Strengths and weaknesses:
- lower towing capacity than several competitors
- windshield glare
- unusual user interface for onboard systems
Big and bold
In addition to the inside-and-out reworking the Lincoln MKX received for 2011, the crossover from Ford’s luxury arm (which shares its platform with the Ford Edge) has picked up a “top safety pick” award from the U.S.’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The safety award is perhaps the crowning achievement for the well-received luxury crossover ute as it enters its second generation, packing yet more technology under its bold new sheetmetal.Search available trim options for the 2011 Lincoln MKX.
I’m using a loaded-up base model - an Ingot Silver painted specimen rolling on 20-inch wheels - that captures the flying living room feeling upscale people movers in this segment always try to impart.
A quiet and muscular powertrain moves the relatively large crossover around effortlessly, pulled by a 3.7 litre V6 engine that brings 305 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque to the MKX and allows a driver confidence in the response at any speed.
Partnering with a smooth shifting six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, the Lincoln offers a very good experience behind the wheel for everyday driving in any condition.
Like anything this size (though it’s far from the largest utility vehicle on the road), the MKX is at its best on the highway, where the quiet interior can be appreciated more. The cabin is insulated well against road noise/vibration and outside sounds. It can be more insulated against “inside sounds” as well if the headrest-mounted read DVD system is fired up to entertain the children on long drives as well. The $2,100 option gives the MKX two independent viewing screens for rear seat passengers.
The redesigned interior sports a new look for the dash and center stack, a very clean and minimal combination that sweep together seamlessly (well, not really; I mean there are still seams and stuff, and bronze-hued faux-metallic inserts; I’m just trying to be, you know, ‘poetic’) in a pleasant visual and ergonomic presentation.
New to me is the MyLincoln Touch system (which on the Edge would become the MyFord system), which has removed all the traditional buttons from the center stack and replaced them with a combination of eight-inch touchscreen and some touch-sensitive pads (kind of like elevator buttons, they use an electrical field).
Now, I’ll tell you up front this system requires a little practice before it becomes intuitive, and while I still haven’t become smooth with it, I have managed to get it to sync wirelessly with my iPod and also found the steering wheel heat function and navigation fields within the submenus. Still, it isn’t a system with which you want to fiddle while the vehicle is moving, until you get used to it.
The THX audio system is sublime, part of the Sight and Sound Package added to my tester. This $3,700 option also gives the MKX a panoramic “vista” roof and blind-spot monitor system.
Outwardly, the vehicle shows off its restyled body, reflected mostly in the big Lincoln family grille. The split grille is imposing (and big) but has garnered some attention from people who’ve stopped to look at my test model. The overall effect is to make the MKX look kind of front-heavy, with the large face and its swelled fender wells tapering into smooth-sided doors under relatively narrow-looking window glass.
It’s a pretty complete package for the money, as it should be for this kind of money, and I don’t have a lot of complaints about the Lincoln MKX. Its towing capacity (907 kg) is a little light compared against a couple of similar lux-utes (Lexus RX350 and Mercedes GLK, for example), and the angle of the steeply-raked windshield imposes a lot of glare on my field of view under bright sunlight.
Starting with an MSRP of $46,500 (the company offers the MKX in just one trim) the MKX used for this test report builds that up to $55,500 with options.