The 2014 Lincoln MKS is the company's flagship sedan, outfitted with Lincoln's signature double-winged grille that was introduced last year. While Cadillac has taken a decidedly BMW-like approach to reinventing itself, Lincoln has chosen to equate technology with luxury. And in many ways it succeeds, as the MKS provides the latest innovations in driver-assist, safety and infotainment systems.
But with so much modern technology available on less expensive cars, some shoppers may be left wondering why they should pay so much to get high-end equipment in a Lincoln. That's especially true when you consider the MKS model's styling, which is largely generic aside from the brand's distinctive grille. In other words, the MKS has trouble standing out -- an area in which so many of its rivals excel.
What's New for 2014?
The MKS carries over last year's upgrades, including a more powerful 3.7-liter V6 and a host of standard features, such as the advanced Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension system. For 2014, the MKS gains new color choices, a standard rearview camera and a lower price tag.
What We Like
Roomy interior; powerful standard 3.7-liter V6 engine and optional EcoBoost V6; available all-wheel drive offers all-weather security; wide and comfortable front seats
What We Don't
Despite a new grille, styling is still somewhat generic; MyLincoln Touch can be complex; too much black plastic on the center console and dash; thick pillars can create blind spots
The MKS offers two engines. The front-wheel-drive MKS comes with a 304-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates for this combination are 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway.
The all-wheel-drive (AWD) MKS uses the same engine. However, as AWD adds weight and complexity, fuel economy dips slightly to 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy. The final engine is an available 365-hp EcoBoost V6. That's the same engine that powers the muscular Ford Explorer Sport, as well as many of Ford's F-150 pickups. It's only available with all-wheel drive, and it returns an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The Lincoln MKS is available in two trim levels: MKS and MKS EcoBoost.
Standard features on the MKS include a remote vehicle starter, heated and cooled front seats, a MyLincoln Touch infotainment system that includes an 8-inch touchscreen, configurable instrument cluster screens and Ford's SYNC infotainment system. Also standard is dual-zone automatic climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio, a remote vehicle starter, adaptive HID headlights, automatic high beams, 12-way power front seats, push-button start and Lincoln's SecuriCode exterior keypad.
The MKS EcoBoost adds a more powerful engine, 20-in wheels and AWD.
The MKS also boasts a long list of options. The Elite Group adds blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, voice-activated navigation, power adjustable pedals, THX II audio with HD radio and iTunes tagging, a power rear sunshade and multicontour massaging front seats.
The Technology package adds collision-mitigation braking, Active Park Assist, adaptive cruise control and Lane Keep Assist, while the Cold Weather Package adds heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Standalone options include AWD on the base MKS and a dual-panel power moonroof.
The MKS has an array of standard safety measures, including front, front-side and full-length side-curtain airbags. Standard safety equipment includes Lincoln's forward and reverse sensing system, blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera, electronic traction and stability control and CCD suspension. In an accident, the SOS Post Crash Alert System will honk the horn and flash the hazard lights.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2014 Lincoln MKS high marks in all of its crash tests and named it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also awarded the 2014 MKS high marks, giving it a 5-star overall score (out of five stars) in its latest crash tests.
Behind the Wheel
Compared with the old rear-drive Town Car so commonly associated with Lincoln, the MKS is a far better driver's car. The ride is still smooth and the cabin devoid of noise, but where the old Town Car would float and wander about the freeway, the MKS stays firmly planted, handling curves with ease and offering the driver a good sense of the road via the variable-rate power steering.
The all-wheel-drive version sticks to the road better than its front-wheel-drive counterpart and is especially desirable with the marvelous EcoBoost V6. Where the standard 3.7-liter V6 provides good acceleration and passing power, it's the turbocharged rush of the EcoBoost that makes the MKS feel like the real deal. The engine's low-end torque isn't quite as strong as with the Hemi-powered Chrysler 300, but you won't find yourself bored with the acceleration, either. And while mashing the throttle of a big V8 will likely earn you about 15 mpg if you're lucky, the EcoBoost consistently delivers fuel economy in the low to mid 20s, even with the gas pedal regularly pinned to the floor.
Other Cars to Consider
Audi A6 -- The A6 is a much more refined and substantial luxury car, and its resale value far exceeds that of the MKS. But its base engine is a turbocharged 4-cylinder versus the MKS model's V6, and it can get pricey when you add options.
Cadillac CTS -- The CTS is a far better performer, especially in ride and handling. But the CTS model's sporty suspension also creates a firmer ride.
Hyundai Equus -- A comparably equipped Equus costs about $10,000 more than the MKS, but it offers a V8 engine, more high-end features such as heated and cooling rear seats with power lumbar support, more interior room and a better warranty.
If you're planning to drop $50,000 on a car, there are better choices in the luxury-car field. If you have your heart set on the MKS, go with the all-wheel-drive and EcoBoost version loaded with every option, as it's a high-tech luxury car with an exciting engine.