The 2012 Lincoln MKX has a raft of well-conceived luxury and entertainment touches, everything from leather to panoramic sunroof to HD radio, but wary buyers will want to spend some time with MyLincoln Touch before they're sold on the complex voice-controlled system.
MyLincoln Touch is Ford's way of tying together navigation, phone, climate and entertainment features with voice control--though steering-wheel controls and a touchscreen LCD also get in on the action. MyLincoln Touch, and its sister in gigabytes, MyFord Touch, have drawn complaints over their information-packed displays, and in the confusing depth of control they deliver without a spray of buttons and levers.
A few examples show the system's breathtaking reach and the potential for frustration. To set a destination, the driver can either press a steering-wheel button and speak the destination; MyLincoln Touch searches and returns results, which the driver chooses or discards if they're not relevant. Enjoying a song on the MKX's radio? A tap on the LCD touchscreen cues MyLincoln Touch to bookmark the track on a portable music player for downloading later, at a desktop. Want to change the height of the power-opening tailgate in cargo-loading mode? That's also driven by the screen, though it's also possible to cycle through those same screens with the steering-wheel buttons. Whew.
MyLincoln Touch will be revised in the 2013 model year, but Ford is promising those updates will also be available to all users as a firmware download. Until then, it's simply having to spend more time teaching dealers and customers how to use the system--a big leap of faith for a brand that's facing the newly connected car in a completely different way than established luxury players, most of which have their own aggravating solutions in place (COMAND, iDrive, MMI, and Remote Touch).Above and beyond a dizzying array of services, the MKX also sports a media hub with two USB ports, a set of composite jacks and an SD card slot. Instead of fitting a CD changer, Ford thinks this module will let it stay ahead of in-car electronics and user needs. Unfortunately, in this case, the media hub is slotted behind the shifter and it's hard to plug in your USB cable. There's also a plastic lip that makes putting anything flat—like an SD card—in that bin a very difficult exercise in extraction.
There's so much more technology bundled in, like THX II audio, MyKey and Intelligent Access, it's difficult to picture any luxury crossover leaping ahead of the MKX's state of the art tech features. Those features alone are enough to put the MKX on the radar for anyone thinking of Touaregs, FX50s or X5s. The 2011 MKX isn't quite as advanced as these vehicle in every way, but it might just have the single feature every driver really wants, if you asked them in a weak moment: a way to play music and talk while sitting in traffic, without getting in trouble with the law.