2016 Lincoln MKX

A DriveWays Review…

2016 Lincoln MKX
2016 Lincoln MKX. Photo (c) Lincoln

Like a creative kid with a couple of cardboard boxes, the Lincoln Motor Co. does a lot with a little, a vivid example of which is the 2016 Lincoln MKX crossover sport utility vehicle.

For too long, the once-vaunted nameplate has been relegated to the rumble seat as parent Ford concentrated on high profit best sellers like the F-series pickup truck. If Lincoln had anything to offer, it usually amounted to little more than spiffed versions of existing Fords.

That’s still largely the case. But Lincoln butterflies are emerging from the Ford chrysalis. Among full-size luxury SUVs, the Lincoln Navigator, despite also-ran sales, is a more than credible competitor to the likes of the Cadillac Escalade and Infiniti QX80.

As of now, all Lincoln models still are based on Ford platforms. The Navigator’s sibling is the Ford Expedition. The mid-size MKX, the subject here, shares its underpinnings with the Ford Edge.

But you’d never know looking at it. The MKX is a handsome vehicle from any angle, starting with the winged grille, which for some unfathomable reason the company apparently wants to phase out. It is reminiscent of the grilles on the elegant Lincoln Zephyr sedans of the late 1930s.

The all-new Lincoln Continental concept sedan making the rounds of auto shows comes with a grille that looks something like a squished version of the prow of a Bentley Flying Spur.

But that’s another story.

Back to the MKX. Despite its Edge underpinnings, it has distinctive, understated lines that customers expect from luxury vehicles, a styling achievement given the inherent clumsiness of tall SUVs. The classy 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels fill the wheel openings and the character lines flow into each other.

The lavish look carries over to the interior, which is slathered with leather and polished wood trim. Comfortable front seats, with solid lateral support, are upholstered in soft, perforated leather. Unfortunately for passengers, the outboard back seats are firmer and less comfortable, although the seatbacks recline. Surprising in a tall crossover, the center rear seat is a harsh perch with a floor hump for feet.

In keeping with current Lincoln practice, the 6-speed automatic transmission is controlled by a vertical row of buttons on the instrument panel, handy to the driver. Mechanical pushbuttons were tried on cars back in the 1950s, mainly Chrysler products, but fell out of favor.

However, Lincoln’s are electronic and as easy to use as tapping your smart phone. They require a bit of familiarization for people used to slamming a shift lever but soon become second nature. However, the electric parking brake switch is under the left side of the dash and hard to find. It would be more welcome up on the console or next to the transmission buttons.

Like most crossovers, the MKX comes with standard front-wheel drive, as on the model tested for this review. It’s perfectly adequate almost anywhere but folks who live in heavy snowfall areas likely will choose the all-wheel drive version, which costs an additional $2,495.

On the road, the MKX delivered a modern luxury experience. It was almost eerily quiet most of the time with a supple ride that isolated road irregularities so they were heard as much as felt. Though tall bodies do not make for pinpoint handling, the MKX was capable and secure around curves. It also tracked cleanly on straight stretches, relaxing for long distance freeway cruising.

The test MKX had a starting price of $46,080, which seems reasonable enough for a luxury crossover. But it had a long list of extras that brought the total to $54,570. Most expensive was $2,000 for the 335 hp, 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine, which delivered a strong, silky surge of power through the 6-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine is a 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6 with 303 hp.

Also on the options list were a $1,720 technology package that included active parking assist, as well as a $1,650 driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control and sensors that activate automatic braking when in danger of a collision.

Standard equipment covers expected luxury touches: power tailgate, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone thermostatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, SYNC 3 and MyLincoln Touch infotainment, audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio, remote starting and, of course, full safety equipment with a backup camera.

Lincoln has been working assiduously to distinguish itself from its Ford brethren. The new MKX represents a big step toward an independent image.

Specifications

  • Model: 2016 Lincoln MKX FWD four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine: 2.7-liter V6, turbocharged, 335 hp, 380 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 10 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 108/37 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,258 pounds.
  • Towing capability: 3,500 pounds (properly equipped).
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 17/26/21 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $46,080.
  • Price as tested: $54,570.

 

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.