2013 Lincoln MKX Driving Impressions


The Lincoln MKX comes with a 3.7-liter V6, rated at 305 horsepower and 285 foot-pounds of torque. It uses twin independent variable camshaft timing on both intake and exhaust valves to provide low emissions and big torque at low rpm, and good highway fuel economy when the engine is cruising.

The 6-speed automatic transmission comes with a SelectShift manual-control shifter. Electronically controlled part-time all-wheel-drive, which adds torque to the rear tires as needed, is optional.

We drove the all-wheel-drive version of the MKX, a well-equipped, heavily optioned version. The horsepower and torque of the 3.7-liter V6 engine, and the speed of the 6-speed transmission's shifting show up from the first minute. The engine accelerates the MKX very quickly, and the engine sounds strong for a V6.

While highway cruising, the cabin is very, very quiet, and speech intelligibility around the cabin is excellent. Lincoln engineers have used acoustic windshield glass, thick side glass, aerodynamically shaped mirror housings, and lots of other measures to keep the MKX as quiet as possible, and it certainly shows when carrying on a conversation with rear-seat passengers at 80 mph on an Interstate highway.

The steering is relatively sharp and communicative, and the combination of front struts and rear trailing arms in the suspension system impart a nice, smooth ride with good cornering behavior.

Heavy-duty disc brakes all around add up to nearly 140 square inches of swept area, and you can feel every square inch in the confidence the system provides. Deceleration starts early in the pedal's travel and builds in a reassuringly linear manner as you press down harder. Standard equipment includes ABS, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, traction control, yaw control, rollover mitigation software, and tire-pressure monitoring on top of the optional all-wheel-drive system.

Braking control software even incorporates a Hill-Hold feature that allows the driver to push the foot brake down once and release it to keep from rolling backwards on a hill. Electronic trailer sway control is tied into the traction and yaw control systems, and the MKX is rated for towing up to 3500 pounds when the trailer tow package is ordered.

Curve Control is designed to help drivers maintain control when taking a curve too quickly, an error contributing to some 50,000 crashes in the U.S. annually.

Optional Adaptive Cruise Control includes Collision Warning with Brake Support, which uses long-range radar to scan for potentially dangerous situations as far as 500 feet ahead of the vehicle. Always on, Collision Warning sounds an alarm and flashes LEDs 2.5-3.0 seconds before a potential collision. If the driver doesn't react, Collision Warning automatically slows the vehicle approximately 1.5 seconds prior to the potential impact. If the driver still does release the accelerator, braking begins with a force of 0.3g. The instant the driver's foot does touch the brake pedal, the system immediately delivers full braking power. This greatly increases the odds that the vehicle can stop before impact, or slow down sufficiently so the driver can steer to safety.

The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) uses wide-angle, short-range radar to detect other vehicles entering the defined blind spot zone (that is, within 45 feet on either side). A light appears on the corresponding side view mirror to indicate that another vehicle is in the defined blind spot.

Included with BLIS, cross-traffic alert can help you safely back up in parking lots where vision to the rear and sides is limited. Select Reverse, and cross-traffic alert will illuminate an amber light in the corresponding mirror and sound a series of tones if sensors detect another vehicle approaching from either side.

Each of these systems can be adjusted using the MyLincoln Touch system.

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