Road Test Review – 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label 2.3L AWD



2015 Lincoln MKC Review – HD Drive Video



The 2015 Lincoln MKC is the brand’s biggest launch in more than five years: an all-new crossover to compete head to head with the Audi Q5, BMW x3 and Lexus NX.

A huge overhaul versus any shared components underneath that might be shared with Ford, the MKC delivers an all-new design inside and out, technology that is available with no Blue Oval vehicle, and a potent 2.3-liter turbo engine that also finds its first home in this stylish crossover.

Lincoln has thrown out all the old brand stigmas with this MKC in the chase for modern car shoppers that will be overwhelmingly new to the brand. With five seats and a generous luggage area, the MKC comes standard with pricing from around $34,000, with top-level Black Label trim selections available for those willing to shell out $50,000-plus for the best Lincoln style, amenities and materials ever offered.

We spent a week and nearly 1,500 miles learning about the MKC 2.3-liter AWD Black Label inside and out, at idle in traffic and around full-throttle onramps. A brief snip across the drive-able sand of Daytona Beach, Florida made for some sexy photo opps for this ChromaFire-colored Lincoln.

Included here are 99 photos and two videos of the MKC in action — plus colors, Black Label themes and pricing.

Let’s dive in and see how the MKC compares in an all-new market segment for Lincoln.

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The MKC story is partially about designer options — and the exterior greatly benefits from the Black Label and 20-inch wheel packages. This ChromaFire paint is an $1800 option as well. Aside from the wheels and uplevel white LED fogs, the look of the MKC closely matches the lesser trim levels. More on the nose below.

The design of the MKC is best enjoyed from the profile and rear end, so let’s start there. The stance is fantastic, looking like a little Macan Turbo from afar. The proportions in profile are lean and racy, with a chic pinched roofline in back and super-tight overhangs front and rear.

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2015 Lincoln MKC Review – Exterior Walkaround Video



The tail is incredibly cool and new and high-tech. A full-width LED lamp bends up and around in a tight crease of extra light element in the corners, meeting the shoulder bulges of the rear fenders and flowing around the rear windshield. A clamshell design opens the power hatch, opening wide around the luggage area in a very Q7-ish way. The huge width and depth of the trunk opening makes loading easy and low.

No Black Label badges to speak of anywhere on the exterior of the Lincoln.Road Test Review - 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label 2.3L AWD 95 Road Test Review - 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label 2.3L AWD 90 Road Test Review - 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label 2.3L AWD 88

The Nose

We tried hard to love this nose. We really did. So many photos from so many angles.

Even so, we could not capture the split-wing silver grille looking cool. It is just too polarizing to be universally well-liked.

The finish is a metallic silver with thick horizontal strakes, which looks more like the Navigator and truckier than the thin accents in the MKZ’s nose.



One place where the MKC’s nose really delivers is in lighting tech. Bi-xenon projector beams are joined by an internal LED signature.



The cabin of the MKC is really where the Black Label poshness takes over. The test car wore the “Center Stage” theme, which has a very cool black and white striated wood, dark alcantara lining for the headliner and doors, plus ‘Venetian’ jet-black leather seating and dashboard. The seats are accented with ‘Foxfire’ red piping and perforated hypersuede.

These extra soft and premium materials all feel fantastic on the hands, head and any other touch point, especially with the heated and cooled front seats and heated steering wheel. This last piece is part of a $580 Climate pack option.

Three other Black Label themes are available, with evocative names like Oasis and Indulgence bringing different leather and woods. Black Label themes

The next big impression in the MKC cabin is from the standard full-length moonroof. This offers a fantastic level of light in the cabin but its sliding mechanism is just the front-most segment of the glass. On the plus side, this means that the moonroof can be open at highway speeds without any big buffeting or wind roar.

The glass roof design is not as revolutionary as the MKZ sedan’s, but is still a highlight. A power sunshade is a one-touch selection to open or close as needed.

The MKC feels extremely posh from all five seating positions, but the middle spot in back is pretty narrow and tight versus the much-larger MKX – also a five-seater.

Despite the ten-way power adjustments for the seat and the power tilt/telescoping steering column, we did not love the MKC’s overall driving position. It felt too perched-up and awkward to be really comfortable — much more Q5-like than the lower hip-point that is possible in the Lexus NX and BMW X3/X4.

The Lincoln does excel in all things sonic, however. A $1000 THX audio system really thumps with gusto, but the MKC is mostly silent and serene at highway speeds. We’re fairly confident the MKC is near the quietest cars in its segment at highway speeds. There is almost zero wind or engine noise whatsoever, even at speeds topping 80-mph. Only a light tire rumble over some surfaces makes it through the Lincoln’s super-quadruple door seals. Road Test Review - 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label 2.3L AWD 57 Road Test Review - 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label 2.3L AWD 51


Speeds topping 80-mph!

