2018 Lincoln MKT

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MSRP: $43,530 - 49,025

2018 Lincoln MKT Review

The 2018 Lincoln MKT finishes near the bottom of our competitive luxury midsize SUV rankings. While there are things to like about this Lincoln – such as its excellent safety scores – it hasn’t changed much since its 2010 release and therefore doesn't measure up to class rivals in many respects.

7.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 9.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Spacious first- and second-row seats
  • Above-average cargo space
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Stale cabin design
  • Not overly agile

Is the Lincoln MKT a Good SUV?

It's certainly not a bad SUV, but calling the Lincoln MKT "good" might be a stretch. It does some things well, like providing plenty of cargo space and a smooth ride. It also has an above-average predicted reliability rating, spacious first- and second-row seats, and an intuitive infotainment system. However, it's far from the only luxury midsize SUV to provide some or all of these qualities.

This Lincoln has its weaknesses as well. It gets poor fuel economy and isn't that maneuverable. It also hasn't been redesigned in nearly a decade, so the interior styling – while nice – feels out of date compared with many rivals' cabins. These are areas where many competitors surpass the MKT.

Overall, much of the reason the MKT sits so low in our rankings is due to the excellence of many of the vehicles in this class, and the MKT simply not matching that excellence.

Should I Buy the Lincoln MKT?

In all honesty, you probably shouldn’t buy the MKT. There's a reason that it's one of the lowest-ranked SUVs in the class. Even if you discount the priciest luxury midsize SUVs – most of which fare much better than the MKT in class rankings – you can find competitors to rival this Lincoln.

The Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350 are all-around better vehicles. The Acura’s price is within $2,500 of the MKT's starting price, and the Lexus actually costs less.

In a vacuum, the Lincoln MKT may be worth buying. But when you consider that class rivals offer more for the same money, it's clear that the MKT isn't a great value.

Compare the MKT, MDX, and RX 350 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Lincoln MKT?

The only notable difference between the 2017 and 2018 MKT model years is that the SUV's two trim levels have been renamed. If you're open to buying a used car, you can likely save money and get a nearly identical MKT by shopping for an older model than the 2018. You'll want to focus on MKT models from 2016 or later. Lincoln introduced the SYNC 3 infotainment system for 2016, which replaced MyLincoln Touch. The MKT hasn't been fully redesigned since 2010.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Lincoln MKT. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for information on incentives of used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Lincoln MKT »

We Did the Research for You: 57 Reviews Analyzed

Before you head to the dealer, use our car reviews to brush up on your next vehicle. We take driver opinions from other professional reviews and combine them with quantifiable data – including reliability scores, safety ratings, and fuel economy estimates – to give you the complete picture of each car we rank. For the 2018 Lincoln MKT, we analyzed 57 reviews. This 2018 Lincoln MKT review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2010 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

With over a decade of car rankings in our rearview mirror and more than 75 years of combined experience in the car industry, our team has the expertise to provide the information that shoppers need. To keep our car reviews unbiased, our editorial staff doesn't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and all advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Lincoln MKT Cost?

The MKT Premiere trim has a starting price of around $43,500, which is less than the majority of luxury midsize SUVs' base prices (in some cases by $10,000-plus). The MKT Reserve model starts at around $49,000, which is still less than some rivals' base models. A fully loaded MKT will only cost half as much as the most expensive SUVs in the class.

It's worth noting, however, that the MKT also finishes near the bottom of our class rankings. There are competitors with much higher rankings that cost about as much as this Lincoln. Furthermore, its more expensive classmates provide more value, which helps justify the higher price tags.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

Lincoln MKT Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Lincoln MKT or Acura MDX?

The Acura MDX features a V6 engine that provides better acceleration than the MKT's base engine. It is also more fuel-efficient than either of the Lincoln's engines. The Acura has a smooth ride and is a little more agile than the MKT. Inside, the MDX doesn't quite match the MKT's material quality, but the Acura's cabin feels more modern.

The MDX doesn't have as much cargo space as its Lincoln rival, but its maximum capacity is still decent for a luxury midsize SUV. The Acura also comes with many more standard driver assistance features, yet its starting price is similar to the MKT's. There isn't a lot of room for argument here; the MDX is the better choice. The Acura has a user-friendly infotainment system, but it lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which come standard in the MKT.

Which Is Better: Lincoln MKT or Lexus RX 350?

The Lexus RX 350 has a stylish interior filled with quality materials. Though it only seats five, both rows have plenty of passenger space. The RX 350 has a long list of standard features, including active safety tech that's optional or absent in the MKT (such as adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection). The RX 350's engine is about as powerful as the MKT's base engine, though the Lexus gets much better gas mileage. It has stable handling, but the ride comfort is excellent. The only area where the Lexus falls short of its Lincoln rival is cargo space; the MKT is among the best, while the RX 350 is among the worst. If you can live with that, the RX 350 is a much better SUV – and it even has a lower starting price.

Compare the MKT, MDX, and RX 350 »

MKT Interior

How Many People Does the MKT Seat?

The MKT seats seven in the base configuration, which features a second-row bench seat. Second-row captain's chairs are available, but they drop seating capacity to six. The first two rows have ample space and support, but the third row is a bit cramped. It's best suited for children and shorter adults.

MKT and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing car seats, both of which are in the second row. The middle second-row seat (in the bench configuration) and the third-row seat on the passenger side also feature tether anchors, though there are no lower anchors.

