2008 Lincoln MKX Review Asheville NC

DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD WITH CAREY RUSS 2008 Lincoln MKX It's renaissance time at Lincoln. In common with every other long-established luxury automaker, changing demographics and markets have resulted in dramatically-changed vehicle lineups. Customers change, customer wants and needs ...

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2008 Lincoln MKX Review

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  • SEE ALSO: Lincoln Prices, Pictures and Specs - Lincoln Buyers Guide
  • DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD
    WITH CAREY RUSS

    2008 Lincoln MKX

    It's renaissance time at Lincoln. In common with every otherlong-established luxury automaker, changing demographics and markets haveresulted in dramatically-changed vehicle lineups. Customers change,customer wants and needs change, and fashion changes. So the productsoffered need to change.

    Once, Lincoln made only large sedans. That was what Americanluxury vehicle customers wanted and bought. Now, large sedans have beenreplaced, first by luxury SUVs, and more recently by luxury crossovers. TheTown Car, the last of the large body-on-frame luxury Lincoln sedans, isgone. And the newest Lincoln in production, debuting for the 2007 modelyear, is the company's first crossover, the MKX.

    It would be a stretch into fantasy to claim that the MKXreplaces the Town Car - and a few thousand limo owner/drivers wouldvehemently argue against that, too - but the MKX does provide plenty ofstylish and luxuriously-appointed interior space in a moderately-sizedexterior package. The MKX's efficient two-box unibody design, with atransverse V6 engine driving the front, or, optionally all wheels, andthose wheels pushed to the corners, sees to that. It's almost 30 inchesshorter than a regular-wheelbase Town Car, and yet offers nearly the sameamount of interior space, with only an inch less front legroom, and twoinches less shoulder and hip room due to its three-inch narrower width.There is considerably more headroom in the MKX, and it's interior is farmore versatile. It offers large-car room on a more convenient mid-sizedfootprint.

    While the MKX mechanical specification is unchanged after asuccessful debut year, with power from a 3.5-liter, 265-horsepower V6, the2008 MKX gets a higher level of standard equipment. Heated and cooled frontseats, the reverse sonar warning system, and SIRIUS satellite radio,formerly optional, are standard. And the new Sync(tm) cabin electronicsconnectivity system, developed in conjunction with Microsoft and exclusiveto Ford products for the 2008 model year, is also included in all MKXes. Itallows voice-activated control of digital media players andBluetooth-enabled mobile phones. There are also a series Limited Editionoption packages with special interior and exterior color schemes.

    A week with a well-equipped front-wheel drive MKX showed it tobe a fine contemporary luxury vehicle. Its upscale design and specificationare enhanced by interior quiet and a smooth but controlled ride. It drivesand feels like a car, not a truck, and the powertrain meets all demandsplaced upon it. Interior space is not going to be a problem, and itsrelatively small footprint means that parking will not be, either. Looksare important, especially in the luxury segments, and the MKX gotcompliments. Lincoln's new direction is looking good.

    APPEARANCE: Congratulations are due to Lincoln's designers. TheMKX is fresh and contemporary, not "retro" in at all, but it does integratestyling cues from Lincoln's history. It's boxy but not the box it came in,and its large, long passenger cabin and short hood place emphasis on thepassengers. It's conservative in the manner of a finely-tailored suit, witha look that should wear long and well. The full-width chrome grilleprominently displays the Lincoln star logo, and recalls the classicearly-1960s Continental. From the sides, it's muscular but notmuscle-bound, with a high beltline emphasized by an upswept character lineplaced high and a chrome accent strip at the lower edge of the windows. Therear sees another bit of classic Lincoln style, a full-with taillightapplique.

