It was a balmy Wednesday morning when we left the office for another day of test drives. With the windows rolled down and little traffic to slow us down, the fresh air flowing through the car added to the general feeling that today would be a fine day. On Capital Boulevard, just a few miles north of Raleigh, there sits an iconic American luxury brand that has redefined itself. Stylish new designs and added power beneath the hood ensure that today’s Lincoln is not the same Lincoln your grandfather once loved.
Writing this review, we realize that stigma is difficult to shed. This labeling exists in every venue of life, and it is equally feared by all. It takes time to find the right voice that captures the newly found essence of who you are. And Lincoln discovered that voice.
Even with its new vision – a more powerful, sporty lineup – the automaker hasn’t abandoned its legacy of prestige and luxury. Nothing was compromised in creating models that appeal to a broader audience, including young professionals. Lincoln’s efforts were concentrated on maintaining its reputation for the lavish-minded and embellish it with a powertrain and technological features that today’s drivers seek.
Leith Lincoln’s dealership embodies the spirit of modernizing the brand. The showroom boasts architecture with an updated aesthetic; a unique amalgamation of traditional luxury and avant-garde. Cool white décor meshes well with the glass walls and open offices. It is the people, however, with their vigor and enthusiasm that best represents the passion that went into engineering these vehicles. And no one has more love for the brand than Carl Banks, Jr.
Much like Phillip Banks (Will Smith’s uncle in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Carl Banks commands your attention – except replace Uncle Phil’s surly demeanor with humor and congeniality. The only thing that rivals the enjoyment of driving a Lincoln is interacting with Carl from the lot to the test drive and back to the dealership. He truly believes in the brand but will not tell you the things you want to hear; he will tell you the things you need to hear.
“A modern-day Hercules wrapped in silk robes.”
If you’ve ever dreamed of a luxurious and tech-savvy vehicle cabin placed on a modified station wagon chassis and given a muscle car engine, then this is the vehicle for you: a 2014 Lincoln MKT.
Carl first walked us around the outside of the car, highlighting some of the features that he felt best represented the brand. A dual-winged grille blends into a set of headlights that start a sleek beltline, giving the vehicle a strong shoulder that embellishes a visually appealing hood. Every line has a purpose and serves it well through creating a flow that gives the MKT an appearance of ceaseless movement. And all of this sweeping motion leads to the center of the grille where the classic Lincoln marque sits.
The design of the MKT maximizes aerodynamics. Each curve was designed with a particular gradient to carry the aforementioned flow and movement across the whole of the vehicle. From every angle, the 2014 Lincoln MKT impresses us with a beautiful mixture of elegance and strength – a modern-day Hercules wrapped in silk robes.
On the inside, the designers at Lincoln did not take a single shortcut in creating a cabin that is thoroughly gratifying. From the available mini-fridge to store your lunch or a favorite beverage to the rich, yet simplified, infotainment system, there is a bevy of features and options with which to lavish your passengers. What may strike you as the most memorable characteristic of the MKT are the buttery leather seats that immerse you in absolute comfort. While other brands focus on sports cars with unforgiving hard leather, Lincoln has mastered the art of luxury.
The dash and much of the trim mirrors the soft, kinesthetically-pleasing leather found on the seats. In the MKT, none of the hollow sounding plastic that cheapens the grandeur of a vehicle was installed. Wood accents augment the class of the cabin and provide a nice contrast to the dark color scheme – in our case, a gorgeous tuxedo black.
There is enough technology to sate the savvy while also formatted in a manner that won’t frustrate the inexperienced. We don’t want to inundate you with a slew of technical jargon and information, so we will leave that up to the professionals like Carl Banks. You may also refer to the model’s page on Leith Lincoln’s website.
“It’s engaging. It’s spirited. It’s just plain fun.”
If looking at a 2014 Lincoln MKT is pleasing, then we must think of an appropriate adjective to describe driving one. This is easy. Getting behind the wheel of an MKT is euphoric. It’s engaging. It’s spirited. It’s just plain fun. You might believe that to offer something that boasts such incredible extravagance, Lincoln would have to sacrifice performance. This could not be further from the truth.
Lincoln drivers are an exceptional breed. They forego throaty exhaust notes for serene cabins; unnecessary acceleration for seamless transitions among gears. We don’t deny the strengths of other brands, but we would task anyone to find a weakness for the 2014 Lincoln MKT.
With hands on the wheel and a vigorous awareness, we flicked the gear shifter on the side of the steering wheel. The MKT immediately responded, wanting to govern the road and arrest the attention of passersby. Though you won’t experience the whiplash pedal response like in an AMG, this vehicle is no slouch. There is no lag time – not a single second of hesitation – between your foot pressing the pedal and the MKT’s reaction. As each gear reaches the maximum RPM, it up-shifts with a silky smoothness that goes virtually unrecognized. You can handily pass traffic on the highway by a mere curling of the toes, but you still should avoid challenging a Lamborghini off the line.
Quattro. AMG. xDrive. On other test drives, we’ve noticed that competitors demand a lot of their marketing department. The emphasis on systems and slogans was absent with the Lincoln – and the presentation of it. To us, that says Lincoln demands a lot of their engineers; it says that every model of every year offers the same quality and maintains the same standard. Even without the designation of some clever nomenclature, the accomplished handling of an MKT is particularly spectacular when considering its size. It clung to corners, remained level, and never screeched despite our best (legal) efforts to do so.
The steering wheel was solid, and it provided enough feedback to keep you aware of the driving experience without detracting from comfort. Every turn, acceleration, and deceleration responded with precision. There exists one facet of driving that was negligible in the Lincoln that we experienced with its competitors: acclimation. It felt as if the MKT adjusted to fit our style of driving, not the other way around. Everything came easy.
We were fortunate enough to have Carl as our brand ambassador. Not only was he congenial and humorous, he has a particularly long route for test drives that give consumers a better feel for the vehicle – in this case, our 2014 Lincoln MKT. Today’s experience did provide uncanny insight for this unique crossover. On serpentine roads, it inspired confidence. On highways, it commanded others’ attention. On our minds, it shall remain.
Don’t allow preconceived notions to dissuade you from this brand. Lincoln earned a reputation in a time period that fit the image it wanted to convey. It has now reimagined itself in a way that truly offers broad appeal. It’s time to reward yourself. It’s time for a 2014 Lincoln MKT.