2020 Ford Explorer vs. 2019 Lincoln MKT

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Explorer and MKT have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Explorer has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The MKT’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Explorer has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The MKT offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Explorer has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MKT doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Explorer ST/Platinum has standard Reverse Brake Assist that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The MKT doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The MKT doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Ford Explorer has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The MKT doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a standard 360-Degree Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKT only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Explorer’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The MKT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the MKT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available all wheel drive.


There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Lincoln dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked fifth.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 16th in reliability. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Ford 2 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.


The Explorer Platinum’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 30 lbs.-ft. more torque (380 vs. 350) than the MKT’s 3.5 turbo V6. The Explorer ST’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 35 more horsepower (400 vs. 365) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 350) than the MKT’s 3.5 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer gets better fuel mileage than the MKT:




2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy


2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

ST 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy



3.5 turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The MKT doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Explorer’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The MKT doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Explorer V6 Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKT (20.2 vs. 18.6 gallons).


A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Explorer ST’s optional brake rotors are larger than those on the MKT:

Explorer ST


Front Rotors

14.3 inches

13.86 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

13.58 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the MKT (255/65R18 vs. 235/55R19). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MKT (275/45R21 vs. 255/45R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer ST/Platinum offers optional 21-inch wheels. The MKT’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The MKT doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the MKT (119.1 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the MKT.

For better maneuverability, the Explorer’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the MKT AWD’s (39.2 feet vs. 41.5 feet).


The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 600 pounds less than the Lincoln MKT.

The Explorer is 8.8 inches shorter than the MKT, making the Explorer easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The MKT doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Explorer Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The MKT doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Explorer has 10.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKT (152.7 vs. 142.3).

The Explorer has .6 inches more front headroom, 3.5 inches more front hip room, 3.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 3.2 inches more rear hip room, 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room, 5.4 inches more third row headroom, .3 inches more third row hip room and 5.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the MKT.

Cargo Capacity

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the MKT.



Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

17.9 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

39.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

87.8 cubic feet

75.9 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MKT doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


The Explorer’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MKT’s (3000 vs. 2000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Lincoln MKT is only 4500 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Explorer is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MKT. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.


The Explorer’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The MKT’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The MKT Reserve’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

The Explorer is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The MKT doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.


The Ford Explorer outsold the Lincoln MKT by almost 113 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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