Then there are the sliders. No, we're not talking about burgers, rather those backlit horizontal bars that run across the center console, controlling the volume and fan. The backlighting follows your finger, and it's quite the novelty. However, we had trouble rapidly changing the volume with the system, and the sliders seemed almost insensitive in cold weather until the interior had warmed up.
Another thing that was a bit odd was that the system seemed to require some time to boot up and be ready. For instance, in the first 30 seconds or so after starting the engine, even after we were moving, we couldn't select the heated steering wheel or heated seats through the touchscreen.
Most audiophiles won't be disappointed with the MKX's THX II certified audio system—except possibly when using HD radio. The system sounded clear and true at high volumes with FM, CD, or high-bitrate MP3 inputs, and when listening to the radio we enjoyed the best-integrated replay system yet (it keeps a buffer, so if you miss a song or announcement, you can simply rewind). But HD Radio in this system, live, sounded extremely compressed—more so than usual, regardless of station—and we weren't sure if it was the system receiving the signal at a lower bitrate, the surround processing not playing well with the signal, or the awesome speaker setup exposing HD's not-so-HD sound.
Loaded to please all but outdoorsy folks
The test MKX came equipped with the Premium Package, which added larger 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, adaptive HID headlamps, ambient interior lighting, illuminated scuff plates, the upgraded leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, a rear view camera, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, and a memory power-adjustable steering column. It also included the Elite Package, adding a voice-activated navigation system, Sirius Travel Link, a blind-spot system, surround-sound audio, and a Panoramic Vista Roof, along with those showy 20-inch chrome-clad wheels.
All said, the test MKX AWD totaled $49,345, including destination. That's not cheap, but roughly on par with rivals like the BMW X5, Lexus RX 350, and Volvo XC60—though more than the Cadillac SRX. You should be aware you're getting a lot of luxury and features, but not not getting such a well-rounded vehicle for active folks. If Lincoln is trying to aim for the younger and more active and affluent, we don't think the MKX is right on target, but as long as it's the luxury that matters, it's a great pick.