Lincoln's MKX is essentially the luxury version of Ford's Edge, a midsized crossover that we like. There's no doubt that Ford is seeking to carve out a new identity for its Lincoln brand and to remain relevant in the luxury-car marketplace. The question here: Is the MKX distinguished enough to stand out from its luxury competition?
Appearance: The crossover's main feature is its large, split-wing grille and adaptive HID headlamps that seamlessly fit into the overall design, which includes a ridged hood. The look isn't for everyone; Lyra thinks it's over-exaggerated, while Peter liked the old-school audacity of it. Elsewhere, there's lots of chrome trim and optional 20-inch polished aluminum wheels. The rounded rear end recalls the Edge. Too bad the striking front end is on an otherwise stocky body.
Performance: The MKX has a big-car feel, which is understandable because it tips the scales at more than 4,000 pounds. We differed again on the electronic power steering input, with Lyra finding it didn't provide enough assist, while Peter didn't have any problems. We both, however, were underwhelmed by the 3.7-liter V-6 Duratec engine that makes 305 horsepower. We liked this powerplant's performance in Ford's Mustang, so we're sure the heavier weight of the MKX doesn't help matters. The ride is comfortable, but Lyra found the suspension less than forgiving on some brick streets. We both found ourselves hitting the gas pump more than expected, which causes us to wonder about the estimated mpg (19 city, 26 highway).
Interior: It's comfortable, with plush seats, and is surprisingly roomy given the large panorama sunroof. Even the rear seat provides adequate head- and legroom. With its black-and-silver color scheme and faux brushed-aluminum accents, it reminds Peter of an Acura interior, which is a good thing. The rear seats fold mostly flat with a push of a button. Peter thought the button to close the power liftgate was placed in an odd position — in the lower left of the cargo area instead of on the hatch like most cars. Lyra, being much shorter, appreciated its location. The MKX has a tall stance, and its forward visibility is compromised by the high hood; you'll find yourself unsure of how close you are to parking barriers when you pull into a space. Also, the door pillar blocks the driver's side view. This is one vehicle that needs the available blind-spot warning system. The entertainment console is the focal point of the cabin and has a clean, modern design. The MyLincoln Touch system is the main upgrade to this year's model and features touch-sensitive controls, with better interfaces and more intuitive commands (even Peter's wife, who generally is dubious of too much in-car gadgetry, liked it).
Our 3 favorites
Bold grille: It's a throwback.
MyLincoln Touch: It's not perfect, but is improving.
Open spaces: I like the expansive feel of the Vista roof.
Cargo-area buttons: Easy reach to fold down seatbacks and close the hatch.
Futuristic console: Elegant curve, touch-sensitive buttons.
Panoramic Vista roof: Double panel, lots of light.
The bottom line: We're not sure about the target buyer — those who watch Mad Men or those who lived through that era? It seems a bit stodgy for the younger set who would enjoy its electronics, but a bit too techno for older drivers.