2014 Lincoln MKX Road Test Review
by Bob Plunkett
Road & Travel Magazine's Top Picks
Lincoln's super-sleek 2014 MKX crossover utility vehicle sporting flush arched fenders and a chromed split-wing grille slips smoothly through compound chicanes on Lagoon Drive, which meanders through Fair Park in St. Louis, Mo.
To tell the truth, this mid-size CUV rips through the park as a 6-pack engine with the strength of 305 ponies twirls the optional 265/40R22 tires mounted on humongous polished aluminum wheels.
Those massive tires dance independently over Lagoon Drive's rippled pavement as the vehicle's unibody chassis, forged with an extra wide 65-inch track and wheelbase length of 111 inches, maintains a flat stance through so many bends in the twin-lane park road.
And in the cockpit one driver strapped securely to a contoured bucket seat maintains a firm grip on the leather-wrapped steering wheel while plying a shift-it-yourself automatic transmission.
We're encased in a luxurious 5-seat mobile environment, all leather and metal and high-tech electronic gizmos to help us move safety along the parkway pavement as well as keep in touch with the outside world via voice-activated controls for in-car phones, media players and the on-board navigation system.
For 2014 issues of MKX, Lincoln adds a Limited Edition Package with even more luxe goods: The leather-trimmed seats, head restraints, center console and steering wheel dress in a subtle shade dubbed Soft Ceramic and feature contrasting red stitching and dark tuxedo piping.
Each version of MKX uses a monocoque structure which unites chassis and body into one cohesive unit that remains extremely rigid when driven.
The fully independent suspension -- MacPherson struts and an isolated subframe up front and a multi-link design in back also with isolating subframe and twin-tube shocks for precise suspension tuning -- produces car-like smooth ride sensations as well as excellent behavior in a curve set.
MKX comes with standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction.
The optional AWD equipment -- Ford's Control Trac system paired with a traction control system (TCS) -- has an automatic mode that monitors grip for all wheels and can selectively distribute traction front-to-rear as well as side-to-side even before wheel slippage occurs in order to maintain a constant tire bite on wet and slippery pavement.
Brakes on MKX consist of a disc at every wheel with linkage to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) plus the AdvanceTrac electronic stability control device with Roll Stability Control (RSC), which measures vehicle motion on both yaw and roll axes.
Brake-related features on the 2014 MKX include Hill Start Assist (HSA) to check rollback on inclines, Trailer Sway Control (TSC) to help stabilize a tow rig, and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) to apply more braking force during emergency stops.
Additional standard dynamic safety devices on the MKX include Curve Control, which automatically slows the car when onboard motion sensors detect that a driver is proceeding too quickly into a curve.
And Lincoln packs aboard a load of passive safety gear.
Front riders have dual two-stage frontal air bags plus seatbelts with load-limiting retractors and buckle pretensioners, while in the rear there are anchors to tether a child's safety seat. Side-impact air bags mounted on outboard front seats and curtain-style air bags concealed in headliners above side windows front/back are also on tap.
MKX totes a high-performance V6 engine. The aluminum 6-pack displaces 3.7 liters and has DOHC (dual overhead cams) and performance-enhancing Ti-VVT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) technology to deliver 305 hp at 6500 rpm and torque of 280 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.
A 6-speed electronic automatic transmission with SelectShift manual controls works with the new V6.
This powertrain achieves 2014 EPA fuel economy scores of 18 mpg for city driving and 26 mpg on the highway for FWD versions and 17/23 mpg (city/highway) with AWD.
The MKX cabin layout pitches a pair of rich and luxurious bucket seats up front divided by a multi-function console and followed by a rear bench for three riders with seatback split 60/40 and each section reclining for passenger comfort.
MKX features Lincoln's Intelligent Access with push-button start, MyKey and Remote Start System, standard heated and cooled front seats and MyLincoln Touch electronic controls to enhance the Microsoft-powered Lincoln Sync system for voice-activated control over in-car phones, media players and USB storage devices.
Lincoln's MSRP figures for MKX 2014 begin at $38,580.
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