STRATEGY

Drives: Ooh, Shiny! The Pickup Goes Upscale

The Lincoln Mark LT pickup combines refinement, ruggedness, and a generous helping of chrome.
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You know it's true in your gut--trust it over the facts every time. That's the essence of truthiness, which recently earned the word of the year award from the American Dialect Society after being popularized by Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert. In keeping with that idea, I would like to introduce truckiness, the best word I can come up with to describe the new 2006 Lincoln Mark LT.

The facts tell me that the Mark LT is simply a four-door pickup--with the underpinnings of its parental gold standard, the Ford F-150--that's been gussied up a bit. But I know the truth. It's a whole lot more. Its combination of refinement and ruggedness offers a well-balanced mix for those who like a nice glass of Chardonnay on their weekend fishing trips. Or, as I discovered, those who need to bring home a small couch from Ikea. My lovely two-seater nestled comfortably in the 5.5-foot-long bed as I perched up front in a heated, wide-bottomed leather seat with attractive black piping.

The Mark LT's exterior shines, and that should be taken literally. Chrome adorns nearly everything, including the 18-inch wheels, the toothy grille, the door handles, the exhaust, and the rail bars along the bed. Despite its pretty face, the Mark LT can haul fairly well. It has a payload capacity of 1,620 pounds and can tow up to 8,900 pounds. That's more than enough to get your angling boat to the mountain lake this summer--just turn a dial to 4X4 mode if the terrain becomes knotty. All truckiness considered, the Mark LT is an intriguing experiment that will keep its high style even if it ends up in low places.


2006 Lincoln Mark LT

Sticker price
$43,110 base price for the 4X4 version, $47,110 as tested

Vital stats
5.4-liter 300-hp V-8 engine; 365 pound-feet of torque; 14/18 mpg

Good stuff
A handy rear window that slides open with the press of a button, temperature-control buttons on the steering wheel, and heavy-duty shock absorbers for a smooth ride over bumpy terrain

Drawbacks
The gas mileage dips into SUV territory, and the bed might be too small for some bigger jobs. Parallel parking can be a pain, mainly because the sensing system that beeps if something's behind the truck is very sensitive.

Second opinion
"The Lincoln Mark LT is bright, bold, and brash. You'd be hard-pressed to find a truck with more exterior chrome that isn't a big rig," says Gary Vasilash, editor in chief of Automotive Design and Production magazine.

Last updated: Jun 1, 2006




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