2016 MKX Could Be The Sign That Lincoln Is Finally Getting The Luxury Message

The 2016 Lincoln MKX might be the most compelling proof to date that Ford is serious about restoring the brand to true luxury status.

On the outside, it may be rather derivative of recent models like the MKZ and MKC, but I think the design language works best on the MKX, as if it were originally designed for something this size and then scaled up and down for the rest of the lineup as necessary. It's an elegant SUV that doesn't try to go out of its way to pretend it's anymore than a large, tall wagon, either – and I appreciate that.

The real story happens on the inside, though. While ambitious, the MKZ and MKC interiors didn't feel truly luxurious, but more like highly optioned Titanium-trim Fords. With its large slabs of matte woods, nicely brushed metals and soft materials everywhere your hands go, it's a genuine surprise. The center stack of buttons, replacing touch-sensitive sliders from the old MKX, don't look like afterthoughts here as in some of other Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

This new MKX just feels more substantial than the old one, too. Considering it feels like a Lexus RX350 in terms of size, it shames that car's interior with an actual sense of style, and definitely more quality fixtures and fittings. And its controls will undoubtedly be more user-friendly than the system in the Cadillac SRX, a car that also feels its age right now in terms of quality and packaging.

A couple points to worry about, though. It's going to cost too much, which considering an MKC gets into $50,000 with some big packages means this could get very expensive. And second, models like the RX and SRX are set to be revised soon. Other rivals like the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 offer a third-row seat. Then there are the high-end versions of new non-premium branded products like the Nissan Murano, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford's own Edge.

Lincoln isn't luxury enough yet, so the MKX might still get caught in this gap.

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