Bob Fines unveils the ALL-NEW 2016 MKX Definitely not your father’s Lincoln
Ford Motor Company was largely responsible for the SUV craze that started some 25 years ago with the introduction of the Ford Explorer. Until then, choices were largely restricted to Jeep Cherokee and the oddball but endearing Isuzu Trooper. Drivers were attracted to the high seating position and all-weather traction, and had to put up with lousy fuel economy, Spartan surroundings and unforgiving ride to get them. The truck-based Explorer changed all that, and spawned a plethora of imitators. Fast forward a quarter century and SUVs have evolved into a range of cross-overs that still provide a commanding view of the road and power to all four wheels, but the similarities end there. Very few utility vehicles are used off-road, and the compromises in ground clearance and low range transfer cases make them increasingly popular. One in four luxury cars sold in Canada are Utility vehicles, and the new made-in-Canada 2016 Lincoln MKX shows just how far this breed of vehicle has come.
This is an important vehicle for Lincoln, being the third one released in a thorough re-brand of the Lincoln marque. It shares a platform with the Ford Edge, but unlike previous iterations it shares little else – the body and interior are all Lincoln luxury, and have nothing in common with their more pedestrian blue oval stable-mate. The importance and excitement around this vehicle was immediately apparent at its unveiling at Fines Ford Lincoln, a swanky invitation-only event hosted by Bob Fines at his dealership in Bolton, the area’s pre-eminent Ford Lincoln dealer for almost 30 years.
When Bob Fines was working the family farm South of Bolton 50 years ago, he scarce imagined that he would become the local business leader he is today. But the seed (no pun intended) was planted early. “I must’ve been around 12 years old, working in the fields with my family, when I saw a brand new Ford pick-up coming down the dirt road. It was driven by the local Ford dealer, who stopped for a chat with the farmers. I was immediately stuck by the fact that he was wearing a clean white shirt and pressed khaki pants” he says, “and that image has stayed with me. I had no idea what I’d do, but the idea was there that I could do something other than work the fields.”
Fines’ recalls that he wasn’t much of a student, although his mother was a teacher. “I was never much interested in grades. If my uncles told my Dad that I was doing a good job on the farm, that’s what I worked for. That’s what made me feel good.”
Fifty years later, Fines chalks up his success to lessons learned back then; hard work and an unshakable link to the community. The family farm is long gone, but Fines still lives and works in the area.
“Selling cars, selling anything, is about relationships,” he says. “I grew up in the area and have lived here all my life. Most of the equipment on our farm came from the Ford Motor Company, and now I’ve spent 28 years running my own dealership in my own community, where I raised my family.”
The importance he places on relationships was apparent at the unveiling of the 2016 Lincoln MKX. A group of around 60 customers attended the event, and Fines greeted many of them as one would greet friends. Wine and cheese were offered as the group anticipated the unveiling of the vehicle shrouded in a Lincoln-branded car cover.
They were not disappointed, as was apparent from the spontaneous applause as the cover was whipped off. This ain’t your father’s Lincoln of yore. The 2016 Lincoln MKX has taught, sleek lines and a commanding presence. Lower and longer than it’s predecessor, it creates the illusion of movement, even sitting still in the showroom. It is also a tour de force of new automotive technologies, offering every option you might expect from a luxury brand and more, including some features that aren’t available on other luxury marques such as Mercedes, BMW or Lexus. Unlike those marques, the global market’s supply of MKXs is to be built in Oakville, Ontario.
The car is not available for a test-drive until next month, but a look at the specification sheet points to a car that is sure to please. It has first-to-market LED adaptive headlights, a built-in modem and a plethora of safety equipment such as adaptive cruise control, 360-degree cameras and a Blind Spot information system (BLIS), active park assist, a continuously controlled damping (CCD) called Lincoln Drive Control and a lane-keeping system.
The cabin is a beautiful place to spend commuting time, and is whisper quiet due to additional technological trickery, including an available 19-speaker Revel audio system that actually detects cabin noise and sends out noise-cancelling signals to provide a hushed environment.
The standard AWD drive-train provides all-weather traction with one of two available engines – Ford’s venerable 300 hp 3.7 litre V6 is carried over from the previous car, and Lincoln also offers an MKX-only thrifty and immensely powerful Eco Boost turbo-charged mill that puts 335 horsepower and a whopping 380 ft-lbs of torque to the pavement. Both engines are mates to a six-speed automatic, the only transmission available.
All in all, this Lincoln promises to marry pure driving dynamics with the best technology has to offer, all in a package that is beautiful to look at and a pleasure to sit in. Prices start in the high 40s for a well-equipped car, and can climb quickly depending on how liberal you are with the check marks on the options list. Keep your eyes on this supplement for a full test-drive in a future issue.
Written by Aladin Jarrah