Lincoln MKT full-size crossover offers a dramatically improved ride, sharper handling, better fuel economy and new safety technologies including rear inflatable seat belts for the 2013 model year, providing customers benefits and features that match or exceed more expensive competitors.
The changes ensure a recognizable Lincoln family look going forward. The grille and front fascia all are new, as are the wheel selections.
"The effort behind the new look was to change the proportion of the MKT from the front view. We helped make it feel wider and a bit less tall, less vertical," said Max Wolff, Lincoln Design director. "The execution of the new MKT's grille and the grille bars is a lot more refined and elegant. The new front graphic displays a lot of three-dimensionality, but it's accomplished in a calmer, more restrained way."
Inside, functional, styling and safety updates transform the already distinctive and roomy interior of the new Lincoln MKT into an even more welcoming, luxurious and technologically advanced space.
The significantly revised interior complements the airy feeling afforded by the standard Panoramic Fixed-glass Vista Roofâ„¢.
The Lincoln MKT offers three rows of seating configured in six- and seven-passenger alternatives. Highlighting the emphasis on first-class travel, those riding in the second row enjoy more legroom than any vehicle in this class. The second-row seats can also be heated and cooled. The second-row refrigerator (integrated into the center console) remains a popular option.
Drivers particularly benefit from the latest upgrade of MyLincoln Touch hardware that equips the new MKT with Lincoln's most advanced HMI or Human-Machine Interface.
The all-new instrumentation features a central speedometer flanked by two full-color reconfigurable LCD screens. The 4.2-inch LCD screens are controlled by five-way buttons on the steering wheel. The 8-inch multi-function LCD touch screen dominates the center stack and provides the visual and control interface for the entertainment system, phone, navigation and climate control.
Lincoln MKT offers two audio systems, both controlled through MyLincoln Touch. The standard system includes AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite sources playing through a 210-watt system that drives eight speakers.
The optional hardware is the THXÂ® II Certified Car Audio System that brings home-theater sound to the open road. The 700-watt system plays through 14 strategically aimed premium audio speakers. Sources include AM/FM/CD6/DVD/MP3/HD Radio plus an auxiliary input jack and a USB port. SiriusXM satellite radio with six-month prepaid subscription is standard.
SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link with voice-activated navigation controls are available. A prepaid subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link is included when the available SD card-based navigation system is selected. MyLincoln Touch and SYNC enable voice-activated navigation control. In addition to an easily updateable navigation database, additional Sirius features include coast-to-coast weather data, forecasts, fuel prices, sports scores, movie listings and more.
CRAFTED, NATURAL, COMFORTABLE
Standard 12-way adjustable front seats, adjustable pedals and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel help accommodate a wide range of drivers.
The leather surfaces for the first two rows of seating are provided by the Bridge of Weir leather company. Sourced from Scotland, Bridge of Weir leather can also be found in luxury jets, yachts and covering fine furniture.
The company uses a unique organic tanning method, which produces leather free of chromium - making it one of the most environmentally friendly and fully recyclable leathers available. French and Deck seams add to the interior's high level of finish.
The seat cushions, head restraints and seat backs are made with soy foam, which has a lower environmental impact than petroleum-based foams. In addition, the soy-based materials deliver excellent performance and offer equivalent comfort and durability.
The heated steering wheel is a welcome new option for drivers who live in colder climates. A thin metal element under the wheel's leather-wrapped rim can raise the rim's surface temperature from minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Celsius) to 74F (23C) in five minutes.
Because interior quietness is a universal luxury cue, the 2013 MKT is significantly quieter than the 2012 model. Additional noise barriers and absorbers were placed in the front wheel wells, around the shock towers, under the hood and in the trunk. The exterior mirrors also were redesigned to reduce wind noise.
The next generation of the award-winning SYNC system continues to become easier to use and more robust in its operation. New, simpler screen designs improve the user interface. Larger and bolder fonts make screens easier to read. SYNC's voice recognition experience, powered by Nuance, also improves.
Microsoft's Windows Embedded Auto software platform continues to be the operating platform that will deliver faster response times. SYNC has evolved from a stand-alone module for communication and entertainment to become a fully integrated operating system for Lincoln vehicles with MyLincoln Touch.
