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.
In fact, the MKX just barely matches or beats the less-powerful Edge SEL with its old 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. The 0-to-60 and quarter mile times are within a tenth or two of each other (7.1 seconds and 15.7 seconds at 91.0 mph for the Edge SEL). The Lincoln's braking and skidpad performance are slightly better, but the Edge SEL walks away on the figure eight. For all this Ford-matching performance, you'll have the honor of paying an extra $3500 over the base price of an Edge Sport and $9500 over the base price of an Edge SEL just to get your foot in the door of the Lincoln. As tested, our MKX tester sent jaws dropping at $50,435.
Power isn't the only place that work was done, though. Lincoln also made major changes in the cabin, starting with the all-new My Lincoln technology (the Edge calls it "My Ford"). 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, controls are now touch-sensitive sliders on the screen, 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. It's worth pointing out, though, that most of the same technology can be found on the Edge.
Sheetmetal on the MKX 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," opined MT's Detroit editor Todd Lassa. Impressions of the all-new MKX during testing, though, were a mixed bag. "This vehicle has personality inside and out with a look and feel more interesting than those of the Lexus RX," technical director Frank Markus noted. "The baleen whale is back," associate editor Carlos Lago exclaimed. "The MKX is a softer Edge with a few interesting details, but the $50,000 price tag..."
Lincoln took a big swing with its redesign of the MKX, adding distinctive looks and a more user-friendly, tech-loaded interior, but the hefty as-tested price is enough to make us give a second thought to that loaded Edge across the showroom.
| 2011 Lincoln MKX |
| Base price range || $39,995-$41,845 |
| Price as tested || $50,435 |
| 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 || 17/26 mpg |
| CO2 emissions || 1.01 lb/mile |