First Drive: 2010 Lincoln MKT

Automobile Magazine has just driven the new, 2010 Lincoln MKT crossover, and although it's not the first Ford vehicle we've driven with the new EcoBoost powertrain, it's the first one we can tell you about (check back here on July 22 for our take on the new Ford Taurus SHO with EcoBoost). The MKT, of course, is the all-new production vehicle based on the similar 2008 MKT concept from the 2008 Detroit auto show. It's based on the same Volvo-derived platform as the Ford Flex and the Lincoln MKS flagship sedan, but it has a completely different interior and exterior from the Flex. It goes on sale late this summer starting at about $45,000.

Radical styling statement
Lincoln's now-signature double-wing chrome grille is used to good effect here. The bustle-back rear harkens to prewar American grand touring cars, and the full-width taillamp strip quickly identifies the car as a Lincoln. Whether you like the overall styling of the MKT (we do), it's nice that 1) it doesn't look even remotely like the Ford Flex; and 2) it looks completely different from all the other three-row crossover vehicles on the road.

Making a big statement inside
The MKT's elegant cabin is well-designed and equipped. Pleasing shades of two-tone leather, good finish quality, and a long list of available equipment ought to satisfy most sybarites. The THX stereo and navigation screen interface are superb, SYNC is available, and even the second-row bucket seats can be heated and cooled. If you choose that seating arrangement, a full-length center console ends in a refrigerator box accessible to both second- and third-row passengers that fits seven beverage cans. Alternately, you can choose a second-row bench seat which increases seating capacity to seven but unfortunately lacks a fold-down center armrest. Fold-and-tumble access to the two third-row seats is easy enough, but those seats are for only occasional use by adults due to a lack of headroom.

The rear hatch opens electrically but exposes a load lip that's too deep for easy access to the cargo area. The third-row seats fold forward or completely flat with ease; power operation will be available later this year.

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