First Drive: 2016 Lincoln MKX

Montreal, Quebec is the ideal setting in which to start my test drive of the 2016 Lincoln MKX. Rustic charm meets modern day amenities as cobblestone streets lead to some of the most sophisticated hotels in North America.

In a similar way, the MKX represents a throwback to the days of station wagons and minivans, but in a thoroughly contemporary package. In it you can carry almost anything, while at the same time enjoy all the creature comforts and style expected of a luxury vehicle. Everything old is new again at Lincoln and with it the promise of better days ahead. Let’s hope it works this time.

Power for the 2016 Lincoln MKX comes two ways. A 3.7-litre V6 engine produces 303 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 278 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters and AWD, it delivers a combined fuel economy rating of 12.5 L/100 km using 93.5-octane fuel.

My test vehicle features a 2.7-litre V6 EcoBoost engine also matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters. Power is boosted to 335 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 380 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Fuel economy improves to 12.1 L/100 km with no need to run premium-unleaded gasoline.

Designing a CUV to look like something other than a utility vehicle is hard work, but Lincoln manages the task with relative ease. I see a lot of the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan in the rear half of the MKX, while the front features the stylized Lincoln split-wing grille for added sophistication. As it turns out, this is the last vehicle to feature the current Lincoln grille, with the just launched Continental full-size sedan highlighting a bold new fully chrome front fascia.

Muscular wheel arches, a rear window spoiler, bright chrome trim surrounds on the windows and at the bottom of each door enhance the look without being overdone. Large 21” premium painted wheels add another layer of sophistication to the exterior.

Inside, the new Lincoln MKX takes a back seat to no one. Sculpted front buckets and rear seat bench offer excellent support. The front seats feature perforated Bridge-of-Weir leather, heating and cooling, plus the steering wheel is heated for added comfort.

A flowing center console hides additional storage below the HVAC and audio systems; dual cupholders are oversized for water bottles or grande coffee cups. The optional Vista Roof provides a panoramic view for all 5 occupants to enjoy.

Leaving the city behind to venture into the surrounding countryside, I am immediately impressed by the power and torque available with the EcoBoost V6. It pulls effortlessly with each request, shifting through gears with little complaint. I doubt the average driver will use the paddle-shifters much in a vehicle such as this, but just in case they respond to each gear change with ease.

The passenger cabin is so quiet, even at speed; it feels somewhat irreverent playing loud music. But I soon get over my love of quiet and blast tunes on the optional Revel audio system at levels certain to wake the neighbourhood. This is one powerful and thoroughly enjoyable audio system.

On the other hand, I am not a fan of the dash mounted gear shift buttons and the oddly shaped start/stop button. Call me old fashioned, but I would rather have 3-on-a-tree (or in this case 6) rather than this.

The 2016 Lincoln MKX is an excellent alternative to the many choices available from Europe and Asia. Lincoln continues to face the challenge of being a somewhat forgotten brand, but that seems to be heading in the right direction, at least for now. With the launch of the new Lincoln Continental coming soon, and a refreshed line-up of vehicles and dealerships, it certainly is a brand worth checking out. Maybe the best really is yet to come.

2016 Lincoln MKX:

Trim level: AWD
Price as tested (before taxes): $65,909.00
Freight: $1,900.00
Configuration: front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.7L 6-cylinder/ 6-speed automatic
Power/torque: 335 hp/ 380 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): regular (72L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): city: 14.1, hwy: 9.7 L/100 Km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.8 L/100 km (500 km)
Warranties: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti QX50, Lexus RX, Volvo XC60

Related links:
Lincoln Canada

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