Performance » 8
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
feels tauter, responds more authoritatively to steering direction, and emits a meaner sound
brisk acceleration, though the transmission can sometimes be reluctant to downshift unless you nearly floor it
is composed in turns and had more than enough juice underhood
[Steering] feedback is sorely lacking, but the effort and on-center response are excellent
competent but not particularly fun
Car and Driver
New in 2007, the Lincoln MKX was thoroughly reworked for the 2011 model year, with a new drivetrain, a reinforced body structure, and a retuned suspension. It's been carried over through the 2013 model year, still not overtly sporty, but pleasant to drive, provided you resist the biggest of optional wheels, and treat it like the tall crossover that it is.
Unlike the similar Ford Edge, the 2013 Lincoln MKX offers just one powertrain--a 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 paired with a six-speed automatic. It's responsive, and more than acceptable for straight-line acceleration, less so when it's shod with a few hundred extra pounds of all-wheel-drive weight. Lincoln's filtered out some of the noise the same engine makes when it's installed as the base powerplant in the Mustang, by fitting more acoustic damping and thicker glass. And somehow, the engine feels more willing to rev here than in the 'Stang. In the most demanding situations the MKX will face in its six-tenths lifestyle, it excels--it's genuinely quick at clipping off mid-range passes, and takes heed of a stomp on the gas with a quick downshift. We'd prefer if the six-speed automatic was a little less of a control freak. It keeps much of the shift action to itself, despite the presence of paddle shift controls--it keeps ultimate control of the gear you've chosen.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, though there's some impact harshness that you can avoid by steering clear of the blingy, optional 20-inch wheels.
It's not sporty, per se, but the Lincoln MKX handles well for a big crossover, and spins out Mustang-worthy horsepower.