2011 Lincoln MKX

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2011 Lincoln MKX. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • More contemporary front-end styling
  • Improved interior quality, luxury
  • Configurable MyLincoln Touch system

The Bad

  • Backseat doesn't slide forward/backward
  • MyLincoln system may encourage distracted driving

Notable Features of the 2011 Lincoln MKX

  • Redesigned for 2011
  • New 305-hp V-6
  • Touch-sensitive dashboard controls
  • Seats five
  • FWD or AWD

2011 Lincoln MKX Road Test

David Thomas

While the Lincoln MKX gets an entirely new look inside and out and a more powerful engine for 2011, it didn‘t win me over.

The corporate twin to Ford's Edge, the oft-forgotten Lincoln MKX crossover’s most impressive change is a quiet, and comfortable ride that rivals Lexus and Acura. In addition, while it competes well with the best in its segment, it still needs work.

Exterior
It certainly wasn't the MKX's controversial looks that held me back. I like the large grille Lincoln has added to its vehicles; on larger models like the MKX, it almost looks natural.

One of my favorite design features on the previous-generation MKX (and the current MKT) is the single taillight stretching across the entire rear of the car. Unfortunately, it's been replaced on the 2011 MKX by two sad-looking taillights. Overall, though, it's a handsome SUV.

Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard, but I expect most people will get one of the two option packages that include 20-inch wheels, like the ones on the tester I piloted. Surprisingly, the bigger wheels and chrome finish didn't look at all garish.

Interior
One of the bigger surprises about the new MKX is how nice the interior is. Other Lincolns have similar treatments – a leather-stitched dashboard and comfortable heated and cooled leather seats – but the MKX is the best of the bunch.

The two-tone color palette is pleasing, and there's plenty of padding on the doors and center console for ...

While the Lincoln MKX gets an entirely new look inside and out and a more powerful engine for 2011, it didn‘t win me over.

The corporate twin to Ford's Edge, the oft-forgotten Lincoln MKX crossover’s most impressive change is a quiet, and comfortable ride that rivals Lexus and Acura. In addition, while it competes well with the best in its segment, it still needs work.

Exterior
It certainly wasn't the MKX's controversial looks that held me back. I like the large grille Lincoln has added to its vehicles; on larger models like the MKX, it almost looks natural.

One of my favorite design features on the previous-generation MKX (and the current MKT) is the single taillight stretching across the entire rear of the car. Unfortunately, it's been replaced on the 2011 MKX by two sad-looking taillights. Overall, though, it's a handsome SUV.

Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels are standard, but I expect most people will get one of the two option packages that include 20-inch wheels, like the ones on the tester I piloted. Surprisingly, the bigger wheels and chrome finish didn't look at all garish.

Interior
One of the bigger surprises about the new MKX is how nice the interior is. Other Lincolns have similar treatments – a leather-stitched dashboard and comfortable heated and cooled leather seats – but the MKX is the best of the bunch.

The two-tone color palette is pleasing, and there's plenty of padding on the doors and center console for weary elbows.

All the leather appointments, though, are really just a backdrop to the real stars of this interior: the large steering wheel, digital gauge cluster and a slick center stack, featuring buttonless controls and a touch-screen LCD that overwhelm the driver (in a good way).

I'll dig into how well the multimedia system works later on, but in terms of basic functions, like air conditioning and the radio, the touch-sensitive console works well … for the most part. The buttons audibly click on and off instantly, and they're as easy to find blindly as are any typical buttons.

The slider pads to control air-conditioning vent speed and stereo volume, however, don't work so well.

The volume slides up and down steadily, but if you press too hard on either the right or left side, the volume jumps up or down. That's intended; you can either push or slide to adjust the volume. But if you go in for the slide and your initial push is too hard, you get the jump rather than a smooth, steady adjustment.

Seat comfort in back is very good, and it was more spacious back there for my passengers than was the Lexus RX 350 I tested a few days later. The spec sheet backs this up, with the advantage in rear dimensions going to the MKX. However, our child-safety seats proved to be tight fits in both models, though things were a bit better in the MKX. That didn't stop constant seat kicking by my kids, though.

The cargo area was also impressively large, at 32.3 cubic feet. That area doesn't beat the Lexus on the spec sheet – the RX has 40 cubic feet – but the MKX seemed larger for golf bags and large luggage, both of which I took with me on short runs in both SUVs.

Performance
The MKX's best performance attributes are those that its rival, the Lexus, takes for granted.

This Lincoln glides softly on the road, with little wind and road noise. Even the optional 20-inch wheels didn't raise the harshness factor. The only time I noticed a problem with the suspension was over harsh road imperfections, like expansion joints. Then, the MKX would give a significant jolt — albeit a brief one. It stood out mostly because its drive was otherwise so pleasant.

The MKX's 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 interrupted that quiet drive every time I hammered down the accelerator. It's an unusually impressive announcement of power in this segment. I enjoyed the grunt and hustle from the line quite a bit … until I got into that Lexus RX 350.

The Lexus may pack “just” a 275-hp V-6, but it's plenty swift and it feels more refined than the MKX. It just doesn't have the resonating engine roar of that SUV. Like many Lexus vehicles, you can barely tell the engine is there, even when you're pushing your right foot down hard.

