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Guide to deciphering the Lincoln MK designations

Consumer Reports News: April 10, 2012 03:38 PM

Ever since Lincoln gave traditional car names the old heave-ho a few years back in favor of designating all their models MK something or other, it's been more of a challenge to distinguish one Lincoln from another. Comparing notes with various gearheads and other auto journalists, there seems to be some real bewilderment. If car enthusiasts and people who make our living getting this stuff right are getting confused, what about everybody else? How can buyers tell which is which?

One good reason buyers need to be able to tell one Lincoln from another is that some of their models are very good vehicles, and others, not so much. The MKZ, for example, is a CR Recommended midsized upscale sedan, with a quiet cabin, responsive handling, and above average reliability. The MKX SUV, on the other hand, isn't as refined as some competitors, scores too low to recommend, and has had below average reliability.

But the good news is when its time to service any Lincoln, owners gave their dealers high marks in our recent satisfaction survey, outscoring all other domestic makes. Just make sure your repair shop knows which model you have.

Here's a shopper's guide to identifying the latest Lincoln models.

MKS: This one is easy. The MKS is one of two sedans offered by Lincoln. So think "S" equals sedan. "S" could also mean sizable in this case, because the MKS is the larger of the two.

MKZ: That would be the other Lincoln sedan, formerly known as the Zephyr until the new naming regime lopped off five letters. Tack those five back on if it helps you remember. If not, think zippy, because it's smaller and sportier than the larger MKS.

MKX: "X" is sometimes used to designate cross, as in crossover. The MKX is a crossover. Simple enough.

MKT: Another crossover, but the MKT is larger and arguably more trucklike than the MKX. Ok, that's a bit of a stretch, but it's the best I can do. If you've got another suggestion, I'm all ears.

There you go. Lincoln shoppers and fellow journalists, I hope this helps.

Jim Travers

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