But one final not-ready-for-ski time disappointment occurred when we were exiting a ski area, on a steep uphill slope, on a sketchy road surface that consisted of smoothed-over, re-freezing slush. A traffic backup left us stopping-and-going for a long time, and it exposed a weakness of the AWD system, which seemed to require the front wheels to spin slightly before sending more power to the rear wheels. After stopping each time, it wouldn't simply remember the surface and steep grade; it had to spin again, sending the front end sliding sideways on the sharply crowned road. The Subarus and Audis around us seemed to be having no such problem.
EPA fuel economy ratings for our 2011 MKX AWD were 17 mpg city, 23 highway, and over about 230 miles of driving—much of it on the highway but admittedly in mountainous terrain—we averaged just 17 mpg.
Quiet comfort for all
Despite our issues with cargo space and seat pass-throughs, the front and rear seats are both awesomely comfortable for normal-sized adults. The ventilated front seats in particular, with long cushions and plenty of adjustability, are dreamy, and the back seats have a nice, natural seating height—not too low and claustrophobic, not too high and up on a pedestal. The black premium leather upholstery with piping was very attractive and welcoming, and the MKX's ride is about perfect: on the firm side, but very well damped, with nearly no road or wind noise.
The MKX is officially the first vehicle to get the new MyLincoln Touch system (otherwise known as MyFord Touch), and while we hope to give you more of a play-by-play with the system in the neat future, the first impression is that this is a powerful and mostly intuitive interface. The system feels like it's been designed to be intuitive to smartphone users, and it's successful at that. Especially great are the four small trays that at a glance let you know what's on, what's connected, where you're going, and what temp you're set to.
The gauge cluster, can, in much the same way that we've noted with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, be reconfigured to display various functions on the left and right sides of the central speedometer. The right side is for communication, entertainment, and climate-control functions while the left covers trip computer functions.
Better than MMI or Remote Touch, but not without flaws
While the touch-screen interface itself is worlds better than dial, trackpad, and rotary-switch-based systems from rival luxury brands, the interior still sacrifices some function for novelty at some points. One example, the switches throughout the dash take a little getting used to, as you don't actually press the elevated tab, rather the general area just above them.