2009 Lincoln MKS AWD

2009 Lincoln MKS AWD

I attended the launch of the MKS three months ago in Washington, D.C., and my feelings on the car haven't changed much. There is very little here to capture the attention of an enthusiast driver, although the arrival next spring of the EcoBoost turbocharged, direct-injected V-6 should help matters a bit. For those who just want a roomy, luxurious sedan from an American nameplate, though, there's plenty to like, as the cabin is nicely turned out, and the stereo and navigation interfaces, as my colleagues already have noted, are world-class.

As others have explained, the core compromise in this car is the fact that it's based on the previous-generation Volvo S80 platform, which dates back to the mid-1990s. Those underpinnings are good enough to serve today for the Ford Taurus (which used to be called the Five Hundred), but they have nowhere near the pedigree needed for a car that is supposed to serve as the flagship of a resurgent luxury brand.

With the Ford Motor Company's many current travails, its proposed future rear-wheel-drive car platform is in limbo, which is a shame, because Lincoln cannot and will not be a world-class competitor to Cadillac, Lexus, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and all the usual suspects without it. This is what happens when a car company takes its eye off car development, as Ford did for more than a decade while it soaked up huge profits from trucks and SUVs. And now that it has had to spin off Jaguar to Tata in a desperate move to raise cash, Ford cannot even take the excellent new Jaguar XF sedan and reengineer and rebadge it as a Lincoln, which would not be a bad car at all.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

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