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2016 Lincoln MKX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Lincoln MKX was new.


Performance: 8.1

The 2016 Lincoln MKX gets good power from both engine options and provides a comfortable ride, according to automotive journalists. They say handling is composed, but many reviewers think that other vehicles in the class offer a more engaging and enjoyable driving experience.

  • The MKX is a capable and comfortable highway cruiser." -- The Detroit Free Press
  • True to its target, this MKX is not a sporty performer. That's a shame, given how well the MKC sheds perception of the brand's dowdiness." -- New York Daily News
  • "Meanwhile, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost six delivered a nice mix of throttle response, refinement and power." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

The base engine in the Lincoln MKX is a 3.7-liter V6 that puts out 303 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that produces 335 horsepower is available. Each engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and earns an EPA-estimated 17/26 mpg city/highway, which is slightly below the class average.

The MKX gets adequate power from its base engine, according to reviewers, but they say the available turbocharged engine has real verve. They add that the MKX has good acceleration and that either engine runs smoothly. Critics report that the automatic transmission makes gear changes almost imperceptible.

  • "There is little to fault in the MKX's driving experience. A carryover 3.7-liter V-6 is standard, but the engine you'll definitely want (and the one we tested) is the strong, turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6. So equipped, the 2.7 gives the MKX a throaty engine note-compared to an absent one on the comparable Lexus-and plenty of passing power." -- New York Daily News
  • "Though the 2.7-liter engine motivates a lot of weight from the panoramic sunroof down, it provides ample acceleration for merging into traffic. Like the cabin, the engine is smooth and quiet, and exhibits far less turbo lag than you'll find in other modern turbo engines." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "When the MKX is so tasked, the acceleration can be quite good. The EcoBoost V-6 has a meaty torque curve that makes passing satisfying. When delivering the power, the engine makes a nice, subdued sound. When cruising or idling, it's so smooth that you'd hardly notice that it's there." -- CNET
  • "The six-speed automatic transmission shifts appropriately. It works well with the engine to create a silky driving experience. We hardly notice the gearbox unless we're actively thinking about it." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard in the 2016 MKX, and all-wheel drive is available. The MKX features three available driving modes that some critics say deliver noticeable differences in rides. The steering provides good feedback and reacts well, according to test drivers, but they say class rivals are more athletic. Some critics find the brakes are a bit sensitive.

  • "With everything in Sport mode, we sped up a freeway off-ramp in Metro Detroit and found body roll to be controlled and minimal for a CUV this size, and the big tires paid off with their admirable grip, holding securely as the mild understeer overcame the chassis mid-ramp." -- Automobile Magazine
  • The steering is responsive and communicative, but neither it nor the suspension encourage the enthusiastic driving that distinguishes the XT, SQ5 and QX70." -- The Detroit Free Press
  • The drive modes -- normal, sport and comfort -- do indeed make a difference, performing as they're labeled, adjusting suspension and steering effort. We found the softer comfort mode best around Detroit's pockmarked streets, while normal or sport worked best on the freeway. In all modes, body roll is decently minimal, steering fairly communicative." -- AutoWeek
  • The chassis is tuned for comfort. The only quibble: the brakes are a bit grabby for our taste. Dialing up sport mode tightens the suspension and steering, though it's hardly detectable. It wouldn't make sense to give the MKX a demonic sport mode. It's a quiet cabin, and conversation is easy." -- Autoblog

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