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This Bluetooth system also works for mobile phones, letting you make hands-free calls. Once a phone is paired to the car, it asks to import the phone book. When this process is complete, you can make calls through voice command, merely saying the name of a person in your phone book you want to call. We've tested this system extensively in the past with great success.
Our car lacked the available blind-spot-detection technology, which lights up an alert in the side view mirror when another car is in the next lane. Without that option, Lincoln fits the upper corners of the mirrors with special inset mirrors, a low-tech way of checking out the blind spot. We prefer the optional system.
As another safety technology, the MKS had collision warning, which relies on the same radar used by the adaptive cruise control. We got to see it in action when, driving manually, we let the MKS roll a little too quickly towards stopped traffic ahead. A red light flashed on the windshield and a tone sounded, giving adequate warning to hit the brakes.
Easy parallel parking
There was one technology in the MKS we couldn't wait to try out, so halfway down to Los Angeles we pulled into a freeway-side town and parked. Actually, the car did most of the work with its automatic parking system. We found a line of cars parked at the curb, pushed the P button next to the shifter, and watched the display on the speedometer that would tell us when the car sensed a space large enough in which it could fit. Having found one, it told us to put the car into reverse, after which it turned the steering wheel sharply, guiding the back of the car into the space. After this initial maneuver, it turned the wheel quickly back, getting the car close to the curb and nicely lined up with the cars in front and back. Given how well this technology worked, we found many other opportunities to try it out, and each time it made the correct maneuvers to get into the space.
At the start of this trip, we had put our destination into the MKS's navigation system, using the points-of-interest database to find our hotel. It gave us a choice of routes, and we picked the more scenic. During our various excursions off the freeway to test out various aspects of the car, the navigation system quickly recalculated our route without any bother, urging us back on course with voice prompts that said the names of the streets on which we needed to turn.
But route guidance was unnecessary for most of the trip, only becoming crucial as we approached Los Angeles and found that, with 58 miles left to go, the trip computer said we could go only 32 more miles with what was left in the tank. We were impressed to make it that far on one tank of gas, even with the large 19 gallon tank in the MKS. The average fuel economy had been hovering around 23.5 mpg for the trip down, coming in a little below the 25 mpg highway figure from the EPA, but far above the city rating of 17 mpg.
Turning to the car's Sirius Travel Link feature, we not only found all the near by gas stations, but scanned their per gallon prices and picked the cheapest one. A touch on the LCD added that gas station as a waypoint to our destination, and we were quickly refilled and back on the road.
Sirius Travel Link also shows traffic, crucial information when driving into Los Angeles. We had an easy cruise on the various freeways into the city, but then hit some seriously slow traffic close to our downtown destination. And sure enough, the traffic flow information on the navigation map showed red. We've seen these Lincoln systems offer detours when there are traffic jams ahead, but this one failed to do so in this circumstance. It could have been that the jam was too short to bother with a detour, or possibly the avoidance feature was turned off in the navigation settings.
While the navigation system's graphic route guidance was generally good, we got a little lost in the downtown Los Angeles streets. It is a complex area, but a little better map resolution and a better lane guidance feature in the navigation system would have helped.
The 2010 Lincoln MKS made this trip very comfortable for the three of us, providing high-tech driving aids and information features. There were a few glitches, the most annoying of which was the dead USB port. Our overall mileage in the car, biased towards the freeway but with a fair bit of heavy urban traffic thrown in, came in at 22.8 mpg, not bad for a car with 355 horsepower.
The MKS' cabin tech previously earned it very high marks in our reviews, but other carmakers have been catching up, although none have quite reached its level. The new driver aid technologies--adaptive cruise control, automatic parking, and blind spot detection--keep the MKS well ahead of other automakers in cabin tech. As for performance tech, the Ecoboost engine is impressive, although merely competitive with the likes of BMW. Still, both companies are producing top engine technology. Lincoln could put a little more work into suspension and transmission technology. Finally, in the area of design, Lincoln has managed to put clear styling language in the sedan body. It's not as dramatic as a Cadillac, but the MKS still marks out a unique Lincoln identity.
|Model||2010 Lincoln MKS|
|Power train||Twin turbo direct injection 3.5-liter V-6|
|EPA fuel economy||17 mpg city/25 mpg highway|
|Observed fuel economy||22.8 mpg|
|Navigation||Optional hard drive-based with traffic, weather, and other data|
|Bluetooth phone support||Standard|
|Disc player||Single CD/DVD, MP3 compatible|
|MP3 player support||iPod, Zune, many others|
|Other digital audio||USB drive, internal hard drive, Bluetooth streaming, auxiliary input, satellite radio|
|Audio system||THX II 14 speaker 600-watt 5.1 surround sound|
|Driver aids||Rear view camera, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, automatic high beams, automatic parallel parking|
|Price as tested||$53,930|