2011 Lincoln MKX Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010
FAST FACTS
  • Complete refresh for 2011
  • New front fascia and exterior refresh
  • Reworked and upgraded interior
  • New 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine
  • New MyLincoln Touch infotainment technology
  • New adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support
  • New blind-spot information system
  • New 18- and 20-inch wheels

Introduction

2011 Lincoln MKXOriginally introduced in 2007 as a replacement for the Lincoln Aviator, the Lincoln MKX is a midsize, 5-passenger crossover sport utility vehicle (CUV). Built on a Ford-family unibody platform, the MKX is closely related to the Ford Edge. The debut of the MKX marked a significant change in direction from the Lincoln Aviator-itself based on the Ford Explorer. The MKX was smaller and more car-like, compared to the larger 7-passenger truck-oriented Aviator.

Just four years into its model cycle, Lincoln has treated the 2011 MKX to a significant refresh. The exterior and interior have been reworked, and the CUV is fitted with a new 6-cylinder engine that is more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the powerplant it replaces. Lincoln's crossover also gains some new tech features for 2011.

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2011 Lincoln MKX

Design

With a fresh new face, the 2011 Lincoln MKX debuts with a much more modern and flowing design-now aligned with the rest of the Lincoln lineup. The front features the signature Lincoln split-wing grille, sleek flush headlights, and bright body side cladding. The rear shows off new tail lamps with a unique hidden-LED light source and exhaust tips for a sportier and enhanced presence, says Lincoln. Even the wheels have been redesigned, with a more upscale look to better fit the upscale brand image.

The interior of the 2011 MKX utilizes more luxurious materials with genuine stitching on the doors, softer armrests, and more brightwork within the cabin. The seats are all-new, and are fitted with a standard tuxedo stripe while the two available wood accents-Olive Ash and Walnut Swirl-now have a livelier and more natural appearance, claims the automaker.

Hardware

Under the hood of the 2011 Lincoln MKX is a new 3.7-liter V-6 engine. The powerplant utilizes Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Technology (Ti-VCT) to increase power without penalty at the gas pump, Lincoln claims. The engine is rated at 305 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque, increases of 15 percent and 12 percent over the engine's predecessor, respectively. The standard transmission is a 6-speed automatic with manual mode (to give the driver better control for improved performance, says Lincoln). Front- or all-wheel drive is offered. Equipped with the new powertrain, the 2011 Lincoln MKX earns an EPA highway fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg (front-wheel drive).

Wheels on the standard models are now 18-inch alloys, with 20-inch wheels optional. The suspension has been reworked to give the MKX a flatter, more controlled ride while cornering through the use of new springs, shocks and stabilizer bars-however, the ride will still deliver the Lincoln quality buyers expect and demand, says the automaker.

The braking system on the 2011 MKX has been upgraded with larger rear rotors and revised high-friction brake pads, offering improved braking performance, according to Lincoln. The brake booster is also upgraded to offer a better brake feel for the driver, the company adds. Several new brake-related features have also been added. Hill Start Assist reduces the tendency for the vehicle to roll backwards when stopped on a hill, and Trailer Sway Control helps to improve vehicle stability while towing a trailer, the maker claims. Hydraulic Brake Assist is designed to improve brake reaction times in an emergency, and the braking system has now become an integral part of the adaptive cruise control system.

2011 Lincoln MKX

Safety

The 2011 Lincoln MKX features the automaker's Safety Canopy system. This includes six standard air bags including side curtain air bags covering all rows of passengers. In addition, the MKX is designed with an integrated safety cage unibody platform, standard anti-lock brakes, and an integrated "SOS Post Crash Alert System" designed to activate the emergency flashers and horn if the air bags deploy. The 911 Assist feature, part of the vehicle's Sync telematics system, helps to automatically alert authorities if assistance is needed.

New for 2011, the heated exterior mirrors of the MKX are fitted with innovative blind-spot mirrors-integrated into the larger mirror surface. These "mini mirrors" are shaped convexly, giving a much better view of the larger area to the side of the vehicle, helping to eliminate blind spots, Lincoln says.

Technology

Standard on all 2011 Lincoln MKX models is the automaker's "MyLincoln Touch" driver connect technology. The innovative electronic system is designed to deliver a smarter, safer and simpler way to connect drivers with in-car technologies, says Lincoln. The MyLincoln Touch system replaces the sea of small buttons, commonplace in today's sophisticated automobiles, with clear and easy-to-operate touch-screen LCD displays and a simple, familiar button interface common to cell phones and MP3 players. While the MyLincoln-and its sibling MyFord-Touch systems are familiar across the automaker's product lines, the system in the MKX operates the audio volume and fan controls-a feature unique to Lincoln.

To improve passenger comfort, Lincoln has added a more-absorptive acoustic material throughout the interior, which the manufacturer claims reduces noise inside the cabin. The "sound pack" is designed to quell high-frequency noise more effectively than traditional materials, which simply act as a barrier. In addition, the 2011 Lincoln MKX features an acoustic headliner with a microphone (for the Sync system) relocated to be closer to the driver for improved voice-recognition features. Also, the windshield has been constructed of a thicker material and acoustically laminated to reduce outside noises. The same sound-deadening glass is also used on the front doors. Lastly, expandable foam baffles have been incorporated into the fenders and rear D-pillars to help seal out additional road noise. According to the automaker, the 2011 Lincoln MKX is quieter than competitors from Lexus or Audi.
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