Lincoln updates the MKX luxury crossover with new styling

Lincoln updates the MKX luxury crossover with new styling

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Lincoln updates the MKX luxury crossover with new styling

Completely redesigned for 2016, the Lincoln MKX midsize crossover features interior and exterior updates and some significant new safety technology, including advanced front collision warning and rear cross-traffic alerts.

It also provides outstanding ride comfort and road handling, which is a hard combination to achieve, especially in a utility vehicle. Usually a soft ride negates crisp handling, and vice-versa, but not in our MKX.

And this is perhaps the quietest midsize SUV I’ve ever driven, a real plus for a vehicle that plays in such a lofty class. At highway speeds, even on rough pavement, there was no road or engine noise in the cabin.

The MKX, which debuted as a 2007 model and was last updated for 2011, is built on the same architecture as the Ford Edge, which got a complete re-do just last year. Both vehicles are based on the architecture of the Ford Taurus sedan. Although it’s much like the Edge, the MKX is a premium model with more standard luxury features.

There are four trim levels: Premiere (base price $39,025, including $925 freight), Select ($42,315), Reserve ($46,080) and Black Label ($54,240, our test vehicle). Each level comes with a choice of either a 3.7-liter V-6 (standard) or a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 2.7-liter V-6 engine ($2,000 extra), and either front-wheel drive (standard) or all-wheel drive ($2,495 extra).

Prices top out at $58,735 (plus options) for the Black Label with the EcoBoost engine and all-wheel drive. Extras on our Black Label with the EcoBoost and all-wheel drive raised the total sticker price to $67,020.

There is room for up to five people in the MKX. The slightly larger Lincoln MKT, based on the three-row Ford Flex, is available for those who need a larger-capacity crossover.

For people who love electronic gadgetry – and that’s getting to be most of us these days – the new Sync3 system, the latest advance in the original MyLincoln Touch system, offers an array of state-of-the-art communications, navigation and entertainment technology.

It replaces traditional controls with voice commands and LCD screens that have five-way buttons like those found on cell phones and MP3 players, and can be personalized for each driver who uses the vehicle.

The personalization can be activated by a simple button click, voice command or touch-screen taps. The system is based on the Lincoln SYNC technology, similar to the Ford SYNC setup, but with new and better features and apps. It can use voice commands for a large variety of operations, including playing songs from an attached smartphone.

The vehicle’s exterior includes the latest design of the signature Lincoln split-wing grille, along with new adaptive LED headlights and LED taillights, and a panoramic vista roof that was standard on our Black Label model.

Our Black Label MKX also came standard with perhaps the best factory-installed audio system I’ve experienced in a crossover – or any vehicle, for that matter. It’s the Revel Ultima system, which is also available on the Reserve models. It features 19 speakers, patented Clari-Fi technology offering advanced, real-time music reconstruction for compressed digital audio, and a 20-channel high-voltage hybrid amplifier. It’s also driver-focused, so in the driver’s seat, I got awesome balanced sound.

Interior styling has been refined. Our tester came with Venetian leather seats, an Alcantara-wrapped headliner, and a Wollsdorf leather-wrapped steering wheel. The interior color on our vehicle was called “Rouge Noir-Quartz.”

The exterior of our tester was “Chrome Quartz Silver Metallic,” which added $1,750 to the price.

Standard is the normally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 engine, rated at 303 horsepower and 278 foot-pounds of torque. It’s connected to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, which has a manual-shift option for those who like more control of the vehicle. But most people will leave the transmission in Drive and let it do its own shifting. No traditional manual gearbox is offered.

Our tester, though, came with the optional 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, which raised the horsepower to 335, and jacked the torque up to a whopping 380 foot-pounds. This engine also is paired with the six-speed automatic, and the extra power you get from this upgrade is well worth the $2,000 premium.

There is virtually no turbo lag, so the extra zip is there immediately when you push the pedal. It’s remarkable how quickly this 4,500-pound vehicle can accelerate when you punch it.

The all-wheel-drive system operates automatically, and does not include low-range gearing for serious off-road driving. It’s designed to maximize traction on wet or slippery roads, but also on gravel, sand and other loose surfaces. We did some beach driving in semi-heavy sand, and had no problems.

Also new are 18-, 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels, designed to dress up the vehicle and give it a sportier look. Our tester had 20-inch polished premium painted wheels, which were included with the exterior paint upgrade.

2016 Lincoln MKX

  • PACKAGE: Midsize, five-passenger, V-6 powered, front- or all-wheel-drive, five-door crossover utility vehicle
  • LENGTH: 190 inches
  • ENGINES: 3.7-liter V-6 (normally aspirated); EcoBoost 2.7-liter V-6 (twin-turbocharged)
  • TRANSMISSION: Six-speed automatic
  • POWER/TORQUE: 303 HP./278 foot-pounds (3.7-liter); 335 HP./380 foot-pounds (2.7)
  • CARGO CAPACITY: 37.2 cubic feet (behind rear seat); 68.8 cubic feet (rear seat folded)
  • TRAILER-TOWING CAPACITY: 3,500 pounds
  • FUEL CAPACITY/TYPE: 18.4 gallons (front drive); 18.5 gallons (all-wheel drive), unleaded regular
  • EPA FUEL ECONOMY: 17 city/26 highway/20 combined (3.7, front drive); 16/23/19 (3.7, all-wheel drive); 17/26/21 (2.7, front drive); 17/24/19 (2.7, AWD)
  • BASE PRICE RANGE: $39,025-$54,240, including $925 freight
  • PRICE AS TESTED: $67,020, including freight and options (Black Label, all-wheel drive, 2.7-liter engine)
Lincoln updates the MKX luxury crossover with new styling
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