Designed as a three-row vehicle from the get-go, the lengthy MKT boasts adult-friendly seating at each row, and comfortable ride quality enhanced by its long wheelbase.
Pressing onwards towards a comprehensive vehicle lineup, Ford’s Lincoln division announced the arrival of a new crossover model called the MKT for model year 2010. With seating for seven and a very distinctive (and often controversial) look, MKT targeted a luxury-minded buyer after three seating rows with room to spare, good overall value, and all modern luxury and tech must-haves.
Designed as a three-row vehicle from the get-go, the lengthy MKT boasts adult-friendly seating at each row, and comfortable ride quality enhanced by its long wheelbase. Look for premium THX stereo systems, window blinds, a built-in mini-freezer, a dual-pane moonroof, navigation, Bluetooth, climate-controlled seats, and plenty more.
For top levels of luxury from a unique package with room for a full complement of adult passengers, the MKT is worthy of consideration.
Look for all-wheel drive (AWD) and standard V6 power, from either a naturally aspirated unit with about 270 horsepower, or a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which bumped power output into the mid-300s. All models got an automatic transmission. Note that the non-turbo engine was dropped from production a few years into the MKT’s life, and that adaptive dampers and a revised entertainment system were installed as part of a mid-cycle refresh.
What Owners Like
Most owners comment positively on build quality, feature-content bang for the buck, comfort, space, and even handling. Power from the EcoBoost engine is highly rated, and the MKT is said to deliver a smooth, substantial, and confident drive in virtually all conditions. The THX audio system and heat-activated door touchpad are feature favourites with many owners.
What Owners Dislike
Common gripes include poor rearward visibility, not-for-everyone looks, and heavy-at-times fuel consumption.
The Test Drive
As the Lincoln MKT shares numerous components and systems with various other Ford and Lincoln models, pre-purchase checks are somewhat standard for an AWD Ford/Lincoln crossover with V6 or EcoBoost V6 power, and the six-speed automatic.
First up, focus on shift quality. The transmission should gear up and down at light, moderate, and full throttle smoothly, and with minimal detectable shock through the vehicle driveline. If the transmission fails to shift smoothly, makes any unwelcome noises or sensations, or feels indecisive about which gear to use, a software update to the transmission’s computer brain, and/or a transmission fluid change may be the answer. Low transmission fluid levels can also cause issues. Just be sure to have a technician inspect the transmission, as trouble shifting smoothly can also be the result of pricier internal problems with the transmission’s mechanical components. Here’s some more information.
The used MKT should also be inspected for a somewhat-common leak from its power take-off unit (PTU), which is a component used for the AWD system. Numerous owners have reported this leak, usually at lower miles, meaning it was likely fixed under warranty. The culprit seems to be a leaky seal, though in some cases, owners have reported that a leak results when an inexperienced technician overfills the unit. Telltale signs of the common PTU leak, in any case, may include drips or seepage of a fluid, likely red or brown in colour, from the unit. Note that running this expensive piece of drivetrain hardware while it’s empty, or low on fluid, can contribute to early failure of the AWD system. Be sure to have this component inspected, and to stay on top of checking and changing its fluid. Here’s some more information about leaky AWD PTUs.
Serious issues related to the MKT’s 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine are reported sporadically, and in your writer’s opinion, with insufficient frequency to cause any alarm. Still, with some reports including bad variable-cam-timing system sensors and solenoids causing problems, shoppers are advised to have the engine computer scanned for any stored trouble codes, to ensure no “check engine” lights are illuminated, and to confirm a smooth, steady idle is present. Note that a “check engine” light won’t necessarily illuminate for every engine issue, and that a computer scan is the best defence against potentially hidden issues with the powertrain. Of course, a model treated to regular oil and coolant changes is likely to last longer and be more reliable than one that hasn’t. Note that as this is a turbocharged and direct-injected engine, using only top-tier fuel at all times and staying on top of all factory prescribed maintenance routines in a timely fashion is vitally important for long-term peace of mind.
If you opt for a model with the 3.7L non-turbo engine, a professional check of the water pump and cooling system is advised. If any leaks or sign of issues with the water pump are detected, be sure to get a repair quote and call it into your pricing negotiations. In other applications, and likely this one, water-pump replacement can be a pricey and involved job.
If opting for a used MKT with the panoramic sunroof, quadruple-check that the roof panels open and close as outlined in the owner’s manual, and inspect interior footwell carpeting, as well as the ceiling liner, for signs of current or past moisture that may indicate a leak. If one is present, the likely culprit is plugged drain tubes – a fairly common issue on many vehicles with a sunroof. The tubes eventually clog with dust, dirt, and pollen, and cleaning them can often be as simple as blasting them out with some compressed air. Here’s some more info.
Other checks to avoid surprises should include confirmation that all electronics are working properly, including memory and climate-controlled seat functions, the motorized tailgate, the climate-control system in all seating rows, any rear-seat entertainment provisions, and all steering-wheel-mounted controls. If the SYNC system in the MKT you’re considering is lagging, choking, or feels fussy, try to give it a hard reset, and confirm that all software updates have been applied. If that doesn’t fix the problem, the head unit may need repair or replacement.
Finally, a professional check of all suspension components and wheel bearings should be completed before your purchase of a high-mileage unit, especially if any unwanted sounds (popping, clunking, whirring, banging, etc.) are detected on your test drive.
With a thumbs-up from a dealer technician after an inspection of all major mechanical and electronic components, a used Lincoln MKT can be bought with relative confidence by crossover shoppers after space, uniqueness, and luxury to spare.
Here’s a list of recalls.
Crash Test Ratings
IIHS: Top Safety Pick (2013)