The Lincoln MKX is a solid, if pricey, offering in the midsize luxury crossover sport utility vehicle market. The vehicle seems well designed and constructed and has an interior that stands apart.
My assessment of the Lincoln brand is that the MKX is the most competitive product in the line. A strong showing by the MKX in this, its inaugural year, is the reason that Lincoln posted a 12.5 percent sales gain for the calendar year through July.
The other side of this observation is that the Lincoln lineup is pretty weak these days. The line is still dominated by Town Car and the huge Navigator SUV; both are serviceable, but hardly exciting.
I, for one, see an impending dilemma for the Ford family. What’s the family to drive after the anticipated sale of Jaguar and Land Rover, with that remaining part of the Ford Motor Co.’s European luxury empire , racy Aston Martin , having already been unloaded.
The family controls the company through exclusive ownership of Ford’s 70.9 million Class B shares, each of which has the voting power of more than 17 regular shares. Looks like the Fords will be forced to drive the company’s domestic product, or Volvos, hardly a recipe for distinction at any of the local country clubs.
Some of the older members of the family may recall when Lincoln was a big deal, in Detroit and elsewhere. In the 1930s and 1940s, under the guidance of Edsel Ford, the direct progenitor of the family, a big Lincoln K-series was a ride befitting presidents and potentates. Edsel Ford also pushed development of the stunning Zephyr and the ultra-classic Continental, still regarded as a landmark for the industry.
So we can hope that the Lincoln MKX is the start of renewed interest in reviving the brand so the Fords will have something decent to drive. Edsel Ford was noted for a highly evolved aesthetic sense in automotive design and was a major patron of the arts.
And, in truth, the MKX is the best visual statement from Lincoln in a long time. In profile, the lines are very smooth and efficient. The wheel arches are beautifully incorporated into the overall design. I particularly like the manner in which the front A pillar, which is the major support for the wind & #173;shield, is integrated with the hood line.
Our text MKX was equipped with the optional Panoramic Vista Roof, a large 27-inch-by-29-inch sunroof. The package also offers a fixed glass panel in the rear that offers a view of the sky for rear-seat passengers. This huge glazed area offers some interesting views in certain locations, such as the concrete canyons of New York City or the towering redwoods of Northern California. But for most people, I think that a sunroof is mainly a way to get a blast of fresh air.
The MKX’s interior is attractive. The interior features blond maple veneers and accents, which, combined with silver metallic center console components, render a contemporary look. The controls are well-marked and easy to find and use.
Edsel Ford was no stranger to high-performance automobiles, and in this regard the MKX is a disappointment. The 3.5-liter V-6 is adequate, but not exhilarating. It is, however, very quiet and smooth , as one would expect in a luxury-class SUV.
The MKX is also undistinguished in terms of its road manners. The steering is only moderately communicative. The MKX responds to driver input like a large appliance. The MKX will not cause engineers at Acura, BMW or Mercedes-Benz to lose any sleep. Lincoln has outfitted the MKX with an advanced all-wheel-drive system, which is able to transfer engine torque from front to rear and side to side in an instant. But it seems obvious that the MKX is engineered for the kinder, gentler expectations of older luxury car buyers.
On a safety note, the MKX is replete with six standard air bags. But of equal importance is Roll Stability Control, which will help the driver keep the car’s shiny side up in the event of adverse conditions.
Cordell Koland is an automotive journalist based in California’s central coast. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Price as tested: $43,890.
Type: 3.5-liter V-6.
Horsepower: 265 @ 6,250 rpm.
Torque: 250 foot-pounds @ 4,500 rpm.
Fuel economy, automatic transmission:
City: 17 mpg.
Highway: 24 mpg.
Curb weight: 4,420 pounds.