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2018 Lincoln MKT: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Lincoln MKT, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Lincoln MKT Review

The 2018 Lincoln MKT isn’t the most popular 7-passenger luxury SUV on the market, but it’s certainly one of the most distinctive. Not as muscular or performance-oriented as newer crossovers like the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, the MKT caters to a class whose taste lean more toward comfort, quiet and luxury rather than razor-sharp handling and blistering zero to 60 mile per hour runs.

More compact than its sizable sibling, the Lincoln Navigator, the MKT still provides the space and comfort of a full-size utility vehicle in a 3-row configuration. With amenities galore, passengers will find themselves pampered within this upscale cabin, whether they’re taking a quick trip to the grocery store or a full-on road trip. An unprecedented emphasis on passenger safety makes the MKT even more family friendly, with industry exclusives such as inflatable second-row outboard seat belts.

What’s New for 2018?

Other than new trim names (Premier and Reserve), there are no changes of note to the 2018 MKT. See the 2018 Lincoln MKT models for sale near you

What We Like

Well-crafted interior; an abundance of standard amenities and high-tech features; a powerful twin-turbocharged V6; plush ride and capable handling

What We Don’t

Exterior styling is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition; limited third-row headroom for adults; missing some of the latest technology features; weak fuel economy figures

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The 2018 Lincoln MKT offers two engine choices. Standard on the front-wheel-drive Premier is a 3.7-liter V6, producing 303 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed automatic, this engine delivers fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

The better choice is clearly the Reserve trim’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost direct-injection V6, which employs a twin-turbo to deliver a robust 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It adds full-time Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, Lincoln Drive Control and Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD). Despite its V8-like power, the EcoBoost engine returns fuel economy that’s not far from that of the 3.7-liter V6. The EcoBoost engine receives an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Lincoln MKT is offered in two trim levels: Premier and Reserve.

The MKT Premier ($44,455) vast standard equipment roster includes 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, push-button start, a sunroof, 12-way heated and cooled power front seats, leather upholstery across all rows, 60/40-split folding second-row seat, tri-zone automatic temperature control with rear seat controls, power lift gate, power adjustable foot pedals, rear-door sunshades and a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel. For technology, the base MKT comes with the SYNC 3 infotainment system, MyKey, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, a rearview camera and a 10-speaker stereo system.

The MKT Reserve ($49,950) model is enhanced with a more robust powerplant, standard all-wheel drive, CCD and Lincoln Drive Control. Also standard is a power-folding third-row seat, heated steering wheel, navigation, an upgraded 14-speaker THX sound system and blind spot monitoring. The $2,000 Technology package brings adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, parallel park assist and an advanced collision-warning system.

The Reserve trim also offers some standalone options, such as 20-in wheels, a panoramic sunroof, second-row captain’s chairs with inflatable seat belts and a second-row refrigerated bin to keep beverages cold.

The MKT offers an abundance of cargo space with 17.9 cu ft. behind the third row, 39.6 cu ft. behind the second row and a cavernous 75.9 cu ft. behind the first row.


The MKT benefits from an array of standard safety measures, including front and front side-impact airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags covering all three rows. At the wheels, standard anti-lock brakes are joined by electronic traction control and electronic stability control. Available adaptive cruise control, advanced collision warning, lane-departure warning and cornering headlamps all help to mitigate the risk of an accident. If an accident does occur, the SOS Post-Crash Alert System will honk the horn and flash the hazard lights. Optional inflatable second-row outboard seat belts help minimize torso injury.

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not crashed-tested the Lincoln MKT, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has. The MKT earned top marks in IIHS’s moderate overlap, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

Behind the Wheel

The MKT’s ride and handling are more than adequate for how this vehicle is likely to be used on the freeway and around town. The steering is nicely weighted but also a bit over-assisted. The MKT’s ride is exceptionally smooth, and the cabin is very quiet. Although the 3.7-liter V6 doesn’t strain to move the MKT, it doesn’t exactly inspire, either. The twin-turbocharged V6 with its 365 hp is the right engine for this vehicle, offering both Lincoln Drive Control and CCD. Lincoln Drive Control refines the driving experience with a more balanced ride and handling equation, intuitively responding to driver inputs and road surface variables. CCD enhances ride smoothness and driving dynamics by monitoring and adjusting suspension settings up to 20 times per second based on road conditions and driving style.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Audi Q7 — The Q7 has a more luxurious interior and more advanced optional equipment. It can also be equipped with a choice of turbocharged or supercharged engine, but the MKT offers more horsepower and a lower price.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS — The GLS can be equipped with a choice of twin turbo V6 or V8 engines including a high performance AMG version. The GLS offers more luxury and its resale value far exceeds that of the MKT. You’ll pay for the prestige of the Mercedes name, and in some cases that’s nearly twice the MKT’s base price.

2018 Buick Enclave — The Enclave offers much of the luxury and security of the MKT, but with a roomier third-row seat, a lower price tag and better fuel economy.

Used Infiniti QX60 — A 2013-2016 Infiniti JX35/QX60 will cost less than the MKT and may even still be covered by its original warranty depending on the model year. The QX60’s interior is more lavish, but its V6 engine is not as powerful as the MKT’s twin-turbo V6.

Autotrader’s Advice

Given that the difference in price between the front-wheel-drive Premier V6 and the all-wheel-drive Reserve V6 is only $5,000, we recommend the latter. You get a lot more power, better ride and handling, standard all-wheel drive as well as many more available options. Our advice is to load up your MKT. If you’re going to spring for an upscale ride, you might as well do it right.

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