2009 Lincoln MKX AWD

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

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