The 2010 Lincoln MKT is a six- or seven-passenger full-sized crossover SUV. First look will tell you there is nothing subtle about the MKT. Styling is blend of today’s most modern elements, seasoned with a hint of Lincoln history beginning with the split waterfall grille and ending with a bustle like rear deck design. The interior hosts stylish design and top-quality materials including leather upholstery and genuine wood trim. The MKT is based on the Ford Flex platform, but odds are no one would make the connection. This is no breadbox look-alike. The MKT is high lighted by a beveled shoulder line with an elevated greenhouse and full-width horizontal tail lamps that span the curved, weight-saving magnesium liftgate. These styling cues not only add visual character, they generously enhance the platforms rear cargo space.

Our test vehicle was the top of the line EcoBoost edition. Standard equipment includes an oversized, fixed panoramic sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights with an auto-high beam feature, 20-inch wheels exclusive to the EcoBoost, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors and a power liftgate. Inside, you’ll find leather seating, 12-way heated and ventilated power front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory settings, a tilt/telescoping steering column, tri-zone automatic climate control, retractable second-row sunshades, a rear 110-volt power outlet and an 8-inch touch screen that displays audio and climate controls and the image from the standard rearview camera. For entertainment there is a 10-speaker audio system with a 10-gigabyte hard drive, satellite radio, and the Sync system that offers voice control for MP3 players and cell phones. Electronic stability control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows are standard.

Optionally, the MKT can be decked out with adaptive cruise control, an automated parallel-park feature, a navigation system, the Sirius Travel Link service, a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system, a powered panoramic sunroof, and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system. Our test vehicle had the optional second-row heated and ventilated bucket seats a second-row center console with a built-in refrigerator/freezer, and a power-folding third-row seat.

So what is EcoBoost? It is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that puts out an impressive 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system are standard. The EcoBoost allows the MKT to run like a V8, but uses fuel live a V6.

There are plenty of new high-tech safety features, including the Collision Warning with Brake Support system that comes as part of the optional Adaptive Cruise Control package. The system flashes a warning on the windshield when sensors detect slower-moving traffic ahead and then pre-charges the brake system to reduce braking distances for an ensuing panic stop.

Safety features include a rearview camera, a blind spot monitor and a “Cross Traffic Alert” system, which warn the driver of approaching vehicles when backing out of a parking space. Parents of teenage drivers will welcome the available new My Key feature. A special programmable key allows mom and dad to set limits on top speed and audio system volume in order to help keep teen drivers out of harms way.

Everything in my conservative side tells me this vehicle is over the top in size, in appearance, in its basic statement. So why do I like it so much? That’s easy. It’s the drive. Even though the MKT is a large vehicle, it handles and maneuvers like a smaller one. It is aplenty with really useful electronic amenities that enhance the drive experience, and finally the EcoBoost makes it a real kick in the pants to drive, while at the same time not making you feel guilty about fuel consumption.

The MKT would be a perfect vehicle to make the trek over the river and trough the woods to Grandmother’s house.

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  • Horsepower: 355 hp / 350 lb. ft. of torque
  • Mileage: 16 city/ 22 highway
  • Pricing begins at $49,200
  • Seating capacity: six or seven
  • Recommended fuel: regular