Full 2012 Lincoln MKX Review
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Lincoln MKX sees no changes of note.
Although it got off to a shaky start when it first debuted, the Lincoln MKX is now a pretty respectable choice in the luxury crossover SUV segment. Thanks to last year's revamped recipe that brought significant improvements in performance, driving dynamics and cabin quality, there's plenty of substance beneath the MKX's eye-catching looks. The 2012 Lincoln MKX sees no changes after that metamorphosis, and this doesn't bother us at all.
Though it shares its underpinnings and most of its sheet metal with the Ford Edge, the MKX sets itself apart via Lincoln's now-signature split grille and unique fenders and front/rear lights. The cabin has a more upscale vibe via a different dash/console design and more wood- and metallic-tone accents. The MKX also comes standard with the 305-horsepower V6 and generous amounts of standard equipment.
The 2012 Lincoln MKX does have a couple downsides, the most notable being the MyLincoln Touch electronics interface that's drawn criticism from consumers and our editors alike for being difficult to figure out and frustrating to use. It will be worth looking at the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX 350, Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and Volvo XC60. You might also check out the related Ford Edge Sport; while it's not been badged with a premium label, the ownership experience is going to be pretty similar. But with the substance to back up its style, the Lincoln MKX is a solid choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Lincoln MKX is a five-passenger crossover SUV available in one trim level.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming interior and driver-side exterior mirrors, the MyKey system (allows owners to limit a vehicle's top speed and radio volume), a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats, driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, MyLincoln Touch and Sync electronics interface systems (includes Bluetooth and iPod interface), and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port, an auxiliary audio jack and an SD card reader.
The Premium package adds 18-inch polished alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a rearview camera, interior mood lighting, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery and heated second-row seats.
The Elite package includes all the above plus 20-inch chrome wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a blind-spot warning system, a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system, HD radio and a hard-drive-based navigation system that features 10GB of digital music storage and Sirius Travel Link (real-time traffic, weather and other information). Many of the Elite's upgrades are also offered as stand-alone options. A Limited Edition package features 20-inch polished alloy wheels, bronze leather upholstery with black accents, unique textured metallic trim and monogrammed floor mats.
Separate option highlights include adaptive cruise control and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Lincoln MKX is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 305 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. There is a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capability is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive MKX went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds -- an average time among similarly priced luxury crossovers.
Fuel economy ratings are 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 17/23/19 for all-wheel-drive models. When properly equipped, the MKX can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Standard safety equipment for the MKX includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. The MyKey system that allows owners to limit a vehicle's top speed and radio volume is also standard. A blind-spot warning system is optional.
In Edmunds brake testing, an MKX with the available 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet. This is a long distance for the class.
In government crash tests, the Lincoln MKX received an overall rating of four stars (out of five). Within that rating, it earned three stars for frontal protection, five stars for side protection and four stars for rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the MKX its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset and side-impact protection and a second-best "Acceptable" for roof-strength integrity.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2012 Lincoln MKX boasts a well-trimmed cabin with handsome stitching, real aluminum accents and quality materials throughout. The standard MyLincoln Touch interface consists of three new display screens and the ability to input commands for various audio, phone and navigation functions via voice, touch controls or buttons on the steering wheel. It's a smart idea in theory, but the reality is that it just doesn't work very well. The learning curve is steep, the system can be slow to respond and the touchscreen's small black icons on a black background make it difficult to use on the move. The touch-sensitive volume control you slide your finger across is pretty much unusable. If you test-drive an MKX, make sure you spend plenty of time with MyLincoln Touch to determine if it's something you'll be OK with.
In terms of practicality, the MKX fares better. Both rows of seats offer plenty of space -- particularly in back, where three people can fit comfortably. This is one area in which the MKX beats out smaller models like the Q5 and X3. Behind the seats there are 32.3 cubic feet of available cargo space. Flip down the second row and capacity expands to 69 cubic feet, which is again a competitive advantage. However, crossovers like the Acura MDX and Lexus RX 350 hold more.
The MKX's 3.7-liter V6 is smooth and furnishes brisk acceleration, though the transmission can sometimes be reluctant to downshift unless you nearly floor the throttle pedal. The steering effort is decently weighted, while handling -- if not as sporty as the athletes of this class -- is certainly competent, with a buttoned-down demeanor through the curves. The ride quality is comfortable, though opting for the 20-inch wheels brings about some added firmness that might not fit with your expectations of a Lincoln. At highway speeds, the MKX's cabin is notably quiet.