2011 Lincoln MKX — Review
This 2011 review is representative of model years 2011 to 2013.
By James Tate of MSN Autos
It is no secret that Lincoln has some serious ground to cover if it wants to be a luxury nameplate capable of going toe-to-toe with the likes of Audi, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz, particularly in the brutally competitive luxury-crossover segment. If what we've seen in the 2011 MKX is any indication, though, Lincoln is hell-bent on putting up a fight.
In its ongoing quest to separate itself from the rest of the luxury crowd, Lincoln has taken to packing its interiors with technology, even in base trim. All MKX trims come from the factory with Sync voice command, and for 2011, the company is introducing MyLincoln Touch. The system adds a new level of functionality to the vehicle's massive 8-inch LCD touch-screen by placing two additional, smaller LCD screens on either side of the speedometer,operated by two 5-way controls on the steering wheel. The driver can pull up everything from fuel economy to information on navigation or climate control without having to look down and away from the road. We love it.
The MKX comes with painted 18-inch wheels as standard equipment; 18-inch and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels are optional, as are 20-inch chrome-clad wheels.
Under the Hood
The EPA hasn't released its fuel-economy findings on the 2011 MKX, but Ford is aiming for 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway in front-wheel-drive guise. Adding the heavy all-wheel-drive system is expected to cause those numbers to fall to 17/23. Behind the more powerful 6-cylinder engine is the same 6-speed automatic transmission that showed up in the 2010 model, though we think Lincoln has made some progress with the vehicle's shift logic. Gear changes are very smooth compared with the outgoing MKX.
Lincoln has walked away from the blocky, squared-off dash design of last year and adopted "waterfall" styling, with much more graceful lines. Handsomely stitched leather covers the dash and center stack and helps give the interior the kind of quality feel we would love to see everywhere in the Lincoln line. Lincoln offers a number of different wood and metal accents, each of which works well to complement the interior colors available.
Lincoln now uses touch-capacitive controls for both climate control and audio adjustments, and the new technology does an amazing job of cleaning up the center stack. Instead of a confusing mishmash of buttons, the driver is met with a beautifully simple control panel, complete with touch-sliders for fan speed and volume control. However, the system seems to jump around quite a bit if fingers aren't positioned just so on the slide surface. Maybe we just have fat hands.
Of course, Lincoln would have us believe that physical controls will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to its Sync system. With the push of a button, drivers are supposed to be able to do everything from adjusting the air conditioning to setting a new navigation destination or making Bluetooth hands-free calls. Ford has even flattened most of the command sequences for ease of use, though we still found the dictation system cumbersome at times.
On the Road
Speaking of noise, Lincoln engineers have performed something of a small miracle when it comes to cabin noise levels in the 2011 MKX compared with the 2010 model. A raft of noise-battling technology has made its way into the chassis, including acoustic glass in all of the right places, additional metal in the firewall and plenty of baffling in what used to be empty space.
We were able to spend some time in both the all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive versions of the reworked crossover, and while we were expecting an abundance of torque steer in the latter configuration, the effect of 305 horsepower being channeled to the front two tires is pretty well manageable in a car weighing about 4,400 pounds.
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