THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Improved handling, new power choices, more technologies and features for 2016. And made in Canada.
- What’s Worst: Not a lot to complain about frankly, but if you can live without the Lincoln cachet and extra goodies, a fully-loaded Ford Edge sibling costs nearly the same as the MKX starting price.
- What’s Interesting: A long list of cute tricks – sequential ambient lighting, active grille shutters for aerodynamics, adaptive LED headlights and a Lincoln badge that opens to reveal a front parking camera.
MONTREAL, PQ: The best qualities of Montreal seem to coalesce from opposite ends of the historical spectrum with traditional old world charm somehow synchronized to the beat of a gritty contemporary edge.
Which made this town a fitting venue for a Lincoln launch, as a brand rich in heritage seeks to reinvent itself with new products for a next generation of customers.
The 2016 MKX is the latest evolution of Lincoln design language and this mid-size premium crossover has been revised with refreshed styling cues, a new added power choice and with a whole new slate of available amenities and dynamic technologies.
I had grabbed the keys to a model dressed in Bronze Fire Metallic, a novel colour even more handsome than my usual Ruby Red favourite, and a quick walk-around revealed a new balance of rounded curves and sharp edges.
The old vertical waterfall grille gives way to the strongest application so far of Lincoln’s new split-wing style, the lines of the grille meeting the complementary, horizontal blade-styled headlamps on the corners.
Available adaptive LED headlights feature wide illumination at low speeds, narrowing to more focused beams at higher speeds. A neat trick.
The sleek yet muscular profile tapers to a rear end featuring full-width LED signature tail lights, a wide hands-free, foot-activated liftgate, dual bright exhaust tips peeking out from under the skirts and a powerdome antenna tucked within the rooftop spoiler.
The MKX is an attractive sum of its improved parts and as I prepare to open the vehicle, I’m reminded that I don’t even really need the key fob in my hand to do that.
A free downloadable MyLincoln Mobile app installed on your smartphone and connecting through an available modem embedded in the MKX will locate where you last parked, lock, unlock and also start the vehicle. You can check fuel, tire pressure, odometer and battery life on your phone, as well as set a remote start schedule for cold winter mornings. There’s even a parking timer built into the app that will remind you when it’s time to go out and re-feed the parking meter.
But even before we hit the unlock button, the Lincoln Experiences package starts to greet the approaching driver. LED daytime running lights start to brighten, a Lincoln logo “welcome mat” is projected on the ground from the mirrors and door handles light up in a shade tuned to the exterior colour. Interior LED lighting illuminates in a sequential pattern, first the lower lights then the cupholders, the pass-through instrument panel, front door handles, front map pockets and rear doors.
The ambient lighting shuts down in reverse order when the driver leaves. This staged greeting and departure ceremony is just a small example of the attention to detail designed to make the MKX experience feel a little extra special.
Passengers will feel special enough inside a roomy midsize cabin decorated in a choice of four colour combos, mixing different shades of soft perforated leather with real wood and aluminum trim pieces.
The standard bells and whistles content of Lincoln’s MKX is naturally higher than that of the Ford Edge sharing the same foundation.
But our tester was loaded even further with pampering options that include voice-activated navigation, a Vista roof with power sunshade and, new for the 2016 model year, a 22-way power adjustable drivers seat with massage function and Harman’s Revel Ultima 19-speaker sound system.
An equally important new development for 2016 lurks under the hood.
RELATED: 2015 Lincoln MKZ 3.7 AWD Review
The MKX lineup starts with a naturally-aspirated 303 hp 3.7-litre V6 but Lincoln has added a new EcoBoost choice with a lighter, more powerful 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine rated at 335 hp at 5,500 rpm and 380 lb/ft of torque peaking at a low 3,000 rpm (power rated on premium 93 fuel but will accept regular 87 octane).
This engine pulls nicely up to speed and offers a slight fuel economy improvement at 14.1/9.7L/100km (city/hwy). Both engines are mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Lincoln Canada is importing only all-wheel-drive models.
The driving experience benefits from upgraded body and chassis components for 2016, along with a myriad of available technologies including:
- ABS braking, traction control and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
- Lincoln Drive Control with continuous damping and Normal, Sport and Comfort settings
- Adaptive cruise control
- Adaptive LED headlamps
- Adaptive EPAS steering with speed-related ratio changes
- Lane-Keeping System
- Blind Spot Information System
- Cross-traffic alert
- Active Noise Control
- 360-degree camera and 12-sensor ultrasonic parking assist
- Hill Start Assist and Auto Hold (new for 2016, a brake assist system for stop-and-go traffic)
Those are just some of the features offered in a new 2016 MKX that has been designed to bolster Lincoln’s position in a burgeoning premium midsize utility segment, one of the largest niches in the Canadian market.
Of course, there’s one other feature that makes the MKX especially worthy of consideration.
And that’s a doorplate, fastened by the line workers at Ford’s Oakville Ontario Assembly Complex, declaring the “Made in Canada” origins of this thoroughly revised and re-engineered 2016 Lincoln MKX luxury crossover.
RELATED: 2015 Lincoln Navigator Review
2016 Lincoln MKX at a glance
BODY STYLE: Mid-size premium crossover (CUV).
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive.
ENGINE: 3.7-litre Ti-VCT V6 (303 hp, 278 lb/ft); as tested 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged direct-injection EcoBoost V6 (335 hp, 380 lb/ft). Both engines mated with six-speed SelectShift automatic with paddle shifters and AWD.
FUEL ECONOMY: 3.7-litre 14.4/10.3L/100km (city/hwy); 2,7-litre14.1/9.7L/100km (city/hwy)
CARGO CAPACITY: 1,055 litres, 1,948 litres with second row folded.
TOW RATING: 1,588 kg (3,500 lb) with Class II pkg
PRICE: MSRP $45,890. As tested $65,790 includes 102A pkg ($5,100) with climate pkg, heated rear seats, heated steering, rain sensing wipers, interior mirror with camera; 2.7-litre EcoBoost pkg ($2,950) with 21-inch painted wheels; Luxury pkg ($5,500) with Adaptive LED headlamps, Revel II Audio; Tech pkg ($1,100) with Active Park Assist, Front Park Aid sensors, 360-degree cameras; Driver Assistance pkg ($1,950) with Lane Keep Assist, Adapt Cruise/Collision Warning, Collision Avoidance Gen3; 22-way Driver’s Seat ($1,175) and other options. Destination & Delivery ($1,800) not incl.