2012 Lincoln MKX Performance

8.0
Performance

For the 2011 model year, Ford revamped the MKX quite substantially, upgrading its drivetrain along with the sheetmetal and interior, while it beefed up its body structure. Compared back to back with the first-generation MKX, it's more adept at tackling curves and feels more engaged in the act of driving, though we wouldn't call it sporty.

The sole engine in the MKX is now a 3.7-liter V-6, shared with the latest Mustang, making 305 horsepower in the Lincoln application. Hooked up with a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic, the drivetrain gets a solid B for straight-line performance and responsiveness, and maybe a B minus when a few hundred pounds of all-wheel-drive hardware are strapped on its haunches. More muted here than in the pony car, the big V-6 has been damped out with thicker glass and more acoustic blocking, and it's lost some of its wallflower waltz. It can feel genuinely quick in mid-range passing, probably the most demanding situation for its most frequent drivers. There's no Porsche Cayenne Turbo-style thrust on tap, but it's accommodating to a heavy foot on the gas.

The 2012 Lincoln MKX has upped its own tempo: we wouldn't call it sporty, but it's quick, and handles well for its size and height.
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.

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