Lincoln’s crossover marks a return to luxury.
2016 Lincoln MKX
EPA Ratings: 17/26 mpg; 22 mpg combined
There was a time when Lincoln not only defined automotive luxury; it also sold more cars in a year than most all the high-end imports did combined. While a return to the latter is unlikely, vehicles like the new MKX make a strong statement on the company’s ability to deliver the former.
Lincoln’s new design language is really coming into focus. The split grill now spreads its wings horizontally, helping to emphasize the pleasing stance of the MKX. Combined with thoughtfully formed brightwork, beautifully handled lighting graphics and creased and pressed sheet metal, this crossover mixes aggression and refinement in excellent measure.
Inside the MKX is constructed of materials commensurate with the price point and apropos to the class. Buttery hides cover seats that are very well shaped for support, and a return to actual “hard” buttons below the touchscreen makes interfacing with oft-used controls much easier.
Like the popular Edge SUV and other vehicles currently coming out of Dearborn, the MKX boasts excellent bones. The structure is very stiff, meaning minimal noise, vibration and harshness. Dynamically, the Lincoln is excellent, with a superbly controlled and pliant ride yet pleasing handling. Steering is above average for the class, with good linearity and a confident sense of tracking on the highway.
Much of the MKX’s smoothness stems from a sophisticated set of computer-controlled dampers and numerous noise-isolation measures. The MKX uses either a 300 hp/280 lb-ft V6 that is larger and more powerful than that of most of its competitors—or an optional 2.7-liter twin turbo EcoBoost V6 with 330 hp and a monster 370 lb-ft of torque.
This engine, which propels the much larger F150, proves awesome in the MKX. Most every available safety and labor-saving device comes either standard or optional on the Lincoln, including 360-degree cameras, embedded WiFi hotspot, and rush-hour helper in the form of auto stop-start that makes the daily commute slightly less fraught.
Aiding in this is noble endeavor are optional—and exclusive—audio systems from Revel, a very well-respected high-end manufacturer.
The path Lincoln has chosen towards renewed relevance is exactly that which Lexus used decades ago to coax demanding Americans out of domestic vehicles. As the imports now react to each other with increasingly aggressive offerings, it is refreshing—in the best sense of the word—to see this once-haloed U.S. company return to the qualities that once defined luxury.