2018 MKX New Car Test Drive
For the 2018 model year, the Lincoln MKX changes little aside from newly available paint colors and several additional apps for its Sync 3 infotainment system.
Updating for the 2019 model year includes a fresh design direction, along with a name change: from MKX to Nautilus.
Lincoln offers the 2018 MKX in four trim levels: Premiere, Select, Reserve and, topping the lineup, a Black Label edition. All versions come standard with a 303-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is an option. So is a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 that develops 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Though robust, the twin-turbo engine falls short on frugality. A 6-speed automatic transmission mates with either engine.
Conservatively shaped but handsome sheetmetal strives to conceal the Lincoln crossover's close relationship to Ford's Edge. Taken as a whole, the MKX can be seen as a contender rather than the visual champion in its category.
In addition to more features and luxuries, the Black Label edition includes some uncommon perks, such as free car washes and an annual detailing of the vehicle.
Only the Lincoln model comes with an adaptive suspension, including three driving modes. Lincoln limits such advanced safety technology as automatic emergency braking to Reserve and Black Label trim levels. Bundled with other collision-avoidance features, it's an expensive option.
Crash-test ratings have been good, from both the federal government and an insurer-backed agency. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the MKX five stars overall and for frontal and side-impact crashes. Typical for taller vehicles, the calculated four-star rollover rating is based on the vehicle's center of gravity
The MKX earned Good scores on crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A Superior rating for frontal crash avoidance is valid only when equipped with optional automatic emergency braking. It's included in the $2,250 Driver Assistance package, available only for upper trim levels. The IIHS deemed standard MKX headlights Poor, while adaptive LED headlights in the Driver Assistance package were considered Marginal.
Lincoln's Driver Assistance Package also includes active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Premiere ($39,035) has the 3.7-liter V6 and front-wheel drive, with 18-inch alloy wheels, 10-speaker audio, heated front seats, Sync 3 infotainment, reverse sensing, a rearview camera, and HID headlights. Upholstery is “soft touch” synthetic leather. Substituting the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 adds $2,000 to the price. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Premiere AWD ($41,530) substitutes all-wheel drive.
Select ($42,550) adds leather-trimmed seats, wood interior trim, a hands-free power liftgate, and machined 18-inch wheels. Navigation, a panoramic sunroof, and blind-spot monitoring are optional.
Select AWD ($45,045) replaces standard front-drive with all-wheel drive.
Reserve ($46,560) comes with navigation, heated/cooled front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert.
Reserve trim permits addition of the Driver Assistance package. The Technology Package includes a parking function that needs no driver intervention.
Reserve AWD ($49,055) gets all-wheel drive.
Black Label ($54,250) includes upgraded leather, 20-inch black/bright wheels, Revel Ultima 19-speaker audio, and a choice of interior design themes. Lincoln's most advanced safety features are optional even at this level.
Black Label AWD ($56,725) has all-wheel drive.