2010 Lincoln MKS

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Key Specs

of the 2010 Lincoln MKS. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    19-21 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    273-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Twin-turbo V-6's power, gas mileage
  • Transmission refinement
  • Highway driving ease
  • Interior quality
  • Front-seat comfort

The Bad

  • Brake-pedal feel
  • Backseat not especially big
  • Small trunk opening
  • Unusually shaped trunk
  • Cheapo shift paddles on steering wheel

Notable Features of the 2010 Lincoln MKS

  • 355-hp twin-turbo V-6 new for 2010
  • FWD or AWD
  • Optional two-panel glass roof
  • Optional self-parking system
  • Optional Sirius Travel Link weather info, gas prices

2010 Lincoln MKS Road Test

David Thomas
Editor's note: This review was written in August 2008 about the 2009 Lincoln MKS. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2010, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

Lincoln is a brand adrift in the automotive marketplace. Few of its models set themselves apart from lesser-equipped Fords, and those that do usually fall short of the competition from Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac. The all-new MKS is the closest the brand has come to delivering a top-class vehicle, and it gives sedan shoppers a reason to enter a Lincoln showroom.

There are a number of areas where the MKS excels, including its spacious interior, sleek looks, technology features and overall value. Its biggest drawback is that it doesn't ride like any big Lincoln sedan we've driven recently, which means the word "cushy" will not come into play for the rest of this review. That may turn off loyal buyers, without a significant-enough performance benefit added to draw in enthusiasts.

Overall, though, the positives vastly outweigh the negatives in what is possibly the best Lincoln since the Mark VIII.

Performance
The most striking aspect of the MKS' performance is its steering. From the looks and the sheer size of the car, I was expecting a driving experience akin to yachting, not carving corners. I was wrong; the driving experience doesn't rival a Corvette's, but Lincoln should be proud of how precisely the ...

Editor's note: This review was written in August 2008 about the 2009 Lincoln MKS. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2010, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

Lincoln is a brand adrift in the automotive marketplace. Few of its models set themselves apart from lesser-equipped Fords, and those that do usually fall short of the competition from Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac. The all-new MKS is the closest the brand has come to delivering a top-class vehicle, and it gives sedan shoppers a reason to enter a Lincoln showroom.

There are a number of areas where the MKS excels, including its spacious interior, sleek looks, technology features and overall value. Its biggest drawback is that it doesn't ride like any big Lincoln sedan we've driven recently, which means the word "cushy" will not come into play for the rest of this review. That may turn off loyal buyers, without a significant-enough performance benefit added to draw in enthusiasts.

Overall, though, the positives vastly outweigh the negatives in what is possibly the best Lincoln since the Mark VIII.

Performance
The most striking aspect of the MKS' performance is its steering. From the looks and the sheer size of the car, I was expecting a driving experience akin to yachting, not carving corners. I was wrong; the driving experience doesn't rival a Corvette's, but Lincoln should be proud of how precisely the MKS steers.

Whether you're in a tight parking garage or taking a highway on-ramp, the steering wheel requires little effort to move the car where you want it to be. The feel of the wheel and how the car reacts are completely intuitive — much better than any car this size or price has a right to be. I would rate it up there with any Cadillac (if not better than larger models like the DTS) and even imports like the Volvo S80, with which the MKS shares its platform.

However, you do sacrifice ride comfort for this steering precision. I was shocked at how bumpy the ride was on rough roads. The MKS reminded me of a sport-tuned BMW 5 Series in terms of ride comfort — and that's not a positive comparison to a BMW 5 Series — instead of a big American sedan. Maybe I'm strange, but I like a cushy ride out of my big American sedans, and I think most buyers of big American sedans feel the same way.

My test car was an all-wheel-drive version, which can translate to a rougher ride, but I don't believe that was the reason for my experience. Front-wheel drive is standard on the base MKS, which starts at $37,665, while the all-wheel-drive MKS starts at $39,555. What weren't standard were the 19-inch wheels my test car had, which again would contribute to a rougher ride. The standard wheels, though, are 18-inchers, and I'd bet the resulting ride wouldn't be dramatically improved. Other Cars.com reviewers also commented on the rough ride as an MKS negative.

