2017 Lincoln MKX Exterior Hero ・ Photo by Lincoln
Midsize luxury crossovers like the 2017 Lincoln MKX Select can offer compelling advantages for owners, starting with an unexpectedly imposing footprint: The MKX is a two-row entry that’s just two inches shorter than the three-row Lexus GX. They've done a nice job of differentiating the current MKX from the Ford Edge (something that hasn’t always been true of past generations), and the outcome has been significant sales growth since the all-new MKX was introduced last year.
Perhaps that growth can be attributed in part to Lincoln’s ongoing partnership with Academy Award winning actor, Matthew McConaughey, but the MKX brings plenty of star power itself with some of Lincoln’s most premium luxury and technological features. The brand claims that the MKX “introduces 'Quiet Luxury,' a new standard that combines thoughtful and elegant design with a safe, effortless ride and a warm, tailored experience.” Let's put that claim to the test.
Despite its credibility as a premium crossover, the MKX also serves up an impressive value for customers. As a starting point, for example, the price of admission to Lincoln’s midsize entry is $38,260. The MSRP of the base-level Lexus RX — the Lincoln’s top rival — is $4,860 higher; that’s a nearly 13 percent advantage for the MKX. Yet at the same time, the Lincoln includes standard content such as heated 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a cutting-edge SYNC 3 infotainment system, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a powerful standard engine with more output than the Lexus RX can muster. And get this: Even though the 2017 Lincoln MKX Select represents the second-level trim for the four-trim lineup, and is backed by an extra package of standard equipment, it also costs less than the entry-level Lexus: Select pricing opens at $41,550 with a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 3.7-liter V6 and at $43,550 with a high-performance 2.7-liter turbocharged V6.
Photo by Lincoln
The 2017 Lincoln MKX Select, like all MKX trims, comes with a standard 3.7-liter V6 engine that produces 303 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque while running on regular 87-octane unleaded fuel. That not only tops the 295 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque from the Lexus RX 350, it also exceeds the standard output of the Audi Q7 -- a bigger, more expensive, three-row vehicle. Also standard for the MKX is a six-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, a 3,500-lb tow rating, and EPA estimates of 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 mpg combined. The available 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 then raises the bar to 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, bolstered by an EPA line of 18/25/20 on regular unleaded gas. All-wheel-drive MKX models are rated at 16/23/19 with the standard powerplant and 17/24/19 with the optional turbo unit.
Continuing to showcase the low-and-wide proportions of past MKX generations, the 2017 Lincoln MKX Select now gets distinguished by sophisticated sculpting along its flanks and side character lines that create subtle wheel arches for the vehicle’s 18-inch painted aluminum-alloy wheels with a bright, machined finish. Up front, Lincoln’s hallmark split-wing grille flows back into high-intensity discharge headlamps, which, in turn, are set off by LED signature lighting. The vehicle’s tail lamps, reverse lamps, and daytime running lamps are also LED. The exterior mirrors are likewise upscale, with standard heating, integrated turn-signal indicators, a power-folding function, and a memory setting. The rear of the MKX continues the uplevel theme, from chromed dual-exhaust tips to a handsfree power-operated rear liftgate which opens after the owner gently waves her or his foot beneath the built-in sensor at the back bumper. Chrome door-handle inserts and lower-door inserts create additional visual appeal.
This section of our 2017 Lincoln MKT Select road test and review highlights an especially welcome touch for customers who crave a luxurious cabin: seating trimmed in supple Bridge of Weir “Deepsoft” leather, with the driver and front-seat passenger ensconced in 10-way power-adjustable seats with heating and four-way manually adjustable headrests. A leather-wrapped, multifunction steering is standard as well, as are ambient lighting, a filtered climate-control system, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering-wheel column, and real-wood cabin trim in high-gloss walnut and open-pore ash. Push-button ignition and push-button shift are on board, too. Next, for cargo purposes, the second-row bench seats have a 60/40 split and a simple-to-use EasyFold seatback-release mechanism. After owners leverage that handy resource, the vehicle’s carrying capacity jumps from a standard 37.2 cubic feet to 68.8. The Lexus RX's rear cargo ratings are well behind the Lincoln’s at 18.4 cubic feet and 56.3 cubic feet.
