But, with it sharing the same traits as the latest-generation F-series, I experienced a fully functional truck with a towing capacity of 8,900 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,620 pounds.
Weekends are when I ferry equipment I'm testing back and forth from my cottage, and the LT handled that chore with ease. I only towed about 3,000 pounds, but the LT's long wheelbase and wide stance made for a nice stable tow platform, and the four-wheel disc brakes with ABS offered good stopping bite-loaded or trailering.
Another hint at the fact that the LT is not just meant to look pretty is that the hitch package is standard equipment. This standard Class IV hitch has separate four- and seven-pin connections, and the package also includes a 72-amp battery, upgraded radiator and transmission oil cooler. For power, the LT uses the Ford engine, a 5.4L three-valve Triton V-8 that makes 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. The engine is ample for towing and has the benefit of reasonable fuel consumption. The transmission is an electronic four-speed automatic with O/D lockout. The 3.73 rear gear ratio is good for highway driving, and a standard limited-slip axle works with the 4WD system to distribute torque to the ground evenly.
The 4WD model I drove uses Ford's shift-on-the-fly transfer case that allows switching from two- to four-wheel drive at speed. It also has a low-range setting that, when engaged, activates an Electronic Throttle Control feature that changes the ratio of low-range accelerator response. This lessened throttle response smoothes out the surging normally associated with rough-surface crawling.
The LT's cab has four full doors and seating for five; this leaves 5 1/2 feet for the cargo box. My tester had the optional bed-extender cargo cage. In my case, I brought home a bunch of 8-foot rough-cut cedar planks that were firmly supported by (and tied to) the cage.
It was while we were loading the lumber that my son made a dramatic discovery. Standing in the bed, bouncing up and down, he immediately noticed a significant amount of give in the suspension. I was intrigued, so I stopped yelling at him long enough to notice he was right-he was getting 4 to 5 inches of compression on each bounce. I was sure the standard F-series truck was much stiffer than that. After checking the factory suspension specifications, I determined that my son's finely tuned method of measurement was indeed correct. Lincoln has softened the shock settings.
The suspension system is composed of a coilover shock, long-spindle double-wishbone front suspension. In the back, leaf springs are dampened by rear shocks that have been placed outboard of the framerails.
What Lincoln has done is combined a set of soft-gripping bushings on the front stabilizer bar and detuned the rear shocks to make the LT ride much more supple-right on the money in terms of how a Lincoln should ride. Driving empty or with the trailer, there was a noticeable difference, an enjoyable one with one exception: The downside of softening up the rear shocks is that the truck is more prone to wheelhop on dirt/washboard surfaces.
We'll give this truck another shakedown in a few months' time. Look for this Lincoln---a Lincoln?---in our 2006 Pickup Truck of the Year test, in the January 2006 issue.
Vehicle/model: 2006 Lincoln Mark LT
Base price: $40,500
Engine: 5.4L Triton V-8
Valvetrain: SOHC; three valves/cyl.
Transmission: 4R75W four-speed automatic OD
Transfer case: Part-time two-speed
Low-range ratio: 2.56:1
Axle ratio: 3.73:1
Crawl ratio: 27.1:1
Suspension/axle (f): IFS; double wishbones, coilover shocks
Suspension/axle (r): Solid axle, leaf springs
Steering: Power rack and pinion
Brakes: Four-wheel discs; two-piston calipers
Fuel economy (mpg): N/A
Wheelbase (in.): 138.5
Length (in.): 223.8
Width (in.): 78.9
Height (in.): 73.5
Minimum ground clearance (in.): 8.2
Approach/departure angles (deg.): 21.5/22.1
Base curb weight (lb.): 5,370
GVWR (lb.): 6,390
Payload (lb.): 1,620
Max towing capacity (lb.): 8,900
Fuel capacity (gal.): 30