As a further enhancement to the SYNC experience, the standard system in the 2013 Lincoln MKT provides Operator Assist as a standard SYNC Services feature, allowing users to connect with a live person free of charge.
SYNC also enables the interior of the Lincoln MKT to become a Wi-Fi hot spot when linked to a data-enabled cellular device. With active Wi-Fi, passengers can link to the Web on gaming systems, PDAs, tables and laptops.
The standard engine for 2013 is a more powerful and efficient 3.7-liter V6 that includes twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT). The ability to vary camshaft timing to optimize the opening and closing of intake and exhaust valves increases the engine's power and efficiency.
Horsepower for 2013 increases to 300 from 268, a 10 percent increase achieved with projected fuel economy ratings that improve to 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, a 1 mpg highway improvement. The Lincoln MKT now offers more standard horsepower than the Audi Q7 and Acura MDX and nearly matches the 302-hp Mercedes-Benz R350.
Fuel economy for the Lincoln MKT achieved on regular unleaded fuel surpasses these competitors by as much as 4 mpg highway.
3.5-LITER ECOBOOST V6
Nine out of 10 MKT retail customers opt for twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, an engine that provides V8 performance with the fuel economy of a V6. In terms of horsepower from optional engines, the Lincoln MKT fitted with EcoBoost has no direct competition.
"Especially with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the MKT delivers a 'wow' driving experience in a quiet, comfortable and distinctive crossover," said Elaine Bannon, MKT chief engineer.
The 3.5-liter gasoline turbo direct-injected (GTDI) engine produces 355 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and an expansive torque curve that plateaus at 350 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 5,250 rpm. Fuel economy is projected to be 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway. The EcoBoost V6 earned a slot on Ward's 2010 "10 Best Engines" honoree list the year it was introduced.
EFFICIENT SIX-SPEED TRANSMISSIONS
Lincoln MKT is equipped with two versions of the six-speed SelectShift Automaticâ„¢ transmission, both with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6 uses the 6F-50, and the more powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 uses the heavy-duty 6F-55. This transmission features high-energy friction materials, a larger ring gear and a specific torque converter that optimize the 6F-55 to handle the high-torque output of the twin-turbo 3.5-liter.
These gearboxes offer the driver a choice between fully automatic operation and manual control. Intuitive to operate, a squeeze back on either paddle will deliver an upshift, while a gentle push forward on either paddle will induce a matched-rev downshift. Unlike some competitive transmissions, SelectShift won't second guess the driver with an override shift. The manual control is truly controlled by the driver.
All-wheel drive is standard with the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6. In good weather over smooth roads at modest speeds - when AWD is not needed - the system intelligently routes power only to the front wheels, improving fuel efficiency.
When driver input or road conditions indicate that slip might occur, the system sends power rearward to help prevent tire slip from happening in the first place (such as on rain-slicked or snow-covered roads).
A myriad of inputs enables the computer-controlled system to identify and immediately react - in as little as 16 milliseconds - to changing road conditions and driver demands. The amount of torque sent to the rear axle varies depending on road conditions and dynamic needs.
NEW CHASSIS TECHNOLOGY
Making a full-size crossover ride smoothly but handle well can be a real challenge.
"The 2013 MKT with Continuously Controlled Damping delivers a surprisingly vibrant blend of ride and handling. It's more than you'd expect from a full-size, three-row luxury crossover," said Scott Tobin, Director, Lincoln Product Development.
Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) is fitted to the new Lincoln MKT when the crossover is equipped with the optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. The adjustable suspension enables a more confident driving experience that defines the Lincoln DNA balance of ride comfort and handling. Regardless of road conditions, drivers will enjoy a markedly smoother, more controlled ride because CCD is always tuning and refining the ride quality.
The fully integrated system delivers its on-road benefit by significantly expanding the chassis's capabilities compared to a chassis with nonadjustable struts and shock absorbers, known as dampers by chassis engineers.
Compared to the fixed-rate damper standard on the 2012 MKT, the CCD damper on the 2013 MKT offers dramatically expanded control range. CCD utilizes 46 inputs to feed data to a sophisticated control unit that continuously monitors more than 23,000 packets of information per second.
