2011 Lincoln MKX

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For 2011 Lincoln has pulled out all the stops to prove to the Lexus RX luxury crossover and others who the real king of the hill is. To say it’s been done with style doesn’t begin to describe the ammunition Lincoln has loaded up to see the MKX through competitive comparisons.

The  MKX has a standard 3.7L V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower – 40 more than the outgoing product – that achieves an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway – all best-in-class. There is little lacking in this vehicle’ power when it comes to passing, accelerating, highway cruising or just sitting at a stoplight ensconced in its luxurious interior.

While it still sports the Lincoln signature split-wing grille it now has smartly styled new treatment for tail lamps that eliminates the previous full-across lighting. The rear view is accented by some fancy chrome exhaust tips as well.

MKX has excellent road manners and is nearly soundproof thanks to an upgraded sound pack and acoustic glass – and improvements made to reduce engine noise. It sits atop 18” or 20” wheels. Lincoln has added some features that should be standard in the luxury segment – namely, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert that indicates the presence of vehicles hidden from view during normal driving and traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of parking spots. The 2011 MKX is loaded with other standard technology features, including Adaptive Cruise Control, MyLincoln Touch with integrated navigation plus Lincoln SYNC with 10,000 voice commands for hands free phone and entertainment functions and a THX sound system – just to name a few.

Through a series of purposeful wrong turns we were able to drive on something less than ideal highway conditions and the MKX handled those “lost miles” with the same aplomb it does a freeway. The ride is comfortable – not soft.

There’s a lot of legroom in the second row. Even with the front seat in its most rearward position there was still more than enough room for a long legged adult. From a driver’s perspective the cockpit layout is near ideal, as are the ergonomics of the HVAC controls on the center stack.

Lincoln has set its sights on achieving a high ranking in the luxury crossover market with its new MKX, and  those brands which have held the top positions should be aware (as Tom Petty sang in his hit song), “It won’t back down.”

— Al Vinikour