2011 Lincoln MKX
All-new 'ute has pricey entry fee

WE LIKE: Bigger engine, better transmission, MyLincoln Touch.
WE DON'T LIKE: Questionable styling, high pricetag.

For most vehicle manufacturers, a midlife update consists of a slight styling change or a new trim level, but Lincoln's second-generation MKX got a complete redesign for 2011.

A significant change is the addition of Ford's Duratec V-6 engine and new manually shiftable six-speed automatic transmission. Displacement has been increased to 3.7 liters, which in turn increases output to 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Even with the big bumps in power, the MKX still gets a class-leading 25 mpg highway with front drive.

Lincoln also made major changes in the cabin, starting with the all-new MyLincoln Touch technology. The system provides a new interface for the climate, navigation, radio, and Sync systems.

Lincoln has replaced standard controls with a touch screen and five-way controller, so instead of buttons or knobs, control is now by touch-sensitive buttons and sliders or voice command, which some of our evaluators found temperamental to use. Capping off the cabin improvements are all-new seats made of higher quality materials that are bigger and more comfortable.

Front-end sheetmetal is all new as well, "I like the distinctive '41 Conti-style grille, though it looks better on cars and is going to age quickly," wrote Lassa.

Impressions of the all-new MKX during our SUOTY competition were a mixed bag. "This vehicle has personality inside and out with a look and feel more interesting than the those of the Lexus RX," Markus noted.

"The baleen whale is back," Lago exclaimed. "The MKX is a softer Edge with a few interesting details, but the $50,000 price tag completely takes it out of contention."

Lincoln took a big swing with its redesign of the MKX, adding a distinctive appearance and a more user-friendly, technology-loaded interior. In the end, the MKX's hefty as-tested price is what prevented it from garnering the top spot in our SUOTY competition. - Scott Mortara

2011 Lincoln MKX
Base price $39,995-$41,845
Price as tested $50,435 (AWD)
Vehicle layout Front engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.7L/305-hp/280-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4485 lb (57/43%)
Wheelbase 111.2 in
Length x width x height 186.7 x 76.0 x 67.3 in
0-60 mph 7.2 sec
Quarter mile 15.5 sec @ 91.9 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 132 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.77 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 28.6 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 17/23 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.01 lb/mile
INTERIOR/Functionality ****
Amazing interior amenities but at a premium price.