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2009 Lincoln MKSIf I had to pick the two most significant new luxury cars for 2009, I'd choose the Hyundai Genesis and the Lincoln MKS. We talked about the Genesis last week -- loved it! -- so now let's turn the spotlight on the Lincoln MKS.

The MKS is a critical product -- it's the car that's going to set a new direction for Lincoln. In many ways, the MKS is a metaphor for Lincoln's parent company, Ford -- on the one hand, it's packing lots of new technology (or, at the very least, new to Ford). On the other hand, it's based on an older platform (albeit a rather decent one). So how does this marriage of the new and the familiar work? Find out in my 2009 Lincoln MKS test drive and review.

Thoughts on the Lincoln MKS? Click the "comments" link below or use the "Write a Review" link in the article. -- Aaron Gold

photo © Aaron Gold

November 6, 2008 at 4:45 am
(1) Johnster says:

It sounds like an honest review of a decent car. How do you think it compares to the Buick Lucerne and the Cadillac DTS?

Larger cars like the Lincoln MKS and Ford Taurus appeal to older drivers who like bench seats (and who buy Buick Lucernes and Cadillac DTSs with bench seats). I think Ford made a mistake in not offering that as an option in their Taurus, Sable, and MKS.

The MKS kind of seems like a “placeholder” to sell until Lincoln can come up with something better.

November 6, 2008 at 10:04 am
(2) Fl. Allen says:

Jonster is right in that Lincoln, Buick, Cadillac have been classified as appealing to the older crowd cars.
Our local Lincoln delar just closed its doors after eons of being a profitable shop. On the other hand The Cadillac dealer just moved and built a grand new building and increased in size x2. Cadillac has a winner in its CTS line with edgy styling and a much improved interior. The CTS now in my opinion draws from a much larger audience of buyers something Ford/Lincoln needs to be able to provide in the MKS line.

November 6, 2008 at 10:36 am
(3) Agent Mike says:

Aaron, You are dead on, Why would the average american spend that kind of money on a Lincoln for that price, Front wheel drive, and those crappy MPG’s ? BMW 5 series (entry level) Lexus, Honda Accord (Maxed out.) Genesis, Infiniti, Audi 4 series, all are close in price, and they aren’t dressed up Tauruses. I’m sorry to say that american car makers just don’t get it. And at the rate they are going, all 3 will be out of business before the light bulb ever comes on.

November 6, 2008 at 11:12 am
(4) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Johnster — I think you have it right when you refer to the MKS as a placeholder. It’s not a bad car, just not a great car. I didn’t have room for more comparisons, but I think the Lucerne is a great alternative, as is the Chrysler 300. Haven’t driven a DTS in a while, so I can’t comments. But if we’re going to label the MKS an old man’s car, I do like the MKS’ all-wheel-drive grip. I remember how my grandfather drove shortly before he hung up the keys, and I would have felt a lot safer were he at the wheel of an MKS with AWD, ESC and six airbags. — Aaron

November 6, 2008 at 11:35 am
(5) J to the G says:

Anyone have any insight into the MKZ? That is the Lincoln I am curious about…

November 6, 2008 at 11:42 am
(6) Steve in Georgia says:


Many of your criticisms of the MKS are centered around value. That is, at the MKS price point there are other, perhaps better choices from Lexus, Infiniti or even Hyundai.

But there is a flaw in your argument. And the flaw is that the Lincoln, like almost all cars from the Detroit Three, can be bought from a dealer at a huge discount off the list price, even by a novice at the car buying game. Lexus and Infinity on the other hand, will routinely sell for an amount very close to their list price, even with a expert negotiator doing the buying.

Consumer Reports magazine makes the same invalid value argument as you do in its car tests. I realize that you donít buy the cars that you test, so I can sympathize with your price comparisons a little more than I can with Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports though has no excuses: they buy the cars they test, so they know very well what the car actually cost them.

I am guessing that your $46,000 MKS could be bought by a careful shopper for $38,000 or less. Perhaps as little as $36,000. How would your loaded, all wheel drive MKS compare to its competitors at this actual typical sale price?

