New Car Previews

Preview: 2016 Lincoln MKX

Not long ago, Lincoln promised four new vehicles in four years. The first in this product rollout was the MKZ sedan – a reskinned Ford Fusion. Luke warm applause. Last year we saw the MKC compact crossover. Based on the Ford Escape, this proved to be a very credible effort.

Arriving this summer will be the all-new Lincoln MKX mid-size crossover. Third time’s a charm?  We got a chance to crawl all over this luxury five-seat SUV at a private viewing at a Toronto downtown museum. First impressions suggest Lincoln’s trajectory is continuing upward.

Yes, the MKX shares it bones with the new Ford Edge (Lincoln brass squirm in their footwear when we mention the F-word) but such is the current state of affairs with this iconic American luxury nameplate.

The “Bridge of Weir” leather is of the creamiest variety.

Like little-brother MKC, the MKX’s lines are taut and the trademark twin-wing grill nicely integrated. It comes across as long, sleek and muscular, and perhaps most importantly for the health of this brand, nothing like the Edge. Full LED headlights are available.

Lincoln’s on a steep learning curve with its interiors. The cabin gets the familiar push-button transmission and sweeping centre console, but the perception of quality has been kicked up a few notches. The “Bridge of Weir” leather is of the creamiest variety and the front seats feel very good. Ditto for the back, where legroom is generous.

Lincoln has paired up with Revel Audio here, and the California-based specialist company has installed a 19-speaker system with a 20-channel high-voltage hybrid amplifier along with a laundry list of digital processing and speed compensating equalization. Didn’t get to hear it as this was a pre-production car.

Base engine for the MKX with be the familiar 3.7L naturally V6 making 300 hp and 280 lb-ft. The upgrade mill, a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 producing “over” 330 hp and 370 lb-ft should give the MKX real hot-rod Lincoln cred. Both engines are mated to a six-speed auto. The MKX gets Lincoln’s adaptive suspension with Lincoln Drive Control (Normal, Sport and Comfort) and intelligent all-wheel-drive.

Naturally, Lincoln is offering every possible luxury, safety and connectivity gizmo here, running the gamut from self parking to 360-degree camera to 22-way adjustable front seats to auto pre-collision braking.

The hard part in this segment is coming up with stuff nobody has yet thought of. Here’s one. The MKX’s thigh bolster deflates to make ingress easier, and then inflates once your derriere hits the Bridge of Weir hide.

Here’s another. The interior ambient lighting is sequential, beginning in the footwell, then illuminates the cupholders, pass through, instrument panel, front door handles, front map pockets, and rear doors. The lighting goes off in a reverse order.

Built in Oakville, Ontario, the 2016 Lincoln MKX will be shipped everywhere in the world where Lincoln does business.