Full 2010 Lincoln MKX Review
What's New for 2010
The Lincoln MKX gets updated option packages for 2010.
Indulge us for a moment and picture a chocolate cake made with cocoa and bittersweet chocolate chips and drizzled with a butter-cream icing. It would look delicious, right? As for taste, though, we wouldn't really know whether it was homemade or a preservative-laden store-bought cake. Indeed, an appealing mix of ingredients doesn't necessarily mean that they come together tastily. The same goes for the 2010 Lincoln MKX. This luxury crossover SUV looks enticing and boasts lots of appealing features, but the end result comes together in an unsatisfying way.
To Lincoln's credit, the MKX looks right, with a tasteful yet eye-catching exterior that's highlighted by a grille that evokes the 1960s Lincoln Continental without looking cartoonishly retro and a distinctive rear strip of LED taillights. The standard features list is also a standout. The MKX comes packed to its roof with goodies that are often options on other luxury crossovers, such as a power tailgate, power front seats with heating and cooling, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, rear parking sensors and Ford's Sync electronics interface system. Several eye-catching appearance packages are also available (including the new-for-2010 Midnight Limited Edition), while the high-tech navigation system is one of the better units out there thanks to its Sirius Travel Link, which includes real-time info for traffic, weather, sports scores and even movie times.
So the MKX is appealing on paper and in pictures, but the actual driving and ownership experience is a letdown. This Lincoln is the mechanical twin of the Ford Edge, a perfectly nice crossover SUV that could nevertheless use some improvement itself. And it stands to reason that if the Edge isn't a class leader against entries from Nissan and Toyota, the MKX is even more outclassed against the likes of Infiniti or Lexus. In general, the MKX is slower and less refined, has worse brakes and has, for the luxury-badged segment, subpar interior materials and construction.
Overall, the 2010 Lincoln MKX just isn't a compelling choice over other similarly priced luxury crossovers. The Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and Volvo XC60 are all a little smaller than the MKX, but they are much better vehicles for roughly the same price or even less. The Lexus RX 350 is similar in size to the MKX, and since it was completely redesigned for 2010, is now even more superior. The larger Acura MDX would also be worth considering. In other words, you can do better than the Lincoln MKX.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Lincoln MKX is a five-passenger crossover SUV available in one trim level. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming interior and driver-side exterior mirrors, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating, heated and cooled power front seats, driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, the Sync electronics interface (includes Bluetooth and iPod interface) and a six-speaker stereo with in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio, USB/iPod audio jack and a traditional auxiliary audio jack.
The Ultimate Package adds 18-inch polished alloy wheels, adaptive headlights, interior mood lighting, a remote folding second-row bench seat (there's a handle in the cargo area) and upgraded leather upholstery. To this the Elite Package adds a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded THX-certified audio system and a hard-drive-based navigation system that features a single-CD player (replacing the six-CD changer), 10GB of digital music storage and Sirius Travel Link. The Elite's upgrades are also offered as stand-alone options. Other à la carte items include 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, heated rear seats and a DVD rear entertainment system.
Finally, the Limited Edition, Monochrome and Midnight Limited Edition packages include a number of unique color and trim features. The first two feature 20-inch wheels, while the Midnight has massive 22s as well as a sport-tuned suspension.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 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 the transmissions on competing models, there is no manual override feature. In performance testing, the MKX went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is about the same as the Ford Edge but slower than most competitors.
Fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 17/23/19 for all-wheel-drive models. With the optional Trailer Tow Package, the MKX can tow as much as 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.
Standard safety equipment for the MKX includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In government crash testing, the MKX achieved a perfect five stars for frontal driver and side-impact protection. Front passenger protection in frontal impacts earned a four-star rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MKX its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side impact protection.
We haven't retested a 2010 MKX to see if Lincoln has corrected the truly awful braking distances it displayed three years ago at the vehicle's debut. However, if the virtually identical Edge is any indication, braking performance has improved, but remains prone to fade and a mushy pedal.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2010 Lincoln MKX gives away its Ford roots with plain gauges, downmarket stereo/climate controls and low-end plastics. It hasn't been given the same makeover that the Lincoln MKZ received for 2010 (and it isn't as nice as the Ford Flex). Fit, finish and overall quality is below par for the class, and the front seats lack the cushiness of many luxury SUVs (in fact, some would call them rock hard). The cabin manages to look luxurious, but looks are deceiving.
Looking on the bright side of things, there are plenty of standard and optional creature comforts like heated and cooled front seats, optional 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 comfortably in the MKX's wide body. With the rear seats lowered, the cargo area expands to a maximum of 69 cubic feet, which is more than what's available from models like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLK, but smaller than the cargo capacities of the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350.
The 2010 Lincoln MKX's 3.5-liter V6 is smooth but hardly provides the sort of performance we've come to expect from this luxury SUV class. The transmission doesn't help matters, exhibiting a stubbornness that often requires a full foot to the floor to summon a proper highway on-ramp downshift. A lack of any manual override frustrates this problem, as Lincoln provides only a useless L gear. Steering is decently weighted, but again, it doesn't provide the confidence engendered by competing models. The MKX does offer a cushy ride, and the cabin is very quiet even at highway speeds (a rare class-competitive area). In total, it drives like a Ford Edge -- which is fine if you're paying Ford Edge money, but not if you could also afford a Mercedes GLK.