2016 Lincoln MKX - Self-driving, Almost! A Review By Larry Nutson +VIDEO
2016 LINCOLN MKX
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Self-driving or autonomous cars have been in the news a lot lately. So much so that you might think they will be hitting the streets any day now. Well, don’t hold your breath.
Nearly all the auto companies around the globe are working on this self-driving stuff. Even Google and Apple have gotten in to the business. Google has self-driving cars being tested on the roads around its California headquarters. A test facility at the University of Michigan has vehicles from Ford in operation.
In December I had the chance to speak with Raj Nair, the Ford (and Lincoln) Chief Technology Officer on the subject. He said that Ford Motor Company is planning to have self-driving cars on the road in many cities and locations around the country by about 2020. A qualifier defining these locations is that they must have extremely good and well-detailed GPS mapping in place. And, they can’t be snowy or heavy rain areas of the country.
The 2016 Lincoln MKX has just been extensively redesigned. It is chock-full of driver-assistance features that are well worth the money. The exterior is all-new and there’s more room on the inside with higher-quality materials. A new turbocharged engine is available and adaptive suspension dampers come on all-wheel-drive models.
One of the available semi-autonomous features, a first for any Lincoln, may help avoid or lessen the severity of some frontal crashes. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection can detect if a collision is imminent and, if you do nothing, the brakes will be automatically applied.
The Lane-Keeping System includes Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid. With Lane Keeping Alert, the steering wheel vibrates when drivers are straying from their lane. Lane-Keeping Aid provides a mild steering input to steer you back toward the center of the lane.
Blind Spot Information System, or BLIS, signals the driver when a vehicle enters one of its blind spots by displaying an indicator in the sideview mirror.
Cross-traffic alert detects traffic approaching from either side as the vehicle backs out of a parking space and warns the driver when another vehicle is present with a visual alert and audible tone.
Mb>Park Assist uses ultrasonic sensors to help steer the MKX into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot. The system can assist with park-out as well. With the push of a button the system will search for the right size parking spot and then direct you to use throttle, brake and transmission gear selector while it does the steering. Nearly everyday I see drivers who really could use this.
A 360-degree camera system is available and it’s a great help in tight parking and maneuvering. Video images from four cameras – one in the front, two in the side mirrors and one in the back – are stitched together to give the driver a bird’s eye view all around.
The MKX even has a driver drowsiness monitor that told me at one point I needed to take a break. I guess I was crossing the traffic lanes too much.
As you can see, there is some pretty cool technology that will help keep you safe and accident free while making your drive a little less stressful.
Standard is a 3.7-liter V6, SAE-rated at 303 horsepower. Also offered is a new 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, SAE-rated at 335 horsepower. Both engines are mated to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission with push-button shift. Front-wheel drive is standard. Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is optional.
EPA-test fuel economy ratings for the 3.7-L engine are 20 mpg combined, with 17 city mpg and 26 highway mpg with front-wheel drive. The AWD model is rated at 19 mpg combined, with 16 city mpg and 23 highway mpg. The 2.7-liter turbo engine is EPA-test rated at 21 mpg combined, with 17 city mpg and 26 highway mpg with front-wheel drive and 19 mpg combined with 17 city mpg and 24 highway mpg with AWD.
The MKX I drove was the Reserve trim level with all-wheel drive and the 2.7-L turbo engine. Base price on this model is $50,575.
The driver assistance features I spoke of also were equipped on the media-loan MKX. The Technology Package costs $1,720 and includes Enhanced Active Park Assist, Forward Sensing System and the 360-degree camera. The Driver Assistance Package is priced at $1,650 and includes Lane-Keeping System, Adaptive cruise control and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.
Note that this driver assistance technology is available in
mainstream brands such as Ford and others. I would give it serious
consideration on your next new vehicle.
As for the MKX, I found it to be very quiet on the inside. Road noise has been well isolated and damped. The ride quality is very comfortable and balanced with a good sense of control in turns and at higher speeds. Noise from the engine is almost non-existent and the powertrain does a fine job of moving the MKX.
More information and specifications on the 2016 Lincoln MKX can be found at www.lincoln.com. To compare the MKX to other midsize SUV look here right on www.theautochannel.com.
Relatedly, we happen to have a new Lincoln MKX in the family. My Gen-Y daughter and her husband had a compact SUV from another brand that was coming to lease end and they needed to up-size a bit. Along with already having a Labrador retriever they, as of recent, have a new baby. They needed more space for child in child seat, dog, and all the baby stuff that is necessarily carried along. I was a little surprised with their choice of the Lincoln brand by this young couple. But then again, trend studies show that young buyers have changed quite a bit from a decade ago. They have aspirations and will buy what their parents drive. Ten years ago, they didn’t want to buy the brands they were brought up with.
Sporty and sophisticated are two words my daughter uses to describe their MKX.
© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy