The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has slammed a Lincoln MKX against a wall a few times and declared it a Top Safety Pick+, the agency's highest rating.
Of course, the actual testing is a lot more complicated than that, and it factors in such important safety features as the availability of collision-avoidance technologies, headrest designs, roof strength, and even accessibility of child seat anchors.
MORE: Read our 2016 Lincoln MKX review
In nearly all of the tests, the MKX, which was redesigned for 2011, passed with flying colors. Only in the agency's evaluation of the child seat anchors did the luxury crossover come up short. The standard model's seats received an "acceptable" grade, while the range-topping Reserve was rated "marginal" due to upholstery and cushioning that made the anchors more difficult to reach.
One thing that helped set this year's MKX apart was its vastly improved front crash prevention technology, which the agency rated "superior," its top level. The previous MKX scored "basic." However, it is worth noting that the Top Safety Pick+ rating applies only to the MKXs equipped with this optional technology.
Lincoln bundles safety tech like forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, which can mitigate or reduce the severity of a front-end impact, in the Driver Assistance Package on 2016 MKX crossovers.
Notably, the Ford Edge with which the MKX shares much of its structure, doesn't rate nearly as highly. The Edge earned an "acceptable" grade in the small-overlap front collision test and it earned "basic" in the front crash prevention category because it doesn't offer the MKX's degree of collision avoidance technology. As a result, the Edge does not earn a Top Safety Pick award from IIHS.