2008 Lincoln MKX


$6,985 - $7,326

2008 Lincoln MKX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Lincoln MKX was new.


Performance: 7.2

The Lincoln MKX's comfortable ride, adequately powerful engine, and smooth suspension get generally positive reviews, but can't compete with stronger performers in the class. USA Today says acceleration "is sufficient, if not stimulating."

The majority of reviewers are pleased with the overall driving experience, largely noting that the MKX drives more like a luxury sedan than an SUV--a high point. Reviewers are impressed that the ride doesn't give way to too much floatiness, even with the sedan-like feel. AutoMedia.com praises, "Ride quality is supple and car-like and worthy of the longest of road trips."

Yet reviewers are also quick to point out that the ride is geared toward comfort rather than sportiness. "It is not fun, per se. But the MKX, following Lexus' script closely here, isn't really intended to be fun to drive," says Edmunds. Where the MKX loses points with reviewers is in its four-wheel disc brakes, which "aren't the SUV's best attribute," according to Cars.com. "The pedal is mushy and needs more pressure than it should." Reviewers rave about the SUV's carlike quality. Cars.com says, "This SUV illustrates what can be achieved in a car-based, or unibody, model that would be complicated or plain impossible in a truck-based one ... This isn't a car, and it shouldn't be driven like one, but the advantages of a car platform are evident."

Acceleration and Power

The MKX is powered by a 3.5-liter double overhead cam V6 engine -- the same engine found in its sister cars, the Lincoln MKZ and the Ford Edge. Most reviewers find the 265-horsepower engine to be sufficient, though not outstanding. Newsday says, "In any case, the MKX's power is sufficient for that of a family vehicle but won't win any drag races." USA Today says, "The new-design 3.5-liter is stronger than the 3-liter engine Ford has been using widely. That's good. And in light-duty use, it sounds and behaves OK, also good. But jump the go pedal and the noise becomes harsh, unpleasant." According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the engine is expected to have a fuel economy of 16/24 miles per gallon (city/highway) with front-wheel drive and 15/22 mpg with all-wheel drive. Cars.com notes that it "isn't the most efficient model out there," but it still gets better overall economy than the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5. Plus, the MKX uses regular gasoline.

The V6 is paired with a six-speed transmission that brings out mixed feelings among reviewers, with one major low point being the lack of a manual shift feature. Still, MSN says the transmission "upshifts imperceptibly and downshifts smartly for quick passing. There is no manual shift feature, but it really isn't needed for a luxury vehicle with all those gears." The Los Angeles Times says the transmission "shifts with gliding precision."

On the other side of the spectrum, Forbes says the poor transmission "was a deal-breaker for me, though, because the engine doesn't have enough torque on tap for passing other vehicles quickly; you have to mash the accelerator and wait for the transmission to downshift to the proper gear. A manual-shift capability would have been the ticket here." USA Today also reports a fault, noting that "In the MKX tester, the transmission also was slow to engage reverse after a cold start. If the vehicle was pointed downhill, that meant it needed the brakes to avoid hitting things. Holly bush leaves probably are still stuffed in the grille of the tester to illustrate the point."

One upside to the transmission is that it is "expected to reduce fuel consumption by about seven percent, or in dollars and cents, about $3.50 for every 20-gallon fill," according to Autosite. But AutoMedia.com found fuel economy disappointing on a test drive, commenting, "For an MKX with AWD, we averaged 15 mpg."

Handling and Braking

Reviewers have mixed feelings about the MKX's handling abilities, though none of them have any major criticisms. Of the rack-and-pinion power steering, The Car Connection says, "Steering is crisp and assisted just with the right amount of power. Handling is set up just on this side of soft, with more comfort than Mazda's smaller CX-7 and similar to that of the Honda Pilot." Consumer Guide has a few qualms, noting the steering is "slightly numb" and "light in straightline cruising, and springs back to center with exaggerated force when completing turns."

Despite a general consensus on most aspects of the driving experience, one point of contention with reviewers is the MDX's turning radius. Some, like Cars.com, feel the 41-foot turning diameter could be tighter. But others, like the Chicago Tribune, are impressed with maneuverability, noting, "Pull into a parking lot and you can slip into and out of any slot a sedan can on the first try."

The MKX features a fully independent suspension with a MacPherson strut setup in front and a four-link configuration in back. Most reviewers have little to say, commenting that the suspension is tuned for luxury, not performance. To isolate vibrations, the front suspension subframe is mounted with hydraulic bushings. The Fort Worth Star Telegram sums the consensus up, noting, "That means the vehicle has a nice, smooth ride, but the trade-off is that the handling is not as precise as it could be with a stiffer suspension."

Many reviewers are also disappointed in the MKX's braking performance, with the consensus being that the heavy, 4,616-pound vehicle simply takes too long to stop. Cars.com says, "The four-wheel disc brakes aren't the SUV's best attribute. The pedal is mushy and needs more pressure than it should." Similarly, Edmunds complains, "One feels how overmatched the MKX brakes are in day-to-day street driving. Typical braking situations turn quickly from, 'Oh, the guy up there is turning left, I'll begin applying the brakes' to 'Whoa!' "

Panic stops from 60 mph averaged 147 feet, which is "too long," according to Auto Week. However, the reviewer gives the MKX the benefit of the doubt, saying that "Four wheel discs with ABS are standard, and they did keep us straight and stable. Drive the MKX at a more sedate kids-to-mall pace, and its reaction is totally friendly." MSN also touts the merits of the anti-lock disc brakes, noting that they "provide short, easy stops."

All-Wheel Drive

MKX buyers can choose either the base front-wheel-drive model or an all-wheel-drive version for a heftier base price. Cars.com put the system to the test, with positive results. "The electronically controlled Intelligent AWD system is claimed to apportion torque between the front and rear axles based on conditions, to prevent wheelspin rather than simply react to it," the reviewer says. "It did the job on Chicago's snow and ice (and freezing rain and slush and road salt)."

Reviewers stress that the high-tech AWD is not meant for off-road treks, but rather for traction and stability control in foul weather conditions. Plus, the MKX offers no low-range gearset for negotiating rough terrain. AutoMedia.com comments, "The Lincoln CUV dutifully churned through the snowy mix that was dealt to it. Traction was generally very good; and, if you live in an area where this weather scenario repeats itself regularly, a set of four snow tires would elevate the Lincoln's grip to excellent. When drier roads eventually appeared, the MKX acquitted itself well once again."


Reviewers are not particularly impressed with the SUV's towing capabilities, which are less impressive than other SUVs based on similar platforms. Cars.com notes that this is a disadvantage of the front-drive platform, even when it's equipped with all-wheel-drive. With the optional Class II Trailer Tow Prep Package, the MKX can tow up to 3,500 pounds -- but, "Given the way most people use SUVs, and especially luxury ones, that's no great loss," Cars.com says.

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