Full 2008 Lincoln MKX Review
What's New for 2008
The 2008 Lincoln MKX receives the new Sync electronics interface system. Also, former options are now standard equipment, including reverse parking sensors, satellite radio, and heated and cooled seats with memory. Voice activation is added to the optional navigation system. A pair of special edition appearance packages is also now available.
When trying to make a grand entrance into a party, it's best to show up a little late and be magnificent. Just think of Scarlett O'Hara, descending a curved staircase in a miraculously elegant dress made of green curtains. The Lincoln MKX also showed up late to a party: one filled with luxury crossover SUVs from import and domestic brands that successfully blend competent on-road manners, luxury-car trappings and family-friendly accommodations. The 2008 MKX does its best to fit in with this party, but it ends up doing it as that scene really went down, with Carol Burnett's Scarlett O'Hara descending a curved staircase in a dress made of green curtains -- but with intact gold tassels and a curtain rod.
The MKX certainly looks elegant, with tasteful yet eye-catching exterior styling. The strip of LED taillights is particularly striking, as is the grille that evokes the 1960s Lincoln Continental. In terms of features, the MKX is a standout, as it comes with more standard features than its pricier competitors. Several of last year's optional items are now standard equipment, plus Ford's impressive new Sync system now comes on all MKXs. This electronics interface technology co-developed with Microsoft allows for drivers to control communication and entertainment devices like cell phones, PDAs, iPods and other MP3 players via voice commands.
Under the MKX's skin, though, are the gold tassels and curtain rod. The MKX is mechanically identical to the Ford Edge, a nice family crossover with a good amount of performance, comfort and driving involvement. However, this vehicle makes a better case against models from Honda, Toyota and Nissan than it does against Acura, Lexus and Infiniti. The MKX is slower than its competitors, less refined, has worse brakes and features interior construction not befitting a full-fledged luxury vehicle. It also provides less cargo space than most other luxury crossovers, and there is no third-row option.
Having attractive styling and a longer list of features isn't enough to make the 2008 Lincoln MKX a compelling choice over other X-branded luxury crossovers like the Lexus RX 350, Acura MDX, Cadillac SRX and Infiniti FX35. For those looking to the MKX as a slightly cheaper alternative to those vehicles, the Hyundai Veracruz Limited is also worth a look. The MKX is only a few changes away from being a truly attractive proposition. A new set of brakes, a bit more powerful engine and interior materials similar to those that will appear in the forthcoming MKS sport sedan will make a world of difference. Until then, it had better avoid descending a staircase.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Lincoln MKX is a five-passenger luxury crossover SUV that comes in one trim level. Standard features include 18-inch wheels; a reverse parking system; a tilt-telescoping steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; an auto-dimming mirror; heated and cooled power front seats with driver memory; leather upholstery; the Sync electronics interface system; and a six-speaker stereo with six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. Optional features include 20-inch chrome wheels, heated rear seats, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a panoramic sunroof, a voice-activated navigation system and an upgraded 11-speaker surround-sound audio system. The latter three items can be ordered together in the Elite Package.
The Ultimate Package adds 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, adaptive headlights, trunk-mounted folding rear seat releases, power tailgate, upgraded leather upholstery and a cargo management system. A Limited Edition package includes special exterior and interior appearance items and the 20-inch wheels. A Monochrome Limited Edition package is similar, but features a body-colored grille.
Powertrains and Performance
The Lincoln MKX is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 265 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. There is a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, but unlike competitor models, there is no manual shift control feature. With the optional Class II towing package, the MKX is able to tow 3,500 pounds. In performance testing, the MKX went to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds -- an average time for the midsize luxury crossover segment. Fuel economy for 2008 is 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the front-wheel-drive model, while all-wheel drive reduces mileage by only 1 highway mpg.
As is fitting for a luxury SUV, the 2008 Lincoln MKX comes standard with a wide array of safety features. Antilock brakes, traction control and stability control (including rollover mitigation technology) are standard, as are six airbags, including front-seat side impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The MKX did very well in crash tests. In government testing, it got five out of five stars for frontal driver and side impact protection and four stars in frontal passenger collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MKX its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side impact protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
The MKX's ergonomics are generally good and the controls work in a straightforward fashion, but somebody needs to tell Lincoln that simply spraying silver paint on stock Ford switchgear and calling it a "satin-nickel finish" doesn't create a luxurious, high-quality environment. The other plastics within the MKX's interior also have a low-rent feel, and even the gauges are plain. Fit and finish is another area that needs to be improved, as do the rock-hard front seats.
Looking on the bright side of things, there are plenty of standard and optional creature comforts like heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and a plethora of entertainment options. Both rows of seats offer plenty of space -- particularly in back, where three people can fit well enough in the MKX's wide body. The cargo area is another story. Its capacity is limited to a maximum of 69 cubic feet, less than what many competing models offer.
Stopping in the 2008 Lincoln MKX can be an adventure since Lincoln has made no effort to improve upon the Edge's meager braking performance. The MKX took 146 feet to stop from 60 mph -- and that was the best distance among five attempts -- which is much longer than virtually every other luxury crossover. The MKX's ample weight is partly to blame for this, and it also takes its toll on acceleration and handling. Nevertheless, the 3.5-liter V6 is smoother and more vigorous than any Ford-based V6 in recent memory and the steering is nicely weighted, providing a good amount of feedback for around-town driving. The ride is also comfortable, while the interior is very hushed, creating a serene driving environment.