2016 Lincoln MKX AWD Reserve Quick Take: Old-school luxury cruiser

By Allyson Harwood on September 28, 2015 11:30 AM

Lincoln has taken some hits in the recent past, seen as offering models that are too close to those from the Ford Division. Examples include the previous-generation Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ and the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Happily, we are starting to see that change, thanks to the Lincoln MKC -- based on the Ford Escape, but you wouldn't know it -- and the all-new 2016 Lincoln MKX, which shares a platform with the Ford Edge, yet manages to have its own style. The all-new MKX has a lot to offer someone who wants something more upscale than the Edge and prefers a smooth ride over sportiness.

Living room on wheels

The all-new MKX has a cabin that is welcoming and comfortable, and pleasantly quiet. The 22-way-adjustable heated and cooled seats are large and cushy, and draped in very soft leather. There are eye-catching touches like dark brown burled wood on the doors and a cappuccino-hued color scheme that's attractive and elegant. Rear passengers also get seat heaters, as well as generous legroom -- the MKX has an incredibly roomy second row, thanks in part to wisely sticking to a 5-passenger layout and not trying to cram a third bench into a platform that's too small for it.

There are plenty of luxury amenities too, such as the massive panorama vista roof and 19-speaker audio system. Once you adjust the seat to your liking, it's easy to settle in for a long drive. The main hub of the interior is SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, used to control navigation, audio, climate control and phone. Each generation of this system is better than the one before it, and while I like how it functions, it's an acquired taste. One notable difference in the interior is the lack of either a column or floor-mounted shifter. The MKX's 6-speed automatic is controlled with push buttons to the left of the center screen.

Also: Class of 2016 -- New Cars Ready to Roll

Efficient American powerhouse 

A new option for 2016 is the available 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. Choosing this over the standard 3.7-liter V6 is a huge step up. It has 335 horsepower (up 32 over the 3.7) and 380 pound-feet of torque (over 100 more than in the standard engine). That torque makes a huge difference, as this 4,400-pound beast scoots, exceling both in acceleration from a stop and when passing on the freeway. The power is always readily available and makes a fairly heavy SUV feel light. That weight is more noticeable in the turns, where the vehicle's mass and the MKX's relaxed suspension and steering make it clear this is not a canyon-carving sports car. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does differentiate it from competitors like the Audi Q5 and the Cadillac SRX.

Fuel economy is better with the EcoBoost engine than the 3.7-liter V6: in front-drive form, they both get 17 mpg city and 26 on the highway, yet the EcoBoost has a 1-mpg advantage in combined fuel economy (21 versus 20). With all-wheel-drive models, the combined fuel economy of both is 19 mpg, but the 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway numbers of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost are one mpg better than the V6.

This is the most luxurious MKX to date, with a powertrain and interior that are much better than what was offered in the past. It's now more competitive with the Lexus RX and Acura RDX. The as-tested price, which was just over $63,000, is in line with similarly equipped models from other companies, and its relaxed nature should appeal to those who don't want the tightly wound attitude of sportier SUVs.

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