The 2016 Lincoln MKX boasts a host of upgrades over the previous model year.
Though based on the same platform and underpinnings as the Ford Edge, the Lincoln has 100 percent unique sheet metal.
The automaker's corporate mustachioed grille continues to evolve for this new generation of Lincoln models.
The SUV rides atop a Lincoln Drive adaptive suspension with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings.
Though front-wheel drive is standard, the SUV is available with an on-demand all-wheel drive system.
Lincoln has paid extra-close attention to noise reduction and wraps its passengers in a satisfyingly quiet cabin.
Beneath the Lincoln logo hides a small camera.
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."
LED daytime running lights are standard for the MKX and help define the SUV's visuals.
Full LED headlamps are optional and feature two beam patterns: a wide throw for low speeds and a more focused beam at higher velocities.
Beneath the hood, a downsized 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine quietly ticks.
With two turbos feeding it, the engine outputs 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.
Aerodynamic tweaks help boost highway efficiency and reduce wind noise.
Our example rolls on 20-inch wheels.
The MKX features a hands-free, power lift gate with a user-adjustable opening height.
Kicking a foot beneath the rear bumper with the key nearby causes the hatch to open. Kicking again closes it.
On the road, the MKX is remarkably quiet and relaxing.
The MKX also features optional active high-beam lights that automatically activate and deactivate at night.
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.
Inside, the MKX's cabin is full of high-quality materials.
The highlight of this model year's additions is the 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system.
With about 1,200 watts of amplification spread between 19 speakers and two amps, the system is packing some serious auditory heat.
The MKX's cabin has a bank of buttons on the dashboard instead of a shift knob.
Instrumentation appears to be a reshuffling of Ford's SmartGauge that moves the right-hand screen to a new central position.
The instrument cluster's two screens are commanded by a pair of directional pads on the steering wheel's upper spokes.
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.
The optional lane departure prevention system is easily activated by pressing a button on the end of the turn signal stalk.
At the center of the dashboard is MyLincoln Touch. We're not really fans of this aging infotainment system.
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.
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.
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.
Real wood trim features exposed grain and a texture that passengers found pleasing to stroke.
The massive panoramic skylight brings light into the spacious cabin.
Digital media sources include USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
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.
Compared with the Cadillac SRX and Lexus RX 450h, the Lincoln boasts better tech and comparable levels of luxury.
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.
The 2016 MKX starts at around $38K, but the EcoBoost engine pushes the price just north of $40,000.
Fully loaded — like this example is — and with destination charges, the 2016 Lincoln MKX AWD EcoBoost tips the scales at around $60,815.