Looking to carve out a niche in the crowded crossover market, Lincoln has unveiled an all-new version of its midsize MKX at the North American International Auto Show, adding new engine choices, improved technologies and its new Black Label personalization program.
The debut of the 2016 MKX comes at a critical time for Lincoln which has just begun to see some daylight after years of declining sales and market share in its home market. And with its recent launch in China, the maker is now ramping up plans to expand its narrow product line-up.
“We are focused on delivering engaging and refined luxury vehicles with innovative and thoughtful technologies,” said Kumar Galhotra, the new president of Lincoln. “The all-new Lincoln MKX reflects that focus.”
The new model moves away from the boxy designs that have long dominated the midsize CUV and SUV segments. The goal was to create a more elegant, refined and sporty appearance, according to design chief David Woodhouse. The overall look is “more athletic,” he suggests, “less wedgy, lower and wider.”
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One of the more interesting details is the use of a rear spoiler that helps conceal the antenna system, eliminating the awkward “shark fin” found on so many of today’s vehicles.
The nose features the latest interpretation of Lincoln’s new Split Wing grille. Meanwhile, a new package of interior and exterior lights, including a puddle lamp system that projects the brand logo has been dubbed the “Lincoln Embrace.” A hands-free liftgate is part of the package, as well.
The interior, meanwhile, adopts a more sophisticated look, with refined Bridge of Weir leather and the use of open pore woods. Lincoln designers and engineers eliminated many of the knobs and switches found in the old MKX, but kept those that motorists tend to use most frequently, such the basic HVAC and audio system controls.
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The debut of the second-generation MKX marks the launch of an alliance between Lincoln and Revel, one of the most exclusive of audio systems manufacturers. It’s the first time a Revel system will be offered in a new automobile.
The crossover will join the smaller MKC crossover and MKZ sedan in offering buyers the new Black Label brand-within-a-brand. Buyers can opt for one of a pair of distinctive themes.
“One is inspired by the fashion, lifestyle and art scene of 1920s Paris, while the excitement, passion and pageantry of high-stakes thoroughbred horse racing create the vision for the second new theme,” Lincoln explains.
Along with unique interior details and finishes, Black Label customers will be offered a number of special deals and features, ranging from free car washes to access to top restaurants around the country.
The new MKX can be ordered with either a 3.7-liter V-6 making 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, or a new 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that is expected to bump that to 330-hp and 370 lb-ft. Both engines will share a six-speed automatic with push-button shifter. Front drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive also will be available.
And the Lincoln Drive Control system can be set to three distinct modes, Normal, Sport and Comfort.
The 2016 MKX adopts a new integral link rear suspension which, Lincoln claims, helps stiffen the body and improve both ride and handling.
A wide range of safety and driver’s aid systems have been added to the new Lincoln MKXm including pre-collision assist, and both a rearview camera and 360-degree camera system which offers a simulated birds-eye view of the vehicle.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but Lincoln confirmed the new MKX will reach dealer showrooms in the U.S. by autumn, with other markets to start taking deliveries in the following months.
(To see the most important debuts of the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Click Here.)