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2009 Lincoln MKS

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Lincoln MKS Review: Lincoln, Ford’s homegrown luxury brand, has been expanding its reach into smaller sedans, SUVs, crossovers, and even pickup trucks! Now, in a return to its roots, the marque has introduced a new full-size flagship, the MKS.

The name is as undistinguished as the other Lincoln alphanumerics and those of the competition. After a name as memorable and evocative as the highly successful Navigator, you’d think they’d go for something interesting or even historical.

That aside, the new MXS is a handsome piece, in the Lexus/Infiniti mode. The new sedan wears a double-wing grille that’s inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental (Hey - what’s wrong with the name, “Continental?”). The Lincoln logo is featured prominently at both ends of the car, which is good because despite careful historical references, the MKS appears fairly generic.

Inside, all the pieces are there that you’d expect and want. Genuine metallic accents gleam amidst the hand-wrapped, double-stitched leatherette instrument panel. A strip of wood runs down the middle and there is genuine wood on the leather-wrapped steering wheel as well. Behind it are classy gauges with slim chrome rings around them.

The deliciously soft leather on the seats is from Bridge of Weir, the Scottish firm that provided hides for the famous Lincoln Mark II in the 1950s. It is tanned organically. Some of the ebony wood trim is reclaimed from furniture makers. This lets the brand address environmental concerns in a new way.

On that subject, the Lincoln-exclusive 3.7-liter, 273-horsepower V6 engine does fairly well by the EPA’s standards, considering it’s moving a 4,200 pound car around. With a standard six-speed automatic, fuel economy is rated at 16 City, 23 Highway for all-wheel-drive models and bumps up to 17/24 for two-wheel-drive versions. My Sangria Red Clearcoat Metallic tester was the former, and I averaged 16.9 mpg during my test week.

The EPA Green Vehicle guide rates the MKS at 7 for Air Pollution and 5 for Greenhouse Gas - a bit better than average.

With best-in-class interior volume of 105.9 cubic feet and a capacious 18.4-cubic foot trunk, there’s plenty of room for full-sized Americans to stretch out. Rear heated seats are a surprise and a nice selling and seating point.

There’s more. Adaptive cruise control monitors the car ahead, keeping a safe distance automatically. You get full service keyless entry, and Lincoln even offers the renowned Securicode Keyless entry keypad, presented in a modern, heat-sensitive way. It essentially secures the car with a combination lock, so nobody can steal your key and gain entrance.

The list goes on, from rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers to a rearview camera to the SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system developed with Microsoft. I was surprised, though that SYNC made me restart my iPod after parking and coming back to the car.

A few other issues bothered me. The steering wheel moved up when I turned off the car and got out, but wouldn’t return to the setting I wanted when I restarted the car. I checked and found no way other than manually moving it back down each time. I was also disturbed by more road noise than I expected and occasional poor radio reception. And, most surprising, the windshield pillar trim showed a gap and the ceiling-mounted sunglasses holder was misaligned. Those aren’t luxury car traits.

The MKS bristles with technology, which appears to be its strong suit. Fuel economy gets a little boost with a two-speed fuel pump that runs at a low setting when conditions allow. In addition, the Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off system cuts off fuel to the injectors when the driver lifts off the gas when the car’s moving on the freeway. Little things add up.

The THX Certified 5.1 Surround Sound audio system turns the MKS into a four-wheeled concert hall. The car becomes an art gallery as well, when you upload your own photos to display on the eight-inch color display.

Prices for the MKS start at $39,315 for the two-wheel-drive model and $41,205 for the all-wheel-drive version. The Ultimate Package on my tester, at $5,715, threw in a boatload of features including the Technology Package and Navigation Package. And, among other things, I got lovely 19-inch alloy wheels in the deal. Bottom line MSRP? $45,570.

With the new MKS, the list of features is long, the design is attractive and the effort is good. However, the feeling is that it’s a very nice Ford, not a real luxury car. There’s an intangible something lacking if you put this car next to a Lexus or an Infiniti, and Ford needs to figure out what it is. Then, put it in.

By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

Lincoln MKS Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net

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Column Name: MKS is Lincoln’s new full-size flagship

Topic: The 2009 Lincoln MKS

Word Count: 838

Photo Caption:  The 2009 Lincoln MKS

Photo Credits: Lincoln MKS Internet Media

Series #:  2009 - 39

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