Sport. In a somewhat convoluted manner, Comfort is selected via the Settings menu in the MKT’s updated MyLincoln Touch interface. Among the three drive modes, Normal is the baseline setting. Sport mode calls up firmer damping, quicker throttle response, a more-aggressive shift map, and higher steering effort from the electric power steering. Comfort does the opposite, injecting some lethargy into the MKT experience by softening the dampers and reducing steering effort.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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