Is the 2012 Lincoln MKX a jumbo-jet-sized departure from the luxury norm, or is it way overdone? Ford's tussled with the latest styling theme on a range of Lincolns for the past few years. The winged-grille theme seems like it's here to stay, but from what we've seen, few future Lincolns will get front ends as big and hypersized as this one. At least on the MKX, the size of the grille wings is balanced out by slimmed-down headlamps and tall glass areas--it's not so comically out of touch, like the brownstone-sized radiator on the MKT crossover. For all the chatter we've read about the grille, the rest of the MKX is remarkably tasteful and handsome, a deft piece of work compared to the frumpy Lexus RX or spartan-looking Acura MDX, which has grille issues of its own.
In last year's redo, the MKX cabin chucked what was left of the inexpensive-looking materials and shapes that remained after the transition from Ford Edge took place. Like the cockpit in the MKT, the MKX's dash gives off the overachieving air that VW and Audi have been inching away from, cabin by cabin. White lighting glows to accent the digital gauge panel and the big LCD screen in the middle of the stack—but it's all softened beautifully with gradual curves that sweep up and out from the center console.
Finally, say what you want about MyLincoln Touch, but subtracting the buttons from the center stack gave designers the space to lay out winged themes that should have been this well-executed in the Cadillac CTS lineup. That car reaches for the same visual impact and falls shy, thanks to a myriad of buttons and switches. As with every recent interior from Ford, the feel and fit of interior materials has been ratcheted up several levels, with choices of metallic trim, light or dark woods. The MKX elevates the business-class aesthetic out of simple wood and leather cliches, and marries it with real haute technology—not an easy task.