The all-new Lincoln MKZ is a clear winner among its Luxury Mid-Size Car competition. The MKZ proves that Lincoln’s new cars (and trucks) are on target, meeting the requirements of Lincoln’s buyers. In fact, all of the vehicles derived from this Ford platform did very well in the IVA ratings in their respective classes – Lincoln MKZ, Lincoln MKX, Ford Fusion, Ford Edge and Mercury Milan. The MKZ beat the segment average in 14 out of 15 categories, winning every measure other than ease of getting in and out. The MKZ rated particularly well with respect to interior lighting.
Showing that Ford Motor Company planners, designers and engineers not only know the traditional SUV market better than most with Ideal Vehicle Award wins by the Ford Expedition and Ford Explorer, Ford’s all new crossover SUVs win in their categories as well. The all-new Lincoln MKX wins as the Most Ideal Luxury Crossover SUV. MKX is highly rated for exterior style, passenger room, visibility, and level of technology. In fact MKX owners are more likely than segment average buyers to prefer the same level for all attributes tested except for power and acceleration (where they want more, of course).
Lincoln MKX Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Luxury Crossover SUV:
“A new entry in a new segment, the Lincoln MKX scored well. Very well. It fact it was the highest scoring truck in the industry,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “MKX strengths include high ratings for Value, a Flexible/Changeable Interior, Vehicle and Audio Controls, Cupholders, Wheels/Tire Size and Appearance, and Quietness. The Dealership Experience also received a high rating. Looks like a good start for the new Lincoln Crossover.
The Ford Division companion Crossover SUV to the Lincoln MKX also won its class. Clearly, Ford successfully designed for their target buyers”.
Lincoln Navigator Wins AutoPacific 2007 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Luxury Sport Utility:
“The Lincoln Navigator received a major styling update for 2007 where it competes with the Cadillac Escalade to be the ‘King of Bling’. The changes to the Navigator, or maybe the addition of tons of chrome, were enough to yield the highest satisfaction ratings in the Luxury SUV class,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Overall winner in the 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, once again the Navigator is an AutoPacific VSA award winner. There is some tough competition in this segment, but the Navigator was favorably rated for several attributes, including Quietness, and Wheel and Tire Size and Appearance.”
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When VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett and AutoPacific’s Dan Hall take a walk through a major auto show, don’t expect to see them anytime soon. They can talk each other hoarse about cars, and they never get tired of looking at the latest the industry has to offer.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this winter, Dan and David spent some time in the Lincoln booth trying to make sense of all the MK-ness everywhere. They checked out Lincoln’s version of the Ford Edge, called the MKX, a crossover with some nice Lincoln styling and a hot concept on the show floor called the MKR. The MKR is a big, powerful American sedan, and David and Dan were in a crowd of admirers. Was it the 415 horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 or the over-the-top styling?
In the Chevy booth, David and Dan reminisced about their high school days when they stepped in front of the new Camaro Convertible Concept. Seems both of them are surprised they’re alive today after their exposure to the original Camaro. The new version promises to be the stuff of legends as well.
New Vehicles and Concepts –
2007 Lincoln MKX
Lincoln MKR Concept
Chevy Camaro Convertible Concept
Show Runtime – 11:48
In early December, Ford hosted an event that allowed VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staffers to peek into the future for Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles. One of the more intriguing presentations had to do with the future design direction of their Lincoln brand.
Cue 7: Grille –
Peter Horbury, a Brit credited with launching Volvo’s distinctive styling and now Ford’s North American styling chief, discussed the results of a design analysis of Lincoln’s heritage design cues. After evaluating coveted Lincolns from the past, the Lincoln design language was distilled into seven distinctive cues. The Lincoln MKR Concept Car seen at the 2007 North American Auto Show is the first vehicle to use all seven of the cues. In the future, every new Lincoln will incorporate at least three of these seven cues.
Based on the styling of the MKR, if Ford does indeed launch Lincolns using these design cues, they may have real winners on their hands. Now, can Alan Mulally find the money to bring these vehicles to market as quickly as they are needed?
Lincoln cars will have a distinctive split grille opening. There are several variations on this theme, each with a different grille texture. But Lincoln designers have evolved a face that at-a-glance will be identifiable as a Lincoln.
Cue 6: Cantrail –
OK, we had never heard this term before either (it appears to be a terms used in railway car design), but this is the intersection point between the A-Pillar and the Roof. To convey an impression of strength, Lincolns will have a strong Cantrail.
