Photos: Courtesy of Ford
What motivates today’s consumer to purchase a vehicle such as the Lincoln Mark LT? I pondered this question as I performed my customary walk-around. There is clear evidence the truck market has gone through an incredible transformation in the last 10 years. Creative marketing has certainly had an impact on our buying patterns, but there must be more to the truck craze.
Ford’s press release tagline reads: “Mark LT combines the luxury and design elegance of Lincoln with the functionality of North America’s best-selling truck”.
In an unofficial pole of friends, colleagues, and relatives a number of key themes started to emerge. Those who either own a truck or think they should define 6 characteristics influencing their decision:
Rick Gemin, Ford of Canada’s Lincoln brand manager summarized it best: “The Mark LT offers a level of luxury and sophistication never before seen in a pickup truck. This is a Lincoln for people who have active lifestyles, and it all; capability and versatility without sacrificing luxury.”
There is no denying the versatility of a full-size truck. Make no mistake about it, this pretty face is as much about looks and comfort as it is about utility. It just accomplishes the task in style. Although I don’t see buyers pulling onto construction lots hauling a load of bricks – the LT will easily handle a load of plywood, a dirt bike or an overindulgent shopping trip. And since it is available in 2×4 and 4×4 configurations, the buyer has the option to get all weather go almost anywhere performance.
If I was to indulge in one wish, I would like to see the LT come standard with a lockable tonneau cover. If for no other reason then grocery security. For parents of toddlers who often carry strollers, diaper bags and a chest-full of toys, the truck bed offers plenty of cargo space. Unfortunately, the space is susceptible to wet weather. Cover helps.
I wonder how many trucks are sold on the premise of safety. The perched sitting position, great 360-degree visibility, and sheer size all attribute to an empowering sense of invincibility. And in the case of Mark LT, this is back by outstanding occupant protection with a structure designed to absorb and dissipate crash energy before it can reach the reinforced passenger compartment.
Ford chose to equip the Mark LT with their smooth 5.4L SOHC 3-valve V-8. The Triton™ motor is good for 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 365 foot-pounds of torque at 3,750 rpm. Sophisticated throttle response programming provides smooth and trackable acceleration. Combined with electronic 4-speed automatic transmission forward momentum is worthy the Lincoln nameplate. Spirited but short of breathtaking. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the Lightning.
Throughout its history, Lincoln has used the Mark name to signal a truly special vehicle. For me, this something special is on the inside.
The passenger cabin is arguably one of the most aesthetically pleasing truck interiors today. The look is clean, modern and functional. There is plenty of lavish anti-scratch premium leather and just the right mix of genuine Ebony wood and chrome accents. The feel is reminiscent of a swanky hangout spot for the hip and trendy. All instruments and controls are intuitive requiring no special familiarization period.
My 2-year-old daughter was sold the minute I mounted her seat front and center to the optional fold-down DVD Entertainment System. Although vehicle mounted DVD systems are no longer unique, the Lincoln’s system truly offers a home theatre experience. I can’t imagine long trips without one. How did our parents do it?
Matching the elegant interior is equally sexy exterior. I felt like an instant celebrity with the amount of attention this truck received. Truck purists loved it; car guys stared in awe and the local Tim Horton critics through positive comments every time I pulled to the window. As with the interior, the look is clean, angular and athletic with traditional Lincoln touches including theme of chrome accents asserting the vehicle’s status and enhancing its appearance. There is no mistaking the dominant grille, wide tail-lamps and optional 18” chrome thick-spoked wheels.