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2009 Lincoln MKS Review By John Heilig

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Model: Lincoln MKS
Engine: 3.7-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 273 hp @ 6,250 rpm/270 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Select Shift
Wheelbase: 112.9 in.
Length/Width/Height: 204.1 x 75.9 x 61.6 in.
Tires: P255/45R19
Cargo volume: 18.7 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway/18.2 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 19 gal.
Sticker: $6,265 (includes $800 destination and delivery and $6,710 in options)

The Bottom Line: The Lincoln MKS is a very nice car with a good ride and good road manners. Is there enough to separate it from its family member, Taurus But it suffers from an identity crisis. What’s the difference between an MKS and an MKX and an MK whatever? Lincoln definitely needs to hire someone with better ideas of how to name their cars.

When the schedule called for a Lincoln MKS to be the test car for the week, I thought “Okay, that’s fine.” But then I thought, “What is an MKS? Is it a sedan, sport utility or truck?”

I found out soon enough that the MKS is Lincoln’s top-of-the-line sedan. And while it’s a nice car with a ton of attributes, it really does have a nomenclature problem. It’s a shame Lincoln abandoned the Zephyr name after only a year or so of use for this car. Since there’s no longer a V8-powered Continental or similarly named large sedan, they really need a new name for this car.

That said, the MKS is a nice car with decent manners, exactly what you’d expect, and want, from a Lincoln sedan. Even without a V8, the 3.7-liter V6 has 273 horsepower, more than enough to get the car out of its own way. The 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth and matches well with the engine. There’s a SelectShift function as well, where you can manually shift the transmission if you’re looking for more performance. However, the Lincoln is more of a luxury sedan than a performance sedan, so the SelectShift is a bit of a waste.

Stylistically, the MKS is Lincoln’s answer to Cadillac’s CTS, with no insult intended to either. The Lincoln’s rounder and the Caddy’s more angular, but they both are pretty slick in their own way.

The MKS handles well on both Interstates and winding roads. The handling is tight without being offensive, while on long rides the comfort is there. The front seats are comfortable and don’t induce backaches on longer trips.

The MKS has both a forward-sensing and rear-sensing system, with a back-up camera part of the rear-sensing system. This should help avoid minor dings. It can be annoying, like when pulling onto a parking slot, but it’s also comforting to have there. I feel much more confident backing into my driveway with a rear sensor.

The back-up camera feeds the navigation system screen which is clear color and one of the clearest we have seen. All Ford products equipped with a screen have these clear screens and they’re an asset.

The nav system itself is intuitive and easy to use, especially with the clear screen. The MKS also has adaptive cruise control, which will automatically slow the MKS if you’re in cruise control and you come upon a vehicle that’s going slower than you are. You can adjust the distance at which the adaptive cruise control kicks in.

Being a Ford product, the MKS is equipped with Microsoft’s Sync for the entertainment system. But lie with all the others, I couldn’t get my iPod to work with it. I read the owner’s manual and attempted to hook it up, but couldn’t figure it out.

The MKS is built on a long 112.9-inch wheelbase and is 17 feet long, although it seems much smaller. This might be a detriment. Is there enough luxury content in the base MKS to distinguish it from the Ford Taurus?

One feature of the MKS is easy access, which uses a “combination” to unlock and open the driver’s door. In the case of the MKS, all you have to do it tap the space above the 1-2 button and unlock the door. You must have the key fob in your pocket, though.

And while not unique to Lincoln, the EasyFuel capless filler is excellent. All you have to do is insert the fuel nozzle into the filler. You don’t remove (and possibly mislay) the fuel cap or replace it.

The MKS has good power and economy for a decent-sized car. It’s not too ostentatious, more subdued luxury. It’s comfortable for front and rear passengers. And it’s safe, with adaptive cruise control and the front and rear sensors.

2009 The Auto Page Syndicate