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2011 Lincoln MKX - New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2010

Lincoln has come a long way in recent years to brush off its grandpa image with a glitzier design philosophy and cool, slick technology.

The MKX’s dramatic update for the 2011 model year doesn’t disappoint in either of those arenas. But the real head turner in the five-seater is the eye-popping technology.

Ground control to Major Tom

Lincoln started comparing its products to starships in an ad blitz two years ago, when it developed the internal brand positioning of “opulent luxury and cutting-edge technology.” More than any other Lincoln to date, the 2011 MKX lives up to that image.

The real bragging rights for the MKX is its state-of-the-art, industry-first driver connective technology that swaps traditional knobs and buttons for touch controls and voice-activated commands. The MKX is the first Lincoln with MyLincoln Touch, the latest and greatest of the Ford-Microsoft SYNC system that comes standard in every MKX.

The centerpiece of this nifty, state-of-the-art-system is an eight-inch LCD touch screen with color-coded menus replicated in a smaller version on the dashboard panel with controls on the steering wheel. Drivers get hands-free info on traffic, directions, news, weather and sports. The improved voice recognition system is slick, now able to accept thousands of commands from the driver, from ordering a music station to navigation.

The MKX’s new media hub is wired for today’s digital world, equipped with two UBS ports and an SD card reader that drivers can use when the vehicle is in park.The new interior of the MKX creates a quiet cocoon of luxury.

More bragging power for the vehicle is the world’s first iTunes Tagging in an available factory-installed HD radio receiver. Push the “tag” button on the touch screen to tell the system to store up to 100 songs heard on the radio that can be downloaded later into an iPod docked to the MyLincoln Touch system and purchased from the iTunes store.

 Ford calls the system “intuitive” and easy to use, but some consumers could very well need more instructions to utilize all the system has to offer.

Also available are a rear-view camera for assistance backing up and a blind spot monitoring system. The MKX is loaded with other lux amenities that come standard, including a keyless, push-button start that can also be used remotely, heated power mirrors with memory and a power liftgate.

Lincoln upped the ante on the MKX’s interior, redone for 2011, with updated materials, new leather seats and the brand’s first tuxedo-stripe stitching, along with a choice of seven colors for ambient lighting. The lighted cupholders is nifty and will prevent drink fumbling and spillage.

The comfortable, standard driver’s power, heated-cooled front seat has 10 different adjustments that are “memorized” and slip into place when the push-button engine is started. The comparable 2011 Lexus RX350 also comes standard with 10 different seat adjustments; both Cadillac’s SRX and Infiniti’s FX35 only come with eight. Heated rear seats are optional and not available on the Lexus, Cadillac or Infiniti.

The new interior of the MKX creates a quiet cocoon of luxury, whether sitting at a red light or cruising down the freeway.

Engineers added more absorptive materials to make the interior quieter, including a thicker windshield that’s acoustic-laminated to reduce wind noise. As quiet as Lincoln has made the cabin, the available THX II audio system with 14 speakers will rock audiophiles out of this world. This $995 option comes about $600 cheaper than the premium, 15-speaker package on the Lexus RX350.

The available Panoramic Vista roof is fitted with a wind cap to keep the noise level down and gives sky views to both front and rear passengers.

Jazzier Curb Appeal

The updated MKX has more pizzazz than the first generation of 2007 through 2010. Nothing much has changed in the mid-section, but the unimpressive grille is gone, replaced with the split-wing grille that gives the crossover more of a family resemblance.

The tail end now sports better looking split rear tail lights, replacing the single, full bar that ran across the entire backside. Lincoln also added more chrome and standard next-generation, 18” tires, with available 20” polished aluminum wheels. The new wheels were designed with different shapes that give the impression the MKX is always moving.

Best-In-Class Power

The MKX is much peppier than the first-generation model. It comes with a new 3.7 liter, V-6 engine that generates 305 horsepower, 40 more horses than the engine on the prior model and best in class. Lincoln made engineering changes to improve fuel consumption by 1 mpg from the outgoing model, giving the 2011 an EPA rating of 19 mpg city and 26 highway, or 21 combined. That combined rating is the comparable to the 2010 Lexus RX350 and 2010 Cadillac SRX and slightly better than the 2010 Acura ZDX, 2010 Audi Q5 and 2011 BMW X5.

Lincoln left no stone unturned in trying to squeeze out better fuel economy, including lowering the engine idle speed from 630 to 600 rpm and shutting down the engine’s fuel delivery while decelerating.

As is common, a driver’s style can translate to lower or higher mileage. The live, mileage watcher on the instrument panel gave some 16 mpg ratings while tooling around town in stop-and-go traffic.

The MKX forward-wheel-drive model nicely hugged a winding, hilly, two-lane country road with a stable feel and plenty of power. It’s far from the large, sofa-like, cushy drive of Lincoln’s Town Car, which will go out of production next year.

Competitively Priced

The MKX starts at $39,995 for the base front-wheel-drive model and that includes the $850 delivery charge. The all-wheel-drive version starts at $41,845. Three optional packages are available: premium, elite and the top-of-the line limited edition, which tops out at just under $53,000.

There’s some sharp competition in the premium, mid-size crossover segment, which Lexus has dominated since it arrived in the U.S. in 1998. A comparably equipped base Lexus RX is about $3,000 more, making the MKX a great value.

The 2011 MKX is now a stronger contender in the category. It looks more modern, although it’s sometimes tricky for the driver to see where the sloping front end is. The bottom line is that the futuristic technology packed in this crossover should land this vehicle on the lists of younger, sophisticated, upscale shoppers.

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Used 2011 Lincoln MKX w/ Elite Package
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Used 2011 Lincoln MKX AWD
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Lincoln MKX - New Car Review - Autotrader