Understated Luxury | 2016 Lincoln MKX

August 2016 View more

2016 Lincoln MKX

For generations, the definition of American luxury cars was limited to two gold-plated names. If you were a Ford family, you dreamed of moving up to a Lincoln. If you were driving a Chevy or Buick, you probably had your sights set on a new Cadillac. And the dream was just about a luxury car. Walk in to the Lincoln showroom, and you had your choice of coupes or sedans—in sizes large and extra-large—with names like the Versailles and the Cosmopolitan. Trucks, station wagons, and hatchbacks? Try one of the more plebeian dealerships down the street.

But the concept of luxury automobiles changes, just like our taste in fashion or music. What once seemed like the height of fashion and exclusivity either becomes commonplace, like heated seats and backup cameras, or just passé.

Lincoln has survived for almost 100 years because it has changed with the times—ensuring that the Lincoln name stands for luxury, whatever that might be at the time. Some models have delivered on the promise more than others, of course. But as the company’s quirky recent commercials trumpet, Lincoln believes its current lineup really captures that luxury feeling.

All new for 2016, the Lincoln MKX is a prime example. Competing against a half-dozen similar vehicles from the likes of Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes—even Porsche—the MKX stakes its claim as an understated, well-tailored, well-mannered crossover.

Coming and going, the MKX is clearly a Lincoln from its distinctive grille to its full-width taillights. The elegant new exterior wraps a modern, comfortable cabin distinguished by high-quality materials, thoughtfully designed controls, and good visibility all around.

The MKX seats five, but the rear seat is more pleasant for two. Even with the split folding rear seats up, the cargo area is sufficient for most daily needs.

And true to Lincoln’s name, let’s not forget quiet and composed as we list the MKX’s superlatives. The MKX performs the mundane task of daily commuting as if its sole purpose is to enable its driver to arrive rested and ready for the day. Fancy a long drive on the interstate? The MKX will absorb the bumps and jostles of uneven pavement, and block many acoustic intrusions.

2016 Lincoln MKX interior

Sometimes, Lincoln takes this attempt at ubiquitous serenity a step too far. Like replacing a traditional gear selector with a vertical lineup of buttons on the left edge of the center console. Sure, the push-button transmission minimizes effort (one finger is all it takes to shift) and it frees up room between the front seats. But there is also comfort in traditional design.

Available in multiple trim levels, the MKX does take a traditional approach to its engine and drivetrain options: It offers two of each. If you do not require all-wheel drive, you can opt for front-wheel drive. And if you tend to drive in the right lane, you can opt for the larger of the two V6 engines. Yes, larger. The standard 3.7-liter V6 delivers 303 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque; the smaller (but turbocharged) 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 delivers 335 horsepower and a noticeably bigger serving of torque—380 pound-feet, to be exact. All that torque really amps up the MKX’s acceleration.

The 2016 Lincoln MKX starts at $38,260 with front-wheel drive and the 3.7-liter engine; add about $2,500 for all-wheel drive and $2,000 more for the turbocharged engine. From those basic choices, Lincoln will be happy to add all of the performance, safety, and convenience features you might want. Or you could opt for a “Black Label” edition, starting at about $53,000, for an even higher level of luxury.