First drive: 2016 Lincoln MKX in the UAE
Lincoln is not a brand that registers in anyone’s minds when shopping for a luxury car. Generally regarded as just better-trimmed versions of Fords, a proper effort has been made on the newer models to actually differentiate them from their Ford platform-mates. Take this 2016 Lincoln MKX for instance. It’s pretty darn good.
The new MKX is based on the latest Ford Edge, although we didn’t find a single clue to that from the exterior design. Absolutely nothing visual is shared with the Edge as far as we can see. However, while it’s a very handsome design, it won’t get anyone’s heart racing.
Inside, there is generous use of soft-touch materials and leather trimmings, while again, absolutely nothing is shared with its Ford sibling, aside from the SYNC infotainment touchscreen. It’s all done very nicely, although having the gear-selection buttons on the dash alongside the touchscreen can take a little getting used to.
Those are just some of the tech features in this car. The SYNC touchscreen is more responsive than ever before, although still featuring small graphics. The panoramic roof extends over the rear passengers, and the foot-waving to open the tailgate is a nice feature. The stereo is also good, as are the safety features that include blind-spot monitoring, seat coolers, all-round cameras and inflatable rear seat-belts.
Cabin space is very good both front and back in this 5-seater, and all-round visibility is better than before. The boot is also pretty big, with as much floor space as some full-size SUVs.
Powered by a ridiculously good 330 hp turbocharged 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 in top trim, with 501 Nm of torque on tap. Mated to that button-operated 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters as well as all-wheel-drive, the car always feels quick at any speed, with a muffled roar at full throttle.
It’s not quite the driver’s car, with barely-bolstered front seats and mild steering feedback, but the latter is still well-weighted for most driving situations, even if on the lighter side. Add to that the good body control, decent brakes, high grip limits and that turbo torque, the MKX can be fairly entertaining to drive, more so than the similarly-priced Land Rover Discovery Sport. The MKX is quieter and rides better as well, using its optional new adaptive suspension setup.
Our quick impression is that the Lincoln MKX appears to be a very, very good crossover. We could not find any major faults with it. However, while it is well-priced in base and mid-level trims, the top version that we drove almost approaches the price bracket of better-established vehicles such as the 7-seater Audi Q7 and even the fancy new Volvo XC90. The Lincoln is quicker and more agile than both, so our pick would be one of the lower-optioned MKXs as a better value proposition. More realistic rivals are the softer-driving Lexus RX and the aging Cadillac SRX. Heck, the MKX’s direct competition may even come from its own sibling in the form of the smaller Lincoln MKC that looks almost the same.
For prices and specs, visit the Lincoln buyer guide.
Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.