2016 Lincoln MKX is powered by a 303 horsepower 3.7 liter V6
or a 335 horsepower 2.7 liter V6 EcoBoost engine in front
wheel drive or all wheel drive.
crossover segment is hot and the competition is fierce.
2016 MKX will be vying for buyers against a whole batch of
"X" sport utility vehicles: the BMW X5, Acura MDX,
Cadillac SRX and segment leader Lexus RX. Complicating things for
Lincoln, Lexus is coming out with a brand-new version of that SUV, a
fourth generation of its top-selling vehicle.
Lincoln will have to attract two kinds of buyers. First, it will
need to appeal to the loyal Lincoln customer who wants to move up in
size — and price — from an MKC or MKZ, or down from a full-size
Navigator. But it’ll also need "conquest" sales, luring
customers away from the other automakers.
To do that,
the company is slathering on the luxury.
Some of it is
real. The front row of this two-row, five-seat SUV seems devoted to
comfort. The dash and instrument panel are all soft, swooping lines.
The soft, wide seats are adjustable in 22 ways — Lincoln says that’s
a new high for this class of vehicle — and are also heated and
cooled. And they’ll give you a massage.
top-of-the-line MKX also includes a suite of sophisticated driving
aids normally associated with expensive European models. It has
keyless ignition, hill hold, electronic power-assisted steering, and
parallel and perpendicular park assist. The rear seats are heated
and fitted with small entertainment screens and individual reading
But some of it
is marketing. The MKX is available in themes called "Modern
Heritage," "Indulgence," "Thoroughbred" and
"The Muse," and in Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black
Label trims. The one I drove was a Black Label Muse, and though
there was no Johnnie Walker in the electronically operated glove
compartment, it was very, very comfortable.
experience is one of silence — that most valuable of luxuries. The
MKX is equipped with an active sound-dampening system. Microphones
in the headliner pick up unwanted or intrusive noises in the cabin,
and the system programs sound waves to cancel them. On the freeway,
there’s almost no engine noise, tire noise or wind noise. Just the
quiet whir of the air conditioning.
produces its own light show, too. The headlamps glimmer to life when
the key fob is activated, and a vision of the Lincoln logo is beamed
onto the ground beside the driver and passenger doors. The door
panels light up with the Lincoln name as the side mirrors twinkle
and glide into position. Even the cup holders are illuminated.
it wants want this car to be a "sanctuary, a place to think
creatively." The MKX cabin, southbound on the 101 during rush
hour, is indeed as quiet as a cabin in the woods.
I wrote two
sonnets and a short story, just driving to work. But the noise
dampening works almost too well. During my first outing in the MKX,
I was almost run over by a firetruck and ambulance convoy whose
sirens I didn’t hear until it was almost too late.
enjoying a massage at the time, but I was encased in the Revel
Ultima sound system — a best-in-class audio package that includes
19 cabin speakers.
by Ford, has begun offering MKX buyers the choice of its parent
company’s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine — used in the F-150
pick-up trucks — in addition to a larger, less efficient 3.7-liter
V-6. The smaller engine gets better gas mileage, Lincolns says,
while producing more horsepower (335) and torque (380 pound-feet).
The MKX —
priced right in the middle of the somewhat crowded and confusing MK
series of MKC, MKZ, MKS and MKT — starts at $38,000, but it goes
up fast, and far. The version I drove goes out the door at almost
just inflation. Lincoln representatives said previous buyers of the
MKX, which was introduced as a model-year 2007 vehicle, have
consistently demanded more options and more luxury.
"We had a
lot of buyers who said, ‘I would have ordered more stuff, but you
didn’t have it,’" said Lincoln’s MKX marketing manager,
Carey White. "There’s a lot of upside in this segment, but we
formerly didn’t have product."
The result is
a lot of car, for a lot of dough. Lincoln may need to push the plush
to compete with its rivals, but it may price itself out of the
running. Though "Lincoln" was once synonymous with luxury
— and may be once again, with the re-launching of the Lincoln
Continental — today it is more likely to imply "Expensive
Sales of the
MKX have wavered for the last four years. They’re down
precipitously this year, according to research by the online car
seller TrueCar, and represent only 4.4 percent of the premium
midsize crossover market.
Cadillac and Acura between them control more than 40 percent of that
market, which is large and getting larger. Just carving out an
additional 5 percent of sales from folks who would otherwise buy an
RX, SRX or MDX would double Lincoln’s piece of the pie.
Black Label MKX
Times take: A
European-style domestic premium SUV
leather and lots of torque
$70,000 Ford? Really?
Four-door, five-seat crossover
2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine
6-speed automatic, all wheel drive
Zero to 60
economy rating: 17 mpg city/24 highway/19 combined