Full 2014 Lincoln MKX Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 MKX is unchanged apart from a revised Limited Edition package.
At first glance, the 2014 Lincoln MKX looks like a competitive luxury crossover SUV. It's stylish, for starters, with shiny chrome outside and plenty of wood, aluminum and leather inside. Its big V6 engine pumps out a burly 305 horsepower. Lincoln packs in the features, too, including a slick-looking touchscreen infotainment system that comes standard. Just about anyone who spends time in an MKX will end up thinking, "This is a pretty nice crossover SUV."
Unfortunately, the Lincoln MKX strikes us as far too similar to its closest relative in the Ford lineup, the Ford Edge. These two crossovers are largely the same vehicle under the skin, and even that fancy MyLincoln Touch system in the MKX is just the controversial MyFord Touch interface by another name. In addition, the Edge's interior quality has improved markedly in recent years, to the point that it's just about as nice as its uptown cousin. Why would you pay more for the 2014 Lincoln MKX? We don't have a ready answer.
Compounding this problem is the fact that many rival crossovers more easilyjustify their lofty prices. The 2014 BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 offer superior performance and overall refinement, while the Cadillac SRX delivers a more convincing luxury experience. We also like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Volkswagen Touareg, as both are upscale and offer a more diverse lineup of engines. And although the Lexus RX won't get your heart racing, it still feels more special than the Lincoln.
Again, it's not that the 2014 Lincoln MKX is bad as luxury-brand crossovers go. But the competition is unrelenting in this segment, so "not bad" isn't good enough to earn our recommendation.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Lincoln MKX is a five-passenger crossover SUV offered in one trim level.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors (driver side and interior), dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats (with power lumbar support), driver memory functions, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and manually reclining second-row seats. Electronic features include voice commands (Sync), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, the MyLincoln Touch infotainment system (includes a configurable instrument cluster and a central 8-inch touchscreen) and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
The Premium Equipment Group (Equipment Group 101A) adds polished 18-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, interior mood lighting, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery and heated second-row seats.
The Elite Equipment Group (Equipment Group 102A) includes all of the above plus a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system. The navigation and surround-sound systems are also available as a separate bundle without the sunroof. You can also get your MKX with the Limited Edition package, which features commemorative badges, 20-inch polished alloy wheels, exclusive leather upholstery and a variety of special interior and exterior trim details.
Stand-alone options include the panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, 22-inch wheels, extended wood trim and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual displays.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Lincoln MKX is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine that generates 305 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting duties. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive offered as an option. Properly equipped, the MKX can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive MKX went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds -- an unimpressive time for a vehicle in this class, particularly one without an available engine upgrade.
The EPA's fuel economy ratings are 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive and 19 mpg combined (17 mpg city/23 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive. The mpg ratings on the AWD MKX are below average for a midsize, five-passenger crossover with a six-cylinder engine.
Standard safety equipment for the MKX includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and rear parking sensors. Also standard is the programmable MyKey system, which allows parents to limit vehicle speed and stereo volume for teen drivers.
A rearview camera and a blind spot monitoring system (with rear cross-traffic alert) are optional, as are a forward collision warning system and automatic brake preparation for frontal collisions (both packaged with adaptive cruise control).
In Edmunds brake testing, an MKX with 20-inch wheels stopped from 60 mph in 133 feet, a longer-than-average result.
In government crash tests, the MKX received an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five. Within that rating, the MKX earned an unusually low three stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side impact protection. It fared better in tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, receiving the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Lincoln MKX's cabin is well appointed, with handsome stitching, real aluminum accents and mostly satisfactory materials. Here and there you'll find some cheap-feeling bits, but in general, the MKX is a nice place to be.
Of more significance is the MyLincoln Touch interface that comes standard in every MKX. It's a technological tour de force, comprising two driver-configurable information screens, one elegant central touchscreen and a comprehensive voice control system. When it works, it's awesome. However, many drivers will find the learning curve frustratingly steep, and the system can occasionally be slow to respond to your inputs. The lookalike buttons and touchscreen icons can also be difficult to operate on the road. You might end up loving MyLincoln Touch, but make sure you spend some quality time with it during your test-drive to see if it's a good fit.
Both rows of seating in the Lincoln MKX offer spacious accommodations. The backseat is notable for being able to seat three adults in reasonable comfort, thanks in part to the standard reclining rear seatbacks. The rear cargo area measures 32.3 cubic feet, which is barely more than what you get in the compact Audi Q5. Flip down the rear seatbacks, though, and the maximum capacity expands to a solid 68.6 cubic feet.
Take a drive in a 2014 Lincoln MKX and you'll almost certainly notice its civilized ride quality and hushed interior at highway speeds. In this regard, the MKX certainly meets expectations for a luxury crossover. Also notable are the MKX's secure handling and precise steering, both of which make it easy to maneuver. Opting for the 22-inch wheels, however, can introduce some unwelcome ride firmness on rough pavement.
Meanwhile, the MKX's 3.7-liter V6 engine provides adequate acceleration, but nothing more. The automatic transmission isn't exactly eager to downshift either, so a firm stomp on the gas pedal may be required when you need to make a quick pass or merge swiftly into highway traffic.