Who makes the best sport SUVs?
It is the Germans, without a doubt.
The Germans have really defined the genre with their excellent Macan Turbos and X550i's -- with little serious competition from Japan or the US. At least since the Infiniti FX and original, RWD Cadillac SRX faded.
Something about an SUV cargo area, megalux cabin, corner-hungry handling and shouty 5-second sprints to 60-mph! The combo is magic.
There is a new hotshot on the block. Just moved in. Named MKX.
The 2016 Lincoln MKX EcoBoost AWD.
I know, I know. I understand your incredulousness.
A truck as fast and fun as this MKX makes a huge case for itself not as a Lexus RX alternative. But a whole class above the comfy Lexus cruiser.
This Lincoln MKX is emphatically not for zombie moms.
It is for you and me, my friends! Hot LEDs, 88-way dynamic massage seats and extra-yummy $63k tested price.
Content-rich article here: two drive videos and two static walkarounds. Plus the usual obscene amount of photos.
HD Drive Review Video - Part 1
HD Drive Review Video - Part 2
Lincoln is evolving their look dramatically lately. The MKX -- at first -- appears similar to the compact MKC and the livery-spec MKT in the lineup. But then you look closer. And find deeply sexy new executions of the design themes all around. A great stepping-stone to the organic, flowing premium lines of the upcoming Continental, in fact.
Don't believe it?
Check out how the twin-wing grille looks at sunset, in that cool sideways light. A low sun shows off the grate-like, industrial and masculine feel of the horizontal grille slats. So wide and so low from the pure nose aspect! Butch, but finished in soft pewter silver.
This high-fashion contrast is delightful in the flesh, even in the test truck's polarizing Fire Bronze paint shade. The MKX's design details are cohesive and intriguing beyond the grille, of course. The hood is long in feel, and the front overhang is chopped and sleek. The fender creasing above the absolutely massive 21-inch satin polished chrome/gloss-black wheels in front is subtle buthelpful. It helps the MKX feel leaned-back and ready to pounce on any Macans or Cayennes in its path.
These creased fender boxes feel macho, premium and sporty from all sides. The front wheelarch flows into the back door handles, where a strong rear shoulder takes over as the wide, proud fender detail. The tumblehome between the outer body edge and the glasshouse is deep, and gives the MKX a real muscularity that is lacking on its MKC kid sister.
The lower, leaner roofline and profile aspect is also a massive upgrade on any modern Lincoln, bar the very-different-altogether appearance of the Navigator. Where that car is all Ford hand-me-down in its doors and glass, the MKX is a son-of-a-Peich.
The design is so pure and chic, we almost imagine something similar emerging from Aston Martin. THe wheels are exactly 2/3 as tall as the overall vehicle. The rules are met here, and deliver Lagonda style. Seriously.
Around the tail, the flush-mounted twin exhausts are rectangular and intensely sporty. A tight-wrapped rear diffuser and deep sills all around impart a pure, fast performance feel that is deeply cool, macho and fast. You sneak a peak at the ultra-wide rubber from behind the MKX, then admire its widebody stance and low roof. Clean, pure and delightful.
The LEDs in back are the best-ever from Lincoln. Pure, seamless lightbars in red. These come on with a classy dimmer-effect when you blip the key, or simply get within a few feet of the truck, actually. (All automatic doors and locks on the Lincoln.)
Rounding out this Puma-like profile, nose and tail? Seriously premium quality for the brushed-pewter effect of the window brightwork. Absolutely world class.
Do you love the best, most modern LEDs anywhere on the globe?
So does this MKX Luxury Pack!
Not one bulb on the exterior of this machine. Full LED low-beams, high-beams, blinkers front and rear, DRL fogs, DRL white accents and even puddle lights/side blinkers. In back, LEDs for the pretzel-wrapped lightbar, backup lights and even the license plate micro-lamps.
These are stunning. Please check out the walkaround videos below to see the lights in action.
The MKX takes its five-seat crossover mission seriously. It drops the fake third rows in many rivals in favor of a LWB, cross-your-legs triumph of a second row instead.
Seating five in comfort is effortless, despite the sexy roofline. We loved how wide the doors open all around for easy entry/exit. Especially around back. You could cartwheel into a buckled seatbelt in there!
