By on October 31, 2017

2017 Lincoln MKX, Image: Steph Willems

Utility vehicles are nothing new at Lincoln, but where there was once a single heritage-diminishing (but lucrative) oddity built to give Cadillac’s Escalade a run for its money, there now sits three models with rear liftgates. A fourth looms.

Now back from a near-death experience, Lincoln isn’t alone in requiring a lineup stocked with high-riding vehicles. Sticking with tradition bodystyles is akin to suicide these days. We can eyeball the resurrected Continental and debate whether Lincoln went far enough, style-wise, in rekindling the famous nameplate, but the reality is the brand sells far more utilities than cars, hands down, and will continue doing so. Buyers overwhelmingly want SUVs, and woe is the automaker that remains mired in the past.

Even the ancient Navigator, poised for a long-overdue revamp for the 2018 model year, sold just 148 fewer units than the Continental in September.

Leading the Lincoln sales pack is the midsize MKX, now sporting an identity comfortably divorced from its Ford Edge underpinnings. Fully redesigned for the 2016 model year, the SUV, which reportedly awaits a Continental-esque front end treatment and a transmission swap sometime in 2018, ended last year with its best sales showing since 2007. In doing so, it knocked the MKZ sedan down to the silver medalist podium.

There’s an abundance of power. There’s butt-coddling opulence. But is there enough refinement and cross-generational appeal to lure buyers back from the Germans and Japanese? (Read More…)

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