November 6, 2008 at 12:10 pm
(7) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Steve –

A good point, and one I should address. The spread on an MKS (difference between MSRP and dealer invoice) is around $2950 to $4200 depending on options. I don’t know if Ford has a holdback program ($$ rebated to the dealer by the mfr after sale), but from what I know of the biz, dealers generally don’t deal into the holdback. So the best you can expect to do on a $46,000 MKS would be about $42,000. Lincoln isn’t offering any cash-back deals, but let’s say they put $2000 on the hood — so now you’re at $40,000. If someone told me they got the car for $38,000, I’d want to see the rest of the deal. Chances are the dealer is showing a lower price, but making up the profit elsewhere in the sale — financing, extended warranty, or aftermarket items like an alarm or undercoating. I would be really, really, *really* surprised if someone could walk into a dealership and pay $38,000 cash for a $43,000 MKS with no cash back and *no* aftermarket anything — just the car itself. Dealers aren’t in business to lose money. (Talk at length with anyone who says they “beat up” the dealer and bot their car for thousands under invoice, and you’ll generally find there’s more to the story — aftermarket, dealer-arranged financing, the car was a dealer demo and is technically used, etc.)

Like the domestics, Hyundai dealers are also willing to deal, and they frequently do cash-back offers. So one could argue that it would be just as easy to negotiate a deal on the Hyundai. (Although it seems like demand for the Genesis is pretty strong right now.)

Edmunds.com (among other sites) tracks what people are paying for their cars. Not sure how accurate their numbers are, but according to them, the MKS is selling for about $2k under sticker. Genesis is selling for pretty close to sticker. ’09 Lexus ES350 is going for about $1500 under sticker (though complete info, including the spread, is not available; 08s are selling for close to invoice).

But I digress. Let’s say you can negotiate a fully-loaded front-drive MKS for $42,000 (which would be $about 5-6k under sticker; I’m skepical) or a fully-loaded Genesis V8 for $42,000 (sticker price). In my opinion, in terms of value-for-money, the Genesis is still the better deal. — Aaron

November 6, 2008 at 1:15 pm
(8) AndyS says:

Just look at the Lincoln (Ford) product line-up. I think they are very out-of-touch with the general public. Throwing tech gadgets in an old-persons car won’t help much either. They need an edgy, refined, sculpted and classy design that is not full of cheap plastic, big boat-fenders, clunky-styling, oversized Fisher-Price headlights, a child-safety-gate for a grille, and an overall bland, generic-look. Take styling cues from: Acura (handsome/edgy), Lexus (plush), Infiniti, Cadillac (edgy), Mercedes (timeless/elegant), BMW (aggressive), Audi, Hyundai Genesis, and others. If Ford/Lincoln want success, they need to open their eyes and learn from others who are successful rather than staying in their closed-minded, ‘I know what people want’-rut. They need to put out a car that will “WOW” the public.

November 6, 2008 at 1:31 pm
(9) AndyS says:

…the only thing that WOW-ed me was the $42,000 sticker price. (Who would spend that kind of money on a Ford product??? Seriously? Just flush your money away.) For that kind of money, I would just go the extra mile, splurge the $9k difference, and get the stunning new Mercedes //AMG C63 with 451HP *DROOL* (which will also have a WAY better residual value)

You only live once, might as well enjoy it.

November 7, 2008 at 2:21 pm
(10) Jerry Kates says:

Being 65 years old, I look for comfort, value and reliability.
If I was in the market now, I would certainly look at Mercury Grand Marquis. There are 2008 models left over with an MSRP at $26,000.00 with a rebate of $5000.00.
What a terrific buy and a lot of car for the money and gas prices are very low.

November 9, 2008 at 3:26 am
(11) hawaiian don says:

Once again “parts bin auto design” made so famous by the “k car” and the kind of thinking that made Detroit lazy and fat, while the rest of the world’s car industries passed them by, has evidenced itself by this latest “new” model from Lincoln. Now it’s hard to blame them, due to their lack of cash. I fear that they may never have the cash to really get back into the game, unless our govt comes to their rescue like England did with Rolls. If we don’t help them, I’m afraid they will slowly break up into parts, be bought up, or just go bankrupt. If they are to survive, they have to be totally dedicated to innovative energy efficient technologies, beyond any of their competitors.This will play well with our new president’s strategies, our energy shortfalls and global warming. If they refuse to make the change…sayonara!

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