Luxury is defined as “a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth,” according to Merriam-Webster. This describes the midsize 2016 Lincoln MKX crossover to a tee. All new for 2016, the Lincoln MKX expands on the outgoing model’s levels of luxury, comfort, technology and performance.
Now in its second generation, the 2016 Lincoln MKX is all-new from the ground up. It offers two V6 engines, including a turbocharged version, along with available all-wheel drive. There is a choice of three equipment groups (Premiere, Select and Reserve) and a Black Label model that adds unique interior and exterior upgrades. A host of new safety, technology and entertainment options are now available on the MKX.
Lincoln’s current design language has been translated onto a handsome midsize luxury SUV. Its size is not imposing, but it is muscular and athletic even with its high ground clearance. The Lincoln star up front is retractable with the front parking camera housed inside. The split-wing grille is flanked by intricate LED headlamps that incorporate the turn signals, daytime running lights and automatic high beams.
The rest of the MKX is equally handsome, with large, wide-opening doors, a sizeable glass silhouette and a sloping roof that incorporates a wide liftgate. The ground clearance is high, but interior access is easy.
The Lincoln MKX’s cabin is a nice place to be. There are many familiar Lincoln parts, including a push-button transmission and an instrument panel with two dials and a center information screen. Materials are of high quality, including the leather upholstery, wood and satin chrome trim. The center stack houses a large touch screen that provides access to the audio system, navigation and Bluetooth-connected phones. You can also make front-seat adjustments, including a massage feature, through the touch screen.
The MKX seats five in two rows. Front-seat occupants receive power adjustments for rake, recline, height and lumbar support, along with touch-screen-driven bolsters. The seats offer heating, cooling and massage functions. The front seats are large and split by a high center console with a storage area. There’s also a lower storage area that runs beneath the center console. The rear seats have reclining backrests, and heated rear seats are available. There’s 37.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, and a maximum of 68.8 cubic feet with the second row folded.
Standard on the MKX is a 3.7-liter V6 with 303 horsepower. Fuel economy estimates for the base front-wheel drive model range from 17 mpg in the city to 26 mpg on the highway. Available is a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 with 335 horsepower, which achieves the same fuel economy figures as the standard V6 model. Both engines are connected to a six-speed automatic transmission with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
As one would expect from a luxury vehicle, the MKX is a very smooth riding SUV. An optional Lincoln Drive Control system allows you to customize the driving experience with Comfort, Normal and Sport drive modes. In the Normal setting, handling shows a soft side while offering plenty of control when needed. The steering feels numb and slow, with a large turning radius. The brakes provide good stopping power in both normal and panic situations.
The 2016 MKX comes with standard tech features that include Bluetooth and USB connectivity, satellite radio, Lincoln’s voice-activated Sync system and an 8-inch touch-screen display. Upgraded audio systems, navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system are available.
The MKX has redundant switches on the steering wheel to help drivers navigate through the audio and phone functions. There’s also a simple readout within the instrument cluster. The available navigation system offers graphics that are easy to read.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the MKX with five stars overall for its performance in crash tests.
The MKX comes standard with rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. It also offers a variety of active safety technology, including lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, forward collision warning pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, and parallel park assist.
The MKX with the 3.7-liter V6 and front-wheel drive is available from $38,260, plus a $925 destination charge. For all-wheel drive, add another $2,000 to the price. The 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 adds another $2,495. The Black Label model starts at $53,475 with a choice of four themes that include unique colors and interior materials. Black Label MKX models can be configured with either engine, a choice of front- or all-wheel drive and a select few options.
The 2016 Lincoln MKX competes against two-row midsize luxury SUVs like the Acura MDX, Cadillac SRX, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Lexus RX. The MKX also is matched up with the BMW X5, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX60 and Land Rover LR4.
The MKX is designed to be the embodiment of what Lincoln calls “quiet luxury,” and this two-row midsize luxury crossover is just that. It’s also a technological feast for the senses, with handsome looks that certainly help its cause. Still, the MKX competes in a crowded field where brand loyalty may make it difficult to sway prospective buyers.