2008 Lincoln MKX Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 13, 2008

Lincoln has a long road back to regaining its status as a meaningful luxury brand, and the 2008 MKX is a step in the right direction.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors researched the latest reviews on the new 2008 Lincoln MKX to write this conclusive review. The crossover experts at TheCarConnection.com also drove the Lincoln MKX and offer opinions and details to help you with your own research. This review also compares the 2008 Lincoln MKX with other vehicles in its class to give you the best advice even when other reviews present conflicting opinions.

All new in 2007, the mid-size, five-passenger 2008 Lincoln MKX crossover didn't change much for this model year. Throughout 2007, the MKX has been a strong seller for Ford's luxury Lincoln brand. For 2008, the mechanical essentials are largely carried over--but the suave interior gets another helping of features and technology.

The standard running gear for the MKX--like that of the sister vehicle, the Ford Edge--includes a 3.5-liter, 263-horsepower V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive an option. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and side and curtain airbags.

For 2008, the MKX's new standard features include Sirius Satellite Radio; heated and cooled front seats with memory positions and lumbar adjustments; and a reverse-sensing system. Ford's SYNC system, which uses Bluetooth connectivity and a touch screen to control communications and entertainment, is also standard.

Review continues below

Standout optional features include a full-length Vista sunroof, adaptive projector-beam headlights that pivot as the MKX turns, heated rear seats, a 14-speaker 600-watt THX audio system with surround sound, and a DVD-based GPS navigation system. A new Limited Package is also available as an option. It features 20-inch chrome wheels, chrome door handles, ebony wood accents, and premium leather seats with black leather and light piping. A Monochrome Limited Edition Package offers the same gear with black paint and a monochrome grille.

On the road, the performance of the 2008 Lincoln MKX is highlighted by good steering. Zero-to-60-mph acceleration runs generate numbers in the mid-eight-second range, which isn't bad, but it won't make you feel like heading to the drag strip. Reviews have raised concerns about the braking system on the MKX, for braking feel and for relatively long stopping distances. On the bright side, the MKX has also received impressive crash test ratings.

The Lexus RX 350 was the bogie for Lincoln, and the gang from Michigan did create a crossover that is more engaging to drive than the Lexus. However, the 2008 Lincoln MKX can't match the level of refinement achieved by the RX 350. One downside of the RX 350's success is that Lexus sells so many of them (over 100,000 per year), you're likely to see yourself coming and going as you visit the upscale suburban shopping malls.

8

2008 Lincoln MKX

Styling

The 2008 Lincoln MKX features a very attractive and handsome exterior, but for $35,000, its interior needs improvement.

The 2008 Lincoln MKX is Lincoln's entry into the quickly growing crossover market, and its exterior makes quite the statement.

The exterior of the 2008 Lincoln MKX is nothing if not distinct. ForbesAutos says that the "MKX distinguishes itself from boxier-looking SUVs with a more stylish exterior" that features a "sleek roofline that sweeps gracefully rearward"--somewhat at odds with Autoblog's description of the MKX's "very muscular stance, kind of like a British bulldog." Kelley Blue Book calls the exterior of the Lincoln MKX 2008 "handsome," sporting "high-shouldered, flare-fendered flanks" and "edge-to-edge LEDs across the liftgate," and Edmunds feels that the Lincoln MKX "looks elegant, with tasteful yet eye-catching exterior styling." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com unanimously praised those LEDs, which combine the brake, reverse, and night-illumination features. Reviewers at Car and Driver "dig the full-width brake light," while those at Edmunds find them to be "particularly striking." Potential buyers won't have to worry much about how different trims affect the appearance of the Lincoln MKX 2008, as Edmunds points out that it "comes in one trim level," simplifying the buying experience.

The well-received exterior styling will probably leave consumers with high expectations for the interior, but the inside of the 2008 Lincoln MKX disappointed some reviewers. Car and Driver hands out the most negative verdict, claiming that the Lincoln MKX's interior "isn't even in the same league, much less ballpark, as its luxury competition." They take particular offense to the "acres of silver plastic." Cars.com also disapproved of parts of the interior, especially the "satin nickel," which is "Lincoln's name for the metal-like finish on the center control panels." Aside from that flaw, there are some positive reviews to be found on the Lincoln MKX 2008, especially from ConsumerGuide, which praises the interior as "upscale, if just a bit shy of the best in this class." Autoblog also likes the "clean and clutter free" dash and "real wood used liberally throughout the cabin."

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2008 Lincoln MKX

Performance

The 2008 Lincoln MKX features a strong engine and a very comfortable ride, but sharp turns and quick stops are definitely lacking.

For 2008, the Lincoln MKX features a pretty limited performance list, as it comes with one available engine, a 265-horsepower V-6, and only as an automatic. In fact, the single performance change that buyers can make is choosing between all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive.

The 3.5-liter V-6 that motivates the 2008 Lincoln MKX provides pretty good performance, especially for a crossover of the Lincoln MKX 2008's heft. ConsumerGuide finds that the engine provides "smooth, linear power for good around-town response." Kelley Blue Book agrees, claiming that they find the Lincoln MKX's "acceleration subjectively excellent from rest or almost any speed"; Autoblog generally concurs, though it notes that the MKX's performance "won't stir your soul."

Reviewers at Cars.com love the "six-speed automatic" that is linked to the engine, and they "have no complaints about the character of the acceleration or how quickly the transmission...responds to the demands of a fidgety right foot." The EPA estimates that the 2008 Lincoln MKX will return 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the front-wheel-drive version, and Edmunds notes that "all-wheel drive reduces mileage by only 1 highway mpg."

