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First Drive: Lincoln MKT

Luxury crossover has distinctive look, but tail is rather ungainly.

by on Sep.17, 2010

The Lincoln MKT includes styling cues from past Lincolns, but many will have trouble getting past the large tail end.

Let it never be said that Lincoln went conservative in its design of the MKT luxury crossover.

On first glimpse, the MKT seemed to have rather odd proportions. While most of the vehicle has a nice design and well-played features, the bulky rear end gives the tail end a heavy look. Let’s call it like it is: The MKT looks like it’s packing a load.

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In contrast, the design of the Buick Enclave, is striking, making it the most beautiful of the luxury crossovers. Sure, styling is a subjective area frought with peril for auto scribes. In Lincoln’s defense, luxury car buyers typically want a flashy design that stands out from the crowd. It’s also worth noting that my wife disagrees with my assessment.

Lincoln has made great use of the split-wing grille, which it is extending across the lineup. It gives Lincoln a distinctive front end design, which also points back to Lincoln’s storied past.

But still that rear end …

First look: Lincoln’s Baby Sedan, The MKZ, Goes Hybrid For 2011

MKZ gets styling makeover, as well.

by on Sep.08, 2010

The 2011 MKZ Hybrid will Lincoln's first hybrid and the first car for the luxury brand with a four-cylinder engine.

For 2011, the popular MKZ sedan, formerly known as the Lincoln Zephyr, gets a complete cosmetic makeover that makes it look like all the other Lincolns, with that toothy split-wing grille, but more importantly, it is Lincoln’s first-ever hybrid passenger car, and the first Lincoln ever powered by a 4-cylinder engine.

The entire second-generation Ford hybrid system has been picked up from the Ford Fusion and installed in the more luxurious and more expensive MKZ with which the Fusion shares platforms.  That means a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine coupled to an Aisin E-CVT transmission, an electric motor, a 275-volt Nickel metal hydride propulsion battery, and regenerative braking.

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It also means that the very clever and easy-to-use digital display screens developed for the Ford hybrid have been carried over to the Lincoln, including the four-phase driver assist system and the virtual leaves that grow the more carefully you drive.  Like the Fusion, the MKZ will drive on pure electric power up to 47 miles per hour, when the engine comes on automatically to assist or accelerate.


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