Lincoln MKX (2015–present): Review, Problems, Specs

The second-generation Lincoln MKX midsize crossover launched in 2015 as a 2016 model, bringing a redesigned exterior and interior, a bigger and better-built cabin, a new turbocharged engine option, as well as generous standard equipment, including adaptive dampers for AWD models. Sharing the platform with Ford's Edge, the MKX is more luxurious than ever, targeting competitors such as the Lexus RX, Acura MDX, and Mercedes-Benz GLC, to name only a few. Looking like an inflated MKC, the MKX bets on the same qualities as its smaller brother: supreme comfort, refinement, and "quiet luxury".


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Remarkably quiet interior
  • Refined, relaxing ride quality
  • Spacious rear seats
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Powerful, torquey turbocharged V6 engine option

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Lack of a third-row seat option
  • No hybrid or diesel powertrains
  • Boring to drive
  • Poor rearward visibility

Stay Away From
  • Early 2016 models with MyLincoln Touch infotainment system
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • There have been no recalls so far for the 2016 Lincoln MKX
Car Details
Powertrain

There are two engine choices for the 2016 Lincoln MKX: a standard naturally-aspirated 3.7-liter V6 and an optional turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. The base engine delivers 303 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque while the turbo produces 335 hp and, more importantly, 380 lb-ft of torque. Both powerplants come as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, with an all-wheel drive system being optional for both units. The additional 32 hp and 102 lb-ft of torque of the EcoBoost V6 are worth the $2,000 price premium, as they make the MKX quicker (0-60 mph takes around 6 seconds for the AWD version), more enjoyable to drive and slightly more efficient.


Handling

Just like the MKC, the MKX puts comfort first, which is why the suspension has a softer tuning than many rival models. The steering and handling are relaxed, so the driver will not have much fun on twisty roads. The adaptive suspension dampers (available only on AWD models) improve handling in "Sport" mode, but only by a small amount. There's considerable body roll in corners, so driving the MKX fast in turns can be tiring. Customers who want sharper handling characteristics should look at other models like the BMW X3.


Safety

The 2016 Lincoln MKX has been assessed by the NHTSA and has received an overall five-star rating – five stars for frontal crash, five stars for side crash, and four stars for rollover. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also gave the MKX a try but only performed the moderate overlap front test and the side impact test. In both cases, the MKX got the maximum "Good" rating. The IIHS also noted the SUV with the lowest "Basic" rating for front crash prevention systems.

Comfort

The Lincoln MKX is one of the most comfortable midsize luxury SUVs you can buy in America. Both in FWD configuration with conventional suspension and (particularly) in AWD guise with the adaptive dampers, the MKX delivers a smooth ride, effortlessly isolating passengers from road irregularities. The cabin is remarkably silent, thanks to Lincoln's comprehensive sound insulation measures as well as the standard active noise-cancellation system. The seats are very comfortable, including the second row, where three adults can travel in normal conditions.


Quality

The second-generation Lincoln MKX brings a massive improvement over its predecessor as far as quality is concerned. The cabin is well-built, with many soft-touch surfaces, a leather-wrapped dashboard, a carpeted cargo area, as well as high-quality trim including aluminum and wood. However, there still are some areas that don't belong into a premium vehicle, such as the low-quality transmission shifter buttons and plastics on the center console. The color combinations are classy, as is the available Bridge of Weir leather upholstery – although the standard leatherette is not bad either.


Practicality

Since the 2016 MKX is slightly longer and wider than its predecessor, it offers more room for passengers and an increased cargo volume. Legroom and headroom are abundant on both rows of seats. Three adults can travel comfortably in the back, and the standard reclining rear seat backs certainly come in handy. Cargo area is within class standards, measuring 37.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 68.8 cu-ft with the rear seats folded down. Moving the transmission selector buttons on the center console frees up a useful storage space in the center tunnel.


Infotainment

Early 2016 Lincoln MKX models came with the dated MyLincoln Touch infotainment interface, and it's best you avoid them. Many users find the system hard to adapt to and complain about its slow response. Midyear 2016 MKX models have received the SYNC 3 infotainment system which is better in every way than the old one. It's much easier to use, it has quicker response times, a more attractive interface, and a more user-friendly 8-inch touchscreen.

Efficiency

The standard 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine burns more fuel than the optional 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6. In front-wheel drive configuration, the 3.7L returns 21 mpg combined (17 mpg city/26 mpg highway), compared to 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/26 mpg highway) for the 2.7L. In all-wheel-drive guise, the larger engine averages 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/23 mpg highway) while the turbocharged unit returns 19 mpg combined (17 mpg/24 mpg highway). The EcoBoost V6 is the one to have.


Equipment

Lincoln offers four trim levels for the 2016 MKX: Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label. The base Premiere trim comes with comprehensive equipment including automatic xenon headlights, LED taillights, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, remote engine start, and adaptive suspension dampers (AWD models only). Interior amenities include dual-zone automatic climate control, Active Noise Control, heated eight-way power front seats (with memory functions for the driver), a reclining, 60/40-split second-row seat with power-folding seatbacks, and a 10-speaker audio system, among other things.


Acquisition

The all-new 2016 Lincoln MKX is priced from $38,260 (excluding destination) – in front-wheel drive and base Premiere grade with the standard 3.7-liter V6. Actually, it's priced lower than the previous-generation 2015 MKX when it was new. Upgrading to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 costs $2,000 while all-wheel drive will set you back $2,500. The base 2016 Lincoln MKX is priced similarly to the 2017 Cadillac XT5, which is likely to become its main rival while the Lexus RX and Acura MDX are significantly more expensive.

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