At first glance, and possibly also from a slight distance, the side profile of the latest Lincoln MKX may appear virtually unchanged from the outgoing model. However, upon closer inspection it becomes evident that the MKX has been reworked front to back, top to bottom, inside and out. The MKX has retained its basic silhouette, but the fine lines, details and design cues provide a fresher, cleaner, and more sophisticated look and feel.
Inside, designers have given the MKX an elegant multi-story center console, faux brushed aluminum accents, and a healthy dose of wood trim. The shift lever has been tossed out and replaced by individual buttons located on the left side of the touch screen that runs the infotainment system, a solution that clears up space for a large and practical storage bin.
All variants of the MKX are equipped with SYNC, a Bluetooth-based connectivity system that allows smartphone users to place calls and stream music by using voice commands or steering wheel-mounted buttons. It can also read incoming texts aloud to help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, and allows the use of Lincoln-approved apps like The Wall Street Journal news and Pandora radio.
Also included is MyLincoln Touch, an infotainment system that builds on SYNC by letting users control everything from navigation to climate control to the sound system with voice commands. MyLincoln Touch also replaces conventional sound system knobs and buttons with a center-mounted eight-inch touchscreen, a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster, and touch-sensitive controls in the center stack.
The MKX's base engine is a 3.7-liter Duratec V6 that delivers 303 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 278 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Those after more power can select an optional twin-turbocharged 3.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 335 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 380 lb-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm.
Both engines send power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, and Lincoln's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system is available at an extra cost. While the MKX impresses on straightaways and can hold its own on twisty roads, its suspension is tuned more for comfort than for agility.
The 3.7-liter returns 17 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 20 in a combined cycle when it spins the front wheels. Selecting all-wheel drive lowers those figures to 16, 23, and 19, respectively. The EcoBoost is rated at 17 in the city, 26 on the highway, and 21 in a combined cycle with front-wheel drive. All-wheel EcoBoost models return 17 in the city, 24 on the highway, and 19 in a combined cycle.
Standard and Optional Features
The MKX is offered in four trim levels called Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label, respectively.
Premiere models come standard with heated front seats, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a 60/40 split rear bench, leather upholstery, approach detection, door handle illumination, dual-zone A/C, one-touch up/down power windows, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, hill start assist, active noise control, an electronic parking brake, chromed exhaust tips, tinted windows, heated mirrors,18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-speaker sound system, SiriusXM satellite radio, a capless fuel filler, a push-button ignition, a remote starter, two USB ports, and an eight-inch touch screen.
Select models add specific 18-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, an auto-dimming driver's side mirror, wood trim, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, softer leather upholstery, a hands-free liftgate, and a universal garage door opener.
Reserve models built on the last two trims with 20-inch alloys, adaptive HID headlights, heated and cooled front seats, a panoramic sunroof, voice-activated navigation, a blind spot monitoring system, and an embedded modem.
Finally, range-topping Black Label models come with a 19-speaker Revel Ultima sound system, inflatable rear seat belts, specific emblems, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive LED headlights. Black Level models are offered in six specific colors (three of them are standard, and the other three are optional) and buyers can choose from four different interior themes called Modern Heritage, The Muse, Indulgence, and Thoroughbred, respectively.
Additionally, Black Label buyers benefit from an extended service plan that covers wear items, free pickup and delivery of their car for service, a no-cost rental while their car is in the shop, an annual vehicle detailing, anytime car washes, and a membership to Culinary Collection that gives them access to a curated list of restaurants from coast to coast.
All trim levels can be spruced up by selecting from a long list of option packages. Highlights include the climate package, which bundles heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and automatic high beams. The driver assistance package consists of a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision with pedestrian detection.
The MKX protects its occupants with standard dual front, side, side-curtain, and knee airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. All trim levels come with a rear-view camera and a tire pressure monitoring system.