2007 Lincoln MKX – More Than The Sum Of Its Parts
For a dyed-in-the-wool cynic, it’d be easy to dismiss the Lincoln MKX as little more than a tarted up Ford Edge. MKX could be another case of a redressed everyman’s car devised by sinister marketing types to pick the pockets of the gullible wealthy. Sure it uses the same platform, drivetrain, chassis bits and much of the sheetmetal with the more affordably priced, er, Ford. But this kind of misanthropic thinking sells the premium-badged vehicle short in many ways. Frankly, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were suitably impressed by the MKX and how different it was from the Edge.
For starters, Lincolns spun off high-volume Ford products have been the norm rather than the exception over the luxury nameplate’s 85 years of Ford ownership. After a calamitous attempt at building overweight Mercury and Lincoln vehicles off a common platform in 1949, both brands pretty much fell into lockstep with the lowly Ford. Other than a couple of other unsuccessful tries to build stand-alone Lincolns in mid-fifties for a decade or so, common sense (and rising development costs) meant Lincolns would have to be derived from higher volume platforms.
In spite of what you might think, this sharing hasn’t really hurt Lincoln. Some of the brand’s more noteworthy and successful products were essentially redressed Fords. For example the 1971 Mark III was a Thunderbird, the Town Car a Crown Victoria and the World’s first full-size Sport Utility Vehicle, the Navigator an Expedition. So using the Ford Edge, a fine Crossover SUV in its own right, as a starting point is a cunningly clever move on a couple of levels.
Based on Ford’s D3 platform (Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ) the Edge features a standard 265HP 3.5L DOHC 24v V6 driving the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission and 4-wheel independent suspension. Starting with this, the 2007 MKX is differentiated outside with specific front sheetmetal, rear lamp clusters, tailgate and rear fascia. Inside instrument panel pad, center stack, gauge cluster and door panels are unique to the MKX. Like its Ford progenitor, Lincoln’s Crossover SUV is available with optional all-wheel-drive. In either front-drive or AWD guise, the Edge and the MKX should be all but identical dynamically.
Yet after spending just shy of 200 miles in both vehicles – the Ford around San Francisco and the Lincoln in Tennessee and North Carolina, the character of the Lincoln is a decided notch or two above that of the Edge. The Ford version will sometimes let you know its a near 4000lb vehicle with less power under the hood than a V6 Camry. And while by all rights the slightly heavier MKX should feel like an Edge on Thorazine it doesn’t. At wide-open throttle in lower gears, the Edge’s V6 can sound thrashy and stressed. Driven in a similar manner and the MKX exhibits none of this rambunctious behavior. Rack it up to a better NVH package with another little bump from my ongoing hearing loss. While the actual Db rating of the Lincoln may be no lower than the Ford, it’s a matter of the quality of the sound. Same holds true for the interior.
Even though it may be the most subjective of measures, styling of the MKX is decidedly upmarket from the in-your-face Ford Edge. The grille of the MKX pays homage to one of the best styled post-war American cars, the 1961-1965 Lincoln Continental. The pattern of the MKX grill was lifted straight off the 1965 edition.
As it now stands, the styling, refinement and interior appointments more than justify the price differential between the MKX and its Ford sibling. In a couple of years, the MKX will be the recipient of a larger displacement version of its current engine. Indications are that in early 2009, the 3.5L powerplant will be replaced with a 3.7L V6 said to be good for around 290HP. Pity that engine isn’t ready now.