Following through on its promise to deliver more attractive, efficient and yet still powerful vehicles as it pushes to rejuvenate its once-stagnant Lincoln brand, Ford has today confirmed its plans for the all-new MKT large crossover. Based on the concept vehicle of the same name, which was itself a very production-looking vehicle styled similarly to the brand-new 2009 MKS sedan, the MKT will make its sales debut during the 2009 calendar year, and will feature Ford's latest technologies, including an EcoBoost engine and Sync entertainment system.
Targeted at buyers that want a do-it-all sort of vehicle, the MKT large crossover will sit alongside the two-row MKX crossover in Lincoln's all-new lineup, while the MKS sedan, which shares a great deal of styling cues and some mechanical elements with the MKT tops the sedan range.
The production version of the car will retain a great deal of the concept's styling, including the distinctive bow-wave and double-wing grille, thick C-pillars and cantilevered roof.
“The MKT will offer the comfort of a luxury sedan, the spaciousness and flexibility of a crossover and the performance of a sports sedan, courtesy of its EcoBoost engine,” says Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas division. “At the same time, this perfect blend of performance and power is elegantly wrapped in the refined design cues that have become synonymous with modern Lincolns.”
While that is laden with marketing language, it's clear that Lincoln is betting heavily not only on the appearance and accommodation of the new MKT, but also on its performance credentials. That's something of an odd choice for a three-row crossover, but with the EcoBoost engine under hood, it's understandable.
The engines at the heart of the new MKT large crossover will include the 3.7L V6 unit that also powers the MKS sedan, rated at 270hp (201kW) and 265lb-ft (360Nm) of torque plus the new 3.5L EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, estimated to produce 340hp (253kW) and 340lb-ft (460Nm) of torque in the MKT's implementation. The MKT will be among the first vehicles to get the EcoBoost engine, along with the MKS and the Ford Flex. The combination of direct injection and turbocharging in the engine are claimed to provide 20% better fuel economy while reducing emissions by 15%, compared to larger displacement naturally aspirated engines.
Ford says it will produce 750,000 EcoBoost-equipped cars each year within five years of their introduction, which will begin in 2009.
High-tech features will abound in the new MKT as well. Featuring Ford's proprietary Sync implementation of Microsoft's automotive computing platform, the MKT will also feature an all-new navigation system plus blind-spot monitoring and a cross-traffic alert system. Working in conjunction with the blind spot information system, Cross Traffic Alert warns the driver of impending traffic while backing out of a parking spot. When cross traffic is approaching, an indicator light provides a warning in the corresponding outside mirror, as well as an audible warning.
The cross-traffic alert system does this by using the two multibeam radar units inside the MKT's rear quarter panels. Sensitive enough to pickup an object moving at speeds above 18mph within a 65ft (20m) range on either side of the vehicle, the system helps enhance security and safety whether backing out of a parking space or changing lanes on the highway.