Revamped completely in the 2011 model year, the 2013 Lincoln MKX is little changed other than a complete reworking of its MyLincoln Touch interface. The traditional luxury and even higher-tech luxury touches remain familiar and reassuring: from the panoramic sunroof, to leather upholstery, to HD radio, it hits the mark for what a modern, upscale vehicle should offer as standard equipment.
Ford went far afield for its MyLincoln Touch system, and it's been judged ahead of its time, visionary, and a little rushed in its execution--all fair assessments, we think. MyLincoln Touch (and its companion technology, MyFord Touch), unites controls for phone, navigation, entertainment, and climate systems under one controller that can be operated by LCD touchscreen, steering-wheel controls, or voice commands. Confusing on first pass, MyLincoln Touch's depth of control really lends itself to a deep-dive driving experience, like the eight-hour solo stint we were able to take immediately after our first drive in the 2011 MKX.
Since then, Ford has updated the systems with cleaner, simpler screen layouts, and we've experienced the new offerings in the 2013 Ford Escape. It's a worthwhile update--and still, we're sure any shopper will want to spend some time with MyLincoln Touch before they're sold on the complex voice-controlled system.
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.
Ford says these updates will be available to all users, even those with older MKXs outfitted with the system, as a firmware download. On the balance, MyLincoln Touch has about the same amount of liberating simplicity and aggravating complexity of the systems you'll find in other luxury vehicles-- COMAND, iDrive, MMI, and Remote Touch among them.
Above and beyond the MyLincoln Touch command center, the 2013 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 2013 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 2013 MKX may not have diesel engines or true off-road capability, but it might just have the single feature every crossover 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.