What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Lincoln MKX is unchanged other than gaining an updated version of the MyLincoln Touch interface.
Finding the best small-to-midsize luxury crossover SUV can be a difficult task. Just about every model is very good, so it typically comes down to what you want from your crossover. The 2013 Lincoln MKX could work out well for shoppers prioritizing interior room and features. But it also has its fair share of drawbacks.
As with other Lincolns, the MKX is related to a similar Ford product. In this case, it's the midsize Ford Edge crossover SUV. Thankfully, there are enough upgrades and styling differences to give the MKX a more upscale presence and ambience. Standard equipment is certainly a highlight for this Lincoln -- features that are often optional on other models, such as leather upholstery, keyless ignition/entry and a power liftgate, are standard here. You also get a more luxurious interior design and a standard 305-horsepower V6.
As luxury crossovers go, the MKX's main draws are its features and a rear seat that's roomier than the norm. But the 2013 Lincoln MKX also has a few downsides. A big one is the MyLincoln Touch electronics interface -- even though it's been updated this year, we still find it to be often frustrating to use. You might also encounter the feeling that you're driving nothing more than a really nice Edge. As such, it would also be worth your time to check out other contenders such as the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX 350, Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and Volvo XC60.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 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 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 wheel, the 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 (Equipment Group 101A) adds 18-inch polished alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, interior mood lighting, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery and heated second-row seats.
The Elite package (Equipment Group 102A) 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 navigation system that features 10GB of digital music storage and Sirius Travel Link (real-time traffic, weather and other information). A Limited Edition package features 20-inch polished alloy wheels, bronze leather upholstery with black accents, uniquely textured metallic trim and monogrammed floor mats.
Separate option highlights include 22-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 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 -- a slightly slower than average time among similarly priced luxury crossovers.
Fuel economy ratings are 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 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, as is a collision warning system that's bundled with the adaptive cruise control.
In Edmunds brake testing, an MKX with the available 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 133 feet. This is about 10 feet longer than the class average.
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 and five stars for side 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 2013 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 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, and it does provide some nice customization possibilities. Unfortunately, there's a learning curve involved, and even with this year's update, we've found the system can be slow to respond and the touchscreen's icons difficult to locate and press on the move. 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 where the MKX beats out smaller models like the Q5 and GLK. 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 even more.
The MKX's 3.7-liter V6 is smooth and furnishes respectable 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 around corners. The ride quality is comfortable, though opting for the 20- and 22-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.