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THE X FACTOR

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Jun 27, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

X MARKS THE SPOT By Roy Nakano

Back in model year 1961, Lincoln introduced what was to become one of the greatest automotive designs in the last half of the 20th century: The Lincoln Continental. After years of styling exercises with tailfins and excess chrome, the Continental's clean, simple lines and slab sides were a stark contrast to what was coming out of Detroit until then.

Almost 50 years later, Lincoln repeats history with a design that is remarkably similar to the 1961 Continental. This time around, it's an SUV - and its design is distinctly different from the rugged, macho look that is characteristic of most SUV designs. The recipient of this good design is the new crossover SUV from Lincoln, the MKX. The design of the grille and fenders, in particular, harkens back to the classic Continentals of the early 1960s.

The operative word for the MKX is "crossover" - and it explains why the vehicle is a superior performer in handling, ride, acceleration, and fuel mileage when compared with its non-crossover competition. The MKX is based on a unibody car platform, which makes for a lighter, more ridged body structure - and that translates to the vehicle that drives more like a car than your traditional SUV. The MKX is also the recipient of Ford Motor Company's latest V6 design, the 3.5L Duratec, which generates 265 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 250 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. This new power plant represents a considerable advance in both power delivery and efficiency or the folks over at the big Blue Oval. Both the platform and the engine are responsible for the MKX's excellent acceleration and fuel economy figures.

Accolades for good design are not limited to the MKX's exterior. Lincoln has been producing some of the nicest interiors in the industry, and the one in the MKX is a shining example. The light wood trim, for instance, is very tastefully executed in a naturally textured finish (as opposed to the usual temptation to make it look like it's been dipped in urethane). The interior design has not gone unnoticed by the industry. The MKX received Ward Automotive's "best interior" design award this year. It is well-deserved. In daily operation, the MKX works very well. Behind the wheel, it's easy to forget that this is an SUV. The MKX corners like a well-tuned sedan, and accelerates onto highways with passing power to spare. A few touches deserve mention. One is the power lift gate, which makes opening and closing the rear hatch a lot easier. The optional panoramic roof is a joy to have, and it really seems to bring some of the attributes of a convertible into this crossover SUV.

Lincoln has put together a very attractive product in the MKX. Equally attractive is the price of this vehicle, which starts at $34,120. SUMMARY JUDGMENT The right crossover vehicle at the right time, and at the right price. For more information about Lincoln products, go to www.lincoln.com.

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: Lincoln MKX Price of vehicle: Base model - $34,120 AWD - $35,770 Engine type: 3.5 liter DOHC V6 EPA fuel economy: FWD - 18 mpg/city, 25 mpg/highway, AWD - 17 mpg/city, 24 mpg/highway Horsepower: 265 hp at 6,250 rpm Torque: 250 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine front-wheel drive Front engine all-wheel drive (optional) Transmission type: 6-speed automatic AWD Front suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts, L-shaped lower control arm with isolated subframe and anti-roll bar Rear suspension: Independent, trailing blade, integrated knuckle and lateral links, coil springs, gas-charged shocks, and anti-roll bar Wheels and tires: 17X7 standard steel wheels, optonal 18X8 aluminum wheels, 235.65R17 standard, 245/60R18 optional tires. Brakes: Front-11.7-in vented disc Rear: 11.5-in. solid discs Overall length: 186.5 inches Overall width: 75.8 inches Overall height: 67.5 inches Curb weight: FWD - 4,220 lbs. AWD - 4,420 lbs.

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