Specifications prices Modifications and Image 2011 Lincoln MKX
Sometimes, things make a visual promise that isn't realized in the end. Maybe it was that fancy chocolate cake your aunt made that didn't taste quite like you anticipated. Or it could've been a dream date that turned into a nightmare -- who knew such a looker could have such poor manners? Sadly, Lincoln's MKX has been a member of this hall of shame; in past reviews we've noted that its attractive styling couldn't hide its lackluster driving dynamics, weak brakes and subpar interior materials. But the 2011 Lincoln MKX gets it right, with substantial improvements in performance, features and overall quality that make it a worthy entry in the midsize luxury crossover segment.
Although the MKX crossover SUV already had good looks, it nonetheless gets a face-lift this year in the form of Lincoln's new "winged" grille, curvaceous front fenders and new taillights, that all serve to further differentiate it from its cousin, the Ford Edge. In the cabin, improvements come by way of higher-quality materials, redesigned seats, richer accents, including genuine aluminum trim and an enhancement to the Sync multimedia control system that's dubbed MyLincoln Touch. The latter provides a more intuitive touchscreen interface (much like a smartphone's) as well as additional voice commands.
Along with other tweaks, these upgrades put the Lincoln on more even footing with the impeccably trimmed cabins of rivals such as the Lexus RX 350. Many luxuries that are optional on competing models are also standard on the 2011 Lincoln MKX such as a power tailgate, remote start, power front seats with heating and ventilation, leather upholstery and rear parking sensors.
Under the updated sheet metal is a 3.7-liter V6 that achieves the impressive dual feat of having both impressive horsepower and respectable fuel mileage. With 305 horsepower, it makes 40 hp more than the previous 3.5-liter mill. Fuel economy is up slightly, too, with a combined fuel mileage estimate for the front-drive version of 21 mpg. Furthermore, the previously criticized brakes that produced rather long stopping distances were addressed as well, with beefier components that promise a more confident feel and shorter panic stop distances.
Although these updates are praiseworthy, it's still likely worth your time to shop around some. The luxury crossover SUV segment is chock-full of worthy candidates, including smaller choices like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and Volvo XC60 as well as midsize models like the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350. You might also check out the related Ford Edge Sport; while it's not premium badged, the ownership experience is going to be pretty similar. But overall the Lincoln MKX, now having the substance to back up its style, is a solid choice.
The interior of the 2011 Lincoln MKX reflects an even greater emphasis on what defines Lincoln DNA: luxury, craftsmanship, genuine materials and sharper execution.
Gentle details that bring out Lincoln standards of quality and excellence include brightwork on the vents, genuine stitching on the doors and softer armrests with upgraded materials. The cupholders, with available ambient lighting, are found beneath the independent sliding leather-covered console lids, which feature decorative stitching. A power tilt/telescoping steering column and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel are available.
All-new leather-trimmed seats, comfort sections and standard tuxedo stripe embrace the new Lincoln DNA sew style. More genuine aluminum appliqués are standard, with aluminum accents on the door added to the spears on the instrument panel.
The two available wood accents – Olive Ash and Walnut Swirl – on the steering wheel, dashboard and doors add character and form; each selection has a livelier, natural appearance, adding even more character to the interior. Whether customers select aluminum or wood, the increased use of genuine materials in the 2011 Lincoln MKX ensures that each interior will be distinctive.
“Everything about the 2011 Lincoln MKX is vibrant and luxurious,” said Bannon. “Our MyLincoln Touch system will draw people in, helping them discover that the new Lincoln MKX delivers a total driving experience not found anywhere else.”
New flowing exterior design perfectly wraps new Lincoln MKX technologies
The flowing exterior design of the 2011 Lincoln MKX provides the perfect complement to the luxury crossover’s industry-leading technology and class-exclusive features.
“The 2011 Lincoln MKX will be a real standout in the Lincoln showroom,” said Doyle Letson, chief designer. “The addition of the new split-wing grille, a key to Lincoln signature DNA, is just the start. The 2011 MKX has the best proportions of any Lincoln we have.
“The fender line, with the raised arch over the front wheel, as well as the lower rocker detail with beautifully tapered bright detail that runs the length of the vehicle, makes a dramatic difference in side view,” he added.
New for the 2011 model is an updated rear taillamp treatment. The lamps are now two distinct pieces that employ an indirect LED system that hides the light source while allowing the light intensity to shine through. The reverse sensors of the Blind Spot Information System are integrated into the reflectors while the Lincoln star sits proudly on a new appliqué. The 4-inch oval exhaust tips, significantly larger on the 2011 Lincoln MKX, also increase the unique luxury crossover’s presence.
The new 18- and 20-inch wheels are more dynamic and expressive. Instead of a familiar linear or blocky appearance, the wheels encompass a variety of undulating and complex shapes that help the 2011 Lincoln MKX appear always in motion. The vibrant wheel shapes again underscore the enhanced craftsmanship and attention to detail found throughout the 2011 Lincoln MKX.
Less dramatic but equally significant (to us, anyway) are changes that you can’t run your finger along but which should be noticeable from the driver’s seat. The MKX’s standard 3.5-liter V-6 has been replaced by the new 3.7-liter unit shared with the 2011 Ford Mustang. Featuring variable cam timing, horsepower gets a 15-percent bump to 305, while torque climbs 12 percent to 280 lb-ft. The standard six-speed automatic transmission also now features manual-shift capability. Ford did not release fuel-economy estimates, but claims that the 2011 will match the front-wheel-drive 2010 model’s 25-mpg highway fuel-economy rating. City fuel economy for the 2010 model is 18 mpg, while all-wheel-drive versions are rated at 17/23.
Considerable revisions to the brakes are said to increase both feel and response, things we’ve rarely expected—or experienced—in a Lincoln but would definitely appreciate. Newly available driver aids include hill-start assist, trailer-sway control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, and cross-traffic alert for backing out of parking spots.
Standard safety equipment for the MKX includes antilock disc brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A blind spot warning system is optional.
The Lincoln MKX has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to new 2011 tests) were a perfect five stars for frontal driver and side-impact protection with frontal passenger protection earning four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MKX its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side-impact protection and a second-best "Acceptable" for roof-strength integrity.