Sep 26, 2016

Inside the New Lincoln MKX

With the introduction of the 2016 Lincoln MKX, the brand makes a worthy attempt at reclaiming its luxury title. The automaker has managed to blend style, refinement and performance into an appealing package. This crossover has some major competition, but it can stand up to its sophisticated rivals.

Like the able SUV that it is, the MKX can serve many types of owners. Families in the market for the right two-row crossover will find much to like here. It’s sizable and offers certified safety. Likewise, couples looking for a cushy SUV will appreciate the level of pampering on board this luxury vehicle. Fashion-conscious buyers can enjoy a classic look with high quality materials. For those who love to drive, the MKX offers a better experience than many uses this size. If you need to haul cargo, this utility lets you fold the seats to create 68 cu.ft. of open, flat space.


High quality sheet metal dresses the exterior. Flowing from headlamp to headlamp, Lincoln’s unique split-wing front grill adds a bit of pizazz. The body has been sculpted with sweeping aerodynamic lines. Features include:

  • Speed-sensitive wipers
  • Blind spot mirrors
  • Heated side mirrors
  • Power-fold side mirrors (option)
  • HID headlamps with LED dynamic signature lighting
  • Easy Fuel cap-less filler
  • Solar tinted glass (front)
  • Privacy glass (rear)

The base edition is listed for $38,260. Direct rivals tend to ask more. The Acura RDX is listed around $43,000 while the Lexus RX 350 is listed around $41,000. Another rival, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is set to compete in a similar price range and offer many luxuries. However, it doesn’t have the stellar safety record of the Lincoln. Plus, it doesn’t offer the same basic performance, and it doesn’t have a luxury brand’s clout. If the Lincoln’s price tag is too high from the outset, MKX shoppers may turn to the Ford Edge, the less opulent but same-sized cousin of the MKX.

Of course, there’s more to car ownership than the price. To stay competitive, Lincoln offers just three options: Premier, Select, and Reserve. Keeping choices simple has its benefits for the consumer who wants more value in each package. Every MKX has a luxurious cabin that shuts out road noise. Active Noise Control uses the sound system to counter any noise that the heavily insulated cabin can’t shut out. With extensive dash tech and many luxuries, the Premier edition works to earn its keep. Although it doesn’t have leather upholstery, the edition has these standard features:

  • Luxury Soft Touch seating surfaces
  • Heated 10-way power driver seat
  • Split-fold second row
  • Dual-zone climate controls
  • Active Noise Control
  • Next Generation Touchscreen
  • Push-button shifter

Cabin Quality and Features
The interior has cut-and-sewn materials that demonstrate its right to wear the luxury moniker. Select and Reserve seating is clad in Bridge of Weir perforated leather. New Black Label editions come with unique color combinations and even higher quality cabins. If there’s a complaint, it may be against the plain black-and-white gauges or against uneven material quality in the lower trim editions. Technology is front and center with special instrumentation displays and the touchscreen. The spacious cabin has 108 cu.ft., but taller passengers may not find a comfortable perch on the back row due to limited headroom for this class. Front row seats offer all-day comfort. Complete pampering is possible if you choose the power-heated, power-ventilated seats with 22-way power adjustments and thigh extensions. Ambient lighting comes in seven customizable colors. Higher trims offer:

  • Power liftgate
  • Power tilt-telescopic steering wheel
  • Power-heated rear seats
  • Power-heated steering wheel
  • Panoramic Vista Roof

Music and Entertainment
Shoppers get their pick of the standard 9-speaker unit, the 13-speaker Revel or the 19-speaker range-topping Revel Ultima Audio system. Lincoln makes sure you get a concert-quality listening experience whichever one you choose. Coordinating the system, the audio touchscreen uses next generation Sync technology. Sync3 allows you to command more with your voice. The touchscreen is easier to use with more tablet-like gestures that are familiar to smartphone users. Standards include dual USB ports, an SD card reader, and Sirius XM. With the navigation system, Lincoln adds a six-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. Families may want to add a dual headrest DVD entertainment system.

Engine Choices
Among the ways that Lincoln has improved the MKX is by offering truly capable powertrains. After all, if you are paying a little more for luxury, you expect a vehicle that drives well. The swift V-6 kicks out 303 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. Even better, an Ecoboost twin-turbo generates 335 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque. Regardless of engine choice, maximum fuel economy for this 4,500-pound family hauler is just 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. That’s just 20 mpg in mixed driving. Families with an eye on their budget may look elsewhere for a more efficient choice, but they won’t be disappointed with this crossover’s ride quality. Drive Control constantly alters damping, countering road irregularities by the millisecond. The driving experience can be enhanced by choosing comfort, normal or sport settings. Other powertrain aspects include:

  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Choice of Front or All Wheel Drive
  • Availability of Four-Corner Traction
  • Adaptive Steering with three driving modes

Five Star Safety
The MKX does have its five-star designation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s important since many luxury crossovers don’t even get tested. Unlike many SUVs today, it has eight airbags, including knee bags for both front positions. As part of the blue oval family, the MKX offers exclusive second-row inflatable seatbelts. Many parents appreciate this extra touch to keep kids safer. The 911 Assist comes with the standard Sync 3 system. There’s no extra charge for this feature.

Active Safety Features
The 360-degree parking assist system puts a camera right behind the Lincoln star. Watching the car’s surroundings, it helps ensure safer low-speed situations. If that’s not enough, an active park assist adds automation for parallel and perpendicular parking. When backing out of a space, the rear cross-traffic alert can warn drivers about incoming cars. The blind spot monitor and lane departure alert help drivers avoid common side swipes. If the driver ignores the Lincoln’s vibrating steering wheel, automated steering torque can move it back into its lane. Advanced brake support adds automation to the forward collision warning. You can also get these features on higher editions:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Automatic High beams
  • Adaptive LED lamps

Although there are many rivals, the MKX definitely makes its mark in the midsized category!

Ed Aldridge /

Ed Aldridge /

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