Lincoln is hard at work upgrading its lineup to further distance itself from Ford and improve its name in the luxury space. The 2018 Lincoln MKX, however, is still on old-Lincoln looks and brand cachet, so it’s not quite on par with some of its more luxurious competitors. But with this comes a bit of a discount relative to the competition.

Best Value

While the base Premiere trim is well equipped and a good value at $39,960 (destination fees included), there's even more value in the $43,475 Select trim. It adds all the basic features that any luxury car shopper needs, plus a few extras. The added creature comforts include leather seating, wood trim, a hands-free power liftgate, and upgraded infotainment apps. What’s more, this also opens the door for options like a panoramic sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation.

  • Model: 2018 Lincoln MKX Select
  • Engine: 3.7-liter V6
  • Output: 303 hp / 278 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 17 City / 25 Hwy
  • Options: Select PLUS Package ($1,200, voice-controlled navigation, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert)
  • Base Price: $43,475 (including a $925 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $44,675

Performance

Lincoln MKX

The Lincoln MKX’s base engine accelerates the crossover well with its 303 horsepower, but there's some value in shelling out the extra $2,000 for the 2.7-liter turbocharged V6. This boosted V6 has more-accessible horsepower and torque, which add to the driving experience and make it feel more on par with its higher-end competitors.

The MKX’s ride is well sorted in all trims, but all-wheel-drive models with the adaptive suspension feel even more composed in Sport mode. This mode tightens everything up just a hair without making it too rough. Plus, braking is surprisingly good and free from any dramatics.

Fuel economy, though, suffers big time, as the base engine gulps fuel at a pace of at least 16 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined, according to the EPA. The turbocharged V6 is a little easier on fuel, but it still has a big appetite at an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city, 25 highway, and 20 combined.

Style

Styling is a tough one for the MKX, as many buyers will look at it and recall the mass-market Ford Edge. What’s more, the luxury touches that attempt to separate it from its Ford donor – including the maligned Lincoln twin-wing grille, shiny chrome, and the massive one-piece taillight assembly – are dated.

Inside, the MKX does a little better with its unique cabin that's free of much clutter and feels far more upscale than its source material. Moving up to the Black Label trim adds true luxury, like chestnut leather with maple wood trim, but it's costly at nearly $55,000. While the lack of a gear shifter does contribute to the cleanliness, it results in a finicky and frustrating push-button transmission.

In terms of overall comfort, though, the MKX’s interior is well above average, as its standard heated 10-way power seats are plenty supportive, while the optional massage function adds to the upscale feel. There's plenty of room too, as it boasts 39.6 inches of rear seat leg room and up to 68.8 cubes of cargo room with the rear seats folded.

The Best and Worst Things

The cabin is by far the best thing about the MKX, as it's well laid out, peaceful and comfortable in all trims. Sure, the synthetic leather in the base models is a bummer, but the comfort remains. What’s more, the Black Label model caters nicely to the deeper-pocketed individual.

On the downside, the Lincoln brand doesn’t scream luxury, and its ho-hum exterior appearance doesn’t do much to sway this opinion.

Right For? Wrong For?

Lincoln MKX

The MKX is perfect for the buyer looking into the luxury segment but lacking the budget for the Lexus RX 350 or Cadillac XT5.

However, those seeking a tried-and-true luxury crossover will likely be disappointed with the looks and the brand cachet the Lincoln MKX offers.

The Bottom Line

While Lincoln is on the upswing in terms of carving out space in the luxury realm, some of its models have fallen behind, and the 2018 MKX is lagging a bit. Its replacement, the 2019 Nautilus, is sure to be a better option.