Quick Hits: An Interview With the Designers of Lincoln’s MKX

The Lincoln MKX is ranked #13 in Luxury Midsize SUVs by U.S. News & World Report. The luxury vehicle comes jam-packed with safety features, revolutionary design upgrades and elegant elements that make it one of the best cars to drive on the road now. Lincoln’s design team took some time to answer a few questions about how the MKX came to be, from conceptualization to fruition.


1. What inspired the design of the MKX? 

The exterior of the vehicle was inspired by the look and design of an aircraft– specifically fighter jets. We took that inspiration further by including elements found in private jets and yachts, such as elegance and luxury. The Lincoln Motor Company blended the customer mind with key luxury elements, such as precision, speed, hi-tech and cutting-edge to design a robustly dynamic automotive.

2. How did the changing landscape of today’s consumer impact some of the car’s features?

There is no one-size-fits-all in consumer satisfaction. One of the most important elements to a Lincoln buyer is a well-crafted and thoughtful luxury experience. In addition, the MKX includes common sense design, user-friendly human-to-machine interface, luxurious materials and superb detailing and executions. These attributes and comforts are keys to winning the consumer’s wants, needs and aspirations. Our customer understands what Quiet Luxury is all about. It’s about the quietness of the interior cabin, coupled with the quiet and subtle self-confidence of affluence and taste in the elegant design. There is simplicity that allows it to be more about classic forms, giving pause for appreciation by those who value understated vs. over-the-top.

3. Feeding off of that question, what are some of your favorite features of the new vehicle? 

Soo Kang: There are several elements that appeal to me – the overall proportion, with its settled rear and falling gesture into the tail; the unique wheel flair undercuts and the fast abbreviated coupe-like cabin; the fluidity of the overall design, both exterior and interior; and the creative center console “bridge” always reminds me of innovative, contemporary architecture.

Other favorite features and elements include the uninterrupted flow throughout the vehicle – from instrument panel to console – which was achieved by using E-shift technology to create visual harmony. In addition, an elegant intuitive push button gear selector- conveniently within reach and sightline. This allowed us to create a dramatic open suspension bridge that flows and provides TWO tiers of open space – where bulky shifters are normally found. This translates into an increase in luxurious spaciousness for the customer.


4. How does the MKX compare to other cars on the road today?

It’s about attention to detail while making any use of technology more intuitive and easy to use. There are elements that seamlessly assist the driver, including:
• Adaptive cruise control uses sensors to detect when traffic in front of the vehicle slows. The vehicle automatically slows down, and resumes cruising speed when the sensors detect traffic has cleared
• Lane-Keeping System includes Lane-Keeping Alert and Lane-Keeping Aid. With Lane Keeping Alert, the steering wheel vibrates when drivers are straying from their lane. Lane-Keeping Aid provides a mild steering input to encourage drivers to steer toward the center of the lane
• Blind Spot Information System, or BLIS, signals the driver when a vehicle enters one of its blind spots by displaying an indicator in the sideview mirror
• Cross-traffic alert detects traffic approaching from either side as the vehicle backs out of a parking space and warns the driver when another vehicle is present with a visual alert and audible tone
In addition, the front camera sits behind the Lincoln Star badge. When in Drive, Park or Neutral and the button is pushed, the Lincoln Star badge moves out about 1 inch and tilts up to deploy the available front camera. The camera system offers a 180-degree split view, which can be helpful in looking out in cross-traffic situations. The 360-degree view shows up to 7 feet all around the vehicle, helping to make parking easier. The 12-sensor ultrasonic system enables the full range of available parking-assist features: front rear side sensing, perpendicular and parallel parking and park out.

5. Finally, tell us a bit more about what goes into making a vehicle that looks and feels so elegant and refined.

Every aspect and detail is considered by the design team, including big picture ideas, such as proportion, volume and the goal of relaxed graceful gesture, to the smallest details of execution, including the artful stitch lines and the unique aluminum hole pattern on the Revel speakers. Designers are extremely passionate about the details, which leads to the overall refinement you perceive. It is a visual receipt and confirmation of the efforts and attention to detail paid by the design team. The specific choice of interior materials plays a huge role shaping elegance and refinement. There is an implied flow throughout – from the sculpted instrument panel to the doors. The overall effect creates a visual width and feeling of openness. Rich materials and exquisite details add to the experience. .

In addition, we are especially proud of our seat design. The seats provide a command position that’s optimized for comfort and support. This contributes to driver control, greater strength, lighter weight, and improved space efficiency – these elements, though based on aesthetics, contribute greatly to safety as well.