The 2015 Lincoln MKS covers all the luxury-sedan basics and costs less than many competitors, but there are better choices out there for a large, premium-brand sedan.
If you option the 2015 Lincoln MKS with the Elite package, you get a six-year subscription to Sirius/XM traffic data and Travel Link services versus a mere six-month subscription last year. All MKS sedans also have a slightly restyled trunk lid to facilitate easier operation of its release button. Otherwise, the MKS is unchanged.Read more
Spacious interior; plentiful standard features; good power and fuel economy from the turbocharged V6.
Plenty of luxury-brand models share major components with the mainstream cars their parent company also produce. The art comes in making sure the more expensive car looks, feels and performs better than its workaday corporate counterpart. Lincoln has tried to distance the 2015 Lincoln MKS from the mechanically similar Ford Taurus. And in many ways, the MKS does feel like a more premium product. Ultimately, though, Lincoln's large sedan has a tough time standing out in a field that's crowded with some truly excellent cars.
Make no mistake, the 2015 MKS has its competitive aspects. It's available with a strong optional V6 engine, and it features a very slick-looking touchscreen electronics interface (although it can be frustrating to use at times). And if space is what you need, this Lincoln has a satisfyingly large backseat. On the other hand, there's no disguising the MKS's dated styling, or the fact that most of its competitors now outpace its once cutting-edge list of tech features.
Few could quibble with the serene manner in which the 2015 Lincoln MKS undertakes a long interstate cruise, but detail-oriented shoppers will notice that its ride quality isn't as plush or refined as that of most other sedans in this price range. Similarly, its handling around turns isn't especially sure-footed, and although that might not be a deal breaker for you, there's no denying that most competitors have better balance in everyday driving situations. Like many premium-brand sedans, the MKS offers all-wheel drive as an option, potentially making it more desirable for buyers in northern states and giving it an advantage over a rival such as the Lexus ES 350.
Competitors to the 2015 Lincoln MKS run the gamut. Lincoln's big sedan is, of course, substantially less expensive than European imports like the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, although a heavily optioned MKS with the 365-horsepower EcoBoost V6 can run into the neighborhood of these sedans, all of which are more refined though not necessarily more luxurious unless fitted with pricey options. The 2015 MKS compares more directly with entry-level luxury sedans such as the Acura TLX and RLX, Cadillac XTS, Chrysler 300, Hyundai Genesis and the aforementioned ES 350. Within this group, the 2015 Lincoln MKS could be a good value, but you'll find most of these competitors better to drive, better equipped and more daringly styled.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Lincoln MKS sedan comes in three trim levels: FWD (front-wheel drive), AWD (all-wheel drive) and EcoBoost.
The FWD and AWD models come with standard 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, rear parking sensors, adaptive xenon headlamps, automatic high beams, foglights, remote start, keyless ignition/entry, exterior keypad entry and heated mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming.
Inside, you'll find leather upholstery, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with driver memory settings and four-way lumbar adjustment), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, Lincoln's Sync voice control, the MyLincoln Touch touchscreen electronics interface, a mobile WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
The MKS EcoBoost is similarly equipped but comes with a more powerful turbocharged V6 engine, standard all-wheel drive (optional on other versions) and 20-inch wheels.
There are several optional packages. The Elite package (Equipment Group 101A/201A) includes blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, front multicontour seats with a massage feature, power-adjustable pedals, a power rear sunshade, a premium 16-speaker surround-sound audio system (with HD radio), a navigation system, Sirius/XM Travel Link services and a premium wood accent package. With the Elite package equipped, you can then add the Cold Weather package (heated steering wheel and heated rear seats) and the Technology package, which features adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system, lane-keeping assist and an automated parallel-parking system.
The only major stand-alone options are 20-inch wheels (for FWD and AWD) and a dual-panel sunroof.
Powertrains and Performance
The FWD and AWD models use the same engine and transmission combo: a 3.7-liter V6 matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine generates 305 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway). The MKS AWD drops to 21 mpg combined (18 city /26 highway).
The EcoBoost model also is all-wheel drive but is powered by a different, more powerful V6: a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter that develops 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, a Lincoln MKS EcoBoost dashed from zero to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway).
The 2015 Lincoln MKS comes standard with stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Also standard is a MyKey feature that allows owners to set certain driving parameters for teen drivers. Sync also offers an emergency crash notification service that automatically dials 911 in the event of an airbag deployment.
Options include adaptive cruise control combined with a frontal collision warning with brake support (it primes the brake system to reduce braking distances in a potential panic stop) along with blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems and lane-keeping assist.
In government crash tests, the MKS earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with five out of five stars for overall frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the MKS earned a top rating of "Good" for its safety in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength testing, but a "Poor" rating in the IIHS small-overlap frontal crash test.
Interior Design and Special Features
There's an inviting and agreeable ambience to the 2015 Lincoln MKS's interior, thanks to a wealth of generally high-quality materials and a simple and restrained design that takes pains not to overload the eyes with excessive lines, shapes, buttons and switches. The dashboard ahead of the front passenger is an uncluttered expanse of soft, padded material intersected with a single strip of wood-and-metal trim, setting a calm, minimalist tone for the entire cabin.
All that minimalism doesn't necessarily contribute to an improved driver experience, though. The primary reason the dashboard's center stack is so pleasingly uncluttered is due to the MyLincoln Touch touchscreen interface and touch-sensitive, "field-effect" slider controls that displace the typical knobs and switches for the entertainment and climate control systems. The new-age controls might reduce button count, but as in other Ford and Lincoln vehicles that use variations of this setup, the touchscreen-based controls can be slow to respond, the graphics can be difficult to see while on the move and the entire system can be frustrating to learn and ultimately enjoy. The field-effect touch controls certainly look starship-grade, but they're hard to use with any precision and do little to improve overall functionality.
Otherwise, the strength of the 2015 MKS cabin is its abundance of headroom and legroom. Yet even with the sedan's generous passenger volume of almost 106 cubic feet, front seat occupants can get a strangely pinched feeling, as the thickness of the roof pillars, width of the center console and high glass level conspire to make the space seem smaller than it is. There are no such issues in the rear seat, where the comfortably high-mounted seat imparts a more natural seating position, yet still leaves an abundance of headroom. The large rear doors make it easy to enter and exit the rear seat. The trunk of the 2015 Lincoln MKS is massive, its maximum cargo space of 19.2 cubic feet able to swallow multiple full-size suitcases or golf clubs for four.
Although 305 hp sounds like a lot, the 2015 Lincoln MKS's standard 3.7-liter V6 needs most of its reserves to accelerate this large sedan, mainly because the MKS is a heavy car: Even the front-wheel-drive MKS weighs more than 2 tons. The engine is plenty smooth, though, and its performance should please most. The move to the MKS EcoBoost's 365-hp V6 engine (and more importantly, its substantial boost to 350 lb-ft of torque) is an empowering upgrade but comes with a commensurate hike in price. Those who want the foul-weather security of all-wheel drive without the significant extra cost of the EcoBoost model can choose the MKS AWD.
The substantial weight of the MKS gives a distinct impression of solidity and imperviousness to crosswinds during highway travel. There's also a noticeable lack of wind and road noise, making the 2015 MKS a hushed and cozy place to while away interstate trips. On the other hand, ride quality isn't polished as in similarly priced large sedans, nor does the MKS feel especially adept on roads with tight turns.