Brakes on both SUVs were competent, though certainly not stellar. Mileage is also similar, with front-wheel-drive MKXs getting 19/26 mpg city/highway and the RX getting slightly less, at 18/25 mpg. All-wheel-drive versions of the MKX, like my tester, obviously have lower numbers, coming in at 17/23 mpg. The all-wheel-drive RX loses less, at 18/24 mpg.

As a driver's car, the RX handled better, leaned less during tight turns — like highway off-ramps — and had a silkier transmission. What was the Lexus' unlikely Achille's heel? It had an overly tight suspension that sent shudders through the cabin that were downright maddening on rough roads.

I could easily see a luxury shopper picking the Lincoln's more comfortable but slightly less refined driving experience over the RX 350. That's saying a lot for Lincoln.

Features & Pricing
Lincoln continues to add a lot of features standard across its lineup, but when it comes to pricing, the MKX still costs slightly more than a similarly equipped Lexus RX.  

Lincoln does, however, have two standout features that Lexus can't match.

One is a simple panoramic sunroof that has two gigantic panes of glass. The front pane that slides open is a significant size, adding a nice open-air feeling to the SUV. Lexus, on the other hand, has just a standard sunroof available. Both cars include the sunroofs as part of pricey option packages.

The Lincoln's other wow-inducing feature is the standard MyLincoln Touch system, a new endeavor by Ford to bring more technology into its automobiles. One part of the system is a customizable gauge cluster with an analog speedometer flanked by two LCDs that can show a variety of information in different ways, from a trip computer to a compass to heat settings.

There was no question as to the appeal of this aspect of MyLincoln Touch.

But then there was the multimedia system. The system is standard, including an 8-inch touch-screen and a number of features. (Navigation, however, is part of a $7,500 option package.)

I was impressed by how easy it was to set up the Bluetooth system for my iPhone and the display for my iPod tracks. The optional THX sound system was good, but not nearly as robust as the Lexus RX's upgraded system. And other than all that, I found the MyLincoln Touch system to be a dismal failure.

Every touch command is delayed a tick too long, which makes this very advanced-looking system feel like an antiquated one. While some of the buttons have a visual effect like water rippling when you touch them, that doesn't overcome the fact that my radio station didn't change instantly.

As in systems from Audi and BMW, some functions — like whether you want your climate-controlled air directed at your feet, head or both — are in this LCD system versus having physical controls down below. And don't get me started on trying to turn on the heated seats.

I found the navigation graphics to be a bit behind some of the better systems on the market. It was also nearly impossible to point to a part of the map and adjust the view, or to select a road incident to see what exactly it was.

Add a black screen and tiny fonts, and I'm not sure Gen Xers — let alone Baby Boomers — will enjoy hunting for the controls they need.

Remote start, dual-zone climate control, Ford's Sync voice-recognition system, a 10-speaker sound system, heated and cooled leather seats up front, a power liftgate, parking sensors and 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard for the MKX's $39,145 starting price for front-wheel drive and $40,995 for all-wheel drive.

There are only two option packages: a $2,500 Premium Package that adds xenon headlamps, ambient interior lighting, premium leather seats, heated rear seats, a rearview camera, a heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescoping, and rain-sensing wipers. The $7,500 Elite Package adds voice-activated navigation, a blind spot warning system, a THX surround-sound stereo system with HD radio, a panoramic moonroof, and 20-inch, chrome-clad aluminum wheels.

All told, our tester came to $51,635. A similarly equipped Lexus RX 350 with the largest available wheels (19 inches) and that smaller moonroof comes in at $49,168. Buyers may have a hard time reconciling the higher price for what is essentially a newcomer versus the well-known quantity of the Lexus.

Safety
The MKX has the standard slate of six airbags, stability control and, as part of some option packages, blindspot monitoring.

The 2011 MKX earned the top score, Good, in frontal, side and rear crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It received the second best score, Acceptable, in roof-strength tests, keeping it from being an IIHS Top Safety Pick, a vaunted designation.

The federal government has not yet crash-tested the MKX.

Lincoln MKX in the Market
A worthy competitor to Acura and Lexus is a welcome thing for car shoppers. More options and selection mean better odds of finding the right vehicle for you. Besides the wonky multimedia system in the MKX, there isn't anything to turn off prospective buyers.

The positives outweigh the negatives by leaps and bounds, and I even like the styling. But after living with the MKX, I just couldn't get excited about it. It was a gut reaction, even as my brain told me how great it was. I suspect the features and pleasing ride, though, will win over many shoppers' tentative guts.

Send David an email  



2011 MKX Video

Cars.com's David Thomas takes a look at the 2011 Lincoln MKX.

Latest 2011 MKX Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(4.1)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

2011 Lincoln MKX

by DRnNC from Wilmington, NC on August 16, 2018

Very nice and comfortable riding vehicle, friends that ride with always give me great compliments on how nice it is. Has a clean look in my option. The 20-inch rims look great! The silver color looks ... Read full review

(5.0)

I LOVE MY LINCOLN MKX

by Wander Woman from Haddonfield, NJ on August 2, 2018

Best car I ever owned. The ride, handling, reliability, appearance, visibility, sound system, and comfort make it seem a part of me. Passengers comment on comfort and beauty. It has been a great ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2011 Lincoln MKX currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2011 Lincoln MKX Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Lincoln
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    72 months / 70,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Less than 6 years old/80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    200-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The MKX received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker