Test Drive: 2009 Lincoln MKS

Brand-new flagship focuses on technological features ... powered by 3.7-liter V-6

by James M. Flammang

2009 Lincoln MKS

Long known for luxury, Lincoln has seen its posh image fade somewhat in recent years. Several Lincoln passenger-car models, such as the LS, failed to catch on quite as well as hoped. When some shoppers think of Linocln, what comes to mind is probably the long-lived, traditional-design Town Car, or the big Navigator sport-utility vehicle.

Now, for 2009, Ford's luxury division is trying its hand at an all-new "flagship" sedan, dubbed MKS - following the lead of recently-introduced models called MKX and MKZ.

Rather than a V-8 engine, like many luxury automobiles, Lincoln has placed a 3.7-liter V-6 under the MKS hood. Working with a new six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, the V-6 produces 273 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.

Lincoln promotes a long list of technical comfort/convenience features that are standard or available for the MKS. That list includes Adaptive Cruise Control, "Intelligent Access" with pushbutton start, adaptive high-intensity-discharge headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a Forward Sensing System, and a rearview camera. Like various other Ford Motor Company products this season, the MKS has no conventional gas filler cap, but uses the new Easy Fuel setup.

Ford's SYNC system, developed with Microsoft and introduced first on the redesigned compact 2008 Focus, is standard. Sirius Travel Link is part of the available navigation system, providing both information and entertainment content. On the safety front, the MKS includes AdvanceTrac stability enhancement, and a Safety Canopy that provides side-impact and rollover protection. Options include 20-inch wheels.

Lincoln says MKS is the first production model to exhibit the company's new styling theme, first seen on the MKR concept vehicle that appeared at auto shows.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives the MKS with front-wheel drive a fuel-economy estimate of 17 mpg for city driving and 24 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive drops each figure by 1 mpg. The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $38,465 (including destination charge) with front-drive and $40,355 with all-wheel drive.

Easy to drive, the MKS proves to be nearly as nimble as a smaller sedan, helped by confident handling and just-right steering assist. Pushing on the gas pedal from a standstill or at moderate speed releases a striking surge of power, delivered with graceful smoothness. Downshifts to pass or merge are prompt and smooth, too.

All-around visibility is excellent, but the MKS is not so easy to judge for parking or discerning the car's position in its lane. Some guesswork is needed to determine where the wheels are positioned. The speedometer and tachometer are adequate in size, if rather ordinary, but fuel and temperature gauges are tiny.

Front seat bottoms are somewhat short for a larger car, though head and elbow room are good. Thigh support is fine, coupled with good back support and side bolstering. Rear-seat space is adequate, though seatbacks are a bit hard. Trunk space is adequate, too, but the opening is surprisingly constricted.

Lincoln is pushing the MKS for its comprehensive collection of technology. Yes, it's there, but most of it relates to comfort/convenience features. Ironically, the MKS comes across as more traditional, if not a trifle old-fashioned.

Attention Editors: This 2009 Lincoln MKS review is available for your publication. Please contact us at JF@tirekick.com for details.

© All contents copyright 2008 by Tirekicking Today
Text and photos by James M. Flammang
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