In all honesty, it never occurred to me that I would ever find myself in a Lincoln car dealership waiting to test drive one of their cars. I’m just a blue-collar working woman and the Lincoln is a luxury brand which always topped my list of cars I would never own, along with the Cadillac and Hummer. And now Tesla. I spent most of my life believing luxury was off limits to worker bees, because, well, mama said so.
She always dreamed of driving a Cadillac so she could feel like Queen Bee, but with five teenagers and a husband in the Air Force, the odds of that dream coming true were akin to those of being struck by lightning for the tenth time or Lake Lanier banning beer. Not. Gonna. Happen. My vehicles are practical, mostly trucks. Pre-owned, too. Actually, not just pre-owned, but used. Gully-jumpin’-flooded-creek-crossin’ used. Driven in the dirt used. Function over style. Yet there I was. I fully expected to think that it was a nice car but I could never justify laying out the equivalent of the gross domestic product of a small country on a car that couldn’t possibly fit the way we live.
Brian Tuttle, the Fleet/Internet manager for Alvarez Lincoln-Jaguar in Riverside, CA, was our guide to all things Lincoln that day. (I moved to the left coast Georgia after college at UGA — go Dawgs!) When I admitted to Brian that I’d never considered a Lincoln because I remember them being huge, boxy gas -guzzlers with an inflated price tag, he smiled and said, “Well this is not your grandma’s Lincoln.” The interior practically screams luxury. From the supple, leather upholstery, almost decadent in its softness, to the feel of the grain in the polished wood trim. Front seats can be heated and cooled, adjust in 22 positions and can actually give you a lumbar massage as you drive. There is plenty of leg room front and back. Best in class rear seats also recline for comfort on long trips or fold forward for cargo. And there is enough cargo space (around 38 cubic feet) behind the rear seats for groceries, sports gear, or anything else you need to transport or stow. Lift-gate is powered leaving your hands free.
A spacious center console with USB ports and Bluetooth technology. Rear seat belts inflate to protect your precious human cargo. Cameras give you a 360 degree view, a nice feature from a personal safety perspective. All are controlled by an 8″ touch screen that has been redesigned to be more responsive than previous models. It now switches from task to task in a flash. As Brian began his explanation of the sound system, it hit me that we were sitting in the middle of a parking lot a block from a major trucking freeway, off a wide, busy street, and I heard no traffic noise. That’s Lincoln’s Active Noise Control at work! The next thing I knew, I was enveloped in the dulcet tones of Sinatra! When I remarked that it sounded like I was in a recording studio with him, Brian explained that when a prototype of the MKX’s door was sent to Revel so they could design speakers, the Revel techs rejected the design because it didn’t do justice to the audio experience their systems create. So Revel sent techs to the homes of Lincoln execs and installed their sound system for a weekend trial so they could experience personally what their systems are capable of. After that weekend, the MKX doors were redesigned around the sound system. The result is the acoustic acuity of a concert hall and it is sublime! And the system we reviewed was the middle of Lincoln’s three available options!
Next was the actual road test. There is excellent visibility in this vehicle. In addition to that, the Lincoln crossover SUVs have Lincoln’s Adaptive Steering system that analyzes vehicle speed and driver steering info, which is then used to automatically adjust the firmness of the steering wheel to produce smooth, precision steering. You can also switch steering settings between normal, comfort, and sport steering modes, as well as control the sound, heat/AC and other functions from the steering wheel. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel and four-wheel-drive are optional.
The 2.7L Twin Turbocharged Ecoboost V6 engine, over 300 horsepower in a six-speed automatic transmission with push-button shifter is extremely responsive, especially in sport mode, which feels like you’re driving a 4-on-the-floor. At the start of a long, straight stretch of road through orange groves, Brian said, “When it’s your turn through the stop sign, floor it. Pedal to the metal. Then slam on the brakes.” We went from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds, and stopped dead in our tracks. The MKX didn’t pull to the left or right when braking, even at that speed. it just stopped. We literally went airborne over a set of railroad tracks, but landed soft as a feather on the other side. The MKX is a sturdy, durable, deathly-quiet ride with impressive technology.
If you have trouble parallel parking, Enhanced Active Park Assist will do it for you. Although some 42% of drivers don’t trust fully self-driving vehicles, me included, I can see how this feature would be very useful, if you’re not of a generation for whom being skilled enough to squeeze into the smallest possible spaces is a badge of honor.
The Panorama Vista Roof® is one of my favorite features. The powered front roof panel spans both rows of seats when fully opened, and it has a power sunshade to help keep the interior cooler on summer days, so you can feel like you’re driving a convertible without the sunburn. There’s also an “auto hold” feature, which allows you to pause and turn to deal with kids in the back seat without having to take the vehicle out of gear.
The MKX starts at a base price of $38,260. The model we drove, with all the bells and whistles, was $56,800. expected it to be at least $85,000, with all those features. Since we live in the mountains and actually get snow, we’ll need to spend a little more for a 4-wheel drive option, but we’ll still get in it for less than other luxury carmakers’ comparable models.
In fact, Matthew McConaughey had better watch out, because this car sells itself. No eye-candy necessary! It’s fun to drive, gets decent mileage for its performance, has the safety features you need and the style and luxury Lincoln owners have come to expect, without the budget-busting price tag.
See for yourself just how much fun luxury can be!