New old

Unfortunately for Lincoln, the MKX isn't the one. Tired, perhaps, but not devilish. The sole American in the group, the MKX, sad to say, represents itself as do many-sloppy and overweight. Suffocating the scales with 4618 pounds-308 pounds more than the next-heaviest LR2 and nearly 700 pounds porkier than the group lightweight, the RDX-the MKX feels like a pig among coyotes, exhibiting untidy movements and languid responses. Turn-in? Maybe tomorrow. Understeer? Overwhelming. Editor-at-large St. Antoine notes, "The suspension is all over the road, the traction control steps in too early and often, and there's no cornering feel." The Lincoln seems to float around curves, never composed, always rolling, squatting, and diving. Senses through the helm are rubbery, elastic, numb-you get the idea-prompting St. Antoine to declare, "'Steering feel' is an oxymoron." The brakes aren't much better, delivering a mushy pedal and fade-prone performance.

On the bright side, the MKX isn't without merits. Despite its hedonistic heft, it manages respectable test numbers-0-to-60 in 7.7 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.9 at 86.4 mph-well above those of the LR2 and a testament to the robust 265 horsepower from the 3.5-liter V-6. The soft suspension, a weakness in the twisty bits, is a blessing on the highway, providing the cushiest, most serene ride. Moreover, at the dunes, the MKX will romp all day without ever needing a time out. And while most of us don't care for Lincoln's retro interior-the square gauges remind art director Voehringer of the dials on his 1971 oven-and subsequent sterile ambiance, the cabin does boast the most accommodating back seat, the widest and largest cargo hold, and heated and cooled front seats.

Voehringer sums up the Lincoln as, "A biopsy of the quintessential American luxury vehicle-big, wide, and soft, with a few handy-dandy features as a bonus." The MKX's dire dynamics in the mountains, stiff $44,000 price tag, and lack of a manual mode for the six-speed (how does Lincoln expect to conquer import customers without a manual mode?) relegate it to fourth place-a bonus in our book.