THE 2013 LINCOLN MKX REVIEW
Full Review by Andy: Following the Herd
A wise man once said, “You will never be a leader unless you first learn to follow.” Lincoln listened, scrapped its blueprints and created the MKX crossover. Although the MKX claims to have class-leading fuel economy, power and luxury, in truth, it follows the crowd. Just as Burger King piggybacks McDonalds and Walgreens takes after CVS Pharmacy, Lincoln borrows from Acura, Lexus, and Cadillac. Yet Lincoln’s aim for silver has gained it gold. Though neither exotic nor glamorous, the midsize CUV has learned enough tricks to run its own show.
Well-Done or Over-Done?
The MKX debuted in 2007 to usher in a new era of Lincoln domination, or so Ford hoped. Unfortunately, the brand continued to struggle, due to a desperate need of a shave and a haircut. To wit, Lincoln hired Max Wolff to replace Peter Horbury, a former senior design director for Cadillac, hoping to sponge some of Cadillac’s striking artistry. The revised MKX is stocky, powerful, and generally attractive, but the style of the handlebar mustache grille is controversial. While it is intended to pay homage to the vintage Lincoln Continental, the meticulously combed mustache went out of fashion years ago.
(See 80+ images of the 2013 Lincoln MKX).
Stealing Its Edge
The Lincoln MKX can easily be compared to its sister CUV, the Ford Edge. The two are nearly identical, with the exception of a few body panels, interior design, and added features. The Edge, however, is $12,000 less. Like the Edge, the MKX uses a 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 that, unlike numerous competitors, run on affordable 87-octane fuel. With its native front-wheel drive layout, the MKX achieves a superb 19/26 mpg, about the same as the Edge. Tacking on all-weather all-wheel drive reduces fuel economy to 17/23 mpg. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with paddle shifters. Notice that the only sporting elements of the 2013 Lincoln MKX, such as all-wheel drive, paddle shifters, and 20-inch and 22-inch wheels, are all tacked-on concessions.
Unlike the old seven-passenger Lincoln Aviator, the MKX drives like a Californian longboarder: smooth, quick, and easy. It can breeze to 60 mph in approximately 7.3 seconds, or about the same time as an Edge.
But the Lincoln MKX excels over the Edge in two key areas: comfort and standard convenience features. No amount of posturing can make the MKX into anything but a cosseting people pod. It has a comfortable, quiet ride, and light-handed steering. The MKX may be a reasonable solution for city slickers looking to put an extra touch of luxury into their lives. Still, it is sometimes hard to think of the MKX as anything other than a very well-equipped Edge. More on that later.
Is It Safe?
In keeping with its metro-mom image, the MKX brims with top-of-the-line safety features. It has passive safety systems, such as fore and aft crumple zones, and active systems that prevent or respond to a dangerous situation. Such technologies include rear parking sensors and MyKey, a program that allows parents to limit stereo volume and top speed, and encourages seatbelt use. Many other high-tech safety systems, some of the best in the segment, are optional. With its state-of-the-art technology, the 2013 MKX wins top safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and commendable scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although the NHTSA only awards the MKX with three out of five stars for overall frontal protection.
What’s on the Inside?
Some people buy cars because of how they look. Others purchase cars based on how they sound. People purchase the MKX due to how it feels – the soft lining of the dashboard and the wide, spacious seats. Manufactured in a state-of-the-art assembly plant in Ontario, Canada alongside the Ford Edge, the MKX uses a little Lincoln embellishment to distinguish itself from its sister sibling. It starts at nearly $40,000, but the purchase pays dividends with standard leather upholstery, optional walnut, or olive wood trim, and a refined, organic design scheme accented by genuine brushed aluminum. Many of its features are available on the more affordable Edge, but several of the MKX’s deluxe amenities are exclusive to its marque, such as the MyLincoln Touch infotainment interface and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system. The technology is bundled in a five-passenger cabin that fits occupants in ample room and can store up to 68.6 cubic feet worth of cargo.
Yet in a way, Lincoln has fallen prey to Ford. The Edge is available with much of the MKX’s technology goodies and none of its aesthetic crimes. The Infiniti JX and FX are infinitely more fashionable – pun not intended – and what metro-mom automobile can hold a candle to the perennially popular Lexus RX350? Truth be told, the 2013 Lincoln MKX is a slightly frumpy, lavish, and indulgent crossover that simply runs well with the herd.
Engine: 3.7-liter V6, 305 hp @6,500 rpm/280 lb-ft of torque @4,000 rpm
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Economy: 19/26 (FWD), 17/23 (AWD)
Base MSRP: $39,545
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