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2013 Lincoln MKS

2013 Lincoln MKS Reviews
Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.0

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by bigtruckseries:      Apr 11, 2012 - Updated Apr 18, 2012

Product Rating: 4.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Exterior and interior redesign improves on the outgoing model. MOAR POWER!!!
Cons: Touch panel system system.  Interior comfort issues.
The Bottom Line: The refreshed 2013 MKS is a visual improvement over its predecessor. Unfortunately, the new touch-sensitive infotainment system may be as big a handicap as its unjustifiably high price.

I have two uncles who’ve purchased Lincoln MKS sedans brand new with the Ecoboost engines. One of them is planning to take his 2010 MKS back to the dealer to re-lease the 2013 model.  For the time that he’s had his model, he’s absolutely loved it. It has been very reliable. Over 40,000 miles the only time it ever spent in the shop was for a malfunctioning HVAC sensor.  I’ve driven it on numerous occasions and ridden in it as a passenger on many more.  The MKS is a legitimate luxury car and for the new model year, Ford has refreshed it with a revised interior, its new touch sensitive infotainment system and a more refined exterior appearance that’s as elegant as it is polarizing.

The only complaint that my family members share is that the car never received a V8 engine. The twin turbo Ecoboost is  “ok”, but, it doesn’t give them the torque or power they were used to when they were rolling Crown Victorias,  and the Lincoln LS.   


Please read this review first so you know what I had to say about the original MKS. 
Many of my disappointments with the original MKS remain:

#1 The center tunnel is so wide and high that it effectively bunkerizes the driver and passenger (like a cockpit). The steering wheel still doesn’t telescope (back or up) enough for me to drive comfortably. Smaller people may not have a problem with this, but, they might not like the seat height. The driver’s seat does not lower as deep into the floor as the passenger’s seat does.

#2  The shift paddles have been made slightly smaller, but, stupidly, they are still made of flimsy feeling plastic. Besides my bewilderment as to why an AWD car this size has them at all, I am left wondering why they aren’t made of chrome?

#3 The car doesn’t feel as spacious as smaller cars – namely: the Chrysler 300,  or even the new Hyundai Azera.  This is still influenced by the coupe-like roofline which decreases some headroom in front and back in the name of style.

I am happy that the driver can now opt for two “multicontour” chairs up front - which complement the heating/cooling functions with a lumbar massager. Unfortunately the mechanicals here are nowhere near as pronounced as they are in Mercedes’ multicontour equipped cars.

MKS has one of the largest trunks you’ll find. 18.4 cubes will fit inside.  This is more than enough for large luggage pieces or several golf bags.


The outgoing MKS offered “SYNC” which effectively combined navigation, smartphone syncing via Bluetooth, XM navigation/traffic, voice controls and HD quality sound.  Unfortunately, as well as the system functioned, it didn’t carry the premium look of the infotainment centers in German cars.  Ford has replaced SYNC with a completely touch sensitive panel referred to as “My Lincoln Touch”. I’m starting to think that was a mistake.  

The touch sensitive plastic panel operates the HVAC system and the basic radio controls. Everything else is actuated via the touchscreen itself. I don’t have a problem with the touchscreen, but, the touch panel is terrible. The volume slider for example isn’t responsive enough and in some cases you don’t know where to actually touch the panel. I found myself jabbing away at the chrome accents.   It’s easiest to use the redundant controls on the steering wheel, but, at highway speeds, the touch panel can be a mental resource hog to operate.  The voice activated features work decently, but, the responses are a bit on the slow side.  The best touch system I’ve used was in the 2012 Chrysler 300. This system looks upscale, but, it can be very finicky to actually use.

The steering wheel has been redesigned with clearly defined functions. There are two main pads which control vehicle functions or nav/radio functions respectively.  The gauges are virtual: brightly colored active matrix LCD screens. The system is similar to the one I first used in the Ford Fusion and it truly helps improve the “luxury” aspect of the MKS’ technological offerings.  I also love the new “gap” switch which easily allows you to change the following distance in the radar guided cruise control.  Buyers will also be happy to know that the trunk button is now located where it should be: next to the wheel instead of inside the glove compartment!


The original MKS was launched with a front wheel drive 3.7-liter V6 that only produced 273 HP and 270 pounds of torque. We were extremely disappointed that Ford had abandoned the V8 in its new flagship while virtually all of its competitors were churning out full-sized cars with standard /optional V8 engines – even Hyundai.  Of course, this was a tactical move for the time since gasoline prices were hovering around $4 at the time.    The optional twin-turboed 3.5-liter V6,  “Ecoboost”, was not released until a year later. The Ecoboost MKS produced  355 HP and  350 pounds of torque.    MKS weighed over 4100 pounds and was consequently slow to 60.  It also  suffered from a lethargic transmission that was overly eager to skip to the highest gears available for maximum fuel efficiency.   The Ecoboost V6 gave the MKS the power it needed, but, buying the Ecoboost  version carried  a premium cost (over $5000) and necessitated inclusion of AWD.  

