The Lincoln MKX gets a major makeover for 2011, with about 60 percent of its parts and components replaced, its first after some minor tweaks in 2009. Lincoln's five-seat midsize crossover utility vehicle was first introduced as a 2007 model.
The cosmetic facelift to the 2011 Lincoln MKX includes a new grille, hood, fenders, lamps, bumper and air intakes up front, with new individual LED taillamps replacing the full-width taillamp design, a new liftgate, wheels, and oval-shaped exhaust system outlets at the rear. Underneath, there's a redone suspension and an improved braking system.
The most direct competitors in the marketplace are the BMW X5, Cadillac SRX, Buick Enclave, and Lexus RX 350. Lincoln cites a raft of new standard or optional equipment that the competition doesn't offer, including standard leather seats, HD radio, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, remote starting, power liftgate, blind-spot information with cross-traffic alert, keyless entry, and a handful of others.
The 2011 Lincoln MKX looks much bolder and sportier than the previous model, now with the Lincoln split-wing grille instead of the original 1961-style mesh grille.
Under the hood, there is more power for 2011, more torque and improved gas mileage from its 3.7-liter V6 engine.
The Lincoln MKX comes with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The AWD version gets one more gallon of fuel capacity in its tank, and a slightly lower axle ratio, 3.39:1 versus 3.16:1 in the FWD version, but otherwise the two vehicles are identical in specification. The 180 pounds of extra weight of the AWD system takes away four miles per gallon of highway fuel economy, dropping from 27 mpg for the front-drive MKX to 23 mpg Highway with all-wheel drive.
We recommend getting the all-wheel drive because it is a very good computer-controlled part-time system that puts the torque where it needs to be, whether you're cornering fast in dry weather, or dealing with rain, snow, ice or mud. It's worth the bump in price the first time you get into messy conditions and every time thereafter.
The MKX offers the new MyLincoln Touch option. This system is an improvement on and companion to Lincoln's existing Sync voice-activated communications technology. It uses twin five-way thumb switches mounted on the steering wheel spokes, plus two 4.5-inch LED display screens flanking the speedometer in the instrument cluster, and an 8-inch LED display screen at the top center of the instrument panel with a four-zone color-coding system. The MKX has a unique panel of flat touch buttons and lighted slider switches below the sound system to control volume and temperature functions.
The thumb switches, and the touch screen control climate, sound system, telephone, navigation and an enormous variety of information functions including turn-by-turn directions, sports scores, local fuel prices, movie listings, dining, and even horoscopes. The system uses a new list of up to 10,000 voice commands where the previous version only understood about 300, and takes one layer of commands away, making it far easier to use. To start a search for a restaurant, for instance, all you have to do is tell the car you're hungry.
The 2011 Lincoln MKX is available with FWD ($39,145) or AWD ($40,995).
The Premium package ($2500) consists of polished 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive HID headlamps, interior ambient lighting, striped and contrast-piped leather seats, heated second-row seats, a rear-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, heated steering wheel, illuminated scuff plates, and a power tilt/telescope steering column with memory.
The Elite package ($7500) adds voice-activated navigation with CD and MP3 player, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, Sirius Travel Link, a panorama roof, 20-inch chrome wheels and tires, and the THX II 14-speaker sound system with HD radio.
The Limited Edition package ($1295) offers 20-inch polished wheels and tires, aluminum interior appliques, bronze metallic leather seats with black and charcoal trim, logo floor mats, and special headlamps etched with the Lincoln star. Freestanding options include adaptive cruise control ($1295), trailer towing ($395), panorama roof ($1895), roof rails ($195), and heavy-duty floor mats ($75). (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Safety equipment on all models includes front, side and roof curtain air bags, ABS disc brakes, AdvanceTrac traction and yaw control with RSC rollover stability control, the SOS post-crash alert system, and tire pressure monitoring. Optional all-wheel drive enhances handling stability in slippery conditions.