The CCD control module reacts to the data by calculating the optimal damping force every 2 milliseconds or 500 times per second. Mechanical adjustments typically occur 20 times per second, but can be as rapid as 50 times per second. On average, large damper force adjustments (such as firm to soft) occur in just 11 milliseconds. For engineers, mechanical actions that occur in less than 13 milliseconds are considered real-time actions.
CCD constantly reads the road surface and continuously adjusts the suspension in real time within the three selectable ranges - Sport, Normal and Comfort. CCD operates so quickly that it can react pre-emptively.
CCD recognizes, for example, when the Lincoln MKT is about to encounter a typical pothole. The system instantly tightens damper control to prevent the wheel and tire from crashing down into the full depth of the pothole. Typically, the damping rate increases by more than 150 percent vs. the system's softest setting, helping to smooth out an otherwise harsh and jarring event. The system is so quick that inputs received at the front wheels are used to prepare the rear wheels to deliver a better driving experience.
"CCD is always active, refining the ride of the new MKT," said Brian Naspinsky, Lincoln Vehicle Integration engineer. "CCD helps reduce body roll by up to 20 percent, making the MKT feel tighter and more buttoned down. Understeer on the MKT has been reduced by approximately 25 percent, so the car feels more eager and ready to respond. Simultaneously, CCD also makes it possible to provide a smoother, more confident ride over virtually any road surface."
LINCOLN DRIVE CONTROL
Three distinct driving modes - Sport, Normal and Comfort - are easy to select using the MKT's new Lincoln Drive Control and the shift lever.
"The new system coordinates the performance of multiple adjustable systems - suspension, steering, engine and transmission - so that it's easy to use and enjoy," Tobin said.
Lincoln Drive Control enables drivers to change the driving personality of the Lincoln MKT:
Normal mode - When the gear selector is in Drive, Lincoln Drive Control delivers the ideal Lincoln ride, balancing comfort with confident control and handling. Many drivers will find this setting perfect for commuting and everyday driving. This mode provides an engaging drive experience and a direct connection to the road without sacrificing the expected comfort and smoothness
The Comfort mode instructs the CCD suspension to run in its smoothest range. The dampers exert 10 to 15 percent less control compared with Normal. The electric power-assisted steering system also reduces the effort needed to turn the wheel at low speeds, for example, as when parking.
The steering system for the new MKT is improved, too. The gear ratio is quicker (15:1 for 2013 vs. 17.1:1 for 2012), making the steering more immediately responsive.
All new Lincoln MKT models benefit from electric power-assisted steering. EPAS replaces the traditional hydraulic-assist power-steering pump with an electric motor. This helps save fuel because the motor operates only when assistance is required, unlike hydraulic systems that run continuously. EPAS was standard on 2010-12 MKT models with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and is now standard on all Lincoln MKT models. The new EPAS parallels CCD in how it provides a tunable driving experience and an expanded range of adjustability.
Depending on model and the Lincoln Drive Control mode (if so equipped), steering response for the new MKT improved 10 to 25 percent compared with 2012.
EPAS offers additional benefits. At lower speeds, such as when parking, EPAS provides additional boost for effortless maneuverability. At higher speeds, EPAS increases steering effort and feedback, giving drivers more precise steering control.
ACTIVE PARK ASSIST
EPAS is also the primary technology behind the MKT's class-exclusive active park assist (APA). Once engaged via the switch on the center console, ultrasonic sensors precisely measure open spaces to find a suitable parallel parking spot. When engaged, the sensors measure spots and inform the driver of an appropriate spot. With a few actions, the Lincoln MKT steers itself into the open space. The driver retains full control of throttle, brakes and shifting the entire time APA is engaged.
MORE CAPABLE BRAKING SYSTEM
To match the engine's extra power and the suspension's additional handling capabilities, Lincoln has significantly upgraded the MKT braking system for 2013. The new vented front discs measure 13.86 inches (352 millimeters), more than an inch larger than 2012. To enhance brake cooling, the "hat" portion of the front brake disc is also vented, a unique design developed by Ford Motor Company.
Additionally, the diameter of the rear discs increased 0.58 of an inch to 13.58 inches and the discs are now vented. Brake pad area and total swept area increased significantly, with each improvement working together to improve braking performance, reduce brake fade under heavy use and provide the driver with a more direct and linear braking feel.
