It’s puzzling because – especially in the realm of thoroughly domesticated vehicles – front-wheel-drive tends to be the safer avenue. But that doesn’t necessarily make it ill-advised.
And this is where we have to disagree with our friends at Jalopnik; they feel a Lincoln RWD crossover is an impossibly miscalculated move, “because a crossover is meant to provide a modicum of soft-roadability, while also having the traction necessary to pull you out of the occasional mud, which there’s a good chance this might not have because rear-wheel-drive isn’t famous for being at an advantage when on low-traction surfaces…”
Well, there is an industry assumption that the average driver feels more comfortable with understeer than oversteer in situations with limited traction (i.e. mud, snow), and FWD is more likely to result in the former. But so long as there is adequate ride height, and weight over the driven wheels (as there would be here, given that it’s a crossover), all that’s really needed to get Joe Sixpack in his Lincoln RWD crossover unstuck from a snow drift is some traction control to mimic the function of a limited-slip differential, and keep both driven wheels spinning when the going gets tough.
In short, a Lincoln RWD crossover could be perfectly competent in the snow and mud. Assuming it ever comes into contact with the stuff, being a prim, domesticated luxury vehicle.
Ford is also going to adopt their own version of the Lincoln RWD crossover. That is, assuming that Lincoln doesn’t back down and take the road more-traveled.