2018 MKX New Car Test Drive
Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Lincoln MKX midsize crossover seats five passengers in spacious comfort. An improved SYNC 3 infotainment system debuted during 2016. Little has changed for the 2017 model year.
Based upon the structure of the Ford Edge, the Lincoln MKX has been the brand's best-selling model, for good reason. Styling is handsome, but restrained. Four trim levels are offered, including a Black Label edition that comes in a choice of four luxuriant leather trim schemes.
Two powertrains are available. Standard is the familiar 3.7-liter V6, developing 303 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. An optional 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 generates 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet. Either way, fuel economy is about average for the class. Both engines mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive may be installed on any MKX.
Lincoln has been working hard on interior trim in recent years. Basic interior trims are given suggestive names, such as hazelnut or cappuccino. For its Black Label program, Lincoln assembles coordinated trim groups. The Parisian-themed Muse gets purple-black leather and aluminum trim. Modern Heritage features piano-black trim with black/white leather. Thoroughbred, meant to suggest horse-racing, blends maple wood with black/chestnut leather. Chocolate leather and wood are fitted into the Indulgence model, whose name encompasses the entire Black Label quartet.
Of the four trim levels, midlevel interiors are lovely and luxurious. The base version is rather stark, while each Black Label trim suggests something close to decadence.
Real knobs and switches augment Ford's SYNC3 infotainment interface. Though lacking in premium appearance, they provide nicely responsive control of basic functions.
Crash-test scores have excelled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the MKX five stars overall. Lincoln's crossover earned Good scores on the foremost tests undertaken by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the more rigorous small-overlap frontal crash. When fitted with automatic emergency braking, the MKX gets a Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS, but headlights were declared Poor.
All models include a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Many safety features are optional rather than standard, but prices are tolerable. An option package includes forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, lane-keeping assistance, automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control. Also available are a surround-view camera system, blind-spot monitoring, front parking sensors, and automatic parking assistance.
Four trim levels are offered, with front-wheel drive standard, all-wheel drive optional ($2,495) for each model. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
The 2017 Lincoln MKX Premiere ($38,260) comes with the 3.7-liter V6, leatherette upholstery, rearview camera, proximity key, dual-zone automatic climate control, parking sensors, active noise canceling, SYNC 3 infotainment, nine-speaker audio, Bluetooth, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Lincoln MKX Select ($41,550) upgrades to leather seating surfaces, wood trim, power tilt/telescopic steering column, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, ambient lighting, machined aluminum wheels, and a power tailgate. Lincoln MKX Reserve ($45,560) adds 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive HID headlights, heated/cooled front seats, a panoramic moonroof, blind-spot monitors, and navigation.
Black Label ($53,475) comes in a choice of four themes: Muse, Modern Heritage, Thoroughbred, or Indulgence, each with its own rendition of leather and wood trim. Revel 19-speaker audio is standard.