INFLATABLE REAR BELTS
Second-row outboard passengers - often children or mature passengers - can benefit from available inflatable rear belts, a segment first.
These advanced restraints spread impact forces across more than five times the area of conventional safety belts, reducing pressure on the chest while helping to control head and neck motion.
The 2013 MKT offers a complete collection of driver assist technologies in addition to the array of six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control and AdvanceTracÂ® with RSCÂ® (Roll Stability Controlâ„¢).
Lincoln MKT earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for 2010 and 2011. To earn the ranking, a vehicle must receive a "good" (the best available) rating in all four of the institute's crash tests: front, side, rear and rollover, and have electronic stability control as an option. The MKT met all current requirements while offering much more technology to assist drivers.
Curve Control is a dynamic feature designed to help drivers maintain control if they inadvertently take a curve - such as a freeway off-ramp - too quickly. Curve Control senses when a vehicle is entering a curve too quickly, and can automatically apply the braking system to reduce vehicle speed by up to 10 mph in approximately one second. The reduction in speed is often enough to help drivers follow their intended path.
LANE KEEPING SYSTEM
The newly available Lane Keeping System adds to the advanced capabilities already offered on MKT, including collision warning and BLISÂ® (Blind Spot Information System) with cross-traffic alert.
Lane Keeping Alert helps drivers avoid leaving their lane unintentionally because of distraction or fatigue. When activated by the driver, Lane Keeping Alert utilizes a forward-facing mono-vision camera mounted behind the rearview mirror to begin looking for lane markers.
Above 40 mph, a control unit monitors the data and determines when the vehicle is wandering out of its lane. As the vehicle approaches the outer boundary of its lane, the system vibrates the steering wheel, cueing the driver to pay attention. Sensitivity settings are adjustable via MyLincoln Touch.
None of these technologies actively prevent lane departures. The responsibility for safe vehicle operation remains entirely the driver's responsibility.
Lane Keeping Alert remains dormant when the turn signal is activated or if the driver is engaged in an evasive maneuver.
It works in concert with Lane Keeping Aid. When activated, Lane Keeping Aid will add torque to the steering system to nudge the Lincoln MKT back into the center of its lane if the driver drifts too close to the lane's edge and does not take the needed corrective steering action. The system includes the ability to sense if a driver is driving hands-free. A warning chime sounds to discourage system misuse.
Driver Alert is a third element of the Lane Keeping System. If the system detects a driving pattern consistent with a drowsy driver, a first-level chime will sound and a friendly suggestion of a coffee cup graphic will appear on the left-hand 4.2-inch instrument cluster LCD screen.
If the driver does not respond and the system continues to sense that the driver is fatigued, another warning and chime will occur. Drivers curious about their state of alertness can monitor their performance at any time.
Collision warning helps prevent common traffic accidents. Forward-looking, long-distance radar identifies potential obstacles. When the danger of a collision is detected, the system warns the driver with an authoritative beep and a simultaneous red warning light projected on the windshield.
These warnings should be enough to allow the driver to brake before the accident. Collision warning also provides brake support. This function enables harder, quicker deceleration to help drivers stop or reduce speed and lessen the collision impact.
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is paired with collision warning because both utilize the forward-looking radar system. With a range up to 600 feet, ACC monitors and adjusts the speed of the Lincoln MKT to keep it at a safe distance behind a lead vehicle in the same lane, even in fog or heavy rain.
The scanning radar unit and control module ignores stationary objects as it determines the closing rate toward the vehicle ahead to assess whether it is necessary to automatically adjust the engine throttle setting or engage the braking system.
With the capability to work at speeds as low as 20 mph, drivers can set the system to work during normal commuting, helping reduce driver fatigue. Three programmable system settings are accessed through MyLincoln Touch.
BLIND SPOT INFORMATION SYSTEM
The available Blind Spot Information System (BLISÂ®) with cross-traffic alert can detect vehicles in blind spots during normal driving and traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of parking spots. BLIS uses radar to detect when another vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone. A light appears on the corresponding sideview mirror to indicate another vehicle is in the defined blind spot.