The 2017 Lincoln MKX Select gets the latest SYNC 3 infotainment system, complete with faster, more accurate performance, enhanced voice recognition, and a new 8-inch capacitive LCD touchscreen that can respond to smartphone-style pinch-and-swipe gestures. Complementing that system is support of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, which can display a compatible smartphone’s homescreen with the vehicle’s infotainment screen for easier, more comprehensive use of in-vehicle smartphone resources. Among the other standard infotainment resources for the MKX are a Lincoln Sound System with 10 speakers (including a subwoofer), and a six-month complimentary subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. It’s also worth noting that as Lincoln continues its work to improve SYNC 3 functionality, the company will be able to ensure owners of 2017 models will be able to keep up-to-date: Software updates can be downloaded automatically when the vehicle is within range of a WiFi hotspot.
The 2017 Lincoln MKX Select isn’t the most well-equipped entry in the segment in terms of standard occupant-protection content. Oh, it does have a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from NHTSA, and the highest possible crashworthiness grades from the IIHS. A rearview camera also comes standard, and so do driver-assistance measures such as torque-vectoring control and curve control, for road holding, plus a hill-hold function, to prevent rolling backward on inclines. The MKX, moreover, joins other Lincoln vehicles in furnishing a subscription-free “911 Assist” features as part of its infotainment system and helps owners watch out for younger drivers with MyKey. This technology can mute the MKX audio system unless seatbelts are buckled, limit the vehicle’s top speed, block Sirius radio stations rated as “explicit,” and provide early warnings when the fuel tank is running low. The high-level driver-assistance tech, however, is covered in the “Available Equipment” section below.
Picking up where we just left off — in the safety department — the 2017 Lincoln MKX Select can be upgraded with a Select Plus Package ($1,100) that bundles a Blind-spot Information System (with cross-traffic alert) and voice-activated navigation. The Climate Package ($620) ups the ante for comfort, thanks to heated seating in the outboard rear positions and a heated steering wheel for the driver, and matches that warmth with automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, and windshield-wiper de-icer. Need a bit more power? The available ($2,000) 2.7-liter V6 engine relies on twin turbochargers and direct injection for 335 hp, 380 lb-ft of torque, and an EPA line of 18/25/20 — slightly better than in the standard MKX. Intelligent all-wheel drive is available for an additional $2,495 for all MKX trims with either engine, and this technology is paired with Lincoln Drive Control for continuously controlled damping and refined road-holding even in slippery conditions.
Driving the 2017 Lincoln MKX Select is about more than merely getting behind the wheel of one of the industry’s top premium SUVs. The brand builds on that benefit with a lux-oriented ownership experience that incorporates the aptly named “Lincoln Experiences.” With this suite of technologies, the MKX engages with the owner well before the doors are opened: Once the Lincoln Approach Detection System identifies the driver’s keyfob, the vehicle’s LED door-handle lights activate, an illuminated Lincoln-logo “welcome mat” is projected from the exterior mirrors, and the MKX’s signature lighting gracefully glows into sight. For digitally oriented drivers, the Lincoln Experiences package also includes the Lincoln Way App, a free app that lets owners access key vehicle functions from their smartphones. In the MKX Select in particular, the cabin’s ambient lighting also goes through a distinctive light-up sequence, accompanied by power-folding exterior mirrors with driver’s-side auto-dimming.
The 2017 Lincoln MKX Select stands out as a good value choice from what’s become a surprisingly high-end roster of Lincoln’s midsized, two-row SUVs. Its Bridge of Weir seats, redesigned SYNC 3 infotainment system, powerful standard engine, and sleek exterior design are all cues that will satisfy luxury customers. But shoppers also should know that the range-topping trims for MKX extend the Select-level of content with lane-keeping technology, adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering, automatic parking assistance, a 360-degree camera, and a pre-collision system with active braking and pedestrian detection. Indeed, the MKX can move into ultra-lux territory with 22-way multi-contour-massage seating for the driver and front-seat passenger, a 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system with Quantum Logic surround sound, and exclusive Black Label editions. Among the Black Label benefits: rich materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and artful style themes that are “custom-curated by a hand-selected team of influential designers.” Which is why selecting between the MKX Select and its sibling can be so challenging.