There was a time when the thought of a youthful 40 something year old driving a Lincoln would have been laughable to many. The brand just wasn’t as hip as, say BMW. It’s not that they were necessarily bad cars, they were missing out on the cool factor. Ok, some of them were pretty bad. With the new Ford of the past couple of years came a new Lincoln too, a brand that is decidedly more cool.
For a family long weekend road trip recently, we needed something with enough space to carry all 5 of us along with all of our assorted flotsam and a gigantic cargo box full of dance costumes. No, they aren’t mine! This called for either the dreaded minivan or an SUV/CUV type vehicle. The 5 passenger 2011 Lincoln MKX seemed like it had some potential for the weekend. After spending some time in it, the MKX has potential for a lot more than just a weekend.
Built in Ford’s Oakville, Ontario plant, the MKX has received a thorough refresh for the 2011 model year. Originally launched as an 07 model, the MKX opened up a whole new market for the once popular brand. The slick styling, world class fit and finish, utility and performance brought customers who would traditionally be looking at import brands into the showroom. The MKX, along with some of its siblings was bringing the cool back to Lincoln.
The exterior has received a number of changes from front to back beginning with the new split-wing grille, re-arched fenders and lower rocker moldings to create a better flow to the side view. Unique 2 piece tail lamps utilize indirect LED lighting to create a dramatic effect without actually seeing the light source. The rear view has been beefed up a bit with the addition of larger oval exhaust tips as well. The brushed metal and chrome trim is just bling enough to know this is a Lincoln, but not so much that it looks tacky.
The already luxurious interior has received an abundance of additional leather covered surfaces, all of which feature rich looking stitching. Buyers can choose between real aluminum or wood accents that fit quite tastefully with the soft leather dashboard. Our tester had the aluminum inserts along with the optional heated leather steering wheel. While buyers from the south might question the usefulness of such a device, those of us in colder climes can really appreciate the length of time it takes a cold unheated steering wheel to warm up on a Winter morning. The most important key to the MKX interior is that while the look is tangibly North American, the surface quality and fit and finish are on a par with imports that cost more than twice the price.
Ford has been on a techno rampage since launching SYNC a few years ago and the evolution to MyFord Touch has brought them to the bleeding edge of in car infotainment. The new MKX is the first vehicle to include MyLincoln Touch and quite simply there isn’t another brand on the market that packs this much electronica into a vehicle. There is so many goodies that I’m just going to include the Lincoln press info after my review. Instead, I’m going to mention some of the features that were most useful during our trip.
- Early models of SYNC would not communicate with an iPod Touch without using it as an mp3 aux input. Now, MyLincoln Touch does recognize the Touch. This allows one to control the iPod through the touch screen of even sort through the music with voice commands. The kids and I thought this was extremely cool although the voice recognition could be a bit wonky at times. Somehow it confused Evanescence with The Who.
- I’ve long been a fan of the concept of adaptive cruise control, if not of the jerkiness of it in action. It seems like the engineers have finally gotten it right and the feature is awesome on a long drive.
- Multiple usb ports allow the iPod to be used while also charging a Blackberry. It might seem like a small thing, but when 2 adults who work from home go traveling, both BB’s are constantly in use and need to be charged!
- The instrument cluster has dual 4.2″ LCD screens that are controlled by cell phone style 5 way control pads on the wheel. These screens monitor pretty much everything that is going on in the vehicle from trip computer to audio and ambient temperature. They are easy to navigate, keep the driver looking forward and hands on the wheel.
Also new for 2011 is a new power plant under the hood. Our AWD tester was equipped with the 305 horsepower, 3.7L V6 which is 40 more than the previous model. That extra power gives the MKX more car like performance off the line, but on the highway it feels more confident and is happiest when cruising at about 125 kmh (77 mph). Canadian government fuel economy testing rates the MKX at 12.2 l/100 km in the city and 8.8 l/100 km on the highway. With the cruise control set to go with the flow of traffic rather than the posted limit, we managed to achieve 12.5 l/100 km. Pretty impressive given that we had 5 people on board and a cargo area jammed full of stuff.
The cargo area itself was pretty impressive. Anyone who has traveled with kids knows how much stuff a family takes for a weekend away. I was able to put all of our gear in the back and still see out of the entire rear window. Even more impressive was the roomy back seat. As we were driving out of our neighborhood, the teenager commented that the back seat was huge and the 2 younger brothers chimed in to agree.