The 2013 MKS improves upon the efficiency of both available engines by adding independent variable valve timing.  This grants the 3.7-liter an extra 21 horses (304 hp and 279 lb-ft of torque), while the Ecoboost version gains an extra 10 horses  (365HP/ 350 lb-ft of torque).      The net result is most noticeable in the base model. The car now offers more pull earlier on and I’m certain that in a side-by-side drag, the 2013 could pull away from the original.  While I would normally recommend paying the extra money and grabbing the Ecoboost, you don’t necessarily have to. Just know you won’t be racing anyone - especially the full sizers from Dodge, Chrysler or Hyundai.

The 2013 Ecoboost MKS still handles and accelerates like the current model.  The almost lagless turbos spin up quickly and provide a powerful sensation of  “launching” forward.  Thanks to a quicker steering ratio, the Ecoboost model handles its speed well when you take it into turns, but, it still doesn't feel as spirited as the 2008 Lincoln LS.   The “eco” in ecoboost can be found in its real-world fuel economy returns.  The sticker claims the car can achieve 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.  My uncle’s 2010 MKS regularly gets 21 mpg (combined)  and I saw slightly over 22 in the 2013.  Of course, if fuel efficiency means more to you than thrust, you could just as easily opt for the base car which offers 18 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway.  I observed  19.7 mpg in Manhattan’s stop and go city traffic.

The ride quality of the MKS is what continues to make it feel like a legitimate luxury car. The cabin is dead silent – approaching Lexus levels of silence at highway speeds in the 80’s.  The MKS handles bumps and road imperfections like a champ – even if you are riding on the upgraded 20” wheels.  With the exception of the Lexus LS or Mercedes S550 you aren’t likely to find better ride comfort in a car this size. Those cars cost a lot more.

The brakes have also been improved with larger rotors and pads. Unfortunately, you still can’t buy Brembo brakes from the dealer, but, the new OEM braking system offers a faster, smoother stop without the mushy feel of the previous model’s pedal.

Lincoln is now boasting about MKS' improved handling: “Lincoln Drive Control: E.P.A.S” (Electronic Power assisted Steering). This system basically give’s the MKS’ all wheel drive system a more aggressive feel like you’d expect in AWD cars that claim to have “super handling”.  Driving the 2013 MKS fast and hard on the highway feels more responsive than before and if you find yourself accelerating hard into banked turns you won’t notice torque steer where you noticed it in the outgoing model.  This is a marked improvement, but, doesn’t change the fact the car’s steering wheel transmits almost no road feel back to the driver.  You want road feel?  Buy a Chrysler 300c instead.

Some lessons have been taken from Mercedes Benz. The new lane keeping assist warns you if you cross lane lines by beeping, shaking the wheel and flashing a coffee pot symbol.  If you are one of those drivers in love with tech nannies, there is a blind spot warning system available with cross path traffic detection.  This comes in handy if you don’t pay attention to blind spots or find yourself backing out of parking lots a lot.

When the car launched years ago, Ford made lots of noise about MKS' “self parking” feature. My uncle bought it in his (I made a video of it in action on my Youtube) and to its credit, works as advertised. Thing is, he almost never uses it and the novelty wore off fast. Unless you really must have every feature, I see no reason spending extra for it.  Easier to park the car yourself.



The interior of the MKS looks better, but, I don’t truly think the exterior looks better. I actually liked the old MKS’  Maserati–like tailamps and its “baleen” grill.  Now, the front end reminds me of the Napster logo and the tail end just looks...odd.  

The price of the MKS is still exorbitant.  The base car starts at $42,000 for the 3.7-liter  front wheel drive model and rises to $44,800 when you tack on AWD.  If you want Ecoboost, which I doubt is still necessary, it will set you back another $5000.  Expect to see dealer equipped Ecoboost models starting at $50,000 and topping out at $59,000. 

The equipment packages are expensive.  The first equipment package ($2800) adds navigation, a power rear sunshade,  premium THX audio,  heated steering wheel,  the Blind Spot/Cross path detection and power adjusting pedals with memory setting.   The second package ($4800) includes everything in the first, but adds:  multicontour seats up front,  parallel parking system,  lane keeping assist, heated rear seats and  higher end wood.  (I say: get the multicontour seats and skip the rest).  Adaptive cruise control will set you back  $1295 and  the panoramic sunroof will add another 1695.

You can’t compare the MKS to the German full sizers because those cars cost over $30,000 more and have interiors carved almost entirely from wood and leather, but, when you compare it to the Hyundai R-Spec and the Chrysler 300c/SRT8, you end up with a big car that isn’t as comfortable or as powerful.

The MKS' strongest competitor is actually the 2013 Taurus SHO.
SHO is virtually the same car, with less polarizing looks and costs about $13,000 less than the MKS. The only thing you won't be able to get is the panoramic moonroof.


I honestly like the MKS, but, feel the car is about $5000 overpriced, especially in a world where more and more carmakers (i.e: Hyundai and Chrysler) are giving you similar technology for less money. What sets this car apart is its excellent ride quality, premium interior feel and the Lincoln badge – whatever that means…
Amount Paid (US$): 56,000
Model and Options: all equipment included
Product Rating: 4.0
Recommended: Yes 
Build Quality  
Seat Comfort:  

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