Pardon me while I devour my hat. Having driven one of the last first-generation MKX crossovers a year prior, I didn't think the new model, despite a snazzy new nose and a tweaked tail, would feel remarkably different.
Ford's interior design department proved me completely wrong. There is a world of difference between today's interior and the previous cabin design. Sure, the weighted, chunky feeling Joe DeMatio noted carries through, but that's where the commonality lies. The hard, crude plastic surfaces of the previous car are gone; most touch points are now lined with nicely grained, soft touch materials. Is it quite on par with what we've come to expect from the Germans? Perhaps not, but it's remarkably close.
Arguably, the center of attention within the cabin lies with the MyLincoln/MyFord Touch infotainment system. Although I appreciate the flexibility and connectivity incorporated over the previous iteration of Sync, this doesn't feel like a quantum leap forward. Capacitive touch buttons can occasionally prove to be finicky, and it does take some time to discover both the volume and fan speed controls are designed to react to a sliding finger, not a quick jab. Perhaps the worst bit lies with the central touch screen display. Each screen -- climate, audio, navigation, and phone -- is almost overwhelmed with information, visuals, and controls, and is horribly slow to respond to physical inputs.
Thankfully, that can't be said about the 3.7-liter V-6 or the six-speed automatic transmission bolted to it. Both are happy to respond to throttle input, quickly triggering a smooth downshift when the driver truly wants the six-cylinder to rev. Steering is a bit on the numb side, but chassis tuning is otherwise decent. Ride quality is smooth, but not floaty; body roll is kept nicely in check, even during sharper corners.
I cannot disagree with the argument that $51,000 is a lot of money for a crossover -- any crossover -- but given the balance of style, technology, comfort, and drivability offered in the MKX, I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few shoppers are able to rationalize that sum.
- Evan McCausland, Web Producer