2010 Lincoln MKS Reviews
Cars.com Expert Reviews
Luxury cars usually provide healthy, even relentless acceleration. Lincoln's MKS full-size luxury sedan hasn't offered that kind of overwhelming power. Equipped with a normally aspirated V-6 engine, it could keep pace with traffic but never threatened to leave it quickly behind. That just changed.
For 2010, the MKS gains an optional twin-turbo direct-injection V-6 — or, in Lincoln parlance, an EcoBoost V-6 — that helps this luxury sedan better meet the expectations of power-hungry buyers. The EcoBoost name alludes to the ecological benefits provided by the engine's technology: It produces 355 horsepower — 82 hp more than the base engine — yet it gets better gas mileage. (See a side-by-side comparison with the base model.)
I tested a 2010 MKS with the EcoBoost V-6, and it definitely enhances the car's performance without any drawbacks in terms of everyday drivability. The big question is whether luxury-car shoppers will be willing to ante up the nearly $50,000 for an EcoBoost-equipped MKS, as there are plenty of worthy competitors for that kind of money.
The optional EcoBoost V-6 gives the MKS a completely different character than the base sedan. The regular MKS' engine offers good power, but you have to rev it to extract its performance. In contrast, the EcoBoost's power builds with an effortlessness that makes it feel like a V-8 engine, and it doesn't let up at higher speeds if you're inclined to go faster still. All of its low-rpm torque — 350 pounds-feet at 1,500 rpm — helps propel this big car in a way that the base car's engine can't.
The EcoBoost MKS features all-wheel drive, and it gets an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway. The base V-6 with all-wheel drive, meanwhile, gets 16/23 mpg. Like the base engine, the EcoBoost V-6 runs on regular gas. I spent about 320 miles behind the wheel — mostly on highways and country roads but also some stop-and-go traffic — and averaged just less than 24 mpg.
|Luxury Sedan Gas Mileage|
|2010 Cadillac STS V6||18/27||18/27|
|2010 Audi A6 3.0T||--||18/26|
|2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost||--||17/25|
|2009 Infiniti M35||17/25||16/22|
|2010 Acura RL||--||16/22|
The EcoBoost V-6 delivers its generous power in a serene way that's befitting a luxury sedan. That's partly thanks to the MKS' six-speed automatic transmission, which shifts smoothly and kicks down without drama when more power is needed for passing. The transmission includes a clutchless-manual mode that features steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, which let you cycle up or down through the gears.
As for the brakes, there's some occasional springiness to the pedal, while at other times it's a little spongy. There's room for improvement.
Ride & Handling
When it debuted, one of the 2009 MKS' less appealing aspects was its floaty suspension responses when the car was changing directions quickly, but that's mostly gone in the 2010 MKS. Lincoln says the sedan received additional structural bracing and revised suspension calibration for 2010. Directional changes now happen with greater crispness, and the car stays admirably flat when cornering.
The suspension, however, doesn't isolate you from the pavement — you feel the road in this car. It's never to the point where impacts become harsh, though, and the sedan even handled stretches of slab-concrete highway — which tends to make cars oscillate up and down — without jostling occupants too much. The base MKS comes standard with 18-inch aluminum wheels, but the model I tested had optional 20-inch wheels fitted with low-profile tires.
The MKS is easy to drive on the highway for long stretches, thanks to its solid feel and because there's no need to make minor adjustments with the steering wheel to maintain course. The standard leather-wrapped steering wheel feels nice in your hands. The EcoBoost MKS features an electric power-steering system (base models use a hydraulic one); it takes moderate effort to turn the wheel. The system doesn't, however, provide much feedback.
The electric power steering is integral to a new feature: Active Park Assist. Using sensors mounted in the sedan's bumpers, the system can automatically steer the sedan into a parallel-parking space. You still have to shift from Drive to Reverse and control the car's speed with the gas and brake pedals. It's a $535 option for EcoBoost models only.
One of the first things you notice when sliding behind the MKS' wheel is its front bucket seats, which are lounge-chair soft and come standard with leather upholstery. They're also heated and cooled. The driver's seat was comfortable for a few hours, and it seems like it would be a good companion for a longer drive, too.
The interior utilizes mostly high-grade materials. I'm not a big fan of the gray-metallic trim around the audio and air conditioning controls, and there were large gaps around one of the trim panels in the center console. The dashboard's real stitching is a nice touch that's been — until lately — reserved for very-high-end luxury cars. The buttons and knobs have a nice feel to them, too. Overall, the cabin is on par or thereabouts with what Acura, Cadillac and Infiniti are doing, but it doesn't move the bar ahead of them.
My test car came with the EcoBoost Appearance Package, which includes brown-colored leather, brown trim on the dashboard and doors, and a patterned silver trim piece that sweeps across the dash. The brown interior drew mixed reviews; if you're not a fan of it, more traditional shades — such as black — are available with or without the package.
The three-person rear bench seat is as softly cushioned as the front buckets, maybe softer, and the outboard seats have standard heaters with two levels. There's decent space for adults to get comfortable, but considering how big the MKS is on the outside, it should be bigger on the inside.
At approximately 18 cubic feet, the MKS' trunk is larger than many competitors', but it's hampered by its odd shape and even odder opening, a narrow rectangular slot that makes it hard to load larger pieces of luggage.
Once you do get something past the opening, you'll notice that the ledges along the sides make it difficult to lay larger cargo flat. It's an unusually shaped trunk in a day and age when many are rectangular.
While the backseat doesn't fold down, the MKS has a trunk pass-through for times when you need to carry longer cargo.
The EcoBoost V-6 and chassis updates result in a more well-rounded sedan. By adding impressive power and better body control to the MKS' distinctive styling and premium interior, Lincoln's flagship is better equipped to take on competitors like the Acura RL, Cadillac STS and Infiniti M35. Overall, it's a solid update to what previously had been a merely decent model.
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