    COMFORT: Inside, the MKX has the contemporary Lincoln look."Rounded rectangle" seems to be the main design theme, describing theinstrument panel and all of its divisions right down to the chrome bezelsaround the instruments, as well as the door trim. The interior scheme addsvisual space, not that there is any space shortage. The front seats providethe comfort and support expected in a luxury vehicle, and standard heatingand cooling is a plus. Almost everything that could be power-assisted is,with the exception of the steering wheel. But that leather-and-wood-rimmedwheel is manually adjustable for both tilt and reach, and has cruise andauxiliary audio controls. My test car had the optional DVD-based navigationsystem, voice-activated this year, and the THX-certified 14-speaker audiosystem. They are integrated, with controls divided between the bright touchscreen and marked hard buttons to its sides. Climate control - dual zone -is separate. The nav system is simple to use, and audio quality is veryhigh. With AM, FM, Sirius satellite, and an input jack for an externalaudio player, all current media can be played. The input jack and anassociated power point are just one of the features to recommend themultilevel console box - it has a thin top compartment for small items, anda removable tray below that splits the deep well horizontally abouthalf-depth. The tray can hold a music player while other items are storedbelow. The rear seat is wide enough for three adults, although it is contoured fortwo. The outboard positions may be heated, and a nearly-flat floor addslegroom, especially for the center position. It's split 60/40, and thebacks can be adjusted a bit for rake. Rear passengers get the best rewardfrom the Vista Roof(tm) dual moonroof, with a good view of scenery above.The front portion tilts or slides, with a built-in windblocker, while therear part is fixed. Seat release is from the sides or the cargo area,conveniently, and a power tailgate, part of the "Ultimate Package" makescargo access easy. Both step-in and load heights are very reasonable, noladder necessary for access.

    SAFETY: The MKX's unibody structure was designed and built forcrashworthiness, and the AdvanceTrac¨ with RSC¨ (roll stability control)stability-assist system, Personal Safety System¨ of front and front sideairbags with front passenger weight-sensing and crash severity sensing forbag deployment rate, and two-row Safety Canopy(tm) side curtain air bagsadd to safety. As do four-wheel antilock vented disc brakes. Availableadaptive headlights move with the steering wheel for improved night vision.

    RIDE AND HANDLING: Chassis strength and rigidity work here aswell as for safety, providing a stable platform for the MKX'sfully-independent MacPherson strut / multilink suspension. It's tuned forcomfort, with moderately soft shocks and springs that do a good job ofabsorbing the jolts of poor road surfaces and highway expansion joints.Thick side glass and interior carpeting, and sound-deadening materials inthe chassis ensure a comfortably quiet interior. Steering effort ismoderate, not over-assisted.

    PERFORMANCE: The MKX's 3.5-liter aluminum alloy V6 makes 265horsepower (at 6250 rpm) and 250 lb-ft of torque (at 4500) and features adual-plenum intake manifold and variable intake cam phasing for loweremissions and a broader spread of power. It's matched to a six-speedautomatic transmission, and the two work together well. Acceleration formerging or passing was never a problem, and fuel economy, EPA 17/24 and 18in mostly city and secondary road driving, is better than that of atraditional SUV with comparable interior space.

    CONCLUSIONS: The MKX establishes Lincoln in the luxurycrossover market.

    SPECIFICATIONS
    2008 Lincoln MKX

    Base Price $ 35,420Price As Tested $ 42,380Engine Type dual overhead cam 24-valve V6 with variable intake cam phasingEngine Size 3.5 liters / 213 cu. in.Horsepower 265 @ 6250 rpmTorque (lb-ft) 250 @ 4500 rpmTransmission 6-speed automaticWheelbase / Length 111.2 in. / 186.5 in.Curb Weight 4210 lbs.Pounds Per Horsepower 15.9Fuel Capacity 19 gal.Fuel Requirement 87 octane unleaded regular gasolineTires P245/60 TR18 Continental Cross Contact LXBrakes, front/rear 4-wheel vented disc with ABSSuspension, front/rear independent MacPherson strut/ independent multilinkGround clearance 8.2 inchesDrivetrain transverse front engine, front-wheel drivePERFORMANCEEPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon city / highway / observed 17 / 24 / 180 to 60 mph est 8.0 secTowing capacity 3500 lbs. with towing packageOPTIONS AND CHARGESElite Package - includes: Panorama Vista Roof with dual power sunshades, voice-activated DVD navigation system, 14-speaker THX-Certified audio system $ 4,595Ultimate Package - includes: power liftgate, rear underfloor cargo management system, universal garage door opener, 18" chrome alloy wheels, adaptive headlamps, premium leather-trimmed seating, 4-button key fob, Easy-Fold(tm) rear seatback release $ 1,295Class II Trailer Tow Package - includes: class II receiver hitch, engine oil cooler, larger radiator, upgraded cooling fan and battery, wiring harness with 4-pin connector $ 395Destination charge $ 675

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