The Truth About Cars » lincoln mkx http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 07 Dec 2014 03:22:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » lincoln mkx http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport (Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/review-2013-lexus-rx-350-f-sport-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/review-2013-lexus-rx-350-f-sport-video/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 20:09:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=484893 I remember when the RX rolled onto the scene in 1998. It was truly the first successful crossover as we would know it today. While everyone else was trying to produce a truck-based luxury SUV, Lexus took the Camry/ES platform, put a jelly-bean inspired box on top and jacked the ride height up to 7.7 […]

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I remember when the RX rolled onto the scene in 1998. It was truly the first successful crossover as we would know it today. While everyone else was trying to produce a truck-based luxury SUV, Lexus took the Camry/ES platform, put a jelly-bean inspired box on top and jacked the ride height up to 7.7 inches. The result was instant sales success. As we all know however, success has a price. The marshmallow-soft FWD RX lacked road feel, steering feel and sex appeal. Although it’s a bit late in the game, Lexus has decided to fix that last problem with the introduction of the 2013 RX F-Sport.

Click here to view the embedded video.

F-Sport is to Lexus what M-Sport is to BMW. (No, not M, M-Sport.) That means the RX gets a new grille, flashier wheels, some suspension upgrades, a new transmission and interior tweaks. You’ll notice I didn’t say “more power.” That’s because this is “F-Sport,” not F.

We should talk competitions first so we can discuss the F-Sport in the proper light. First up, the MDX. We need to cross that one off the list. Why? Primarily because it has seven seats, but also because the all-new MDX is being shown off in the next month or so. (Check back for an RX vs MDX overview at that time.) That leave us with the Lincoln MKX, Cadillac SRX, Volvo XC60 and the Audi Q5. Yes, in some ways the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLK compete, but their RWD drivetrains put them in a different league. Not to mention Mercedes and BMW owners don’t seem to see the RX as competition.

2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport, Exterior, Front, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The nuts and bolts of the RX date back to 2009 when the platform received its third redesign, while the bumpers received a nip/tuck for the 2012 model year. The 2013 F-Sport builds on that refresh, retaining the new spindle grille but swapping horizontal slats for the signature F-Sport “squiggle” grille. Since our readers have complained we don’t offer enough subjective styling criticism, here we go. I’m feeling the love for Lexus’ F-Sport nose, especially on the RX. The new IS F-Sport takes the F-Sport squiggle theme to the extreme with lines going from the hood to the air dam, but the RX breaks things up with a body-colored bumper section in the middle. Overall I find the look elegant with just a hint of aggressiveness. My only issue is: every RX should look like this.

I’m not sure what Lincoln’s engineers were smoking when they styled the MKX’s nose, but it must have been some strong stuff. As much as folks think I dislike GM products, I find the SRX to be aggressive, bold, and stylish, all in good ways. The Q5 makes me yawn. Volvo’s styling has always struck a chord with me, but the Swedes aren’t known for bold and daring. The MDX? I can’t get past the beak. My personal style ranking would be: SRX, RX F-Sport, XC60, Q5 and then the MKX. Sorry Lincoln.

Interior

The 2012 refresh didn’t bring sweeping changes to the interior. In truth, aside from an infotainment software update and a new steering wheel, the only changes were to the color palette. That means we still get the slightly rubbery (but still soft) injection molded instrument panel dominated by an infotainment screen. The shifter still pops horizontally out of the dash, and we still have 2009-era plastics. Keeping the competition in mind, the MKX has an interior style I appreciate more, and has more soft-touch plastics. However, Lincoln’s interior quality is more of a mixed bag than the Lexus. The Audi Q5 strikes me as a little cheap on the inside, sorry Audi fans. The Volvo scores points in my book for diverging from the typical CUV interior style and ties with the SRX in terms of style, fit and finish and interior feel. The Lexus slots in second, followed by the MKX while the Q5 brings up the rear.

Back in the RX, the front seats are comfortable and supportive, just as you expect from Lexus, but the passenger seat doesn’t have the same range of electric adjustibility as the driver’s seat. In tune with the RX’s mission as an upscale crossover, (marketed towards buyers older than the RAV4 rabble) the rear seats are higher off the ground and more suitable for adult transportation. Thanks to the FWD based drivetrain, the RX has no differentiable “hump” in the rear making sitting three-across far less painful than RWD based crossovers. Cargo hauling is the RX’s strong suit with the largest hold of the bunch.

Infotainment

You won’t find many examples on dealer lots, but base RX models get a standard 7-inch “multi-information” screen in the dashboard. Available as a separate $860 option, standard on F-Sport and included on most option packages is the “display audio” system. Display audio bumps you up to an 8-inch LCD with a backup cam, HD Radio, rotary controller in the center console and the 12-speaker Lexus branded audio system. This middle system is my personal preference because it is the only way to get the 8-inch screen without Lexus’ joystick controller device.

Lexus calls the controller “remote touch,” I call it the most aggravating input method so far. Remember Volvo’s pop-up nav with the controller on the back of the steering wheel? This is worse. Don’t get me wrong, the system is easy to use; it works like a computer mouse: just point and click. My problem is two fold. First, you have to spend more time staring at the screen to operate the system than you did with the old Lexus touchscreen interface. Second, the location of the controller makes it difficult for your front passenger to use the system. If you want to know more, check out the video at the top of this page.

2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport, Interior, Center Console, Picture Console of Alex L. Dykes

If SMS text-to-speech and smartphone app integration are must haves, be prepared to shell out $2,775 for that navigation system ($1,916 over the display audio system). Nearly three grand is a steep premium, even in this segment. On the flip side you do get full voice commands for your USB/iDevice, XM radio with XM data services, and Lexus tosses in the 12-speaker sound system.

I appreciate my tunes, do I’d also need to splurge on the $995 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. With 330-watts and a subwoofer, the system is a noticeable step up from the base or 12-speaker systems, but is not as impressive as the 650-watt system in the XC60, or the Meridian systems in the Range Rover Evoque. With the blind spot monitoring system ($650), the nav, up-level sound and parking sensors, our RX 350 F-Sport rang in just under $53,000 without destination.

Drivetrain

Since F-Sport isn’t about power, you’ll find an identical 270 horsepower 3.5L V6 engine under the hood of the RX 350 and the RX 350 F-Sport. This is the same smooth “2GR-FE” engine used in everything from the Toyota RAV4 to the Lexus ES 350. That also means this mill doesn’t benefit from Lexus’ direct-injection sauce used to increase power and torque in the IS and GS. With only 248 lb-ft of twist on tap at a lofty 4,700 RPM, the only competitor with less is the Volvo XC60 3.2. But we must compare apples-to-apples and that’s a problem here because Volvo also offers the most powerful engine in this segment at 325 HP and a whopping 354 lb-ft of twist from the 3.0L twin-scroll turbo in the XC60 R-Design.

To compensate for the power deficit, Lexus connected the V6 to the world’s first 8-speed automatic transaxle. The new U880F transaxle features a much lower effective first gear ratio at 17.31:1 vs 14.48 for the non-F-Sport model (gear x final drive) and a taller final gear at 2.28:1 vs 2.66:1. The new ratios make the F-Sport quicker off the line, quicker to 60 by 4/10ths and improves fuel economy by 2MPG on the highway. The 18/26 MPG (city/highway) score ties with the 8-speed Q5 3.0T for the best fuel economy, 2-3MPGs better than the Americans or the Swede.

Drive

The RX has never been known as a corner carver, something that is expected of a sports package. So Lexus stiffened the dampers, fiddled with the springs, made the optional low-profile rubber standard and dropped in a version of the cross damping system found in the CT hybrid hatchback. The system uses two braces with integrated gas-shocks, connecting the left and right side of the chassis (front and rear). The braces aren’t there to increase rigidity, but rather to absorb and compensate for body vibrations. I wouldn’t say the system makes a night and day difference, but driving the F-Sport back-to-back with a “regular” RX on broken pavement, there was a difference. Depending on what you expect from your RX, that difference may excite or disappoint. If you want a marshmallow soft ride with more shove, get the RX 450h. If you’re just interested in a polished ride, get the regular RX 350 since the F-Sport tuning seems almost at odds with the RX’s mission.

You notice I didn’t say: wider tired. Most companies include wider and grippier rubber in their sports packages, but that could have led to more road noise, lower fuel economy and a crashier ride. Those don’t sound very “Lexus” to me, and apparently the engineers thought the same. Pity. While this is an omission you can fix aftermarket, the narrow 235-width tires and hefty 4,510lb curb weight mean the RX lands at the bottom of the pack when it comes to grip. That means even the porky 4,430lb MKX manages to hustle through the twisties with more poise than the RX. If grip is what you seek, look no further than the XC60 T6 AWD R-Design thanks to the lowest curb weight and some seriously wide 255/45R20 rubber. You know, for this segment.

2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport, Gauges, Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The case for the F-Sport starts to fall apartwhen you look at that $53,000 price tag and consider our RX lacked a few options like the heads-up display and radar cruise control. That’s a $7,000 premium over the faster Volvo XC60 T6, and a $3,000 premium over Volvo’s performance trimmed XC60 R-Design. Feature for feature, the F-Sport commands a higher price than the Lincoln, Cadillac or Audi as well, not to mention those Germans we didn’t talk about. Lexus counters with a reliability and dealer reputation that is second to none. But, you can have plenty of off-warranty repairs done to your Euro crossover for the difference. Still, the RX leases well thanks to a high residual value and I suspect that has something to do with its continued dominance when it comes to sales.

Lexus has, without a doubt, created the perfect RX. It looks better than the regular RX, goes faster, is more economical, and handles slightly better as well. If you’re reading this because you want the RX, then go ahead and buy one. If however you want the best handling and performing small luxury crossover, stop by the Volvo dealer. Want sexy? Check out the 2014 Evoque with the new 9-speed.

Hit it or Quit It?

Hit it

  • I have to admit, the F-Sport nose job works for me
  • Lexus reliability reputation

Quit it

  • Down on power compared to everyone else.
  • Lexus Remote Touch. Enough said.

Lexus provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.35 Seconds

0-60: 6.55 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15 Seconds @ 92 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 19.2 MPG over 679 miles

 

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Ecoboost Navigator, Small Crossover In The Cards For Lincoln http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/ecoboost-navigator-small-crossover-in-the-cards-for-lincoln/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/ecoboost-navigator-small-crossover-in-the-cards-for-lincoln/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:35:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469297 Jack’s proposal for a new Continental may have won over the hearts and minds of our readership, but Lincoln’s near-term product plans are erring on the side of conventional. Reporting on the media introduction of the 2013 MKZ, Reuters claims that Lincoln will be introducing a barrage of new product by 2016 – first up […]

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Jack’s proposal for a new Continental may have won over the hearts and minds of our readership, but Lincoln’s near-term product plans are erring on the side of conventional.

Reporting on the media introduction of the 2013 MKZ, Reuters claims that Lincoln will be introducing a barrage of new product by 2016 – first up will be a “revised” Navigator, that retains its body-on-frame capabilities, but will be powered by the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 that’s found favor among many F-Series buyers.

The new Navigator will bow at the end of 2013, along with an Escape-based crossover dubbed “MKC”. Following that, redesigned versions of the Lincoln MKX and MKS will debut in late 2014 and early 2015 respectively. And finally, a new rear-drive coupe, based on the next Mustang architecture, “could” debut sometime around 2016. ?

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Ford To Re-Hire 400 Laid Off Workers In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/ford-to-re-hire-400-laid-off-workers-in-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/ford-to-re-hire-400-laid-off-workers-in-canada/#comments Fri, 30 Nov 2012 16:48:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468582 As part of its agreement with the CAW, Ford will open up 400 jobs to laid off workers from its Windsor and St. Thomas plants (aka the birthplace of our beloved Panther) – but with 885 potential applicants and 400 jobs, allocating them will be tricky. The new jobs come as part of a third […]

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As part of its agreement with the CAW, Ford will open up 400 jobs to laid off workers from its Windsor and St. Thomas plants (aka the birthplace of our beloved Panther) – but with 885 potential applicants and 400 jobs, allocating them will be tricky.

The new jobs come as part of a third shift being added at Ford’s Oakville plant, which currently builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX, among other vehicles. Oakville is in line to get a new “global” platform in the next few years, and the third shift will add needed manpower.

The Windsor Star reports that jobs will be given to interested parties based on seniority, but not everyone is eager to them them. St. Thomas and Windsor are located roughly 100 and 200 miles respectively from Oakville, and the commute involves the congested 401 highway. The cost of living in Oakville, an upscale suburb of Toronto, is also far higher than in the other two locales.

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New or Used: His and Hers Rides? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/new-or-used-his-and-hers-rides/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/new-or-used-his-and-hers-rides/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2011 20:30:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407534   Sokhom writes: Sajeev and Steve, I’m almost done with my tour here in Korea and it’s time to return to “America-land.”  That means it’s car shoppin’ time!  So if you’ll remember, I still have my S2000 that my father-in-law’s taken care of but I don’t want to use it as a DD.  And my wife […]

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(www.americanfamily.com)

 

Sokhom writes:

Sajeev and Steve,

I’m almost done with my tour here in Korea and it’s time to return to “America-land.”  That means it’s car shoppin’ time!  So if you’ll remember, I still have my S2000 that my father-in-law’s taken care of but I don’t want to use it as a DD.  And my wife wants a car of her own as well.  We’re going to Ft. Huachuca, AZ and lots of road trips to TN and other lands are in our future.  I want a spacious (read: wagon and AT) highway cruiser for the wife and something cheap and cheerful (read: MT) that I won’t mind baking in the AZ sun.

So here’s the ROE (rules of engagement):
Wife’s car: $30K-$40K, wagon-y, AT, luxo-ish
My DD: $10K max, MT, beater-ish

Sajeev answers:

The definition of “Cheap + Cheerful” is way too subjective, but my interpretation for a Honda S2000 owner is something pure: crank windows, boring styling, totally forgettable yet fun to thrash because its so slow and nearly impossible to drive fast enough to raise an eyebrow.  So it comes down to availability in your area: Focus sedan, Versa, Elantra, Sentra or any non-Toyonda with its unnecessarily high resale value and brand recognition.  You don’t need a good car for normal people, you just need a good car!

As for the wifey, you gotta do it right and proper.  You can’t be rolling around in your shitbox, hate it, switch to the S2000 and make her jealous!  In the spirit of marital bliss, I’d recommend a TSX sport Wagon, used 3-series or A4 Avant with the mandatory CPO warranty or a handful of crossovers that just have the stuff you don’t find else where: panoramic roofs, amazing ICE, gigantic chrome wheels, nutzo styling, etc.  Then check out a slightly used Lincoln MKX, Infiniti FX, Mercedes ML (CPO only), BMW X5 (CPO only), or maybe a Northstar-powered Cadillac SRX.

Since you are a “regular” I think I know you very well (and your wife too, natch) I’ll demand you buy these two cars:  a shift-it-yourself Versa with no options and an Acura TSX Wagon.

Steve answers:
“Wife’s car: $30K-$40K, wagon-y, AT, luxo-ish”

The Honda Odyssey would be at the very front of that list. If you are going to do very long road trips nothing beats the space and comfort of a minivan. You should also consider a Chrysler Town & Country. They now have excellent handling (see Jack Baruth’s recent review here) and are every bit as luxurious as the Odyssey when fully optioned out.

My DD: $10K max, MT, beater-ish ‘cheap and cheerful’

I would test drive a long list of Honda, Subaru,  Mitsubishi, Ford (the rare 1st gen Fusion comes to mind), Scion Xb, and any other model with a manual transmission that strikes your fancy. I like the Xb if you are going to do a lot of in-town driving. Highway driving would encourage a midsized sedan like the Fusion with a 4-banger.

Good luck!

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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