One of our editors recently suggested to me that maybe CC’s coverage is skewing a bit old these days. Well, that’s true, for a couple of fairly good reasons, one of them being that my own interest in most cars of the more recent decades is not exactly very keen. But maybe I need to kick myself in the arse a bit…forward, all the way to the 21st century even? How about a lovely Lincoln MKX, for your viewing and reading pleasure?
I’m not sure where to start, except to say that if I’ve ever seen one in Eugene, I didn’t notice. Lincolns of recent vintage are extremely rare here; not just because Lincoln has gone downhill generally in terms of market share, but it’s just not a brand that speaks to Subaru, Prius and Tesla-loving Eugenians. I wonder why?
The MKX first graced us in 2007, as a badge-engineered Ford Edge with a rather pathetic attempt to recall the brand’s glory years with a grille evoking the classic ’61-’64 Continental. “I knew Lincoln Continental; MKX, you’re no Lincoln Continental”. Sorry, not sorry.
In 2011, the MKX got the baleen whale front end (“split wing” in Lincoln parlance) that was widely adopted by the brand at the time.
I assume it was a coarse throwback to the 1939-1941 Lincoln Zephyr and Continental’s lovely and delicate grille. Or am I missing something? It won’t be the first time.
It looks pretty Edgy except that front end. But I’m sure there were wonderful amenities to make it worth the substantial premium Lincoln charged for it. Maybe some of you can fill us in.
Was it a success or flop? Well, it wasn’t exactly a hit, for sure. But then no Lincolns have been in recent decades. It sold in the 20k range most years, except for a bit of a bump in its first year (2007). The second generation (2016-2019) did a bit better, just topping 30k. Did it help Lincoln? Well, it didn’t exactly hurt, as the brand managed to improve its sales some from 2011 to 2019, just barely topping 100k that year. But sales have been heading downhill the past couple of years, down to a pretty dismal 83k in 2022, placing the brand well behind the premium market leaders.
But hope springs eternal, and Lincoln will arise again from its carbon-fuel ashes as a fully-EV brand, starting with the Star SUV, supposedly in 2025. What’s the rush? At least the name is easy to remember…
In 2011, the MKX got the baleen whale front end (“split wing”
Exactly what I thought the first time I saw one of these things coming at me: looked like a Right Whale.
To my eye, Lincoln got that wing grill right on the Mk-C, with horizontal bars. Then they switched to the rectangular thing they have now. My neighbors had a Corsair, but totaled it while wintering in Florida. I noticed, in the last couple days, when announcing the recall, none of the news readers on TV can pronounce “Corsair” correctly, Should not be surprised. I was watching the news one evening, when the Berlin wall was coming down, and the news reader, while talking about the square where the Brandenburg Gate is, stared at the teleprompter for a moment, and said “Platz”, instead of the full name of the square.
We’ve owned 2 Edge Titanium’s…Both times we were in the buying mode I cross shopped MKX’s. A loaded Titanium was ~ $8,000 less than a mid range MKX. It made the Edge the obvious choice for us.
A loaded Titanium was ~ $8,000 less than a mid range MKX. It made the Edge the obvious choice for us.
So Ford takes the Edge away, but gives us a Chinese built Nautilus. Gotta love the MBA thought process.
It’s just an opinion from a bystander, but I get the impression that Lincoln is the brand most trying to adhere to the concept of “American Luxury”. They seem to be somewhat plentiful in my area, but of course this is Florida, so draw your own conclusions about the demographic they’re popular with. Other than that brief period during which those awful grill treatments were stuck on them, I find that I like the styling, both interior and exterior of the whole lineup. But of course I’m in my late 50’s, so again, draw conclusions. Perhaps their lackluster sales figures prove that the market is rapidly drying up for the traditional “American Luxury” vehicle.
My sister-in-law drove a 2008 Edge Limited for a couple years. I liked the styling of that first generation MKX, so I asked my brother why they didn’t look at them. His answer was that the Edge Limited had everything the MKX had, except the price tag. I don’t know what the premium was for the Lincoln over the Ford, but apparently it was substantial.
In my opinion, Ford Motor Company made its biggest mistake since the EDSEL by discontinuing full size vehicles. Having owned Ford, MERCURY, and Lincolns ( converts, two and four door), driving a glorified truck 🚚 no matter how luxurious, is definitely not MY taste. Trucks serve a definite purpose and many love them. But dressing one up and marketing it as a luxury vehicle makes no sense. Most large cities used Crown Vics are Mercurys for police and taxi service! Livery service frequently relied on Town Cars. Easier to park and maneuver through traffic, and more fuel efficient. Worst of all are the stretch SUVS Limos! 🤮. When I rarely see one of these split grille Lincolns, It looks like a hissing snake. And sadly most other makes have gone DOWN the same path.👎.
Paul, you wrote that it looks pretty Flexy. I assume you meant Edgy. But in fact, I think a Flex-based Lincoln might have been a success. It wouldn’t have been hard to make the long, low and straight Flex look even more like a ‘61 Continental.