Cue 5: Bodyside –
Taking a cue from the famous Lincolns of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s, Lincolns will have a clean, uncluttered bodyside. This not the vertical slab sides seen on these earlier Lincolns, but can have some curvature in it.
Cue 4: Beltline –
Lincolns of old had relatively straight beltlines sometimes with a slight hop-up over the rear fender. This strong beltline often was topped with a chrome molding. Lincoln’s modern interpretation shows a more muscular haunch than on previous Lincolns.
Cue 3: Chamfer –
Adding to the strong beltline is a break-line in the beltline surface aft of the front doors. This contributes to the muscular haunch idea.
Cue 2: C-Pillar –
Lincolns have had a wide C-Pillar that projects a very strong, upscale image. This strong C-Pillar can be used in cars, crossovers or traditional SUVs.
Cue 1: Taillamps –
A major identifying design cue for Lincoln is a distinctive taillamp design. Usually this has been a wall-to-wall design as seen on the Mark VIII.
More details on Lincoln’s design cues can be seen below the fold.
Ford and GM Abandon Minivan Market – Backfill with Crossover SUVs – Lincoln Gets D472
Fairlane Concept evolved from Land Rover study adopted to use Ford design cues.
Ford showed its Fairlane Crossover Concept at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It received rave reviews and is now scheduled for production in the 2008 calendar year – or 2009 model year. Before Fairlane arrives Ford will abandon the traditional minivan market surrendering to the competitive pressures from more advanced and popular minivans from Japanese makes and Chrysler. Ford is not alone. GM is pursuing a similar strategy. GM will abandon their unsuccessful minivan lineup and rely on their Lambda (Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook) Crossover SUVs to fill the minivan market positions.
Production Fairlane has higher roof and traditional sedan doors instead of center opening doors.
Minivan sliding doors are history.
But this story is not about Fairlane or about the demise of the Freestar minivan or the Mercury Monterey minivan (already dead). This is about the Lincoln D472 – the Lincoln derivative of the Ford Fairlane (D471). Ford North American design chief Peter Horbury admitted that they looked at a mild derivative of the Fairlane as the Lincoln, but thankfully this alternative was abandoned. Can you imagine what the new age Lincoln grille would look like on the slab-sided Fairlane.
Take a look at the above photo. This is NOT the Lincoln. It’s the Ford. The Lincoln D472 is a complete reskin of the Fairlane concept. Retaining the basic hardpoints the Lincoln is has more curves – yep, going back to those seven Lincoln design elements Horbury has been selling. It has a relatively fast rear end that comes across as much more appropriate for the luxury end of the business.
Apparently, the D472 was to have been powered by the Yamaha 4.4L 32v V8 that is presently in the Volvo XC90 and S80, but Ford has found the Yamaha powerplant to be much too expensive and will instead have V6s as the initial D472 powerplants. By the time D472 gets out, Lincoln will have its own 3.7L V6 and high performance 3.5L twin turbo V6. With the styling differentiation and these unique-to-Lincoln engines, D472 will have enough content to pull itself away from the Fairlane.
And, of course, unless calmer heads prevail, the D472 will be the MKsomethingoranother.
Build It, Build It NOW. The Lincoln MKR could save Ford’s Lincoln brand.
Images of the Lincoln MKR concept car to be revealed at the North American International Auto Show in mid-January have leaked to the net. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific staffers have seen the car in person in Detroit and this is a car that Ford should approve immediately and get into production ASAP.
Ford’s North American design boss, Peter Horbury, took us through the basic elements of Lincoln design. He contends that there are seven design elements that have defined Lincoln styling over the years and that each future Lincoln will have at least three of the seven cues. The MKR concept, however, has all seven and they work awfully well. The last time Lincoln showed a truly mind blowing concept was Gerry McGovern’s 2002 Lincoln Continental Concept Car.
Gerry McGovern’s 2002 Lincoln Continental Concept Car
The MKR concept rides on a platform derived from the present Mustang which, of course, was derived from Ford’s DEW98 platform that underpinned the Lincoln LS and the present Jaguar S-Type. Adding the independent rear suspension forgone by Mustang, and voila
we have a chassis for the MKR. But, apparently, this is not the final chassis for the car. That will be found in the platform being developed for the Ford of Australia Falcon.
MKR uses the upcoming Lincoln 3.5L V6 with twin turbos putting out about 415 horsepower. We’d rather have a V8 for the range topping Lincoln and that may come by the time the MKR gets on the road.