Power is adequate if not overwhelming, coming from Ford's capable 273-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6. There's plenty of passing power, with little engine noise intruding into the cabin. It's not Lexus-silent, but it's certainly as quiet as most automakers' big sedans; Lexus' cars are just eerily quiet. Lincoln will introduce a turbocharged V-6 for the MKS in calendar 2009, which should add an air of performance to the MKS. It already has the steering and rough ride of a performance sedan, so the turbo makes a lot of sense.

Fuel economy is decent, at 17/24 mpg city/highway for front-wheel-drive models and 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. I achieved sub-20 mpg figures in the real world, but I also drove quite a bit in ultra-congested Chicago. Cadillac's aging STS V-6 with rear-wheel drive somehow manages 17/26 mpg with more power.

The MKS also comes with an auto-shift function for the six-speed automatic transmission that allows you to manually select gears without a clutch. Like in most cars with this feature, you move the gear selector up or down to shift gears. The MKS' shifter responds with loud "thunks" each time. No, that's not an engine noise; it's emanating from the shifter. I rarely find this function useful in such cars, and in this one it's definitely a detractor. As is true in most non-performance cars, the MKS' standard automatic operation is far superior to using the manual function, and it still isn't the smoothest transmission in the segment.

Looks
Even though the MKS is a comfortable car with a refined interior and a lot of standard features, the first thing people will notice is its bold looks. The profile is vanilla bland, but both the snarling front end and the Maserati-influenced rear will turn heads and make people say, "That's a Lincoln?"

While I was testing this car, I had people stop me to ask if I was driving a new Cadillac. Another passerby knew it was a Lincoln and was impressed, again comparing it to Cadillac's latest CTS in a favorable way.

You can't escape the huge grille up front no matter how hard you try; the chrome-covered plastic grille is indeed the new "look" for Lincoln. It's doubtless the product of an ever-escalating grille war that's pitting automakers against one another in an attempt to design the largest, most in-your-face bumper-jewelry imaginable.

The MKS kind of reminds me of the Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland" — a comparison I'm not the first to mention; I won't be the last, either. Regardless, it's distinctive without going too over the top, unlike the new Cadillac CTS and its excessively blinged-out grille.

The back end hasn't received nearly as much attention in the press as the front has, but if you put it side by side with Maserati's Quattroporte sedan, you'll see where its inspiration lies. Considering the exterior dimensions of the MKS, its two ends work well together to complement the sedan's sheer size. It comes in at 204.1 inches long, which is longer than a Buick Lucerne and even many three-row crossovers. Basically, this new look will lead to new shoppers, without the whippersnapper in the Lincoln lineup turning off the older set.

Interior
Lincoln has taken a leap forward inside the MKS. My test vehicle was decked out in thick, off-white leather that was wrapped around the seats and doors. It's of decent quality, about on par with what you find in Volvo and Lexus cars. I found the front seats extremely comfortable, and it was easy enough to find a good seating position. The backseat is also spacious, as you'd expect from something in this class. Heated and air-conditioned front seats are also standard. Unlike other brands with the feature, these A/C seats really do the job.

The leather- and wood-trimmed dashboard was respectable, but didn't look or feel as luxurious as the seats. The same could be said of the gauges and center controls, which looked like they were from a lower grade of vehicle — namely a Ford.

While they were decent-quality, none of the controls you interact with had the feeling of luxury that a car in this price range should have. This is what separates Lincoln from a Volvo S80, which has similar pricing. While Volvo has gorgeous metal gauges and a unique center swath of controls, the MKS adds a bit of chrome-like film to its plastic buttons, and that's about it.

Luckily, this downside isn't a big enough one to completely ruin the MKS. If you can look beyond it to the car's state-of-the-art control screen and the voice-activated technology hidden behind the scenes, the interior will prove to be a winner.

Technology and Features
Besides the looks, impressive steering and comfortable seating, the other thing the MKS has going for it is an intuitive, feature-packed technology center. Unfortunately, the attractive base price of the MKS shoots up $2,995 with the Navigation Package you need to add in order to get most of the high-tech goodies.

Microsoft's Sync entertainment system comes standard and controls audio and cell phone applications, but the voice-activated feature controls much more when the navigation system is present. How much more? Well, you get voice-activated navigation and directions, like you'll find in Acuras and Infinitis, only the MKS' is a bit more intuitive. You also get local gas prices, movie times, weather and traffic info, all with voice commands.

