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2007 Lincoln MKX

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Crossover Review: Lincoln was created to stand above the other Ford brands. The stunningly classic Mark II of the 1950s turned heads, despite selling in small quantities. The garish late 1950ís Lincolns flaunted their own controversial body panels. The Mark III and its successors were unmistakable. Today Lincoln is at a crossroads, and a crossover may be the future of the brand.

Many of us remember Lincoln as the purveyor of block-long luxury sedans and supplier of limos to livery companies. And in those dark days of November 1963 in Dallas, even our young president rode in a Lincoln convertible on his last day.

As the market for huge, gas-guzzling sedans diminishes, Lincoln is feverishly reinventing itself. As has been the case for some time, the available tools for this transformation are the current Ford products, so the division must content itself with ďLincolnizingĒ them.

In the same showroom, you can buy a Lincoln MKZ sedan parked right next to the Mercury Milan. The Lincoln MKX, the feature of this story, looks remarkably like the new Ford Edge upon which itís based. So, how well Lincoln performs its upgrade will make the difference.

The MXK and Edge are cleanly styled, comfortable, five-passenger tall wagons, called a crossover, a cross between a car and a station wagon. Like the 1990ís Explorer, they are family friendly, but on a car chassis with a tipped back windshield and all the trimmings.

Lincoln starts its differentiation at the nose, where an enormous chrome grille spans the entire front panel. A bold Lincoln rectangular gunsight logo tells the world this is no ordinary Ford. The look is reminiscent of the revered early 1960ís cars, which were distinguished by their retreat from late 1950ís excess.

The sides of the car are not significantly altered from the Edge, but the wheels stand out. As part of the Ultimate Package, my Black Clearcoat test car featured 18-inch chrome-plated alloys that sparkled beneath the obsidian figure of the car above them. At the rear, a broad swath of red LED taillamp across the tailgate wears another oversized Lincoln logo at its center.

Climb inside and some of the Lincoln distinctions come into clearer focus. Here youíll find a design thatís almost completely different from the pleasant but unremarkable Edgeís. The MKX offers wide swaths of real wood veneer, handsomely grained plastic with satin nickel style accent panels, and selective use of chrome, including a display of the word ďL I N C O L NĒ across the dashboard worthy of a 1970ís trunklid.

The squared circle instrument panel design recalls those esteemed 1960ís Continentals again. The steering wheel is especially well proportioned and luxurious, with wood accents in the 3 and 9 oíclock positions and handy remote controls for the audio and cruise systems. The interior effect is posh and pleasant.

The MKX is very quiet. When I turned off the 600-watt, 14-speaker, THX II-Certified surround-sound system - like they have in the theater - I heard, well, nothing. The sound of the 265-horsepower, 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V6 intrudes slightly during brisk acceleration, but thatís about it.

You can have your MKX with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). The AWD system quietly transfers torque from front to rear or side to side as soon as the computer senses a need for it. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control provides active safety to keep the car going where the driver intends it to go. There are six standard airbags in case you overstep its limits.

Though itís not a mammoth sedan, and looks trim with its short overhangs and taut forms, the MKX weighs 4,400 pounds, so the V6 works has its work to do. I averaged 14.5 miles per gallon. The EPA numbers for the 2007 car are 17 City, 24 Highway; the revised 2008 figures drop to a more realistic 15 and 22. At least you can feed it regular fuel.

The EPAís Green Vehicle Guide gives the AWD MKX scores of 7 for Air Pollution and 5 for Greenhouse Gases - a little better than average on the first number, average for the other.

My tester was a late 2007 model, but the 2008s are essentially the same, with a few nice additions, such as standard SIRIUS satellite radio and Ford Motor Companyís new SYNC. The SYNC system integrates mobile phones and media players with the carís audio system using Bluetooth technology.

The 2008 models start at $35,420 for the front-wheel-drive model and $37,170 for the AWD version. My 2007 AWD tester had a base price of $35,770 and with the options it came to $43,890.

The MKX is definitely desirable, but fuel mileage is still in the low area of $3.35-a-gallon of gas. I found a few poor trim fits and there is no hidden storage bins. And the new alphabetical names are baffling. So, does this crossover truly represent where Lincoln wants to go? Letís see that the buyers decide. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Crossover Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  Today Lincoln is at a crossroads
Topic: The 2007 Lincoln MKX
Word Count:  889
Photo Caption:  The 2007 Lincoln MKX
Photo Credits:  Lincoln MKX Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 69

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