For most manufacturers, a midlife update consists of a slight styling change or a new trim level, but like its Edge sibling, Lincoln's second-generation MKX got a major makeover for 2011.

The most significant change to the 2011 Lincoln MKX is the addition of Ford's 3.7-liter Duratec V-6 engine and new manually shiftable six-speed automatic transmission. Engine output is rated at 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Even with the bump in power, the MKX still gets a claimed class-leading 26 mpg highway.

Performance, naturally, is improved. An extra 40 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque are nothing to scoff at, and the MKX makes good use of them. The Lincoln ute's 0-to-60 time has dropped by half a second from the last model we tested, down to 7.2 seconds. The quarter-mile is similarly dispatched in 15.5 seconds at 91.9 mph, four-tenths and 5.5 mph faster. The MKX's 60-to-0 braking likewise improves by a full 19 feet to 132 feet, no doubt helped by a curb weight reduction of 133 pounds from the last model. Even the handling is better, with the new model seeing 0.77 g average around the skid pad and completing our figure eight test in 28.6 seconds at 0.58 g average, nearly a second quicker than the outgoing model..

There's another side to this coin, though, and that is the all-new Ford Edge Sport. It, too, gains the 305-horsepower V-6, and even weighs 80 pounds less. While the MKX has managed to best the Edge Sport in straight-line acceleration by 0.4 seconds both in the run to 60 mph and the quarter-mile, that's the only advantage the more expensive Lincoln holds. The Edge Sport stops 8 feet shorter, pulls 0.82 g average on the skid pad, and finishes the figure eight in 27.0 seconds at 0.65 g average.