The 2018 Lincoln MKX crossover SUV has two engine options and a six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The starting option is a 3.7-liter V6 producing 303 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 producing 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, which is available for all but the base trim. Front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive can be configured for all trims. With the turbocharged power plant under the hood, the acceleration was immediate and took less than six seconds to reach 60 mph. Powering through slow traffic and climbing uphill roads was of little concern for the engine. The transmission shifted smoothly but more gears would be better for increased fuel efficiency and a more accurate rev-matching with the engine. The handling showed composure and felt nimble for its size. Grip wasn’t lacking when approaching the limits of its cornering speed. The steering was accurate and the vehicle changed direction at will. The effort required to turn felt balanced but the response from the asphalt was much muted. The brakes were not the best but were not the worst either. A slight lurch forward was evident especially during hard and sudden stopping, but there was very little loss of braking force. The pedal wasn’t mushy and made controlling the brakes easier.
The Premier trim comes standard with xenon headlights, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, remote start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats, driver seat memory settings, Bluetooth, two USB ports, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, a CD player and an infotainment system with a 8-inch touchscreen and a ten-speaker sound system. The Select trim includes power-folding mirrors (auto-dimming at driver side), power-adjustable steering wheel, and a hands-free power liftgate. The Select Plus package adds a navigation system and several advanced safety and driver aids. Starting with the Select trim, the Climate package includes heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, automatic wipers and a wiper de-icer. Standalone options include a rear-seat entertainment system, a 13-speaker Revel Ultimate sound system, and trailer towing equipment. The Reserve trim comes standard with the features of the Select Plus package and also includes ventilated front seats and adaptive headlights. Starting with the Reserve trim, the Technology and Driver Assistance packages include more advanced safety and driver aids. The Luxury package adds adaptive LED headlights, HD radio, and a 13-speaker Revel Ultimate sound system. The top-of-the-line Black Label trim comes standard with the features of the Climate package and includes LED headlights and premium interior trim appointments.
The 2018 MKX model was tested by the NHTSA and it earned five stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the IIHS and it scored “Good” in crashworthiness and “Superior” in front crash prevention. The headlights were only rated as “Marginal” for crash avoidance and mitigation. Advanced safety and driver aids that come standard in the base trim include rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. More features are added through package options and they include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane departure and intervention, automated parking and a 360-degree camera.
The 2018 MKX has a length of 190 inches, a width of 76.1 inches, a height of 65.2 inches and a wheelbase of 112.2 inches. The overall design is conservative, with its minimal chrome accents and choice of neutral paint colors. It is balanced well with athletic features such as the swept-back front grille and sculpted wheel arches. The Premier and Select trims start with 18-inch wheels and 20-inch and 21-inch wheels only become available for the succeeding trims. Roof rails are optional for all trims while a panoramic sunroof is only available for the Reserve and Black Label trims.
The low door sills and large openings made entering the cabin akin to stepping inside rather than stepping up into it. The headroom and legroom for both rows were generous, but opting for the panoramic sunroof took away headroom especially for the taller passenger. Five people can be seated on board by the two rows of seats. They were very comfortable even on long drives and the heating, massaging and ventilating worked as expected. The range of adjustability also made it easier to fit and cater to the majority of passengers. Even with the sporty traits of its cornering skills, the ride quality remained compliant and stable. Road imperfections were still transmitted to the chassis, but it was not jarring and unsettling. External noise was hardly audible apart from the engine note when going faster.
There is 37.2 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats, and folding them down opens up 58.8 cu-ft of space for loading cargo.