Sadly, people have – and will – continue to buy it.
In all fairness, the Mark LT is a fine truck, marked by a spacious five-passenger cabin, a capable 300-horsepower V8 engine, a long list of standard features, and impressive five-star safety ratings. But here’s the thing – all of that can be said of the Ford F-150, a truck that, sans all the chrome and a few visual tweaks, is identical but sells for thousands less. Granted, the Lincoln comes with a longer warranty, but buyers can purchase an extended warranty with their F-150 and still come out ahead. Plus, the Ford is available in regular and extended cab versions, whereas Lincoln dealers only offer crew cabs.
Cadillac has made a successful go of rebadging trucks like the Chevrolet Suburban and Avalanche in a way that attracts buyers. However, unlike those Caddys, the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT looks and feels every bit a Ford, from the identical headlights to its similar interior materials, and that glued-on tailgate reflector isn’t fooling anyone.
Next time you head to the grocery store, do yourself a favor and give the no-name stuff a try, and make the trip in an F-150 instead of a glitzy but nearly identical Lincoln Mark LT.
Buyers considering the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT can choose between the two-wheel-drive model starting at $39,475 or the $43,030 four-wheel-drive version; each includes a $795 destination charge and comes in crew cab configuration only. Also common to both is a 5.4-liter, 24-valve, single overhead cam V8 engine generating 300 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 365 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,750 rpm. The 5,370-lb. two-wheel-drive Mark LT has a payload of up to 1,620 pounds and can tow 8,900 pounds; 5,677-lb. four-wheel-drive models carry up to 1,460 pounds and can pull 8,600 pounds. A four-speed automatic transmission puts power to the road through 18-inch alloy wheels wearing BF Goodrich Radial Long Trail 265/60 tires.
Among the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT’s standard features are steering wheel-mounted buttons for cruise, audio and automatic climate control systems; an Audiophile stereo with a six-disc CD changer, MP3 player, and a subwoofer; leather seats with heat and power adjustment up front; and a folding rear bench seat. Additional comfort and convenience comes from the tilt leather steering wheel, a memory function for the driver’s seat, and power mirrors with heat and integrated turn signals. Safety comes in the form of antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, traction control (two-wheel-drive models only), and dual front airbags, with peace of mind courtesy of the Mark LT’s 12-month/12,000-miles of free scheduled maintenance. Basic and powertrain warranty coverage spans 48 months or 50,000 miles, with rust protection lasting five years and unlimited mileage.
Shell out a few extra Ben Franklins for adjustable foot pedals, a limited slip rear differential, a bed extender, or a Class IV tow package. Up the bling factor with either 18-inch chrome or 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome bed rails and bright running boards. Pimp the interior with the rear DVD system, power sunroof, and Sirius satellite radio. To finish things off, you’ll want to opt for the power sliding rear window and rear parking sensors.
Our tester was a two-wheel-drive 2006 Lincoln Mark LT loaded up with about $3,000 in options, including the power pedals, sunroof, 18-inch chrome wheels, tow package, chrome bed rails, and limited-slip rear axle. With the $795 destination charge, the sticker flew to $43,645. That’s a mighty steep price to pay for a two-wheel-drive pickup, and normally we’d suggest slicing off some options to bring the tally down to a more reasonable number. However, with a starting that’s already hovering around $40,000, attempts at finding value in the Mark LT might be futile.
Like the Ford F-150 on which it’s based, the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT draws its power from a 5.4-liter V8 with 300 horses and 365 lb.-ft. of twist. In the Ford, those eight cylinders provide adequate motivation, but the punch one would expect from such an engine is lacking, leaving the driver thinking “Is this all she’s got?” Now consider the Lincoln’s added curb weight, and it doesn’t take a genius to surmise that the Mark LT feels a little sluggish off the line.
But people don’t buy pickups for acceleration, you say. That may or may not be true, but when a buyer forks over more than $40,000, that truck darn well better do everything near perfect, including running quickly from stoplight to stoplight. For its part, the four-speed transmission works well enough, but shifts are abrupt under full acceleration, such as when the throttle needs to be punched against the floorboard for highway passes, and the gas mileage rivals a Hoover for sucking power. In the pie-in-the-sky world of the EPA, a two-wheel-drive 2006 Lincoln Mark LT should get 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway; we managed only 13.1 mpg in mixed driving. Mark LT drivers are surely relieved to see the recent decrease in gas prices.
Out on the open road, the four-wheel disc brake setup proves effective, though the pedal is a bit soft, requiring a good chunk of travel for full-on stopping power. As should be obvious, the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT handles like a body-on-frame truck, meaning this heavy vehicle is like a puck on ice in the corners, and the ride is floaty. Road feel through the steering wheel is minimal at best, and the comfortable ride comes at the expense of a controlled suspension. Buyers looking for a more taut or responsive truck should consider alternatives like the Nissan Titan. As is, the Mark LT would require an infusion of horsepower, a buckled-down suspension, and a deeper exhaust note to be an entertaining ride.
While the engine and exhaust may be quiet, the Mark LT’s interior suffers from excessive tire noise and wind buffeting around the windshield. The tires squeal loudly even at slow speeds, and our tester’s optional bed extender banged against the steel bed over bumps. Conspicuously absent, however, were any squeaks or rattles in the plastic-clad cabin. Visibility was very good overall, despite thick B- and C-pillars. Exterior mirrors are huge, the greenhouse expansive, and the small rear headrests are unobtrusive.
There’s one word that describes the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT’s cabin – spacious. This is a big truck, and with all of that space comes room to stretch out in the oversized seats. Up front are dual buckets with wide bottoms and backs, tall headrests, and power height adjustment. Bolsters are lacking, but they aren’t needed in a cruiser like the Mark LT. The two-setting heated seats work quickly and effectively, the large padded armrests located between the seats and on the door panels offer additional comfort, and the tilt wheel allows for a custom driving position. Curiously, the lumbar support is operated with a manual knob, more than a little out of place in a $43,000 truck.
Rear seat passengers are treated to a big bench seat with tons of foot, leg, and headroom. Outboard adjustable headrests are small for maximizing visibility, yet large enough to be useful. A generous fold-down center armrest is padded and provides welcome relief for weary elbows, as do the rubberized armrests on the door panels. The seat back and bottom are well padded and provide a comfy ride for up to three well-fed occupants. For their convenience, Lincoln designers have included two cupholders on the rear of the front console alongside a swivel air vent and a power outlet. It’s all within easy reach of taller folks, but the stature-challenged will need to scoot up a few inches on the seat to reach their café mocha.
If the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT looks eerily familiar, it should – it’s a mildly tricked-out Ford F-150. Those with a penchant for detail will recognize Lincoln upgrades like the vertically-stacked chrome grille, the reflector panel running the width of the tailgate, the unique badges inside and out, and the minor tweaks within the cabin. Keen and not-so-keen observers alike will recognize the similar build quality, including a misaligned tailgate, irregular door gaps, chrome side panels that don’t sit flush with the body, and bed rails that were popping off. The overall design is attractive, accented by seven-spoke chrome wheels with Lincoln center hubs, and a subtle Mark LT badge. But this thing still looks too much like the Ford F-150, especially since both vehicles use the exact same headlights. At least when GM splits a model between several different brands, it changes the head and taillights.
The story inside the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT is much the same. That’s to say, buyers might feel a tad ripped off given the $43,000 sticker price. Lincoln likes to refer to this as a luxury truck, but the hard door sills, the abundance of cheap and thin plastic panels, and the fuzzy headliner suggest anything but. The leather on the seats feels more like pleather, the wood trim on the center console brings back nightmares from the 1970s, and the swiveling air vents wobble in their sockets. To top it off, a micro thin layer of something resembling leather is stitched over the gauge cluster, but tap it with any force and you’ll bruise your fingertip.
In short, the Mark LT’s interior is comprised of cheap materials, and, unfortunately, they’re assembled about as well as they feel. Our tester featured a loose kick panel on the driver’s side, inconsistent gaps around the dash and pillars, and the ashtray would either stick or not shut at all. Nice. On a positive note, the radio and climate controls are clearly marked and within easy reach, and the illuminated steering wheel buttons are especially appreciated at night. Another added bonus the Mark LT’s Tailgate Assist, a system designed to make lowering and raising the locking tailgate much easier.
What’s the best thing about the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT?
The cabin is spacious and quite comfortable, and the Lincoln offers nearly the same utility as the Ford F-150. For pickup truck buyers who insist on a premium- or luxury-badged vehicle, the 2006 Mark LT serves as the only alternative to the Cadillac Escalade EXT.
How capable is the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT in comparison to the Ford F-150?
The 2006 Lincoln Mark LT is available only with a 5.4-liter V8 and as a crew cab model. Comparable Ford F-150 Lariat models tow an extra 100 pounds and offer greater payload capacity. Furthermore, the F-150 Lariat comes standard with six-passenger seating, whereas the Lincoln accommodates only five.
How does the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT perform in crash tests?
In frontal crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT received five out of five stars for the driver and front passenger, while being awarded a four-star rollover rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the Lincoln Mark LT, but the identical Ford F-150 received a Good rating, the highest possible.
Test Vehicle: 2006 Lincoln Mark LT 2WD
Price of Test Vehicle: $43,645 (includes a $795 destination charge)
Engine Size and Type: 5.4-liter V8
Engine Horsepower: 300 at 5,000 rpm
Engine Torque: 365 lb.-ft. at 3,750 rpm
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight, lbs.: 5,370
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): 15/19 mpg
Observed Fuel Economy: 13.1 mpg
Length: 223.8 inches
Width: 78.9 inches
Wheelbase: 138.5 inches
Height: 73.5 inches
Legroom (front/rear): 41.3/39.0 inches
Headroom (front/rear): 40.1/39.6 inches
Max. Seating Capacity: 5
Max. Payload, lbs.: 1,620
Max. Towing Capacity, lbs.: 8,900
Competitors: Cadillac Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LT, Dodge Ram Mega Cab 1500 Laramie, Ford F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab SLT, Nissan Titan Crew Cab LE, Toyota Tundra Limited Double Cab
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry