- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2009

When you say Lincoln, traditionally you think sedan. But modern-day Lincoln is defined by the MKX, a strong contender in the crossover SUV segment.

As expected from a Lincoln automobile, the MKX comfort is exceptional. The unibody crossover rides on standard 18-inch wheels and tires, although buyers can opt for the available 20-inch wheels. The wide sport stance is accentuated with short overhangs, pronounced wheel wells, a high belt line, plus broad shoulders and chrome-tipped dual exhausts, giving Lincoln an elite, athletic appearance.

The MKX, as sporty as it looks, is bred for luxurious ride comfort. The MKX has a four-wheel independent suspension with a MacPherson strut upfront and a four-link independent rear suspension system. Quieting the ride and isolating vibration are the employment of hydro-bushings in the isolated subframes, among several engineering factors.

Lincoln competes well in the popular crossover utility vehicle segment with other luxury brands, such as the BMW X5, Acura MDX and Lexus RX. Lincoln doesn’t have to struggle to get noticed in this crowded segment. The luxury marquee of Lincoln is a natural and seamless transition into the luxury CUV segment. Lincoln’s signature waterfall grille water makes a dramatic announcement on the MKX in a glistening, crystallike chrome-clad front-end presentation. The grille is a proud statement for the Lincoln buyer to display for public consumption. Many other automakers in this segment don’t measure up to the front-end design appeal of the MKX.

New for 2009, Lincoln has a limited-edition model that features a chrome grille in four colors: vivid red, white platinum, black and brilliant silver. The seats are leather trimmed in charcoal black and light stone inserts with Lincoln logo stitching in the front row headrests. Also on the interior are ebony wood accents. The automaker says for a unique effect, the headlamp lenses are etched with the Lincoln star.

Offered as an option is the vista roof. This all-glass system is a sunroof upfront with a one-touch switch for tilt and slide. The rear has a fixed moonroof. The large glass area upfront is about 27x29 inches. In the rear, the moonroof measurement is about 15x31 inches. A power liftgate is standard. Adaptive headlights are optional.

The base price tag is $37,845 for the front-wheel drive MKX. My tester had all-wheel drive with a starting price of $39,185. Options, such as voice navigation, chrome 20-inch wheels, upgraded sound system, plus destination charges brought the tester to $45,210.

The luxury utility crossover has a V-6 engine under the hood. The 24-valve, 3.5-liter engine is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission and is rated for a horsepower delivery of 265 at 6,250 rpm and a torque output of 250 lb.-ft. at 4,500 rpm. The EPA rating on my all-wheel drive test vehicle was 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. A combined fuel economy is 18 mpg. The front-wheel drive model is EPA-rated at 17/24 mpg.

This vehicle is a large Lincoln that has a ground clearance of more than 8 inches. Its wheelbase is 111 inches, the overall length is about 187 inches and the height is 67 inches. The overall curb weight of the AWD tester is 4,400 pounds. When properly equipped, the MKX is rated to tow 3,500 pounds.

The MKX has received the “top safety pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for highway Safety. The vehicle is standard equipped with Roll Stability Control and the Safety Canopy side curtain airbags.

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Spare Parts

2010 VOLVO XC60: The new 2010 Volvo XC60 steps boldly into what is now the automotive world’s fastest-growing segment - the small premium utility segment - dressed in a thrilling blend of muscular XC capability and the sporty charisma of a coupe. The new XC60 will be available with Volvo’s six-cylinder turbocharged T6 engine producing 281 horsepower. All Wheel Drive with Instant Traction is standard. Volvo’s engineers developed the XC60’s chassis settings for aggressively sporty handling that promotes a feeling of safety and control. Estimated Price: $37,200

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KIDS AND CARS: More than 30 people die and 16,000 are injured every week because of nontraffic incidents. A new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report estimates that thousands of tragic and costly vehicle incidents occurred in 2007 when backing over children and other pedestrians, as well as the closing of powerful automatic vehicle windows on necks and limbs of car occupants. KidsAndCars.org recommends:

• Teaching children that “parked” vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle, but the driver might not be able to see them.

• Considering installing cross-view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rearview video camera and/or some type of back-up detection device.

• Keeping toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.

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CAPITOL HILL CAR AID: Washington lawmakers are considering a plan to make new-car costs tax deductible. A National Automobile Dealers Association spokesman said, “We believe, if it’s targeted, it will create some … increases in sales … and that’s exactly what we need right now.”

Source: CNNMoney.com

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