There's also electronic power steering, which shows Ford's progress on the learning curve of delivering decent feel and feedback without the natural pressure of a hydraulic pump. The MKX steers fairly well, and doesn't wander much at all on decent-to-awful turnpike pavement textures. It also grabs its share of country roads with gusto—up to the point any 4000-pound crossover feels unhappy about exactly what you're doing back there. The front- or all-wheel-drive MKX understeers all day long when you try to provoke it, but on the obverse, it also has a touch better ride than before, even with big, blingy 20-inch wheels strapped to its axles.
For performance, the MKX is fitted with a new 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 that's shared with the 2011 Ford Mustang. Offered here with a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, there's ample performance to knock off a gentleman's B for straight-line performance—in the neighborhood of eight seconds to 60 mph, and a top speed in the 125-mph range. The engine's muted much better here than in the Mustang, of course, thanks to layers of laminated glass and acoustic damping, and it's probably everything a luxury-crossover buyer not seeking Cayenne Turbo-style thrust will want. The shift paddles enable shift-it-yourself thinking after you've put the MKX into the proper gear slot—or maybe the low mode, which you'll probably do inadvertently at least once, since it's a straight pull back on the lever, through the normal Drive position.