Beyond infotainment, the MKX offered a few tech options that improved the safety of the vehicle, including blind-spot detection in the form of an LED in each wing mirror. This system was sensitive enough to pick up cars, motorcycles, and bicyclists. There's also a rear proximity sensor that beeps with increasing intensity when the car is reversing toward an obstruction and issues an audible warning when vehicles approach from the sides, as well as a rearview camera which takes some of the guesswork out of reversing and parallel parking.
A motorized lift gate, 10-way power-adjustable front bucket seats with two-position memory and heated and cooled seating surfaces, Ford/Lincoln's MyKey preset and security system, and a heated steering wheel rounded out the comfort and convenience portion of our MKX's cabin tech package. However, if we can again gripe about the odd ergonomics of the MKX's cabin, we'd have preferred physical controls for the seat heat and cooling, rather than having to activate them through the sometimes laggy MyLincoln Touch system.
Outside of the Lincoln, we were able to appreciate the MKX's looks. Everywhere we went we received compliments on the CUV's appearance. If the huge chrome double-waterfall grille weren't enough, our tester also came with optional 20-inch chrome rims, a panoramic double sunroof, and adaptive HID headlamps that aim around corners with the steering wheel, all part of a rapid-spec package that added most of the MKX's commonly selected available options.
Power and performance
The heart of our Lincoln MKX is a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. In a vehicle the size of the MKX, that sort of power translates into good acceleration that, while not mind-blowing, will get you up to highway speeds without much fuss. Torque is transmitted through a six-speed automatic transmission with a frankly useless button-actuated manual shift mode before being sent to either the front wheels or being split between all four via Lincoln's optional intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
The EPA rates the all-wheel-drive MKX at 17 city and 23 highway mpg, although during our testing--which consisted mostly of highway miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles--we were unable to break 18.1 mpg. Had we taken delivery of the front-wheel-drive variant, that number might have been higher, judging by its EPA estimates of 19 city and 26 highway mpg.
Handling is about what one would expect from a tubby CUV. The MKX's suspension is tuned for comfort--we'd expect no less from a Lincoln vehicle--and is consequently a bit soft and sometimes floaty. However, the MKX can still move when it has to and we were impressed by crossover's ability to get out of its own way in quick maneuvers such as emergency lane changes.
Value and conclusion
Starting at $40,995 for the Lincoln MKX in its AWD configuration, our tester adds an $850 destination charge and $7,500 for a Rapid Spec 102A bundle that adds a Premium package (ambient cabin lighting, rearview camera, and adaptive HID headlamps) and an Elite package (voice-activated navigation, panoramic sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, THX audio, and those 20-inch chrome wheels). At its as-tested price of $49,345, the MKX AWD won't win any comparisons against vehicles from the likes of the BMW and Audi with its adequate performance and OK fuel economy.
No, the MKX is a vehicle that will live and die on value for the dollar and Ford/Lincoln's reputation for stellar cabin technology. However, while the MKX's tech package has its bright spots--most obviously the phenomenal Sync voice command system, the instrument cluster display interface, and the THX audio system with its broad array of audio sources--and shows tremendous potential, we can't help but think that it's just not ready for prime time. The touch-screen interface is just too laggy, too buggy, and not nearly as well thought out as even the previous generation of Ford infotainment systems.
As is, the MyLincoln Touch system feels like beta software, and while we'd gladly stay on the bleeding edge of software when it comes to apps on our smartphones, it's just unacceptable in an automotive environment. Thankfully, the modular and upgradable nature of the MyLincoln Touch and Sync systems means that many of the problems we experienced during our testing could potentially be addressed via a firmware update and optimization at a later date.
|Model||2011 Lincoln MKX|
|Trim||AWD, Rapid Spec 102A bundle|
|Power train||3.7-liter V-6, AWD|
|EPA fuel economy||17 city/23 highway|
|Observed fuel economy||18 mpg|
|Navigation||SD card-based w/ Sirius Satellite Traffic|
|Bluetooth phone support||yes|
|Disc player||single-disc CD/MP3|
|MP3 player support||2x USB ports, iPod, analog RCA auxiliary input, A2DP Bluetooth streaming|
|Other digital audio||Sirius Satellite Radio|
|Audio system||THX premium audio|
|Driver aids||rear proximity sensor, backup camera, blind-spot detection|
|Price as tested||$49,345|