Eastern Townships, Quebec – So what is a Lincoln, anyway? For a brand whose name dates back to 1917, you’d think that would be an easy question to answer. But after so many years, the identity of a brand can change to the point that what it represents becomes either obscure or inaccurate.

That’s where Ford may now be with Lincoln, its luxury division. But this also offers an opportunity for revitalization, which for Lincoln began last year with the introduction of the MKC compact crossover.

Following the MKC, the MKX is Lincoln’s mid-size, all-wheel drive two-row crossover that’s built on the same global platform that underpins the Ford Edge (Edge and MKX, by the way, are built in Oakville, Ontario).

All-new for 2016, the Lincoln MKX is lower and longer than the outgoing model, and now arrives with an expanded array of standard and optional features. An integral-link rear suspension, along with upgrades to body structure and chassis components improve handling, ride and interior comfort in comparison to the outgoing model, according to Lincoln. Using the resources of a dedicated Lincoln design studio, MKX shares the same appealing lines and surfaces as the MKC: understated yet eye-catching, its distinctive split-wing grille yet further refined.

A choice of two engines is now offered, with a starting price of $45,890 for the 3.7L V6 that makes 303 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 268 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, and $53,940 for the 2.7L twin-turbocharged V6 “Ecoboost” engine that makes 335 hp at 5,500 rpm and 380 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm.

Both engines require regular grade fuel, are mated to the same six-speed automatic transmission and are predicted to return 14.4/10.3 L/100km city/highway and 14.1/9.7 L/100km city/highway respectively. Our test cars were equipped with the Ecoboost engine and all the options, pushing the price into the $65,000 range.

Dressed in a particularly rich palette of colours (although our Ruby Red example added $700 to the price), MKX includes some very desirable features hitherto found almost exclusively on top-level German competitors. Adaptive LED lighting, for instance, adjusts the spread of the headlight beams as speed increases. The 22-way power adjustable front seats feature available massage functions for both driver and passenger (the intensity and location of the massage can be micro-managed via controls on the central display).

The competition: 2015 Acura MDX, 2016 Audi Q7, 2015 BMW X5, 2016 Lexus RX, 2015 Mercedes-Benz GL

Pre-collision Assist and Brake Assist allow the MKX to automatically respond to obstacles in its path, bringing it to a full stop in emergency situations if required. A 360-degree display aids with parking and maneuvering in tight conditions and lane departure warning and assist help keep you between the lines on the highway. New this year is an Auto Hold feature that obviates the need to continually press the brake in stop-and-go traffic.

Active noise cancellation contributes to a quiet cabin in which the full range of the high-end Revel Audio system can be appreciated, and, of course, this vehicle parks itself should you wish to avoid parallel parking chores. Twelve sensors enable the full range of Park Assist features including front-sensing, rear-sensing, side-sensing, perpendicular, parallel and park-out assist. We tried it; it works a treat.

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