Engine power is important on a car, especially during short merges, but even more important is how well a vehicle can harness the power under the hood. In this regard, the 2008 Lincoln MKX leaves a lot to be desired. Edmunds refers (generously) to stopping in the Lincoln MKX 2008 as "an adventure," finding that the "MKX took 146 feet to stop from 60 mph," a distance that is "much longer than virtually every other luxury crossover." Cars.com is likewise disappointed in the braking and says that "the pedal is mushy and needs more pressure than it should."

Despite the braking problems, the Lincoln MKX 2008 redeems itself in terms of handling and driving characteristics. Cars.com appreciates that "the steering feels natural and the center of gravity is low, providing a grounded feeling." Autoblog also loves the 2008 Lincoln MKX here, finding that road imperfections are "soaked up very well by the Lincoln's fully independent suspension." ConsumerGuide credits the comfortable suspension with keeping the MKX feeling "confident and controlled," although "body lean and noseplow are evident in brisk cornering."

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2008 Lincoln MKX

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Lincoln MKX is extraordinarily comfortable, but occupants probably won't enjoy some of the lower-quality interior materials.

The 2008 Lincoln MKX is a true luxury car from a luxury brand, and accordingly, it places an emphasis on occupant comfort and build quality.

The Lincoln MKX is a crossover with room for five to sit comfortably. ConsumerGuide loves the Lincoln MKX 2008's "ample legroom" and "exceptionally comfortable" seats up front, while also noting that there is "plenty of room for most any individual" in the back. Autoblog, like most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, agrees, finding that "the seats are a particular treat" and make "a suitable throne from which to pilot" the Lincoln MKX. Headroom is decent, but ConsumerGuide feels that "taller occupants may want more head clearance beneath the housing for the panoramic roof."

Cargo space can be found throughout the 2008 Lincoln MKX, but especially up front, where Kelley Blue Book says you will find a "large, deep console box" with the ability to "accommodate CDs, purses or laptop computers." In the back, "the 60/40-split second-row seat provides impressive roominess in all dimensions." However, Edmunds notes that the Lincoln MKX 2008 "provides less cargo space than most other luxury crossovers, and there is no third-row option."

The 2008 Lincoln MKX loses some points when it comes to build materials. Although Autoblog finds that "the real wood" on the interior is "both attractive and friendly to the fingers," Car and Driver simply cannot find any way to love the "acres of silver plastic." On the positive side, ConsumerGuide feels that Lincoln MKX 2008 "makes wise use of padded surfaces and genuine wood trim," and Kelley Blue Book claims that "this may be the quietest Lincoln ever built."

9

2008 Lincoln MKX

Safety

The 2008 Lincoln MKX boasts an impressive list of standard safety and accident-prevention features, but if that isn't enough, it also sports some of the best crash test ratings of any vehicle on the road today.

The 2008 Lincoln MKX has undergone a full battery of crash tests and emerged as one the safest cars on the road today.

The Lincoln MKX 2008 has proved its mettle in a variety of crash tests, earning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top scores in frontal, side, and rear impact tests. The Lincoln MKX also drives away with an IIHS Top Safety Pick award. In government tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Lincoln MKX 2008 five stars for driver protection and four stars for passenger protection during front crash tests, as well as five stars for side-impact crashes. Cars.com also points out that the Lincoln MKX features a "better rollover rating" than the very safe Volvo XC90, a vehicle that shares the 2008 Lincoln MKX's Roll Stability Control system.

ForbesAutos loves the "plentiful" safety systems on the Lincoln MKX 2008 and describes the standard "AdvanceTrak stability control system" as using "brake and accelerator intervention to help keep all four wheels firmly planted." Kelley Blue Book also makes a note of the 2008 Lincoln MKX's standard "four-wheel disc four-channel anti-lock brakes, traction control...and six airbags."

One sore spot on many large cars is visibility. The 2008 Lincoln MKX offers decent visibility for a vehicle of its size, though ConsumerGuide is quick to point out that "rear headrests partially block the rearward view." However, looking out the front of the Lincoln MKX, Car and Driver says that "forward visibility is fantastic." Aiding nighttime visibility are "adaptive halogen headlamps" that move in the direction of a turn, providing increased illumination, according to Cars.com.

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2008 Lincoln MKX

Features

Cool standard features abound on the 2008 Lincoln MKX, and the option to take this car even more upscale is there, but the lack of a rearview camera like that on the Lexus RX 350 is disappointing.

The 2008 Lincoln MKX keeps things simple with its one trim level, but it does offer some of the more typical luxury-vehicle options.

The standard features list on the Lincoln MKX is quite long, and Kelley Blue Book refers to the Lincoln MKX as "nicely-equipped." Edmunds claims that the Lincoln MKX 2008 "comes with more standard features than its pricier competitors," highlighted by "Ford's impressive new Sync system," which "allows for drivers to control communication and entertainment devices...via voice commands," and a "reverse parking system." While many reviews read by TheCarConnection.com loved the standard loadout of the Lincoln MKX 2008, reviewers at Cars.com find that there are "substantial oversights," most notably the lack of "xenon headlights, rearview cameras and cargo covers."

For those looking for optional equipment, the 2008 Lincoln MKX does offer what Autoblog calls a "superb" touch-screen navigation system and an upgraded 14-speaker THX-certified audio system that leaves those at Autoblog "very impressed" with the acoustics aboard the Lincoln MKX 2008.

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Styling 8.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 9.0
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