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Missing from are the usual features of a Lincoln luxury vehicle, such as navigation, plushier seats and a booming sound system. The Navigator offers a Soundmark THX audio as an option, but no such upgrade is offered in the LT. A rear-seat DVD player is available, however, on the LT. Critics have also noted the lack of side air bags or side-curtain air bags.
The LT shares the same cabin quietness as the F-150. Ford made luxury-type improvements on its new F-Series platform to isolate road noise and harshness, including a massive hydro formed frame and liberal use of sound insulation materials. There isn’t much else Lincoln engineers could do to improve the ride without giving up payload or towing ability. Different shock valving and bushings may add a little more compliance, but the F-Series is generally regarded as the nicest riding body-on-frame pickup on the market. The rack-and-pinion steering felt responsive and communicative.
There’s no deny the refined ride and performance of the Mark LT and any other F-150 model. Ford has achieved a wonderful balance of comfort and utility with this generation of pickups. But as you get closer to this performance equilibrium, sometimes there’s little room for distinction. To some, chrome and leather on the LT is the same as chrome and leather on the F-150 Harley-Davidson model. The same analogy can’t be applied to the Cadillac or GMC competitors. The EXT is not the same as a Chevy Avalanche LT, nor is the Sierra Denali the same as a Silverado LT. There are distinct differences in engineering and amenities.
In a curious twist, Lincoln is taking a different approach to marketing the Mark LT. It was introduced along with a custom Harley built by the madcap TV crew of American Chopper. The bike certainly wasn’t any more luxurious than many other choppers built by the Teutuls, but it had Lincoln styling cues. Recently, Lincoln teamed with the country music industry for a promotion in which numerous performers—including Vince Gill and Amy Grant—signed the front seat of an LT. The vehicle was given away in a promotion along with a custom Gibson guitar.
Lincoln is clearly targeting a diverse audience in promoting the LT. The brand’s current demographics probably lean more towards AARP than MTV, so a little spice is encouraging. The Navigator brought a more youthful buyer into the Lincoln showroom. But as large SUVs fall out of favor of consumers, Lincoln feels that pickups can be the draw to entice younger motorists. Keeping the price down will get their attention but will the product appeal to their lifestyles?
There’s word on the street that Ford may let the Ranger die a slow death and never build a replacement generation. Instead, the company wants to build a Honda Ridgeline-type pickup. That platform would present Lincoln a perfect opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the development process and put its luxury stamp on every part of the vehicle’s design and engineering. A true, distinctive Lincoln pickup could then be built. Right now the Mark LT is a nice Ford pickup with a Lincoln grille.
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