First Look: 2011 Lincoln MKX Crossover

2011 Lincoln MKX Crossover

Lincoln rolled out a new MKX crossover at the 2010 Detroit auto show. Like most refreshes these days, the MKX packs more power, new technology, and a variety of refinements. Oh, and it finally gets the corporate Lincoln nose.

Possibly the biggest update to the 2011 MKX is Ford's latest Duratec V-6 engine. Updating the current engine required punching out an extra 200 cc's to 3.7L. When combined with variable timing on all of the camshafts, the result was an extra 40 hp and 30 lb.-ft. of torque for a total of 305 hp and 280 lb.-ft. More impressive is that along with these double-digit increases in power ratings, the MKX retains its claimed class-leading ability to return 25 mpg on the freeway, and does all of this on regular unleaded. A "smart" charging system that reduces engine drag and a manually shiftable six-speed automatic transmission help further this cause.

Vying for the title of "biggest update" is Ford's MyFord and MyLincoln technology, a new user interface for the climate, radio, navigation, SYNC, and other controls. Similar in concept to BMW's iDrive and other similar systems, MyLincoln replaces the traditional controls with a touchscreen and a five-way controller similar to those found on cell phones and iPods. A standout feature in the new interface is the touch-sensitive sliders for the stereo volume and fan speed. Rather than traditional push-buttons or knobs, the controls are integrated into the touchscreen and can be adjusted by either tapping a point on the slider bar or by dragging a finger across the screen. The new system also includes Ford's iTunes music tagging feature through SYNC.

Complimenting the new center stack and its fancy new infotainment system is a refreshed interior with all-new seats and upgraded materials. Aluminum accents are offered along with two wood trim options, and contrast stitching abounds. Beneath the skin, heavy use of sound-deadening materials and acoustic glass has quieted down the interior so much that Lincoln claims the MKX now exceeds its competitors at Lexus and Audi in noise suppression.

On the outside, the somewhat boxy MKX of yore has been updated with Lincoln's new split-wing corporate grille, broad fender arches and new rocker panels. Around the back, new taillights feature hidden LEDs for illumination and hidden rear parking sensors to clean up the bumper. Larger ovoid exhaust tips and new 18- and 20-in. wheels finish the look.

Rounding out the MKX's impressive list of updates are several technological features the model has been lacking that should help catch it up to the competition. New features include adaptive cruise control, an emergency braking assist system, hill start assist, a blind spot warning system, a cross-traffic alert system, trailer sway control, plus Ford's Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system and MyKey programmable keys. Lincoln has also upgraded the MKX's brakes and retuned the shocks, springs, and stabilizers for flatter handling in corners while retaining a luxurious ride.

The 2011 Lincoln MKX is expected to go on sale sometime in 2010 as a 2011 model, but Ford hasn't released a final on-sale date or pricing.

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