Mountain Wheels: Glossy Lincoln MKX boosts technology, sex appeal
2016 Lincoln MKX
Powertrain: 335-HP 2.7-liter EcoBoost or 303-HP 3.7-liter V6; six-speed automatic transmission
EPA figures: up to 26 MPG highway
As the mechanical twin of the new Ford Edge, the 2016 Lincoln MKX imbues an already classy, substantial and all-season-capable package of components with the cursory gloss and flair of the brand’s McConaughey-associated revival.
So while the standard Edge is a pretty spiffy ride on its own, the Lincolnized version gets a more subtle but still chrome-heavy exterior, plus extremely leathery interior surfaces, accentuated by the prominent use of wood highlights. Wide chrome door handles, the wave-your-foot-to-open-the-rear-liftgate function and a range of wheels up to 21-inchers also make it all a little more special.
And there is, of course, the option for a super-wowza Black Label variation that includes all manner of exotic woods, premium leather and a prestige concierge service that will provide virtually unlimited service and even free car washes. Because, why not?
Clearly the whole MKX deal is aimed at a considerably different and more upscale audience than your regular Ford fans; while the basic Edge starts at $28,000, the beginner’s MKX goes for about $39,000.
Here, then, are some of the key differences, besides the aforementioned gentlemen’s club’s worth of leather. Lincoln prides itself on a smooth and quiet envelope of seclusion from the bitter world outside, and the MKX’s active noise control does indeed mean a more insulated experience.
You’ll find two engine choices, a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that shimmies up a decent 335 horsepower and a slightly torque-steer-inducing 380 lb.-ft. of twist, felt prominently when nailing the pedal on the front-wheel-drive version. Alternately, there’s a 3.7-liter V6, still good for 303 horsepower; both engines are rated at 26 mpg highway and 17 city in FWD format, so pick your poison carefully.
And it drives quite nicely, parked as mine was on the optional and very striking 20-inch wheels; you’ll feel a bit of slow progress through the six-speed automatic transmission, but full boost is easy and gets you going, instantly. There’s also Lincoln Drive Control, which does not make you talk like McConaughey but instead modifies the steering and acceleration inputs for easier or more sporty response. Lincoln’s intelligent (i.e. automatic) AWD system is also available.
The MKX’s interior definitely takes the high road on futuristic design, with an all-black center console blending into a free-floating center console with storage space beneath. Lincolns get pushbutton transmission controls, odd to adapt to at first but certainly unique, plus classy, low-impact AC and audio controls that virtually disappear when the lights go out.
Much of the really cool stuff is also available on the MKX, but is so forward-looking you’ll be surprised it’s not just Lincoln stuff: the chunky airbag-infused seatbelts in the rear, the pre-collision radar and camera system (including a self-washing pop-out camera in the front, allowing easier moorage in potentially bumper-scraping spots, and providing a 360-degree view), or the self-parking system that can even automatically back you into a perpendicular spot at a ball game. That radar system, by the way, also provides lane-keeping assistance which, somewhat ominously, will buzz the steering wheel if you stray across a white line, and then very eerily actually steer the car for you. That can be disabled; ritualistically inattentive drivers may find it useful.
A hill hold control, located next to a secret release button for the Range Rover-styled buttonless glove box, makes for easier times when trying to park on a slope or, say, when you find yourself stuck going up to the tunnel on a Sunday afternoon, silly you.
Other highlights are definitely MKX-specific, including a premium Revel audio system (19 speakers’ worth, in its highest build), the noise-cancelling system, special exterior and cabin lighting, plus a special mobile application which can help you remember where you parked the car, remotely unlock the doors or even schedule a remote start and warm-up on those winter mornings.
You’ll also get metal roof rails, a full cabin “vista roof” sunroof and even heated rear seats, with tall and supportive seating in front and back.
Your choice to drive around and issue quizzical Zen aphorisms is, however, entirely up to you. Good luck.
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