2013 Lincoln MKT

What’s New for 2013

The 2013 Lincoln MKT receives a number of changes this year. The base V6 is a bit more powerful now and produces 300 horsepower. Inside, Lincoln has updated the design of the seats, gauges and steering wheel. The MyLincoln Touch interface is now standard. New features include inflatable rear-seat seatbelts, lane departure warning/assist, a heated steering wheel and standard adaptive suspension dampers for the EcoBoost model. Lincoln has also tinkered with optional features and package availability. Finally, the MKT receives a restyled grille and front fascia.

Introduction

Based purely on pedigree, the 2013 Lincoln MKT would seem to be a show winner. It’s based on the Ford Flex, a large crossover wagon we adore for its utility, well-rounded performance and unique style. Breed in a bunch more high-end features and some luxurious style, and the MKT should be even better, right? Well, it doesn’t quite work out that way.

There is still quite a bit to like here. Many positive attributes shine through, including a confident driving attitude, a refined ride, an available 355-hp twin-turbocharged V6 engine and cutting-edge technology. The cabin, meanwhile, has been enhanced with high-quality leather, a classy design and plenty of material to deaden the road’s abrasive soundtrack. Nor will you be left wanting for features. Even the base MKT comes loaded with convenience and luxury-oriented features, while options include such uplevel picks as automated parallel-parking assist, heated and ventilated second-row seats and a lane-departure warning/aid system.

The major downside is that the 2013 Lincoln MKT sacrifices practicality in the name of unique styling. The swept-back windshield and sloping rear glass reduce interior volume (as compared to the boxy Flex), meaning less space for passengers. This year’s MKT also comes standard with MyLincoln Touch, an electronic interface that’s neat in theory but often frustrating to use in the real world.

Put up against other models like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Buick Enclave, the MKT isn’t going to immediately stand out as best in show. But overall, there’s plenty to like here, and we recommend taking a look at the MKT if you’re shopping for a three-row luxury crossover SUV.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Lincoln MKT is a three-row luxury crossover that seats six or seven. There are two trim levels: MKT and MKT with EcoBoost.

Standard MKT equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with automatic high beams, keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, 12-way heated and ventilated power front seats, 60/40-split-fold heated second-row seats (outboard only), manual 50/50 split-fold third-row seats, power-adjustable pedals, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, tri-zone automatic climate control, retractable manual second-row sunshades and a 110-volt power outlet. Electronic features include the Sync voice command system, the MyLincoln Touch interface, mobile WiFi, a rearview camera, Bluetooth (with audio streaming) and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and USB/iPod interface.

The MKT EcoBoost model adds a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive and adaptive suspension dampers with three driver-selectable modes (that also adjust steering response, stability/traction control parameters, and transmission response and behavior).

The Elite package (EcoBoost only) adds a power fold/tumble third row with tailgate feature, blind-spot monitoring system with cross-traffic alert, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system and a 14-speaker premium audio system.

A Technology package (available only in conjunction with the Elite package) includes adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation system with brake support, lane-keeping alert/aid system and an automatic parallel-parking assist.

Stand-alone options on the EcoBoost include 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated sliding second-row captain’s chairs (which drop capacity from seven to six passengers), a second-row refrigerator console (between the captain’s chairs), a power panoramic glass roof and metallic interior trim.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard MKT models have a 3.7-liter V6 that now makes 300 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift control. EPA estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

The MKT EcoBoost has a more powerful twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 making 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive system are standard. Fuel economy estimates are 16/22/18.

In Edmunds performance testing, a MKT EcoBoost accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, a quick time for this segment.

Safety

The 2013 Lincoln MKT comes standard with rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags covering all three rows. Parents will also appreciate the standard MyKey feature that restricts wheelspin, vehicle speed and audio volume for teen drivers. The second-row airbag-fortified seatbelts are available on both models. Sync also offers emergency crash notification that automatically dials 911 in the event of an airbag deployment.

Safety features that are available only on the EcoBoost model include blind spot monitor and cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning/aid and a collision warning with brake support system that comes as part of the optional adaptive cruise control. This system flashes a warning on the windshield when sensors detect slower-moving traffic ahead and then pre-charges the brake system to reduce braking distances for an ensuing panic stop.

In a panic stop during Edmunds testing, the MKT stopped from 60 mph in an acceptable distance of 127 feet. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the MKT earned a top rating of “Good” for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

The three-row MKT’s interior is available in six- or seven-passenger configurations, and either way offers handsome styling and upscale materials, including premium leather upholstery and genuine wood trim. For 2013, the MKT boasts fresh interior styling highlighted by an all-new instrument panel and integration of the MyLincoln Touch system and rich new color schemes crafted with new premium materials. High-quality stitching and seams on all seats add to the interior’s high level of finish. The premium brand feel that was missing from the previous MKT clearly has found its way into the 2013 model.

In subjective terms, the 2013 MKT offers plenty of interior and cargo space, with adequate head- and legroom plus cargo capacity that begins at 17.9 cubic feet (behind the third row) and tops out at 75.9 cubic feet (behind the first row). Second-row passengers will find enough room for comfortable cruising; however, the third row is tight by adult standards.

One new item that we’re not particularly fond of is the standard MyLincoln Touch interface. It consists of three new display screens and the ability to input commands for various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice (Sync), touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It’s a smart idea in theory, but the reality is that it just doesn’t work very well. The learning curve is steep, the system can be slow to respond and the touchscreen’s small icons make it difficult to use on the move. The touch-sensitive volume control you slide your finger across is also pretty much unusable. It’s likely Ford will make software updates, but for now, make sure you spend plenty of time with MyLincoln Touch during a test-drive to determine if it’s something you’ll be OK with.

Driving Impressions

We’ve yet to drive a 2013 Lincoln MKT. However, familiarity with the previous one plus our experience in other vehicles equipped with similar, adaptive suspension systems leads us to believe the EcoBoost model will feel utterly transformed. Where it once felt merely isolated and perhaps a little too soft, it will likely feel alert and responsive over a greater variety of surfaces. Similarly, the highway ride will be improved, as it will feel more controlled and settled rather than vague and heavy. Clearly, the EcoBoost engine is the preferred choice thanks to its superior power and torque, but the base 3.7-liter V6 should now be a viable choice for most shoppers.

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