- We "get" MyLincoln Touch
- Interior's business-class finishes
- Tech features abound
- Big winged grille isn't everyone's taste
- That's really 305 horsepower?
- Power tailgate is slow to open or close
The 2012 Lincoln MKX lives up to the promise of top-notch American luxury, with some of the newest luxury and tech features as its controversial showpieces.
Closely related to the Ford Edge, the 2012 Lincoln MKX is the upscale brand's five-seat crossover vehicle. Like the Edge, it was redesigned for the 2011 model year, and it carries over this year with no changes.
With new sheetmetal and powertrains, a new interior and a new suite of technology branded MyLincoln Touch, the MKX stakes a claim to the growing luxury-crossover market, alongside some tough rivals from Europe and Japan. It succeeds on its own merits, which include world-class features and interior appointments.
Some see it as an eyesore, but we see the more distinctive Lincoln front-end look as a breathtaking departure. It's a striking bit of style, and the twin-wing grille is balanced out by a tall front end and large glass areas. It goes a long way to cure the MKX's relative anonymity down the rest of its plain but handsome body. Inside the cockpit, Lincoln's ditched the lower-rent shapes and materials of the past, and has removed most of the buttons and knobs from the dash, replacing them with a swoopy new instrument panel and center stack implanted with big LCD screens. The combination could come off forced, but it doesn't. The fit and finish has risen to import standards, and wood, metal and leather trim blend together beautifully. It's a business-class aesthetic that evades cliches, while it folds in the very latest technology.
In its 2011 remake, the MKX gained a more powerful V-6 engine--a 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter shared with the latest Ford Mustang. The improved output isn't entirely noticeable. Shunted through a sweet-shifting six-speed automatic, those horsepower earn the MKX a gentleman's B for straight-line performance, somewhere in the neighborhood of 8.0 seconds to 60 mph, and a top speed in the 125-mph range. Performance is muted, in the aural sense, much better than in the Mustang, and the MKX's laminated glass and acoustic damping keep it well quieted when revs hit 5000 rpm and above. Electric power steering continues Ford's track record for decent feedback and feel. For its size, more than 4000 pounds, the MKX digs into its share of country roads with gusto. All-wheel drive is an option on the already chunky crossover, so we'd give it a pass unless you spend more than half the year in mucky driving conditions.
With the Navigator still hanging around, the MKX doesn't have to supersize itself to flesh out the Lincoln lineup. It's designed to tote five adults in comfort, and it hits that mark well. Its front seats have good support and with the tilt/telescoping steering, make finding a good driving position easy. Heating, even ventilation, are offered up front, while the second-row seat can also be heated. It's suitable for grown-ups, even three across, and has good head room. The MKX is a bit shy on cargo space, compared to some five-passenger crossovers, but the console, door panels and glovebox offer useful additional storage.
Safety scores have moderated a bit, but the MKX is still one of the safest vehicles you can buy. The NHTSA gives it four stars overall; the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick. Stability control and curtain airbags are standard, as are blind-spot monitors, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth.
MyLincoln Touch is the star of the MKX cabin; it marries Ford's SYNC and its Bluetooth-controlled, voice-activated technology with a pair of LCD screens flanking the speedometer, a big LCD touchscreen in the middle of the dash, and a pair of swipe-touch bars. The dozens of buttons you'd find on another car's audio, navigation and climate controls are simply gone, replaced by the touch-sensitive functions on the screen and by dueling sets of steering-wheel-mounted buttons and those winged bars. It's a revolutionary feature, allowing a host of navigation and media functions, too, such as finding the closest Starbucks with your voice, or tagging you music and syncing with iTunes.