Review: Lincoln MKX needs a better edge
Review: Lincoln MKX needs a better edge
Every week I'm asked the same question by numerous people: "What car are you driving now?"
On this particular week I encountered the same response when answering. "A Lincoln MKX," I'd reply.
Almost without fail, I'd get a blank expression. "What's that?" I would then be asked.
Sighing, I resorted to just saying, "Basically it's a really spruced-up Ford Edge," referring to the popular midsize crossover vehicle that's much more commonly known to the general public.
The premise that I was driving essentially the world's nicest Ford Edge went beyond the conversational during my week-long review of this manufacturer-lent vehicle. Every time I looked at this Lincoln, I couldn't get that notion out of my head.
Yes, there are some distinguishing aesthetics that allow it to wear the Lincoln name, such as the "split-wing" grille, tail lights and of course the emblems. But the main exterior lines, the engine under the hood, the transmission and even many of the interior characteristics are shared by its less-than-luxury, mainstream counterpart.
Great, so the Lincoln MKX essentially feels like a luxury rebadge of a Ford vehicle. Is this a bad thing? That depends on what you want in a car. If you love Lincoln or desire the ultimate Ford Edge, this is it.
But if you're looking for a luxury SUV that has a better chance of standing out from the crowd and is truly unique, you'd do better to look elsewhere.
It's not a new thing for luxury automakers to use an existing platform from a mainstream car as the basis for a higher-end one, which often cost at least $10,000 more. It's just that some do it better than others. For example, while Lexus' GX series is based in part on the Toyota 4Runner, they don't look like twins.
Even Lincoln – which is trying to revive its shrinking audience – has been shown capable of it. Its three-row MKT crossover, for example, is based on the Ford Flex. Unfortunately in this case, it's the luxury-branded car that to many, including yours truly, looks far worse than the blue-collar version.
These issues don't make the MKX a bad car, just one that could easily be overlooked among those in the market for a premium crossover. The MKX's standard 3.7-liter V-6 is plenty strong, making 305 horsepower that effortlessly got this vehicle up to speed at it smoothly ticked through its six forward gears. That power did cost a bit in fuel economy. Over a week of driving, I averaged 19.1 mpg, on a bit on the low end of this vehicle's EPA rating of 17 mpg city/23 mpg city.
Like the Edge, the MKX is available in front-wheel-drive, (starting price around $40,000) or with all-wheel-drive, which tacks on about $2,000 more. Outfitted to the hilt in even more premium form, my test model arrived with a price tag of $50,285, right in the range of other two-row luxury crossovers such as the BMW X3, Cadillac SRX and Audi Q5. (The Edge, meanwhile, ranges in price from about $28,000 for a base four-cylinder version to around $38,000 for a top-end model).
Inside, the MKX's plush, leather-and-wood interior is something to behold. My model boasted heated and cooled front seats, panoramic moonroof, blind-spot monitoring and a THX II-certified sound system. Then there is the MyLincoln touch-enabled system, which controls everything from phone operation and interior climate to what radio station you're listening to.
It certainly wows, but it's frustratingly complex. I can see why dealers literally give a tutorial on this thing to buyers.
Meanwhile, the MKX's well-stitched dash is so massive that it hindered my visibility. The MKX itself is much wider than competitors, which offers more room inside for passengers but requires more care when parking in tight spaces. On the other end of the size spectrum is the MKX's laughably small button for manually shifting gears. I doubt most drivers use it.
Driver and passenger space is good, and I liked that the rear seats fold with the simple pull of a lever.
With its many features, refined powertrain and comfortable ride, the MKX is a distinguished vehicle. But its main obstacle, as I see it, is distinguishing itself from the more popular, lower-end brethren on which it stands.
Your turn: Share your own opinion on the Lincoln MKX in the comments area below.
This week’s ride: Lincoln MKX
Type: Five-passenger, front- or all-wheel-drive crossover
Engine: 3.7-liter V6
Total power: 305 horsepower, 280 lb.-ft torque
Fuel economy rating: 17 mpg city/23 highway
Base price, with destination, gas tax: $40,400
Price as equipped: $50,285
The good: Power, size, fit and finish, accommodations, features
The bad: Looks like a rebadged Edge, width, frustrating touch-control system.
Do you know where in Orange County this photo of the Lincoln MKX was taken? Guess in the comments area below.