The MKX’s job is to bring Lincoln’s brand of American luxury and technology into the same premium crossover SUV segment that’s occupied by Mercedes, BMW and Acura. And Lexus. Oh, and Infiniti and Cadillac and Audi. And Buick. And Porsche, and Volkswagen and GMC. Oh and uh, Volvo, too. Oh yea, and Jeep, of course.
Come to think of it, everyone sells a machine like the
MKX. Premium crossovers are big business after all – and most of them are sort of the same.
Selecting a premium crossover can be daunting indeed. The majority have a three-point-something-litre V6 with about 300 ponies, 2 or 3 seating rows, some form of AWD, a motorized tailgate, a generous cargo hold, a panoramic sunroof and plenty of chrome.
A few things help set the MKX apart, though.
Stand-out looks outside and (especially) on board
One is the styling. MKX is proudly American, and shows off a bold and unique styling direction for the brand. It’s daring and different, and that’s a good thing for most.
Designers created a body that’s detailed, chunky, sleek, muscular and blocky all at once. There’s a great-looking rear end, big dual exhausts and gorgeous lights in front and back. The grille is unique too. Most love it, but some say it looks like the plankton strainer in a beluga whale’s mouth.
MKX’s interior helps set it apart, too. It doesn’t quite match the German stuff for a feeling of rock-solid build quality, but relative to its price range, things on board feel pretty darn good.
Chrome, metal and leather line everything, switches and controls are all modern and upscale, and no issues were noted with entry, exit or overall room. Nice color scheme, too. It all looks very high tech and sophisticated, but without the millions of buttons and consoles you’ll find in similar machines from across the pond.
There’s plenty of at-hand storage up front, as well as proper cupholders and piles of room for four adults and their stuff. In back, there’s room for your gear, and the motorized rear seats fold away at the touch of a button if you’ve got more cargo than passengers coming for the ride.
Gadgets and Goodies
Taking in a road trip? The radar-guided cruise control system constantly adjusts vehicle speed based on traffic flow for no-pedals-required cruising. Blind-spot warning mirrors and a backup camera help with rearward visibility, too. Or you could just shoulder check. Just saying.
THX-certified stereo system kicks some serious butt. It’s clear and potent– even at volume levels surpassing this twenty-something year-old’s aural comfort zone. Thanks to Lincoln’s SYNC system, the MKX’s sound-cannon of a stereo will play your tuneage from a CD, iPod, USB drive, or even via streaming wireless Bluetooth straight out of your phone.
SYNC also allows drivers to control the navigation, phone, climate and entertainment systems by voice control. Drivers can even listen to and reply to their text messages without removing their hands from the wheel or eyes from the road.
A slick touch-sensitive console and touch-screen control the majority of remaining vehicle functions. Touch-activated volume and fan-speed sliders are especially cool looking as they light up to trace the movement of your finger. The advanced touch-activated systems are slick as all heck, though I did I did find the system a little glitchy and slow to react at times.
Either way, you’ll feel like a crew member of the USS Enterprise in a jiff.
There’s no warp drive here, but the MKX’s 3.7L, 305-horsepower V6 moves things along quickly, sounds fantastic and operates smoothly in all situations.
The powerplant uses one of the industry’s most advanced valve timing systems, which engineers call Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing or TI-VCT. In a nutshell, this setup constantly optimizes engine breathing via the camshafts for fantastic on-demand power and fuel mileage.
Seems to work: most drivers should find above-adequate performance, and my heavy-footed driving still turned in a test-average of around 12.0L/100km. It’s no Jetta TDI, but that figure is respectable as 300-plus horsepower, all-wheel drive crossovers go.
Steering, throttle and brakes are all pleasantly responsive, working towards an involving driving feel to match the engine’s punch. The tested MKX’s ride was rougher than expected though – thanks mainly to its large chrome-clad wheels and relatively stiff suspension. It is a touch sporty, and some crossover drivers like that sort of thing, but if you’re looking for the “floating on a cloud” Lincoln ride, you won’t find it here.
Pricing is nicely done. Even decked out at around $54,000, the tested MKX came in for some $15,000 less than a comparable BMW X5. That’s a new Hyundai Accent for the kids. Or a nice little motorboat. Or an awesome jet-powered watercraft.
Other machines worth considering here? The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a fantastic interior as well, and it’s light-years more capable off of the pavement. The VW Touareg is available with a TDI Clean Diesel engine. Finally, the Acura MDX, though not as aggressively luxurious, has been a great buy in this segment for years.
End of the day, if you’re in this ballpark and after a crossover that’s uniquely styled and uniquely high-tech, be sure to put the MKX on your ‘To Test Drive’ list.