I've tested the standard Sync system many times since it debuted last year and have found it to be one of the simplest, most useful technology features on the market. The simple approach continues when you add these other features to it, and that's a good thing. Hit a button on the steering wheel and say "weather," and the screen displays your local forecast. Say "traffic" and — guess what? You get an update on road construction in your area. Say "movie times" and a number of theaters are listed to choose from. The same goes for gas prices. All are useful to most drivers, though movie times are a bit superfluous.

On top of that, the screen is brilliantly crisp with easy-to-read graphics, and there are plenty of plain-old buttons to manage features not controlled by voice or to use as shortcuts when you're tired of talking to your car.

Add the Technology Package ($1,115) and you get add-ons like a rear-window sunshade, keyless entry and ignition, rain-sensing wipers, forward sensors that warn of obstacles when parking, and adaptive headlights.

The Ultimate Package ($5,715) combines the features in the Technology and Navigation packages, plus adds a dual-panel moonroof (sold separately for $1,695) and 19-inch wheels ($510 as a stand-alone option). I did the math; that saves you $600 compared to adding them a la carte. However, if I could drop one package it would be the Technology Package, with its features that don't add to the driving experience. Also, no buyer should feel sorry for opting out of the dual-panel moonroof and 19-inch wheels. For my money, the only must is the Navigation Package.

Trunk
Why is there a whole separate section for the trunk? Because big American sedans should have big trunks, and at 18.7 cubic feet the MKS' is quite big. It's bigger than a Lucerne's (17.0) or S80's (14.9). It could easily swallow two sets of golf clubs and copious amounts of luggage.

Safety
Like most new models, the MKS comes standard with a number of valuable safety features, including front side-impact airbags as well as side curtain airbags for both rows. Stability control, antilock brakes and traction control are also standard.

As of this writing, the MKS has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the federal government.

MKS in the Market
In July — the MKS' first month of sales — it outsold every other Lincoln on the market, including the more affordable MKZ sedan and the MKX crossover. Sales were four times that of the S80. I'm an unabashed fan of the oft-overlooked S80; it is one of the few models on the market that offers similar features, space, level of luxury, performance and price as the MKS.

That's partly because this segment isn't a well-traveled one any longer. Cadillac's STS and DTS are fading quickly — the MKS also outsold both of those models in July — and haven't been updated enough to compete with these two newer models. Plus, both the MKS and S80 cost less. Japanese brands like Lexus and Infiniti have tried to emulate German luxury sedans with rear-wheel-drive models in this class, so there is a gap in the market that the MKS fills.

Where the Lincoln excels and the S80 fails is in the looks department. There is no question that the MKS makes a statement, even if its looks aren't universally appealing. Personally, I found it to be quite striking during my week of testing, and it should definitely drop the average age of Lincoln sedan shoppers by a few years, if not a generation. The S80, on the other hand, can easily be lost in a crowd; if you don't notice it at first glance, you'll never make it behind the wheel to see how good it truly is.

Lincoln owes a lot to the S80, but the company should be proud of how distinctive its new sedan truly is.

Send David an email 



2010 MKS Video

Cars.com's Mike Hanley takes a look at the 2010 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost AWD. It competes with the Hyundai Genesis and Audi A6.

Latest 2010 MKS Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Loving the Reviews

by Kendrick from Chicago, IL on June 8, 2018

Looking at these reviews make me want to leave my computer and take a spin. I've owned this car for about 7 months now. Purchased it with 105k miles 2010 Ecoboost model. Absolutely love it!!! I drive ... Read full review

(5.0)

Really Nice Car

by Skippy from Ocala FL on May 4, 2018

Overall this is one of the best cars I've ever owned, and that includes Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, and other Lincoln vehicles. It's a dream to drive and the styling is beautiful. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Lincoln MKS currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Lincoln MKS Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    72 months / 70,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Lincoln

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement for up to $45 per day, fresh oil and filter at delivery and certificate for your first complimentary oil and filter change

  • Limited Warranty

    6 years / 100,000 miles

    6 years from original new vehicle warranty start date or 100,000 miles. Comprehensive Limited Warranty from original in-service date. See dealer for details.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 60,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 200-point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The MKS received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker