2016 Lincoln MKX: An Ace Up Its Sleeve

Strong points
  • Great EcoBoost engine
  • Nice style
  • Very comfortable
  • Smooth ride
Weak points
  • Seats a bit high
  • Side bolstering too narrow
  • Soundproofing still needs work
  • The 3.7L V6 is an old relic
Full report

When you look at Lincoln, you’ve got to admit that the company needs to find its mojo. For far too long, its image has screamed “old and dull.”

In addition, the brand uses Ford platforms (naturally) but the results generally meet the entry-level standard only.

This was the case with the previous version of the MKX, which felt like a Ford Edge with added leather and a few extra options, so it stands to reason that you might be skeptical about the new-gen MKX. And yet, the 2016 MKX is turning out to be the ace up Lincoln’s sleeve. It may be based on the Edge, but you really can’t tell, no matter how you look at it.

Improved style

Lincoln’s front grille has finally stepped out of the Jurassic era. The old-gen MKX looked like a whale sucking in plankton, but the 2016 version’s grille is fused to the headlamps for a much more striking effect.

The 21-inch tires give this truck something to be proud of. That said, the exterior still bears some resemblance to the Ford Edge, especially when viewed from the side. The similarities are less pronounced from some angles, fortunately. It helps that the MKX is decidedly more refined than the Edge, which kind of looks like a toy.

Two engines—but why?

The MKX has two engines available.

The first is the old 3.7-litre Duratec V6 that delivers 303 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 278 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The other is a more modern 2.7-litre twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 that generates 335 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 380 lbs.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm.

You should know, however, that the EcoBoost only produces that much power if you use 93 octane gas. Considering that Canadians have the choice between 87, 89, 91 and 94 (in some places), you’re not likely to ever get those numbers. But they did assure me that the difference in results between 93 and 91 octane isn’t overly dramatic.

When we tested the 2016 MKX, we only got to try the EcoBoost engine. And that’s a good thing because it’s the only one worth considering. The 3.7-litre is available in other vehicles, including the Mazda CX-9, but it’s nonetheless a relic from another era. It’s vigorous, but it guzzles way too much gas for the amount of power it produces. In contrast, the EcoBoost, also available in other Ford products, is an excellent engine.

We liked the generous torque at low revs and its sustained acceleration. In luxury vehicles, performance matters—after all, you don’t shell out $65,000 for nothing! The EcoBoost engine is definitely up to the task.

Better yet, it’s not as fuel-thirsty, with an average of 11 L/100 kilometres.

The problem is that the base trim comes with the 3.7-litre mill. If you want the 2.7-litre, you’ve got to buy some other options with it for an additional $7,000. Lincoln should really ditch the older engine and just keep the 2.7.

No signs of the Edge inside

From a purely ergonomic standpoint, the MKX’s interior does look a bit like the Edge’s—especially the raised centre console. But that’s where the similarities end. Design-wise, it’s very different and the overall luxury is appreciable.

To the touch, everything seems well assembled and the leather exudes quality. In an era when even a Honda Civic can be equipped with heated leather-type seats, it’s important for luxury vehicles to go the extra mile.

In fact, the MKX is just as luxurious as its German rivals, which tend to set the benchmark for refinement.

Two things really stand out on the MKX. First, there’s the Revel sound system (this is the high-end Harman Kardon brand). With 19 speakers, it fills the cabin with a deep, rich sound. One of the settings allows you to decide where you want to sit in the concert hall, in the audience or up on stage. It’s a nice touch.

Meanwhile, there are 22 parameters for adjusting the seats, including a massage function.

Unfortunately, these optional seats aren’t for everyone. If you’re heavy set, you might find the side bolstering a little too snug around your bottom. Plus, they also prop the driver up high, which won’t suit taller folks.

Surprisingly good handling

The MKX’s handling was another pleasant surprise. Thanks to the suspension, the ride is comfortable, even on rough surfaces. That said, it’s not too soft or completely disconnected from the road. In fact, the MKX even handles well in tight corners.

In short, the MKX is a nice surprise from Lincoln. This luxury crossover offers great value in all regards. The new generation is likely to boost the model’s sales, which have always been fairly good.

As a last note, I want to point out that the folks at Lincoln worked hard to improve the soundproofing by installing mics and speakers that cancel sound waves coming in from the outside. And while it’s true that there’s less ambient noise, wind noise is still too noticeable for my taste. But hey, why focus on one little problem when there’s so much good to report here.

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