Yes I did. Just goes to show how engaged I was writing this. And I rather agree about the Flex.
The apparently totall forgotten MKT was the Lincoln version of the Flex and did, indeed, exist.
I always rather liked the electric-razor grille on the early MKXes.
That’s a great description of the grille! Come to think of it, it does resemble the shaving head of a Remington!
I like the first ‘retro-attempt’ grille, no thanks on the second.
There’s been many model generations of Lincolns that weren’t great successes. In highsight, however, they are admired today – right here at CC. This week we discussed the fiasco of the 1958-1960 Lincolns, yet most of us could still see something special in those wigged-out goliaths that made them worth remembering and noticing.
I like American heritage, so I like Lincoln. No one really needs luxury SUVs, yet there are a lot of people buying other brands in that same market, outselling Lincoln. So there is a market for a luxury SUV like this one. Ford has made the Edge work after a tough start. The Edge is today’s “Ford Sedan” of yore. Lincoln has always taken a Ford and dressed it up – and that is what they did with this Ford Edge. They took a very good car and made it into a Lincoln.
Then, there is something with Lincoln that the competition, other than Cadillac, does not have. American heritage. American legacy. Lincoln has been selling itself on its heritage and like a lot of Americans, I respond positively to that. I recently got a Toyota Avalon for one of my kids, because I couldn’t pass up the deal. The Avalon, unsurprisingly, is pretty decent. Yet the ride isn’t as good, it isn’t as quiet, and it isn’t as relaxing as my old Panther body Ford – or a Lincoln. That’s worth something. That might not be enough for those with other priorities, but it is for me.
Ford had a Flex based Lincoln, the MKT. It looked like an upside down boat. Horridly ugly looking thing, I was afraid my grandma might haunt us since she took her last ride in a hearse version of that horrid lump
It may have been based on the Flex platform but it looked nothing like that handsome (to me) Ford. Just awkward. Unlike these Lincoln’s which reek of badge-engineering at its worst, I think the Flex is worthy of late model CC status.
Lincoln always seems to have something around the corner that will resurrect their success; back when it was the MmmKay__ Ford badge jobs, the resurrected Continental was going to save them, when the Continental didn’t save them it was the resurrected Aviator SUV with cribbed land rover styling that would save them, now it’s EV – wow a plan for an EV only lineup! That’s the ticket! No other car maker/brand is doing(saying) that!
Lincoln’s styling, and marketing, direction in this era really tries leaning heavily on the popular culture aura of the 61 Continental and that whole fashionable Mad Men rendition of the 60s style and marketing, but the reality is the most commercially successful Lincoln’s of all time were the ones with fake Rolls Royce grilles and fake spare tire humps. Lincoln desperately wants to be perceived as this classy company that the Kennedy’s would nod in approval to(so much so using JFK’s death car in a TV commercial! Classy!), and it just seemed they couldn’t market their way to that idealized brand perception. Now of course they’re clearly copying Land/range Rover so maybe they’ve tried shifting back to their Rolls grille cribbing days but too little too late. All those Continental/Zephyr wannabee cars the entire lineup was filled with were just would-be Mercurys and the public noticed, and that reputation carry’s on into their current lineup no matter how well separated it is or will be. The brand is doomed
Lincoln needs so badly to get back to their design heritage from years back. The current group of vehicles have no elegance and style that say Lincoln. There is no Lincoln-Look to the vehicles of today. The LS was a step in the right direction but never allowed to grow into its own due to Jaguar wanting to be top dog. There were sketches I saw in Motor Trend showing a proposed 2003 Lincoln LS as a 4-door convertible which looked stunning.
The MKR had the most potential of an LS replacement based off the Mustang but again, nothing happened. Then we get a half baked 2017 Continental. So much potential but not the right platform. The 2017 Continental should have been based off the Mustang platform or a LWB LS if you will. AND how about taking the LS and making a proper Mark 9 to go with it. Dream, Dream, Dream. Will Lincoln ever gives something that is breathtaking, elegant and passionate along with the classic Lincoln-Look done modern but not bland? What ever happened to the C-Concept? That would have been interesting to build if close to the concept but with a different front grille that would say Lincoln better than they do now. At least China gets a new sedan in the form of the Zephyr. Perhaps they will get a new Continental someday especially when Cadillac is redesigning the CT6 for China.
Until I retired in 2013 I was a frequent visitor to the Toronto airport and often used the airport limo service. Their fleet were all Lincoln Continentals, so they were in a bit of a bind when they stopped making them. They eventually started using the 2011 MKX. I had several trips in them and found them great as a limo. I don’t know what they currently use, but I have rarely seen a privately owned MKX.
I actually kinda think one of these might look good with an opera window. That might be a distinctive style feature harkening back to the Lincoln Town Car, etc.
Count me as one who doesn’t like the vertical-bar front. It looks crude to the point of being crass, if it’s intended to reprise the ’41 front. Finer bars, maybe? Or those tiny squinty frowny-looking headlights. The ’07 front end appeared rich and serene without the angst and aggression the later front conveys.
