New & Used Lincoln MKX: In Depth
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The Lincoln MKX is a mid-size luxury crossover with room for five. It offers more infotainment and technology than some key rivals with high-prestige luxury badges. The MKX's design appeals to upper-class suburbanites who need all-weather usability in a roomy, comfortable car. A new version of the MKX arrives soon for the 2016 model year.
The MKX, a cousin of the Ford Edge, is only a five-seater in a market that does include quite a few vehicles with three rows of seating (like the bigger Lincoln MKT). Both are cross-shopped against crossovers like the Lexus RX 350, Acura RDX and MDX, Cadillac SRX, Buick Enclave, and Volvo XC60. The MKX was recently joined by the compact MKC crossover below, with the MKT and Navigator sitting above it in Lincoln's crossover/SUV lineup.
The MKX was originally going to be called Aviator, a name that was available after the Ford Explorer-based Lincoln that used it was discontinued. Instead, the crossover got its current three-character badge, as at the time Lincoln was transitioning to a letter-based naming scheme, having recently renamed the Zephyr the MKZ.
Aside from the different grille and trim, the MKX's similarities to the Edge are easy to see from the outside, but the Lincoln looks significantly different on the inside, with satin-nickel and wood trim as well as upgraded upholstery. The MKX is also significantly quieter, with more sound-deadening material and an acoustic windshield.
The MKZ has an amazing feature set, even when compared against the segment benchmark, the Lexus RX 350. In a single trim, the MKX comes with standard perforated leather heated-and-cooled seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and rear park assist, among many other features. Options (some of them in packages) include heated rear seats, DVD entertainment, adaptive headlamps, and a power liftgate. An EasyFold remote seat-folding feature is also on offer, and the MKX is also available with the long Vista Roof, as offered in the closely related Ford Edge. All MKX models have two rows of seating and decent space for five adults, though cargo space isn't quite as ample as in some other crossover models.
Power is provided by the same V-6 engine as in the Edge, with a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. The driving experience isn't very sporty, but the MKX handles quite well for such a heavy vehicle. Ride quality is excellent as well—firm enough to yield good driver control but not so soft as to be bouncy and wallowy like many Lincolns of the past. The MKX doesn't offer the turbocharged four-cylinder that's new to the Edge, though, and fuel economy is a bit above average, at 19/26 mpg in front-drive form, 17/23 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Ford's Sync system, which permits voice-activated interfacing with cellphones, media players, the navigation system, radio, and other devices, became available in 2008. It's standard on the latest MKX, which arrived for the 2011 model year with refined styling inside and out, and slightly better performance from a retuned suspension. It also makes use of Ford's then-new 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6, a version of which is also used in the Mustang among other vehicles.
Also standard: the newly designed instrument panel featuring the all-new MyLincoln Touch touch-screen system, which integrates voice controls, navigation and sound system functions, and personal phones and audio devices, as well as in-car wi-fi using Ford's Sync interface. MyFord Touch may still feel unduly complex for those wanting a traditional luxury vehicle, although the system is a bit more straightforward in this iteration.
Both the vehicle and the interface got a cosmetic refresh for 2013, while the 2014 MKX was essentially carried over unchanged. The 2015 model year brings no real changes.
The new Lincoln MKX
For 2016, the MKX has been completely restyled with handsome lines that are borrowed from the smaller MKC crossover. The engine menu has been reworked, with base models coming with a 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, and the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine an available upgrade. The interior has been restyled as well, with 22-way power seats and available Black Label trim from launch. Lincoln has also announced that Revel will be its top-of-the-line audio partner beginning with the next MKX, due in 2015. The partnership also means an end to the deal Lincoln had with THX sound in the past. Oddly, the next MKX won't get Sync 3, which is Ford's next-gen infotainment system, taking the place of MyFord and MyLincoln Touch, at least not right off the bat.