Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Lincoln MKXChanging minds about Lincoln, but not without some high-tech hiccups.
-The MKX much new for 2011 now sporting Lincoln's elegant throwback Zephyr grille a V6 with direct injection and only the second installation of the new MyFord Touch here known as a MyLincoln Touch. Perhaps the best piece of car tech in the world except it's a little undercooked. Let's check that out. Our MKX is a handsome earth metallic over black and more than once, it drew unsolicited comments along the lines of that's a Lincoln? I mean, in a good way, not like that's Nick Nolte? Now, inside an MKX, you get a very similar cabin through a Ford Edge, which means a lot of nice attention to detail, but of course, they got their own design language in a Lincoln, which you are going to see right away. The MyLincoln Touch and the MyFord Touch have 2 key tech panels. You've got the wings alongside the speed [unk] and you got this big 8-inch LCD in the center stack. Before we get to those, let me show you a couple of differences. They are both right here. There is these touch strips and touch buttons for volume, seek, and tune, and for temperature and for fan speed and they are really unnecessary, and in general, as we saw on the Ford Edge, this system just does not have enough horse power or response yet for the interface. It's just too ambitious. They're doing a lot of stuff on this main 8-inch screen and it moves too slowly. It doesn't respond quickly enough to touch nor accurately enough. They need to put more oomph behind it. That said, it is in design, the pinnacle of automotive interfaces except where things get a little too busy. Like look here, here is my iPod connected a USB thumb drive. Icons and text begin to overlay and kinda get messy and kinda hard to read over each other. Now, the good stuff though. A lot of things work well here. This is so far, in my 5 plus years of dealing with these kinds of systems for CNET, the very best voice command navigation interface I've ever used, puts everyone else including previous Ford Sync products to shame. I was out on a drive several times this weekend, asking it to go to places, to store names in towns with Spanish names here in Northern California, and I ended up to go through a lot of [unk] saying guide 2, destinations through the address, blah, blah, blah. I just said I want to go to Lowe's in Cotati and it just figured it out. Beyond that, we've seen this before in the Ford products. You've got 4 zones. A little bit like outy. Here's our map zone, great looking map data. You've got traffic on top of that, of course. Good looking rendering, drop shadow around the street names, very nice. Does wonders to make them readable and of course, aside from traffic, you've also got a lot of other informations. Thanks to the Sync Services and SIRIUS Travel Link in particular, let's me bring up weather for example, nice weather map overlaid on top of either where I'm going or any other location I wanna navigate to. AM/FM, HD radio is an option on this car. We have it. Sirius user satellite radio choice. CD is a single slot. No 6-disc and also no hard drive to rip to, but there is so much else available. That's why, they rationalize a single slot and those are the things, and of course my 2 USB ports down here, which in this case, I'm using one from my iPod Touch, another one for USB thumb drive. They do a good job of reading it out except the system's general sluggishness does seem a little frustrating. Now, all of that course ties in intrinsically to what's going on with our two 4-inch LCDs that bracket the speedometer here. Again, we've seen this also on the Ford Edge, so this is not new or unique to the Lincoln and you've got lots of different modes on the left for what kind of gauges you wanna see, your trip odometers, your fuel economy read outs, other settings and information alerts from the car and then on the right, you've got a series of pullouts from the main screen, so give me a [unk] of my entertainment state or my phone state or my navigation or my climate state and those were colored-keyed to go with these corners. Very useful, flexible, and after a learning curve and there is one on these cars, it's actually a very powerful set of interfaces. Rear-seat entertainment in this guy consists of an optional pair of decoupled DVD decks with 7-inch LCDs that would live in the headrests kinda after market stuff. Under the hood is Ford's really solid 3.7-liter V6 with the new Ti-VCT independently variable valve timing and direct injection, but this is not an EcoBoost motor. No turbo, 305 horsepower, 280 foot-pounds of torque. It's good for 7.2 0-60 and the MPG is 1926 for front-wheel drive, but a more quaint 17.23 in all wheel drive. One choice on the gearbox, 6-speed auto no paddles, but a manual mode and a rocker's switch on the knob for shifts. The performance and the handling are not sporty as much as they are, better than competent, but not sporty. This is a not vehicle you're gonna wanna take head to head with a-- what? an Audi Q5. Different kind of DNA in this guy, but I don't think that has to be Lincoln's mission. It's taut, it's firm. A lot of things that tell you a car feels good are really rock solid mounting of the steering column and the steering wheel. Really good rock solid mounting of the seat. Those are the things that make a car feel like it's really well built and [unk] bad in this vehicle. Simple stuff, but not every car does it. The motor is better than the transmission. It's a kinda garden variety 6-speed, as you saw we've got this shiftable rocker here on the left side, but you know, it's- it's not eager to hold a shift or hold the revs unless you force it in the manual mode and that by way, you've got to have gear shift back in M for this rocker switch to have any effect. Just kinda like an early Porsche tiptronic. Modern day thinking is you make the rocker active all the time, but it's a quibble. We'll, I'm sure I'm getting a Christmas card from Lincoln this year, but anyway. Let's price this MKX, 2011 MKX 40 grand [unk]. If you wanna go CNET style and do it easy, just get package 102A. It's easy until you pay for it, $7500, but it rolls in just about every cool tech toy I showed you and some other nice things. A few things are a la carte, adaptive cruise control is $1300, all wheel-drive, which we had $1850 and for 2-grand, you can do 2 separate DVD 7-inch screen, rear-seat entertainment system, but they're really kinda behind the times. Skip that, buy some iPads, save a lot of money.