MKT Interior Quality

Like most luxury vehicles, the MKT's cabin is comfortable and upscale. However, the interior feels a bit antiquated, as this Lincoln hasn't been redesigned since its debut eight years ago.

MKT Cargo Space

Fold down the second and third rows, and the MKT provides a flat-floored cargo hold with almost 76 cubic feet of capacity. That's more than most competitors, and it's enough space that you can even move furniture items, like a dresser. The flat floor is also useful when stacking your cargo, though you should be aware that the sloping roofline may make it awkward to haul some items.

With all seats in use, the MKT has just under 18 cubic feet of space, which is still enough room for more than a dozen shopping bags or several sets of golf clubs.

MKT Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

There are plenty of standard and available features in the MKT. The highlight of the standard features is the easy-to-use SYNC 3 infotainment system, which includes voice recognition, a touch screen, satellite radio, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Some rivals don't offer as much smartphone connectivity.

Available features include navigation, a power panoramic sunroof (a fixed sunroof is standard), a rear-seat entertainment system, and a 14-speaker THX II audio system that delivers excellent sound quality.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

MKT Performance

MKT Engine: One for Each Trim

The MKT's base trim features a 303-horsepower V6. This engine has plenty of power for the daily commute and will be enough for most drivers. But if you believe horsepower is a "more is better" situation, you'll want to step up to the Reserve trim’s 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6. It has stronger acceleration, and you'll feel the power difference when you hit the gas.

Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

MKT Gas Mileage: Lincoln Would Prefer We Not Bring This Up

The base MKT gets bad gas mileage, earning just 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. If you'd prefer to aim even lower, the available twin-turbo engine gets just 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway. Each year, these engines will cost you about $400 and $650 more in gas money than the Lexus RX 350, respectively. The RX 350 gets good fuel economy for the class.

MKT Ride and Handling: Do You Want a Smoother Ride or Sharper Handling?

The base MKT is a solid cruising vehicle. It comes with front-wheel drive, and the ride is smooth. However, there's noticeable body lean around corners.

If you want a bit more athleticism and don't mind sacrificing some ride comfort, the MKT Reserve is a better choice. All-wheel drive is standard, and this trim features an adaptive suspension that adjusts to road conditions while you're driving. It's still not as athletic as many class rivals, but it handles better than the base model.

MKT Towing

Though it shouldn't be anyone's first choice as a towing vehicle, the MKT isn't completely useless in that regard. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 4,500 pounds, which is enough to pull a couple of jet skis or a small boat. This is more than rivals like the Acura MDX can tow, and it's about the same as the 2018 Buick Enclave.

Read more about performance »

MKT Reliability

Is the Lincoln MKT Reliable?

The 2018 MKT has a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power. A rating of three out of five is considered average for the industry.

Lincoln MKT Warranty

Lincoln provides a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty on the MKT. This is similar to the warranties for many luxury vehicles.

Read more about reliability »

MKT Safety

MKT Crash Test Results

The 2018 MKT earned four out of five stars in its rollover crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MKT the highest rating of Good in the moderate overlap front, side, rear, and roof strength crash tests.

MKT Safety Features

A rearview camera and rear parking sensors come standard. Available active safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, assisted pre-collision braking, active park assist, and lane keep assist.

Read more about safety »

Which Lincoln MKT Model Is Right for Me?

Choosing the right MKT trim is a bit easier than with many other vehicles. There are only two trim options, and the base Premiere trim has little beyond the standard features. The Reserve is unquestionably the better trim, as it offers many of the MKT's high-end features.

However, a fully loaded Reserve will cost you about $13,000 more than a Premiere model. That's nearly 30 percent more, so it may be a tough upgrade for buyers with a strict budget.

Lincoln MKT Premiere

The base trim, the MKT Premiere, has a starting price of $43,530. It features front-wheel drive and a 303-horsepower V6 engine. Beyond the standard features, the Premiere trim doesn't offer much.

Lincoln MKT Reserve

The MKT Reserve is on sale with a starting price of $49,025. All-wheel drive and a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 are standard. In addition to the Premiere's standard features, the Reserve also comes with a heated steering wheel, navigation, a THX audio system, and blind spot monitoring.

There are several optional features in the Reserve trim, though many of them are expensive. Heated and ventilated second-row captain's chairs cost $995. The refrigerated second-row console costs $895, and it also requires you to upgrade to the captain's chairs. The power panoramic sunroof costs $1,595, and the rear-seat entertainment system costs $1,995.

There's also the Technology package. For an extra $2,000, it adds many active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and active park assist.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Lincoln dealer.

See 2018 Lincoln MKT specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Lincoln MKT is a decent SUV, but it finishes near the bottom of the strong luxury midsize SUV class. While there are reasons to like the MKT, many class rivals offer better performance, a nicer interior, or both. To top it off, there are several competitors with similar price tags. None of this is to say you shouldn't buy the MKT if it's what you want. Just make sure you do your homework because you can probably find something you like even better.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If you're shopping for a three-row luxury crossover SUV we think you'll be happier with just about any of the MKT's rivals. Even some non-luxury models have surpassed it in terms of features and refinement." -- Edmunds
  • "With the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, the 2015 Lincoln MKT may surprise you with its get-up-and-go. Once at speed, the big 3-row SUV cruises quietly at a relaxed pace, especially when equipped with the available adaptive cruise control." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
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