The MKX really scores in the second row, with a long seat base that is ultra supportive below your thighs. The default seat setting is reclined enough for a nap behind black-tinted glass. And this wide back seat gets better with the seatbacks reclined and the middle armrest down. The finishing back there is stellar. Near-full control suite for climate and entertainment for the back seat, plus chargers and vents galore. Very posh.
Especially with the full-length glass roof opened up! A one-touch power shade is 100-percent blackout for the closed position, but provides massive light when retracted. One tap, and the roof goes from clear to black, and back again.
Just the front section opens and slides above the back panes of glass, but the execution quality reinforces Lincoln's new Porsche-like perceived quality. In the drive video, you can hear it seal up at 60-mph. Sounds like some kind of jet engine! Very cool.
Massive quad weather seals are present below the roof, though. Every shutline for the doors is filled with NVH-silencing rubber. Huge, donut-fat rolls of rubber are the main seals all around. Very Wraith-like. Then three more layers of silence. All paired with an easy, lightweight door closure.
When all in and sealed up snug, the Lincoln MKX is one of, if not the, quietest vehicles we have ever driven. So, so silent and serene. Deeply removed from all wind and tire noise. Only some on-demand engine growl to disturb the peace from all four outer MKX seats. (Middle-rear will never be tranquil:)
MEAT IN THE SEATS!
The biggest option on our test truck by DRIVER LOVE? The $1500 thrones up front. These 22-way power seats are actually infinitely-adjustable. The 22-way counts the actual motorized movements: squab extension to support the legs above your knees, shoulder pivot to move the upper backrest in and out. Power headrests in pillow-soft leathers.
Divine. The MKX is so, so comfortable. You'd never expect it to literally fly down straight-aways and around corners, too!
Excellent HD Video Demo of MKX Luxury Features
But fly it does!
The MKX and its 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 is FAST. As ****!
The $2000 EcoBoost engine upgrade might seem unecessary, on paper, when viewing horesepower only. But in the real world, in Sport drive modes of the MKX, the EcoBoost is a full two seconds quicker than the base V6 in the 60-mph sprint. How?
The 335HP and 380-pound-feet of the EcoBoost plays 303HP and 278-pound-feet in the 3.7-liter, non-turbo V6 that comes standard.
That includes a HUGE 102 foot-pounds of thumping, idle-ready torque at all times. And even the 380 pound-feet at 3000 RPM is conservatively rated. This is with the default 87-octane fuel that the engine uses. None of the old premium-required fuel needs of hightech engines from our German friends.
But... when you do give this MKX turbo some 93 octange fuel, it absolutely FLIES.
400HP is the feel at all revs.
So fun and so full of power at all times. This engine is a gem, and finally upstages the eight-speed ZF and supercharged motors in the latest Jags. Second cousins, once removed. And soon fierce rivals with MKX vs F-PACE.
|ENGINE SPECS - 2016 MKX|
|Type||3.7-liter 24-valve Ti-VCT V6||2.7-liter EcoBoost® twin-turbocharged V6|
|Horsepower||303 @ 6,500 rpm||335 @ 5,500*|
|Horsepower per liter||81.9||124.0|
|Torque||278 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm||380 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm*|
The second performance-critical option we identified? The $650 Adaptive Steering.
This makes the MKX into a pointy, sporty and ultra-nimble SUV. Adaptive Steering for the Lincoln MKX lets its drive modes go deep into Sport Chrono territory in their transformative effects.
Bottom line? The MKX is a joy to drive.
Slow or fast; rain or shine.
From a base price of $39k, the test MKX AWD turbo rings in at $63k in total. Absolutely outstanding value, especially versus a $63k MKC (the compact crossover) Black Label that sticker-shocked us last year.
Many options to note. The $4,400 Luxury Package brings the full-LED lighting, so is a must in our book.
We asked ourselves many times in the Lincoln's driver's seat: Is this MKX the best American car you've ever driven?!
It was instantly brushed off when recalling Corvettes and other hot performance cars. But in terms of crossovers or SUVs?
Better than Escalade, Expedition, Durango, SRT Grand Cherokee, SRX, Explorer Sport, MKC, Denali or Tahoe.
Better than RX, NX, GX, MDX, RDX, QX-anything, Sante Fe's,.... and all the rest. This truck is FAST. Loves corners. And tracks pure, smooth and silent on the highway. Loveit.
So good, this is really Lincoln's Cayenne or X5 opus. Their crowning achievement!
In terms of luxury and drive manners, this MKX is a stunningly good machine.
Video Walkaround - Exterior