With all the bad driving on the roads already, should a prestige vehicle’s grille suggest road rage? BMW seems to say yes; I would say not.
I FAR prefer the original exterior styling even though it was far more blatantly a Ford with a little extra gingerbread than the newer one. That’s pretty much been Lincoln’s problem for the last couple of decades. A Mercury was a slightly fancier Ford and a Lincoln was a slightly fancier Mercury. But the Ford could also often be optioned up to basically Lincoln levels for a lower price. A shared showroom doesn’t help either when they are side by side.
We rented an Edge once and were amused when it came with a Lincoln key. So that’s the closest I’ve been to driving an MkX. The upper-crust key in my pocket felt great, worth every additional penny, and then it just opened…a Ford.
There’s nothing appealing in the current Lincoln line-up to me, I usually equate the brand with the “one last car” buyer but somehow their average buyer age has come down, it used to be the oldest in the industry at 61 a decade ago.
Also, Ford has cancelled the Edge.
Click bait headline, “While the stock market surges to record highs, Ford has lost its Edge.”
I now find that Lincoln has now replaced Jaguar as the object of my interest and affection. So I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about these vehicles. Lincoln started their modern design language with the Mark II. It set the formula for the following line of Marks. Long hood, short deck, chrome RR inspired grille, fake spare tire on the rear, personal coupe. The sedan design was started with the ’61. The flat sides, boxy roof, kick up over the rear quarters identified the Lincoln look until the beginning of the ’90’s.
Then they had to make the transition to modern contemporary styling. This is where they kind of lost it. The thing about heritage design is, “who actually remembers it?” Besides Curbivores? I think that most buyers only look at design from the previous ten years or so as heritage, not fifty.
Is someone who is looking for a new luxury midsize SUV really thinking that it would/should look like a Lincoln from the 1940’s? I don’t think so. I think that the buyer accepts that it should look pretty much like other SUVs, except that it should be recognizable as a premium product. Lincoln has been doing a pretty good job with their interiors since the 2002 Navigator. Each year they get better looking, and they look appropriate to a premium product.
The exteriors are another thing, it appears that Lincoln was as wedded to the chrome grille as RR. They have had a hell of a time coming up with an alternative that defines their marque in the same way. Think of the Versailles, it was just a pastiche of Lincoln cues thrown on a Granada, but looking at it, you instantly knew that it was a Lincoln! It may not have been tasteful, but there was no doubt of what it was. All of those split wing, baleen whale looking front ends with the tiny headlights; looking like a beady eyed nautical creature, just demonstrates how some people will buy a car they like, despite how it looks.
Now Lincoln has settled on a look that it has used across it’s entire range; each one looks kinda like a smaller version of the Navigator. Cadillac has done the same with it’s SUvs and it’s cars.
I think that the Continental and the MKZ were good looking cars at the end, Since Ford axed all it’s cars there are no longer platforms for Lincoln automobiles. If FWD is too plebian just sell AWD versions, that’s what Audi did. It’s too bad that Lincoln gave up on it’s cars, sure they’d be slow sellers, but I think that they helped round out the range.
American style luxury still has it’s appeal. I just drove my old ’05 Navigator 600 miles this weekend, up to the Oregon coast with a detour around Klamath Falls. I drove it on interstates, county highways, country two lanes, and even on twisty two lane mountain roads. It was comfortable, quiet, spacious, with smooth and secure handling. I like the way that it looks inside and out. In the past I’d had Cadillac DeVilles and Sevilles that could do that job, now I have a truck based SUV that satisfies me in the same way.
I always wanted to like these – I have had a soft spot for Lincoln that goes back to my childhood. But somehow I could never get myself all the way there for modern Lincolns.
I had high hopes a few years ago when Lincoln was making its dealers pony up for luxe dealership facilities, and I thought “Maybe Ford has finally figured out the Lexus secret – a good product with superlative service and support.” But – perhaps not.
I still have hopes for Lincoln, but their product range is just too narrow, still if they can sell a lot of them… I like the styling of the new Nautilus much better than this older MKX. I’ve never warmed up to the rear roofline. It’s the interiors that really attract me, just as I was attracted to Jaguars.
I think that the Aviator is the best looking model, and the smaller models will see more volume. Mid size SUVs are really popular. Still, I’d say that the most common American luxury vehicle is the crew cab pick up. There are tons of them around and they are optioned up to luxury levels.
I owned one of these MKX’s for 6 years and wrote about it extensively in a COAL.
To summarize, I was initially hesitant about owning a Lincoln but the purchase of this car coincided with my admission to the AARP 50 and over club, so I guess it fit my station in life. It did grow on me over the years and I ended up really enjoying owning and driving the MKX and developed a newfound respect for Lincoln. Yeah, it’s nothing but a tarted-up Ford Edge but Ford did a pretty good job of tarting with the MKX.