2018 Lincoln MKT Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Lincoln MKT was new.


Performance: 6.4

The 2018 Lincoln MKT is designed to provide you with a cushioned ride rather than a thrilling drive. The base model does just that, and it has sufficient power for daily driving. The higher trim features a stronger engine with quicker acceleration, and its handling is a little more buttoned-down (but still less athletic than many other luxury midsize SUVs). Fuel economy is below average with either engine.

  • "Although the 2015 Lincoln MKT is a large, three-row crossover (capable of seating six or seven, depending on how you equip it), its performance is pretty impressive, too." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "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)
  • "The driving dynamics don't stand up to a BMW, but they're on par with a Lexus." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)

Acceleration and Power

Each MKT trim has its own engine. The base Premiere trim features a 3.7-liter V6 that puts out 303 horsepower. It has plenty of power for day-to-day driving, but it is not particularly impressive either. A responsive six-speed automatic transmission comes standard.

Shoppers looking for more of a thrill should consider the Reserve trim, which features a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 365 horsepower. This engine will impress you even during strenuous tasks like climbing hills or merging and passing on the highway.

The MKT is quite thirsty. With the base engine, it gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Things are even worse with the twin-turbo engine: 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway.

  • "The base MKT's acceleration is underwhelming. We prefer the stronger power and more buttoned-down feel of the MKT Reserve. The turbocharged V6 has plenty of grunt for passing, and the Reserve's exclusive adaptive suspension improves this big wagon's agility without degrading ride quality." -- Edmunds
  • "Lincoln's excellent 6-speed automatic transmission delivers quick shifts when asked and can be manually controlled via a set of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Although the 3.7-liter V6 doesn't strain to move the MKT, it doesn't exactly inspire, either. The EcoBoost V6 with its 365 hp is the right engine for this vehicle …" -- Autotrader (2014)

Handling and Braking

The base MKT Premiere trim comes standard with front-wheel drive. It delivers a cushioned ride, but it isn't much for hugging corners. There is noticeable body roll around turns, though the steering is accurate.

The MKT Reserve comes with all-wheel drive and an adaptive suspension that adjusts to road conditions in real time. These adjustments improve handling, though the ride isn't quite as soft. The Reserve is the trim you want if you like to be a little more aggressive on winding roads. There are also three driving modes, but there's little difference between them.

In either trim, the MKT features sturdy brakes. The SUV can be a chore to park because it isn't that maneuverable in tight quarters.

  • "On the open road, the MKT cruises effortlessly, returning a very comfortable ride, good feedback from the nicely weighted steering and strong brakes. Base trims display a good degree of lean in the curves, but the … MKT with all-wheel drive (AWD) includes Lincoln Drive Control, which firms things up considerably. LDC features settings for Sport, Comfort and Normal throttle modes, but we were hard-pressed to feel that much of a difference among them." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Likewise, you don't need the adaptive suspension … to enjoy a comfortable ride around town or during interstate cruising. The base MKT's suspension is pleasantly controlled, although this big crossover will lean considerably if you're turning sharply or at higher speeds. … The only place the MKT feels out of place is in tight parking lots because of its considerable length." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Lincoln Drive Control refines the driving experience with a more balanced ride and handling equation, intuitively responding to driver inputs and road surface variables …" -- Autotrader (2014)

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