MKR is Not Perfect… Let’s Play Product Planner
So, what would we change? Since this is the Lincoln range topper, we’d give it more interior room. The present roofline is beautiful, but MKR will suffer from the Mercedes CLS disease if they produce it in its four-door coupe form. Make it easier to get into and out of, make the rear seat more spacious, sacrifice a little style for a lot of function. Of course, we’d opt for a V8 as the standard powertrain and a V8 that puts out more horsepower than a Honda Odyssey (the present Town Car still lags Honda’s minivan in the horsepower department). And, of course, we’d immediately abandon the alphanumeric “MKR” and return to a classic Lincoln name like Continental or Premier.
OK, on this one VehicleVoice is just the messenger. The Truth About Cars website has taken it on itself to identify the ten worst cars and trucks sold in the USA in 2006. Not really sure what their credentials are, but here is their press release… When we feel like commenting, see our notes following the press release writeup.
The Truth About Cars Website Names Its Ten Worst Automobiles for 2006
November 8, 2006 – PROVIDENCE, R.I.: The Truth About Cars website (TTAC) has revealed the ten winners of its first annual “Ten Worst Automobiles Today” awards. According to the site’s readers, the very worst vehicles sold in America today are… GM’s minivans.
For voting purposes, TTAC lumped all four of GM’s virtually identical people movers together: the Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza and Pontiac SV6.
In his description of the “winner,” reviewer William C. Montgomery slated GM’s minivans for their “antique engineering, woeful looks, cancerous effect on not one but four GM brands and their abject inability to hold a candle to their foreign-owned competition.” In terms of dreadful driving dynamics, contemptible aesthetics and torturous ergonomics, no other vehicles sold in America can compete with these ridiculously-named ‘Crossover Sport Vans.'”
The automotive website’s readers voted the new Jeep Compass America’s second worst vehicle: a lackluster vehicle that betrays its storied brand’s heritage. According to TTAC’s description, it’s an “ugly, gangly, underpowered, mud-aversive half-breed” that “staggers into the light, turning all who see it– or heaven forbid buy it– into grotesque, bobble-headed morons.” The Compass “stomps all over Jeep’s reputation as America’s purveyor of authentic off-road vehicles.”
The rest of TTAC’s Ten Worst are the Jeep Compass (2), Buick Rendezvous (3), Chrysler Aspen (4), Hummer H2 (5), Chevrolet Monte Carlo (6), Subaru B9 Tribeca (7), Saab 9-7x (8), Lincoln Mark LT (9) and Chevrolet Aveo (10). Capsule reviews are below.
To create the list, The Truth About Cars asked its 40k daily readers to nominate the worst vehicles for sale in the United States during the 2006 calendar year. A selection committee comprised of ten TTAC writers selected 20 finalists from the readers’ nominations. Finalists were chosen for their crimes against aesthetics, engineering, ergonomics, driving dynamics and/or brand authenticity. The final ten “winners” were chosen by readers via an electronic poll.
Site publisher Robert Farago said his team created The Ten Worst awards as an antidote to the annual “love ins” provided by the mainstream automotive media. “The profusion of ‘best of’ automotive awards reflects the fact that the manufacturer-sponsored magazines and websites can’t tell it like it is,” Farago said. “TTAC is the home of take-no-prisoners automotive journalism. Our Ten Worst list says we’re not afraid to tell the truth about cars.”
OK, I know I shouldn’t take this personally, but Lincoln’s latest chapter in its abortive new naming strategy is almost laughable.
Let’s Copy Them Nice Folks at Cadillac!
First, Ford decided that Lincoln should use an alphanumeric naming strategy just like Cadillac, the Europeans and Japanese luxury car brands. It doesn’t matter that case studies like Acura have proven that this strategy is fraught with peril. “Let’s go be exactly like Cadillac! They are real smart folks, so they must be doing it right – even down to Escalade not using alphanumerics. ” So Navigator is still Navigator instead of MKN.
Lets Pronounce it “Mark Z”!
Then, at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show, Ford execs and PR folks couldn’t get how to pronounce the new names straight. Some were saying the new name for the year-old Zephyr should be pronounced “Mark Z” while others were spelling it out “EmKayZee”. Well if the folks internally couldn’t get it straight, who can?
Asking for clarification at a high level luncheon, we were told emphatically that it was “Mark Z”, “Mark X”, “Mark S”.
NO, Let’s Pronounce it LINCOLN EmKayZee!
But now Ford has flipflopped on the naming again. Now, we are to spell it out, but be sure to include the word LINCOLN before the alphanumerics. You see, this was to strengthen the LINCOLN name and not the vehicle line names.