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2012 Lincoln MKX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Lincoln MKX was new.


Performance: 7.2

The majority of reviewers find the 2012 MKX's overall driving experience adequate enough, saying that it drives more like a luxury sedan than an SUV. That means its ride is designed for comfort rather than sportiness.

  • "MKX is not particularly sporty or engaging to drive, but that's not its primary mission. For a vehicle that emphasizes luxury touring, this Lincoln is more than competent.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the road, the engine, and in fact the vehicle as a whole, exhibits refined road manners. Although the power plant gets a little coarse for a luxury crossover when pushed to higher rpm, most drivers won't push the MKX that hard. Those who do will relish the engine's sound.” -- Los Angeles Times
  • "The … MKX is gratifyingly handy for its size, and although ‘fun to drive’ isn’t a phrase that leaps to mind, it’s certainly more rewarding to maneuver than prime competitors such as the Cadillac SRX and Lexus RX350.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Lincoln MKX comes standard with a 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 engine that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Front-wheel drive models get 19/26 mpg city/highway, while all-wheel drive models get 17/23 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. Both of these numbers are above-average for the class.

Reviewers say that the Lincoln MKX has enough power for most drivers, but if you’re looking for acceleration that will throw you back against your seat, you should look elsewhere, like the Infiniti FX50. They also say that the automatic transmission works well and smoothly, although it takes a while to respond to manual inputs.

  • "MKX's V6 delivers plenty of power. With all-wheel drive, it doesn't pin you to your seat as you might expect from a 305-horsepower engine, but you're never wanting for more muscle. Front-drive models feel slightly quicker overall. The transmission is silky smooth in its operation.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "From the driver seat, though, the MKX feels slow. The transmission responds slowly to throttle inputs and shifts at relatively low rpm, so attempts at rapid acceleration feel jagged and strained. Given a good mash of the throttle pedal, the engine whines and the transmission whips through its six gears, but it ultimately drops you into a sleepy spot in the power band. This might make the lords of EPA fuel-economy estimates smile, but not enthusiastic drivers.” -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Reviewers like the MKX's handling abilities, though they wish it was sportier. Still, test drivers say it performs just about as well as they would expect from a luxury crossover. One journalist mentions that shoppers looking for the sportiest setup for their MKX should consider all-wheel drive, which improves handling at the cost of fuel economy.

  • "It's true that the AWD likely will not net the fuel economy figures of the front-drive version under similar conditions, but we're willing to sacrifice a little bit of gas for a more engaging go behind the wheel.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In contrast to the Edge Sport with which it shares its engine, the MKX chassis setup favors luxury over sportiness. But the Lincoln’s steering and braking systems have taken and passed communications classes, delivering some idea of what’s going on.” -- Car and Driver
  • "Steering falls on the stiff side, but the handling is composed and the ride quality is excellent.” -- Los Angeles Times
  • “The MKX makes no pretense of being genuinely sporty. Ride and handling are improved … but are still calibrated more for comfort than performance.” -- BusinessWeek
  • "With the available 20-inch wheels, this Lincoln is firmer than you might expect, but it exhibits great control over bumps. Sharp ruts pound through to the cabin, but their impact is no greater than those you would experience in similar premium-midsize SUVs. We noticed little difference in ride quality with MKX models equipped with the standard 18-inch wheels.” -- Consumer Guide

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