I don’t mind the styling of the Lincoln MKX and its corporate cousin, the Ford Edge, but the MKX doesn’t really look like I expect a Lincoln to look. Instead, I see it simply as an Edge in fancy eveningwear. I think part of the problem is that, when the MXK was created, Lincoln’s renaissance was just in its infancy. And even though there have been lots of new products, the brand has lacked a coherent design language until, arguably, this year. Styling cues are now shared across the MKS sedan, the MKZ sedan, the upcoming MKT seven-seat crossover, and even the C concept from this year’s Detroit auto show, but the MKX is the odd man out.
The MXK does share some of its interior design themes with another Lincoln, though, and that would be the big Navigator SUV. Both vehicles sport symmetrical, dual-cockpit-style instrument panels with squared gauges that are an homage to the legendary Continentals. The dashboard is another retro throwback, because it feels nearly as hard as the stamped-steel panels used in the 1960s. Ford used a slightly softer plastic on the upper region of the center stack, which is nice, but then chose a harder, sharply edged plastic right where you rest your kneecap.
The MKX certainly is comfortable to drive, however. Although the 3.5-liter V-6 is a bit coarse at higher revs, it moves the MKX along fairly well, and the six-speed automatic shifts quite smoothly. The three inches of snow I trekked through one morning never posed a problem, although it’s not terribly difficult to break loose the rear axle. Stability control, of course, is standard.
All in all, the MXK is a competent luxury crossover, but I can’t say the Lincoln does anything or offers anything that a fully loaded Edge doesn’t. Put me in an Edge Sport with Ford’s Sync connectivity system, and I’d be just as happy.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
It’s funny how my perception of the Lincoln brand has changed in the last two months. The MKZ mid-size sedan still looks too much like its corporate cousins, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, the MKS flagship sedan doesn’t seem to appeal to many people who haven’t owned a Town Car, Navigator sales are down more than 38 percent, and the MKX looks just like a Ford Edge. I was ready to completely ignore any talk of Lincoln ever making a comeback. Then I saw the 2010 Lincoln MKT, a vehicle that looks nothing like its corporate cousin, the Ford Flex. There may be some light at the end of the tunnel after all. Now we know Ford has the talent to share a platform and not build virtual clones with different badges.
Because of the “me too” styling, I can’t honestly recommend this MKX to anyone. The main reasons to choose an MKX over an Edge are the THX sound system, swiveling headlamps, better sound insulation, and, uh, a different grille, I guess. And the price difference is a little north of $5500 between an Edge Limited AWD and an MKX AWD. I know there are a few other little differences between the Ford and the Lincoln, but absolutely none of them are visible when the two vehicles are parked next to each other. I know this because a black Ford Edge pulled up to the gas pump next to me this morning and, from inside the gas station, it was pretty tough to tell which vehicle had which badge – the grille was the only real clue.
So, I’m really hoping we only have to live with this Edge copycat design until the next-generation MKX hits the streets. I know the people who build and design these vehicles can do a much better job differentiating the exteriors when they have enough budget to do so. Hopefully Ford pulls through this global economic meltdown and keeps upping the ante with each new Lincoln reveal. Perhaps Lincoln could be on par with Cadillac in terms of design and desirability in the next five years. Sadly, the only example of a truly desirable Lincoln is the MKT which doesn’t hit the streets until later this year.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Ironically, it was Abraham Lincoln who spoke about fooling everyone some of the time and a few folks all of the time. While some of us know there’s a $27,000 Ford Edge buried deep within the $45,465 Lincoln MKX I drove this week, few consumers know or care about such skeletons. That’s because the Edge underpinnings – the up-to-date powertrain, the solid body structure, and the intelligently tuned chassis – were engineered with the reach to capably bear the brand named after our sixteenth president. While the MKX won’t fool hard-bitten enthusiasts, this handsome crossover does appeal to exactly the clientele Lincoln needs – younger buyers without the slightest interest in Town Cars and Navigators. The MKX’s size, mileage, contemporary creature comforts, and, yes, its price, are right on the money.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor
I’m more in line with Sherman’s thinking. This MKX is more than just an expensive Edge. In fact, it was the MKX I first noticed going by me on the Interstate, long before I noticed the Edge. Over and over, it struck my eye enough that I found it much more appealing design-wise than the Edge. Having said that, I agree with Phil that the MKX now looks like the tail-end of the last-generation Lincolns compared with the stunning new interiors in 2009 and 2010 models we’ve just seen.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
2009 Lincoln MKX AWD
Base Price (with destination): $40,035
Price as tested: $45,465
Voice Activated Navigation System – $2,990
Ultimate Package – $995
– Cargo Management System
– Ambient Lighting
All Weather Rubber Floor Mats – $55
Heated Rear Seats – $295
Limited Edition Package – $1,095
– 20″ Chrome-Clad Aluminum Wheels
– Adaptive Lamps
– Limited Package Carpet Mats
Fuel Economy: 15 / 22 / 18 (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 3.5L V6
HP: 265 HP @ 6,520 rpm
Torque: 250 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Safety Ratings (in stars, 1-5):
Frontal Crash Driver: 5
Frontal Crash Passenger: 4
Side Crash Front Seat: 5
Side Crash Rear Seat: 5
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Weight: 4400 lbs
– 18″ Machined Aluminum Wheels (size)
– P245/50R20 BSW All-Season Tires