As you may have heard, Lincoln wants badly to resurface in the luxury segment – ready like Duran Duran to get out of those tacky motel bars and embark on a grand return tour.

Last year, it introduced the chiseled and fairly impressive MKC, a near-luxury compact crossover based on a Ford Escape.

The MKC was joined this year by the MKX, a midsize crossover that, like the MKC, is based on a mainstream platform (the Ford Edge) but treated to fresh styling, a retuned engine and vastly better interior.

I suppose it says a lot about this faux-trucky era we’re in that Lincoln chose two crossovers – two soft, sort-of SUVs – to get its wagon back on the road.

(Please don’t let anyone cart my sorry ashes to the dragstrip in a crossover. The back seat of an evil, bad-mannered ’40 Ford will do just fine.)

At least the dark brown 2016 Black Label MKX I had recently felt high-end and quietly distinctive – two qualities Lincoln wants all of its new vehicles to convey. (The crossovers, incidentally, will be joined by a new Continental sedan this fall.)

First, though, I’ve got to tell you that the $67,000 window sticker on my MKX absolutely stunned me.

Granted, the Black Label is the top-of-the-line MKX, but that’s a mighty high price for a vehicle that must compete with the $55,000 Lexus RX350 _ and certainly can’t claim that it’s back on top.

Still, the MKX offers a lot, starting with better styling than the Lexus. Gone, for example, is the MKX’s former waterfall grille, replaced by a more graceful split grille with horizontal bars that abut large, sweeping headlamps.

The trucklet’s broad hood looked a bit busy to me, with four lines carved into it. But the thick sides flashed some nice muscle, thanks to a prominent character line up high that kicked up above the back door handle, forming a small shoulder.

Moreover, short overhangs and a sleek, slightly curved top made the MKX look taut for a 4,700-pound vehicle.

In back, in a nod to Lincoln tradition, wrap-around taillamps were joined by a thin, lighted red band that ran the full length of the rear.

Likewise, 10-spoke, 20-inch wheels shod with meaty 245/50 tires added to the MKX’s substantial presence.

While all that makes for a strong start, I thought the best feature in the MKX is under the hood. Lincoln took the energetic 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that Ford developed for its new F-150 pickup, retuned it to 335 horsepower and tied it to a six-speed automatic tranny.

The little engine’s big turbocharged power gets delivered with authority through a civilized all-wheel-drive system.

Prod the engine hard, and it responds quickly without any noticeable turbo lag, lunging to 60 in a highly respectable 6 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

That’s about a second quicker than the segment-leading Lexus, and more important, the EcoBoost motor felt bigger and stronger than its size throughout its broad power band.

Likewise, unfortunately, it put up fuel economy numbers like a V-8’s _ a modest 17 miles per gallon in town and 24 on the highway.

Also, sometimes when I was cruising down the expressway, admiring its rich diversity of billboards, the engine would seem a little soft if I needed to step into it to pass someone.

So I learned to push harder, forcing the transmission to downshift and sending us off to the races again, riding a satisfying wave of power all the way to 6,000 rpm.

The MKX carried a full load of nannies, including active-park assist, a front-video camera, an irritating lane-keeping system and adaptive cruise control.

Lincoln’s goal is to provide “quiet luxury” and the MKX moves with the sort of hushed refinement once associated with the old Town Car.

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.