2010 Lincoln MKS
Ride and handling are tuned for luxury, but there's a hint more sportiness to the car than on I recall from previous MKS models I've driven. It's still not as sporty as its platform-mate, the SHO, but it's an improvement over 2009 models. There's still plenty of luxury-car feel, though--the ride is definitely set to the softer side. Some float and wallow is apparent, although there is less crashing over bumps and harshness over broken pavement than before.
On the inside, the interior is handsome, but minor details disappoint. There's too much plastic in what should be a premium cabin, and even some of the soft-touch surfaces feel a little cheap. There's no excuse for the presence of some of the same switchgear that is found is much cheaper Ford products.
Getting the seating position just right isn't easy, but at least most controls are within easy reach of the driver. Another plus is the presence of old-fashioned control knobs for the certain audio and climate-control functions. And as usual, Sync is a system that generally user-friendly.
I say in general, because the voice-recognition system wasn't always on top of its game--I ended up in a screaming match with the system in traffic in downtown Chicago. Since an argument with an artificially intelligent system is one that you cannot win, I gave up out of frustration, tired of repeating myself. Ford says that the next generation of Sync, unveiled earlier this month, will eliminate some of the redundant steps that plaque the current system. Let's hope it also hears commands correctly on the first try.
The park-assist feature could come in handy for city-dwellers, but the one time I used it to attempt to parallel park, it was a bit off when it came to lining up the car--I did better when I deactivated the system and parked it myself the old-fashioned way. Still, with some getting used to, I think the system could be worth it for urbanites who parallel park frequently.
Ecoboost may add power, but in the case of this test car, it did not add fuel-economy--I averaged 16.5 miles per gallon over almost 114 miles of mixed city and highway driving. The extra weight of the all-wheel drive hardware probably doesn't help here. EPA ratings are 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
When it was introduced for the 2009 model year, I felt that the MKS was a step in the right direction for Lincoln, despite its flaws. Adding the EcoBoost engine makes it better, and overall, the car felt more buttoned-down than previous versions I've driven. The ride-and-handling balance between soft and sporty is improved, although Ford still has some work to do here. And the interior, while nice enough, isn't even in the same class as that of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse--which costs much less--let alone in the same class as Lexus or Audi.
The 2010 MKS is better than the 2009 version. Now, it just needs to take a few more steps along the current path, and it will then be a complete enough car to mount a serious challenge in its class.