Going head-to-head
Lincoln MKS
Characteristics
Acura RL
204.1
Length (in.)
195.8
112.9
Wheelbase (in.)
110.2
75.9
Width (excluding mirrors)
72.7
61.6
Height (in.)
57.2
17/24
EPA estimates (city/highway)
16/22

The full-size Lincoln MKS sedan, Lincoln’s flagship, is classic, yet understated, with the exception of a new split-wing grille. The grille, along with the jewel-like HID adaptive headlights, gives the car its head-turning distinctive look.

The car’s generous list of standard features, some of which fall into the high-tech gadgetry category, include a 275-hp engine, SecuriCode Invisible Keypad, Easy Fuel capless fuel tank, and Sirius Satellite Radio.

The MKS, based on the same platform as the Flex, Taurus, Volvo XC90, and Mercury Sable, handles extremely well and is competitive within its class when it comes to power. The car’s 3.7-liter, 273-hp Duratec V6 with iVCT is coupled to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission (the only transmission offered) that churns out 270 lb-in. of torque when regular gas is used. EPA mileage rating is 17-mpg city and 24-mpg highway.

The car accelerated quickly and smoothly when entering highways. Heavy-footed drivers may need to pay attention to that little needle on the speedometer so you don’t get a ticket.

Open the doors on the MKS, and you’ll find a classy interior that’s roomy and comfy. (Even the trunk is spacious.) Controls are well laid out and intuitive. Our test vehicle had the optional voice-activated navigation system with Sirius Travel Link. It features turn-by-turn voice directions in English, Spanish, or French; the ability to save audio files to the hard drive; voice control for cell phones and MP3 players; and Sirius satellite radio. Travel Link provides real-time traffic information. You can also find local fuel prices, weather information, sports scores, and movie listings.

The MKS’s Easy Fuel tank does away with the traditional gas cap. Instead, a seal keeps the fuel tank closed unless a fuel-pump nozzle is inserted.

The MKS was a pleasure to drive and it would be at the top of my list if I were in the market for a new car. Our light-ice-blue metallic test vehicle weighed in at $37,665, which was quickly notched up by $2,995 for the optional navigation package and $800 in destination charges for a grand total of $41,460.

— Denise Greco