Change may be a constant in the world, but it can still be a hard thing to accept. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a change for the better, like the one that brought us the 2017 Lincoln MKX.
You see, not so very long ago this midsize five-passenger luxury crossover was hard to recommend because of its lackluster driving experience and the subpar quality of its interior materials. That all changed last year with the introduction of the second-generation MKX, which benefits from the recent redesign of the Ford Edge on which it’s based.
This latest incarnation of the Lincoln MKX comes very well-equipped with a long list of standard comfort and convenience items. As befitting a model sold by a luxury-oriented nameplate like Lincoln, the MKX can be further enhanced with nice-to-have extras such as a 360-degree camera system, a feature that enables automatic parallel parking, and even 22-way power-adjustable front seats. On the performance front, the optional 335-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine is another strength, as is the available adaptive suspension (all-wheel-drive models only) that balances a smooth ride in its default mode with firmer driver-selectable settings for more responsive high-speed handling.
While the 2017 MKX has changed for the better, its competitors have hardly been standing still. The Acura MDX has received some notable upgrades this year and offers a sportier driving demeanor plus a third-row seat. The Lexus RX 350 was also redesigned last year with more aggressive new styling and a top-quality interior. The Mercedes-Benz GLE is also worth a look if you can get past its higher price tag.
When it comes right down to it, though, the 2017 Lincoln MKX can stand toe to toe with all of the above, proving once again that change is not necessarily a bad thing.
The list of standard safety equipment for the 2017 Lincoln MKX includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, integrated blind-spot mirrors, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Also standard is the programmable MyKey system, which allows parents to set parameters such as vehicle speed and stereo volume for teen drivers. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is standard on Reserve and Black Label models (and available as an option on the Select trim level).
The optional Driver Assistance package includes lane departure warning, lane departure intervention, forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking (with pedestrian detection) and a drowsy driver warning system.
In Edmunds testing, an MKX Black label with all-wheel drive came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, a distance that’s a couple feet shorter than average.
In government crash tests, the MKX received an overall rating of five stars out of a possible five, along with five stars for total front-impact protection and total side-impact protection. In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the MKX earned a top rating of Good in both the small- and moderate-overlap front-impact tests and the side-impact test.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Lincoln MKX is a five-passenger crossover SUV. It comes in four trim levels: Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black Label.
Standard equipment for the Premiere trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon high-intensity headlights, heated outside mirrors, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors, LED taillights, remote engine start, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, imitation-leather upholstery, heated eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar support), a reclining, 60/40-split second-row seat with power-folding seatbacks, driver-seat memory functions, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and active noise cancellation.
Standard convenience technology includes a driver-configurable instrument cluster, a rearview camera, the Sync 3 infotainment system with a central 8-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and two USB ports.
The Select model adds LED daytime running lights, power-folding side mirrors (with driver-side auto-dimming), adaptive suspension dampers (all-wheel-drive models only), a hands-free power liftgate, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, wood trim and a garage door opener. The optional Select Plus package adds a navigation system plus blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems.
The Reserve trim level adds 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive headlights, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, mobile-app compatibility and the contents of the Select Plus package.
Finally, the Black Label variant builds upon the Reserve's features with unique 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, upgraded leather upholstery, a simulated-suede headliner and a 19-speaker Revel Ultima surround-sound audio system with HD radio. Each Black Label MKX gets a choice of three different design themes (Indulgence, Modern Heritage and Thoroughbred), each of which alters the trim and the color of the upholstery, headliner and carpeting. It also grants access to the benefits of Lincoln's Black Label program.
A variety of options packages are available for the Lincoln MKX. The Cargo Utility package can be ordered on any trim level, and it includes a scuff plate, cargo net and tie-downs, plastic storage bins, a household-style 110-volt power outlet and a cargo cover. The Climate package adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic windshield wipers and automatic high beams.
The Reserve and Black Label versions offer several unique packages, including Technology (front parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system and automated parallel parking), Driver Assistance (adaptive cruise control and new adaptive steering plus additional features detailed in the Safety section, below) and Luxury (adaptive LED headlights and the Revel Ultima audio system).
Stand-alone options include 21-inch wheels, 22-way-adjustable front seats, a trailer tow package, a 13-speaker Revel audio system (Select and Reserve), inflatable rear seat belts and a rear-seat video entertainment system with dual displays.
Under the hood, the 2017 Lincoln MKX gets a standard 3.7-liter V6 that produces 303 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 puts out a more robust 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are 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 MKX Black Label with the 2.7-liter engine and all-wheel drive accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, an average time for a midsize luxury crossover.
EPA fuel economy ratings for the standard 3.7-liter V6 are 20 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway) with front-wheel drive and 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) with all-wheel drive. The turbocharged 2.7-liter engine is rated at 20 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) with front-wheel drive and 19 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway) with all-wheel drive.
On the road, the standard suspension underpinning the 2017 Lincoln MKX delivers a smooth ride that’s well matched to the vehicle’s luxury aspirations. If you plan on spending a lot of time traveling the winding back roads of America, however, you’ll likely appreciate the firmer settings offered by the optional adaptive suspension (available on all-wheel-drive models only).
In terms of performance, the standard 3.7-liter V6 produces competent acceleration, if slightly underwhelming because the MKX is lumbered with a transmission that offers only six ratios. Though that engine should suffice for many buyers, there’s no denying the available turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 provides a much more satisfying driving experience while consuming slightly less fuel in the process.
Inside its cabin, the 2017 Lincoln MKX offers roomy accommodations for five. The standard front seats are comfortable enough, while the optional 22-way power-adjustable versions will allow you to precisely tailor the fit to your unique size and shape. Reclining seatbacks contribute to the high comfort quotient of the rear seats.
The quality of the materials is generally high throughout the cabin, with supple imitation leather and a choice of aluminum or genuine wood trim in glossy or more textured open-pore finishes. That said, there are a couple of places where less than luxurious materials remain, primarily around the dashboard’s center stack and the transmission’s shift buttons.
Displays and controls are well-placed and easy to use, and the driver-configurable displays flanking the speedometer are worthy of special mention. The Sync 3 system’s touchscreen interface is also notable for its user-friendly operation, including the way it incorporates familiar smartphone-like gestures including swipe and pinch-to-zoom.
In back, the MKX offers a spacious cargo hold that includes 37.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Fold those seatbacks down and you end up with 68.8 cubic feet of cargo room, a number that’s on par with the competition.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.