BACK in 2007, when the first Lincoln MKX hit the streets, I seriously considered packing up all my worldly belongings and heading to Detroit: My goal was simple, to prove to then Ford global vice-president of design J Mays that even a ham-fisted buffoon like me could surely do a better job designing vehicles for Lincoln than the team of seemingly blind squirrels he’d tasked with the job.
Of course, I never did this, but that still didn’t stop me from shaking my head in amazement every time a Lincoln MKX was spotted on the mean streets of Winnipeg, which, due in large part to its lacklustre sales, rarely occurred.
Yep, to say I didn’t like the original MKX is an understatement.
A rebadged variant of the popular Ford Edge, in my eyes the first MKX had it all wrong from the beginning. From the curb it looked like designers had pulled the chrome racks out of the fridge after they’d drank all the beer and slapped those same racks on the front of an otherwise attractive Edge.
The interior in the MKX wasn’t much better.
They say it’s bad karma to speak ill of the dead, but in the case of the first-generation MKX, if you ask me, that thing couldn’t have died fast enough.
So, with all that Lincoln loathing out of the way, and in the name of reciprocity — today is a brand-new day — and the freshly redesigned Lincoln MKX is a brand-new vehicle.
Gone are the polarizing looks. Gone is an interior simply trying too hard to be a luxury vehicle. Gone is an engine best suited for grabbing groceries. Make no mistake about it, the new Lincoln MKX is now precisely what it was trying to be in the first place. Cool.
Up front, the grille offers up a thousand-yard stare that makes me a little weak in the knees. The slanted headlamps are perfectly integrated into that grille, and in the centre there’s an attractive Lincoln badge that manages to sell the entire works with understated elegance. The hood is sharply creased with lines that make the MKX look as though it’s breaking land speed records — even while at a standstill. In keeping with other luxury vehicles, the side mirrors are attached to the door rather than tacked onto the lower corners of the side windows, a design cue that is thankfully making a comeback. Even from the rear, where many vehicles these days seem to have trouble distinguishing themselves, the MKX features a curvy bump and a bold ribbon of lighting.
The interior has also been dramatically improved. The seating position is perfect, the seats are firm yet comfortable, and the centre stack is beautifully integrated. Great lengths have also obviously been taken to reduce noise in the cabin, at highway speeds this thing is as quiet as the inside of a bank vault.
In fairness to the first-generation MKX, which was a comfortable cruis- er with more than adequate power, the new MKX takes a good thing and makes it great. The ride quality is all luxury now, and the optional firebreathing 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine making an astounding 335 horsepower delivers the kind of neck-snapping acceleration typically only previously found in the likes of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo or a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. This thing really is quick, and emits an ear-pleasing rumble from its dual exhaust as it revs high and hard all the way through to redline.
With this new MKX, Lincoln has finally taken all the good things about the Ford Edge, added a dash of stylish looks, a host of great luxury features and a wicked powertrain to create a package that lives up to the mystique and precision that was once the cornerstone of Lincoln’s success. This really is a hot-rod Lincoln, and if you’re in the market for a luxury crossover, you owe it to yourself to drive one.
The MKX interior is a significant upgrade over the Ford Edge.