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FUNCTIONAL FRILLS, NICELY DONE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Jul 16, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

FUNCTIONAL FRILLS, NICELY DONE By HAROLD OSMER

The 2006 Lincoln Mark LT elicits several questions at the outset. First of all, why does Lincoln feel the need to produce a truck? Next, why would someone opt for the pricey Lincoln over its cousin, the Ford? Is the Mark LT worth its $40K price tag? Those questions have interrelated answers, but the short answer is that the Mark LT hits its marks in fine fashion. Let's start with the basics. The Mark LT is a full-sized pickup truck consisting of a dual cab large enough for five full-sized men in front of a 67 inch long cargo bed capable of handling 55 cubic feet of load when filled to the rim. A fuel injected 5.4-liter V8 delivers 300 horsepower and 365 ft. lbs. of torque to the rear wheels (a 4WD option is available). Power steering, four-wheel ABS disc brakes, and independent suspension make this big truck handle surprisingly well. There are only a few options listed for the Mark LT and most are of the cosmetic variety. Mark LTs come fully loaded or not at all. If you are a car pilot, getting behind the wheel of the Mark LT can be daunting. The seating position is much higher than any car and the immense cabin does not allow for head-checking over your right shoulder when changing lanes. Its wheelbase measures in at 138 inches, and you'll notice every inch of it for some time, especially when parking. A handy distance sensor engages when in reverse gear and beeps when approaching obstacles, settling at least one size-related issue.

But hey, there is no effort made to disguise the fact that the Mark LT is a big truck. This is a serious vehicle meant for folks who need to tow a boat, race car, or small house (up to 8900 pounds) while carrying their grown friends to some fun destination. The Mark LT should perform equally well on the job site, though most likely in a foreman's role as the interior is plush enough to host clients. I took our test truck on the freeway for a 300-mile round trip to California's central valley farm country. Up where folks know their trucks, the Mark LT is a real head-turner and stopping anywhere meant addressing a lot of inquisitive people. I transported three adults and two children and found the seats to be on the hard side, but my passengers didn't complain. The ride was almost too smooth and the 70 mile per hour speed limit failed to induce any outside wind noise while encouraging a faster pace. We managed a respectable 15 miles per gallon from Los Angeles to Visalia, including the grapevine grade. This is a quiet riding, predictable vehicle. Adjusting my driving style to the sheer size only took a couple of short trips around the neighborhood and the large side mirrors made up for the lack of over-shoulder visibility. The power was enough to get our Mark LT up to speed in reasonable time and a few stabs on the brake pedal showed the ABS discs to be better than expected.

Let's get back to our original questions. I lost the boss-of-Lincoln hotline number and can only speculate as to why Lincoln is in the big truck market. My guess holds that other marquees are doing it and Lincoln wants to offer up their own version to give Lincoln loyalists a homegrown option to accompany the popular Navigator. With Ford's much-heralded truck lineup, prospective buyers can add-on and upgrade a Ford to match the Mark LT. Once done, though, the prices are nearly equal. So if you are looking for a top of the line truck, selecting the Mark LT keeps you from having to worry about missing something. Given Ford's reliability and reputation among truck buyers, the Lincoln Mark LT can be expected to provide many years of service. In true Lincoln style, the Mark LT is outfitted in such a way as to give an owner both shop and office in one vehicle. Nicely done.

SIDEBAR COMMENT

If Lincoln, for a second time, wants to dive into the luxury truck game, it appears on first blush this might be the best-conceived pick-up to test the waters with. Just gaze upon the LT, and it's easy to see that this is not exactly destined for the ranch. From the stylish grill, to the molding and chrome, all the way down to the massive rims, the exterior looks every inch the part of a glitzy, upscale vehicle. All that glitters isn't gold, as the saying goes. While the exterior so convincingly has the look of Lincoln, the interior still resembles a Ford. The leatherwork on the seats is top notch all the way, but the charm seems to dwindle from there. It becomes obvious that Lincoln didn't build this, but rather Ford. The wood trim is so flawless it seems to be plastic. It is far too easy to come to that conclusion when nearly every other surface except for the seats are plastic. The door panels, the dash, the center console is one massive amount of plastic. Not that all plastic is bad, but this is not the quality that a premium brand name conjures up.

The massiveness of the LT takes some getting used to. Just how big is this? I cleared every scrape of material out of my garage and the door closed with but two inches of clearance up front and one in the rear. This feels much smaller in the wide-open spaces rather than the tight parking confines of the city. Special mention goes to the LT, and other out-dated XL trucks and SUV's, in their inability to park easily within any normal parking lot. The turning radius is like that of a navel vessel. The distance sensors do make the chore more manageable. The LT seems to be a product of a time gone-bye. One the other hand, only a few products offer the size and distinction that the Lincoln offers. The LT answers a question I never asked: What happens if I cross a Lincoln LS and a Ford F-150? I guess if I ever become a "gentleman farmer" I know where to find just the right truck. - John Grafman For more information on Lincoln products, go to www.lincoln.com .

SPECIFICATIONS

Name of vehicle: 2006 Lincoln Mark LT 4x2 Price: Base $39,200, as tested $43,645 options include: Power Moonroof $995; Platform Running Boards $225; Trailer Tow Package $350; 18" Chrome 7-spoke Wheels $695; Reverse Sensing System $245 Engine type: 5.4L EFI V8, Single overhead cam Horsepower: 300 Torque: 365 lb.-ft Drive configuration: Front engine / rear wheel drive Transmission type: Electronic 4-speed automatic overdrive 3.73:1 limited slip axle Suspension: Front: Long spindle double wishbone coil-over shocks Rear: Heavy duty shocks Wheels and tires: Front: 18-inch aluminum wheels, P265/60R18 BSW tires Brakes: 4-wheel discs with ABS power rack/pinion steering Overall length/wheelbase: 223.8 inches/138.5 inches Overall width: 78.9 inches Overall height: 73.5 inches EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 14/18 Tows up to 8900 pounds. 1620 max payload Lincoln Complimentary Maintenance program covers scheduled maintenance for 12 months/12,000 miles, a 4-year/50,000 mile warranty and 24-hour roadside service assistance.

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