I don’t think there are many automotive journalists out there that would disagree with me when I say that Ford has really pulled out all the stops in recent years.
In fact, there are some Fords that I’d consider to be the best in their respective class, and that’s certainly not something I would’ve said five years ago. The Lincoln brand though, has spent most of the last decade flying under the radar. By virtue of their Ford underpinnings, the brand has a complete and fairly dynamic lineup to offer. Since there’s no vehicle I appreciate more in February than a comfortable luxury SUV, I gladly accepted an all-new 2016 Lincoln MKX to test and review for a week.
My MKX tester came loaded with just about every option box ticked off, with the exception of the rear DVD entertainment system. Finished in Ruby Red Metallic, riding on nicely detailed 21” wheels, sporting the signature Lincoln split grill and full-length rear tail lights, the MKX definitely has a unique and alluring look. The grill and headlights that dominate the front end attracted some mixed opinion during my week with the Lincoln, but I personally don’t mind the slightly polarizing looks as they go a long way to set the MKX apart from its Ford counterpart (the Edge). The rear quarter panels bulge out a bit, giving the MKX an aggressive looking set of hips, a styling que I am rather fond of.
While the base engine in the MKX is the 3.7L V6 with a very respectable 303 horsepower, my test vehicle came with the 2.7L turbocharged EcoBoost V6. The EcoBoost boasts 335 horsepower and a whopping 380 lb-ft of torque. Despite its seemingly small displacement the little EcoBoost proves that the size isn’t everything and it left me truly impressed with its response, power and refinement. While driving around town, you can certainly feel the weight of this all-wheel-drive crossover, but open the throttle up a bit and the EcoBoost sprints the beast up to speed in a buttery smooth fashion, and with a decent soundtrack to boot.
The 2.7L is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which feels very well sorted and confidently handles the torquey power of the engine. While I have logged a lot of kilometers on 3.5L EcoBoosts, this was my first extended experience with the 2.7L and I have to say that my experience mirrors that of the bigger 3.5L. Both engines offer a surprising level of performance, power and refinement, but despite the relatively small displacement I’ve yet to be impressed by the fuel economy. Commuting to work with a light foot, I ended my week with the MKX with an average economy of 12.6L/100km. Not bad, but not impressive either, especially when compared to the Acura MDX (see review here) and its 11.3L/100km.
Opting for the 2.7L Ecoboost in the MKX isn’t cheap either. While the engine upgrade alone will cost you $2950 on top of the base price of $46,500, choosing the EcoBoost forces you into the $5,100 Climate Package. The package gives you heated rear seats and steering wheel, rain sensing wipers and a couple of other gadgets. On top of that, my tester came with another $10,000 worth of options, adding up to a total MSRP of $65,790. This meant the MKX was equipped with everything I could possibly ask for to keep me comfortable, warm, entertained and safe.
The seats included in this package are simply incredible and everyone who sat in the MKX during my time with it absolutely loved them. Finished in soft black leather, the 22-way adjustable front seats have 5 different lumbar adjustments, are heated, cooled and offer a massage function that’s notably better than the version I recently tried in a Ford Explorer (review here). These are the kind of seats you just don’t ever want to get out of.
My personal favorite feature in this luxurious family chariot is the Revel Ultima 19-speaker audio system. The system is one of the best audio systems I’ve experienced in a vehicle and it’s Clari-Fi technology makes whatever you’re listening to sound theatrical, by rebuilding details lost in the compression of digital music. For those families looking for the latest in safety technology the MKX offers a 360-degree camera view, Ford’s third-generation collision avoidance system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, active park assist and the list goes on.
Gadgets aside, the interior of the MKX is actually very nicely done and has a welcome feeling of elegance, which neatly complements the Lincoln heritage. I love the way the speakers are integrated into the door panels, and while I would probably have opted for the wood trim, the real aluminum accents are quite nice as well. The infotainment system is based on the outgoing MyFordTouch system, a system which I am a fan of, so I found it quite easy to use and understand. Interestingly, the transmission uses a series of buttons on the dashboard instead of a traditional shifter. It helps to free up some extra console space. The dashboard is well laid-out and all critical controls are well within reach and sight.
It’s easy to forget that the MKX is a utility vehicle, but the cargo area behind the rear seats is refreshingly large and the seats fold relatively flat. My tester also came with a Class II hitch, which will handle almost any light-duty towing task a family could ask of it. In the city the MKX actually feels a bit big, but the turning radius is tight. Out on the highway the Lincoln shines; the interior is silent and the miles just fly by with the cushy seats. The electronically assisted steering offers very little feedback, but the Lincoln tracks quite nicely and minimal steering input is required while cruising along. The handling is very well composed for a midsized SUV with minimal lean through corners and yet a very comfortable ride quality.
My test MKX carried some pretty costly options, and at this price point the competition gets pretty intense. For a price comparable to my tester you can have a Porsche Macan, a Volvo XC90 (see review here) or an Acura MDX, all exceptional vehicles in their own right. There are two things that set the 2016 Lincoln MKX apart in my mind from the majority of other SUVs. The first is the power and response from the engine, and the other is a level of comfort it offers. Lincoln may not be in the limelight as much as it once was, but they’ve not forgotten that when building a luxury vehicle, power and comfort come above all else.