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Lincoln pushes EcoBoost upscale with midsize MKX (pictures)

Lincoln's midsize luxury crossover gets a style and comfort update for the 2016 model year.

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Antuan Goodwin
2016 Lincoln MKX
1 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2016 Lincoln MKX

The 2016 Lincoln MKX boasts a host of upgrades over the previous model year.

2016 Lincoln MKX
2 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2016 Lincoln MKX

Though based on the same platform and underpinnings as the Ford Edge, the Lincoln has 100 percent unique sheet metal.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The automaker's corporate mustachioed grille continues to evolve for this new generation of Lincoln models.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The SUV rides atop a Lincoln Drive adaptive suspension with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Though front-wheel drive is standard, the SUV is available with an on-demand all-wheel drive system.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Lincoln has paid extra-close attention to noise reduction and wraps its passengers in a satisfyingly quiet cabin.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Beneath the Lincoln logo hides a small camera.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

At low speeds, the camera slides out on a motorized armature. Everywhere I went, people either said, "Cool" or, "Hey, dude, your Lincoln badge is about to fall off."

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

LED daytime running lights are standard for the MKX and help define the SUV's visuals.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Full LED headlamps are optional and feature two beam patterns: a wide throw for low speeds and a more focused beam at higher velocities.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Beneath the hood, a downsized 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine quietly ticks.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

With two turbos feeding it, the engine outputs 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Aerodynamic tweaks help boost highway efficiency and reduce wind noise.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Our example rolls on 20-inch wheels.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The MKX features a hands-free, power lift gate with a user-adjustable opening height.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Kicking a foot beneath the rear bumper with the key nearby causes the hatch to open. Kicking again closes it.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

On the road, the MKX is remarkably quiet and relaxing.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The MKX also features optional active high-beam lights that automatically activate and deactivate at night.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The EPA estimates that the SUV will do 19 mpg on a combined testing cycle. My 18.8 mpg over a week of driving seems to confirm that.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Inside, the MKX's cabin is full of high-quality materials.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The highlight of this model year's additions is the 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

With about 1,200 watts of amplification spread between 19 speakers and two amps, the system is packing some serious auditory heat.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The MKX's cabin has a bank of buttons on the dashboard instead of a shift knob.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Instrumentation appears to be a reshuffling of Ford's SmartGauge that moves the right-hand screen to a new central position.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The instrument cluster's two screens are commanded by a pair of directional pads on the steering wheel's upper spokes.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Our example was equipped with adaptive cruise control. The system worked well, but I found that the smallish buttons were positioned in a position that made them an awkward reach while driving.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The optional lane departure prevention system is easily activated by pressing a button on the end of the turn signal stalk.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

At the center of the dashboard is MyLincoln Touch. We're not really fans of this aging infotainment system.

2016 Lincoln MKX
29 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2016 Lincoln MKX

When shifting into reverse (or by tapping a camera button) the SUV is able to display a 360-degree view of the area around the car. Rear and two front views are also a button tap away.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The front camera's deployment is largely tied to the activation of the around-view display, but sometimes it would pop out for seemingly no reason.

2016 Lincoln MKX
31 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2016 Lincoln MKX

One of our favorite features offered by the 2016 MKX is Ford's automatic parallel and perpendicular parking. With just one button press, this system can find and steer itself into a space while the driver controls the gas and brakes.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Real wood trim features exposed grain and a texture that passengers found pleasing to stroke.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The massive panoramic skylight brings light into the spacious cabin.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Digital media sources include USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

2016 Lincoln MKX
35 of 40 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2016 Lincoln MKX

With the exception of the sluggish MyLincoln Touch tech, the 2016 MKX exceeded my expectations for comfort and amenities. If Lincoln can update the dashboard, it'll have a winner on its hands.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Compared with the Cadillac SRX and Lexus RX 450h, the Lincoln boasts better tech and comparable levels of luxury.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Those interested in the MKX's driver aid tech but not its luxury upgrades could save about $20,000 by stepping down to a fully-loaded Ford Edge Platinum.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

The 2016 MKX starts at around $38K, but the EcoBoost engine pushes the price just north of $40,000.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Fully loaded — like this example is — and with destination charges, the 2016 Lincoln MKX AWD EcoBoost tips the scales at around $60,815.

2016 Lincoln MKX
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2016 Lincoln MKX

Check out CNET's full review of the 2016 Lincoln MKX for even more details.

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