There was a time, in the ever-increasingly distant past, when Lincoln absolutely owned the domestic luxury SUV market. The company’s full-size Navigator sport utility vehicle had steered Lincoln directly into tremendous sales in that segment.
In fact, the company was so successful with the American market’s first true domestic luxury SUV, GM dealers threatened mutiny. (OK, that’s a bit of an overstatement.) Let’s just say they were very perturbed when Cadillac had no direct competitor for the Navigator. To alleviate that situation, the Cadillac nameplate, along with and the wreath and crest badging and the name Escalade were affixed to a very mildly restyled GMC Yukon Denali.
Turns out, the Navigator’s primary customer had more love for that Cadillac wreath and crest than it did for Lincoln’s four-pointed star. As a result, the Navigator soon fell out of favor, even though the Navigator was arguably the better of the two vehicles.
In the mid-size segment, Lincoln followed the Navigator with the Aviator, also a traditional body-on-frame SUV like its Navigator bigger brother. By the time Aviator debuted though, the SUV customer (having been spoiled by the likes of the Lexus RX, Infiniti FX and yes, Cadillac’s SRX, had matured. They expected a quieter, more comfortable and more luxurious demeanor from their mid-size luxury SUV. Aviator, derived as it was from the truck-based Ford Explorer, simply wasn’t capable of bringing the lux the way the car-based crossover utility vehicles could.
BTW, if the phrase crossover utility vehicle is a new term for you, it essentially refers to an automobile with the ride height and profile of an SUV, but rather than being based on a truck like most SUVs are, the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is typically based on a car. Think car, crossed with SUV and you’ll have the idea. In the case of the Lincoln Aviator’s replacement — the MKX — that car was the front-drive Ford Fusion, from which the Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ and Mazda6 are also derived.
In addition to the Lincoln, Ford Motor Company offers the Ford Edge and the Mazda CX-9 CUVs based on the Fusion’s platform. Ford’s Edge is the closest spiritual sibling to the MKX, with the two sharing pretty much everything other than their wheels, interiors, and front and rear exterior styling treatments.
Introduced in 2006, as a 2007 model, there has only been one generation of the MKX and a significant design update for 2011.