Not exactly felonious behaviour on highways with 70-mph speed limits like Florida or Georgia, but the first two days we spent with the Lincoln were rigidly enforced at 77-mph and below. When we say strictly enforced, we mean the car absolutely would not pass this speed. It also chimed in regularly to remind us to drive safely, blocked various SXM satellite stations it thought were objectionable (Howard Stern, etc), and kept its traction and myriad safety systems at full alert. No matter what.


MyKey. Lincoln models all come with a system of two keys, one the Admin key and one a second key for giving to valets or teenage drivers. From the admin key, the owner can program a maximum top speed and other settings. We are happy that the ‘kids’ MyKey we had by accident was set to max at 80-mph and not the 70-mph or 60-mph options — but even so it was immensely frustrating to have hard limits on speed levels. It made highway passing stressful and unpleasant.

But on two great notes: The fantastic Lincoln fleet managers overnighted the ‘Admin’ MyKey to Florida, and secondly, the knowledge that the ‘kids’ MyKey really does work. It limits cannot be overridden or altered without the master key. Once we had the Master, we disabled the MyKey restrictions for the other key — as most non-parent owners would do right away.

One thing? We wish the keys looked different — they are too easy to mix up. Secondly, not a fan of the default settings on one key. Too many owners might also find themselves on a road trip with the wrong key, or simply be unable to navigate the menus to make the required adjustments to the settings.


Okay now, with the master admin MyKey, we could now test out the MKC and this $3,400 uplevel EcoBoost engine. Coming standard with AWD, the bigger EcoBoost 2.3-liter delivers an extra 45 horsepower over the base 2.0-liter EcoBoost’s 240-horsepower.

We like extra power as a blanket rule, so the 285-ponies of the MKC 2.3L AWD were very welcome. Paired with the standard six-speed auto, the MKC’s biggest party trick is actually being very sporty in hard driving.

This is a car that will seriously fly around twisty bends with glee. No forced labor here — the MKC is a really fun and playful machine. Three drive modes: Luxury, Normal and Sport alter the steering, throttle, transmission and ECU programming. The Sport setting makes the MKC virtually pounce off the line from stoplights, downshift instantly and howl to its redline. A torque split display in the dashboard shows instant shifts to the back axle of soft surfaces — such as Daytona Beach.

On these slippery surfaces, the MKC feels very planted and AWD, with a great default torque split of around 60-percent front, 40-percent rear. Confidence-inspiring, to be sure. Enough to tip-toe the MKC toward the water’s edge on this hard-packed beach for some photos.


Okay, here is the real rub with the Black Label MKC. With the uplevel engine and drive, plus $7k in various other goodies, our test MKC came in at $57,500. That is a hefty total versus the $41,000 base price for the 2.3L AWD without the super-swank upgrades.




18/26 MPG

We can’t help but wonder if the things we like about the MKC would shine through on a base model in the mid-$30,000 price range.

As a showcase for the new Lincoln coolness and style, the Black Label is successful as a range-topper. But other options do seem to be priced very high overall, like the $1200 wheels and $1800 paint.

As a devil’s advocate, however, the $2300 safety tech package feels well worth it. Adaptive cruise and lane-keeping assist are some of the best in the industry. The MKC is 95-percent autonomous for highway driving, but does require a hand on the wheel to keep the system active. We greatly missed the MKC’s tech when driving other cars afterward.


These animated turntables are not in sync — see the full colors gallery article for an explanation =]


The MKC is a huge hit for Lincoln. Despite our subjective gripes about option pricing and the driving position, the MKC is unquestionably the most on-trend Lincoln in years and years. You can tell Lincoln is poised for huge growth because they beat Cadillac and Lexus to this compact/mid-size SUV arena. The MKC will appeal to people who love the handling and performance of BMW and Mercedes luxury cars, but want a commanding view of traffic and the practicality of a big crossover load bay.

There are simply far more plusses than minuses on the MKC report card — with its LEDs, incredibly luxurious cabin details and overall driving technology making the MKC instantly one of the best new crossovers for 2015.

The sporty stance and fast but confident handling balance are just the final clinchers. They really seal the deal: this MKC is a new generation of ultra-smooth and silent Lincolns that just happen to excel being floored and flung around sharp corners.

Just remember to grab the master MyKey. =]



Check out the MKC and book a test drive over at today!



About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)