It isn’t often that one might think of a luxury liner in terms of value, but the 2011 Lincoln MKX brings some serious value to the table when compared to some of the Traditional Import competitors. With a starting price of $46,500 cdn ($41,265 us) for the AWD version, our loaded up tester rang in at $53,430 cdn ($49,115 us). To get this level of content in any of those…oh wait, you can’t. Let me rephrase that. To get close to that level of content from any of the international competitors, one would have to spend half again or even twice as much.
Lincoln has combined World class interior fit & finish, techno supremacy, style and exceptional utility while creating the 2011 MKX. They have indeed figured out how to put the cool back in their brand, and building a machine that this 40 something would be happy to drive for longer than just a weekend!
Lincoln techie details
MyLincoln just the start for technology-packed 2011 Lincoln MKX
Industry-first MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology powered by Lincoln SYNCÃ‚Â® provides a smarter, safer, simpler way to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives. It replaces traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, crisp LCD screens and five-way controls like those found on cell phones and MP3 players.
Standard on the 2011 Lincoln MKX, the MyLincoln Touch system displays information using two 4.2-inch LCD screens flanking an analog speedometer and an 8-inch touch-screen LCD at the top of the center stack. A five-way switch on each side of the steering wheel crossbar controls the information displayed on the corresponding instrument panel screens. The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each individual driver.
The steering wheel has all the necessary functions available in a very compact area, right where the driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hand falls as he or she grabs the wheel. The five-way buttons feel familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone or MP3 player.
The electronic finish panel on the 2011 Lincoln MKX demonstrates all the advantages of this touch-sensitive technology in a beautiful, engaging package. Activated features display amber light. When turned off, signature Lincoln White lighting is displayed.
In addition to the usual audio and climate control features, the touch-sensitive technology also operates the volume and fan controls, which is exclusive to Lincoln.
Customers can swipe their fingers along the slider to adjust the volume. The slider features 10 distinct touchpoints; three full swipes bring the system to maximum volume. Customers also can touch anywhere along the slider to get a corresponding increase or decrease in volume.
The fan control is operated in a similar fashion. On both the volume control and the fan control, the distinctive Lincoln White lighting acts as a chaser.
Like the song? You can tag it
Also new on the 2011 Lincoln MKX is the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first use of iTunesÃ‚Â® Tagging in an available factory-installed HD RadioÃ¢â€žÂ¢ receiver. iTunes Tagging provides customers with the ability to Ã¢â‚¬Å“captureÃ¢â‚¬Â a song they hear on the HD Radio receiver for later purchase from iTunes. With a simple push of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“TAGÃ¢â‚¬Â button on the touch-screen display, the song information will be stored in the radioÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s memory.
Once a song is tagged and customers dock their iPod to the SYNC system, the tagged song information will transfer to that iPod. Up to 100 tags on SYNC can be stored until the iPod is connected. When the iPod is then synced to iTunes, a playlist of tagged songs will appear. Customers then can preview, and if they desire, purchase and download tagged songs from the iTunes Store.
One significant benefit of HD Radio technology is that the sound quality of the broadcast is dramatically better because of the digital transmission Ã¢â‚¬â€œ FM sounds like a CD and AM sounds like todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s FM broadcasts. Unlike analog broadcasts, digital broadcasts arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t susceptible to interference, fadeout and other issues.
2011 Lincoln MKX brimming with standard and class-exclusive technologies
Standard MyLincoln Touch and remote start lead the list of features or technologies that are new for the 2011 Lincoln MKX, including:
Adaptive cruise control allows the driver to set the vehicleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cruising speed, using advanced radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and scan for slower vehicles. The system slows the vehicle to adapt for traffic conditions and maintain the preset distance between vehicles. Once traffic clears, the set speed returns. Gap distance settings can be customized from four predetermined options.
Blind Spot Information System (BLISÃ‚Â®) with cross-traffic alert is a feature that can help detect vehicles in blind spots during normal driving and traffic approaching from the sides when reversing out of parking spots.
MyKeyÃ‚Â® is designed to allow parents to encourage teenagers to drive safely and more fuel efficiently, and increase seat belt usage. The standard MyKey feature allows owners to designate keys that can limit the vehicleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top speed and audio volume.
Easy FuelÃ‚Â® (capless fuel filler) is a standard Lincoln-exclusive feature that uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap.
The 2011 Lincoln MKX has nine class-exclusive features: MyLincoln Touch, Lincoln SYNC, factory-installed HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, Easy Fuel, SecuriCodeÃ¢â€žÂ¢ keyless entry, blind spot mirrors, MyKey, cross-traffic alert and AdvanceTracÃ‚Â® with RSCÃ‚Â® (Roll Stability ControlÃ¢â€žÂ¢).