$26,363 - $37,574

2018 Lincoln MKX Performance Review


Performance: 7.9

Luxury SUVs usually fall into one of two categories when it comes to performance: those with sporting pretenses and those tuned for comfort. The 2018 Lincoln MKX is undoubtedly in the second category. Its V6 engines have plenty of power for daily commuting, but they're not nearly as brawny as the optional powertrains in many rivals. The MKX's handling is laidback as well. This SUV is easy to drive and provides a very smooth ride, but it's not as athletic as more performance-focused competitors. The MKX gets below-average fuel economy for the class.

  • "… the 2.7-liter EcoBoost six delivered a nice mix of throttle response, refinement and power." -- Autoweek (2016)
  • 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 (2016)
  • "The MKX is a capable and comfortable highway cruiser." -- The Detroit Free Press (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A 303-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine comes standard in the MKX, and a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 that makes 335 horsepower is available. Both engines pair with a six-speed automatic transmission. With the base engine, the MKX gets 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The optional twin-turbo engine increases city fuel economy by 1 mpg. These figures are typical for V6-powered vehicles in this class. However, many competitors have turbocharged four-cylinder engines that are much more fuel-efficient.

The base engine gets the MKX up to speed with little fuss, and it should satisfy most buyers. For a bit more excitement, opt for the twin-turbo V6. Its extra punch makes for brisker acceleration to let you pass or merge on the highway with confidence. The automatic transmission makes smooth shifts, though many competitors offer transmissions with more gears that both improve fuel economy and better match the power ratio to the driving situation.

  • In terms of performance, the standard 3.7-liter V6 produces competent acceleration, if slightly underwhelming because the MKX is lumbered with a transmission that offers only six ratios. Though that engine should suffice for many buyers, there's no denying the available turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 provides a much more satisfying driving experience while consuming slightly less fuel in the process." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "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." -- CNET (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

The MKX has reasonably balanced handling. The ride is smooth over rough roads, and the SUV stays composed around turns. It's not particularly sporty though, especially compared to class leaders from German brands. The power steering in particular feels numb, with no sense of the tire's interaction with the pavement. Still, light steering means the MKX is easy to drive and maneuver. Front-wheel drive comes standard in the MKX, and all-wheel drive is available. Lincoln Drive Control, which lets you select from different modes to match performance to driving conditions, is also available.

  • The grip from optional performance-orientated all-season tires imparts agility and accuracy back through the steering wheel. It builds effort naturally right off center. But road feedback is nonexistent." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

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