2015 Lincoln MKC AWD Review
The Lincoln brand has been trying to find itself and find its place in the market for years now. They have produced some fine vehicles, but their focus has been a bit blurry. They need to appeal to younger buyers who for years have only considered German or Japanese luxury brands as being the real deal. But this compact crossover may be just the vehicle to boost the Lincoln cachet, and puts the brand on a path to growth and prosperity.
The MKC has handsome, sophisticated exterior styling, performs well , and has an inviting luxurious cabin, filled with technology at a price that will undercut other luxury competitors like the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, or BMW X3. The MKC is directly related to the Ford Escape, but with a more performance oriented drivetrain, and much more upscale interior, it puts a lot of distance between it and the popular Escape.
The MKC I tested was powered by a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine, (no V-6 is available). The base engine is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost putting out 240hp and 270 ft. lbs. of torque. The new 2.3 engine makes 285 hp, and 305 ft. lbs. of torque, so there is plenty of grunt to pull away from stop lights, and to make confident passes on two lane roads, or merging on to the highway. It’s the same engine you’ll find in the 2015 Ford Mustang. Gas mileage is rated at 18 City and 26 Highway. The twin turbo spools up the revs quickly and seamlessly, without turbo lag. Thanks to a balance shaft system, and active noise cancellation, engine vibes are nicely quelled, and the cabin is well insulated to keep things very quiet and refined inside.
The power is put to the pavement via a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and has a stronger torque converter fitted for the 2.3 liter engine. Using the paddle shifters was satisfying, but not quite up the very quick shifts you’d expect on the German competitors. The brake pedal has a good feel, and the brakes performed very well.
Perhaps what impressed me the most is the handling capabilities of the Lincoln. The refinement of the handling and ride qualities are right up there with the competition. Steering feels precise and sharp, with just the right amount of heft, and the body control in turns was much better than expected. Body lean is kept nicely in check, and the car feels stable and poised as it tracks well through the turns, even under hard cornering. On the open highway, the ride is luxury plush, but never too soft. And on the pot holed streets around Chicago, the suspension soaks up the bad pavement, and keeps the driver and passengers comfortable. And with the All Wheel Drive, the MKC should be a fine car to have when the snow flies in winter.
The interior is stylish and sophisticated. Lincoln uses the term 'Elegant Artistry'. However one chooses to describe it, the interior is well thought out and very inviting to driver and passengers alike. Although it took me a few minutes to find the start button, which is located just to the left of the large info screen on the center stack, all controls are easy to use and conveniently placed. And don’t look for a shift lever, either. The Park, Drive, Reverse and Neutral transmission gears are push buttons in a vertical line beneath the start button, which took a whole week to get used to. But it leaves the console area clean and open to a large covered cubby for cell phones, or music players, and outlets for connectivity.
The MKC takes soft touch materials up a notch with very soft leather gracing the center console, door armrests, and especially the tops of the door sills. There is wood trim that actually looks and feels like wood, and some bright bits to break up all that leather trim. The center stack slopes downward has the right combination of touch screen controls, knobs, and switches to easily access the HVAC, radio, heated seats, and other features at a glance. A huge panoramic moonroof, opens up the cabin to light and fresh air and makes it seem even roomier.
The front seats are both heated and cooled, and are nicely shaped and properly bolstered for a luxury vehicle. Rear seat passengers are treated to comfortable, roomy back seats, with recline feature. They fold flat for extending the large cargo area. The roofline doesn’t’ begin to slope until it’s past the rear seats, so headroom is also very good. And the rear hatch opens with the wave of a foot beneath the rear bumper – a great feature when approaching the vehicle with an armload of packages.
The exterior looks sophisticated and upmarket. While the shape isn’t groundbreaking, the split-wing grill is not only distinctly Lincoln, it is also tastefully restrained, unlike the grotesquely oversized grills that now ruin the front ends of most Lexus and Toyota models. And the grill flows gracefully into the headlight treatments which wrap around into the front fenders. The rear view is also says Lincoln, with the full-width taillights, and nicely integrated two piece tailgate.
The base price of this AWD is $35,595, and it comes fairly well equipped. But as with all luxury cars these days, when you add on the really desirable options and amenities, the final price can spool up as fast as the tachometer. The only difference is that the tach has a built in limiter.
The Reserve Equipment Group, a $6,935 package adds these major amenities: heated outside mirrors, panoramic moonroof, Navigation system, back-up camera with cross traffic alert, heated and cooled front seats, and the hands free liftgate. This package is a must for any luxury vehicle.
$1,140 buys the more powerful engine, which if you go with the heavier AWD model, would probably be a good idea, although to be fair, I did not drive a base engine model.
The Tech Package (also a must) adds Active Park Assist, Active Cruise Control, & Active Lane Keeping System. The THX sound system costs $995. Add $395 for upgraded wheels, and a few more minor options, and the car came to $49,265 including freight. But that is still a few thousand dollars less than the competition’s comparably equipped vehicles. This is both an excellent luxury SUV and a real value in the Luxury SUV market.
Read Ken's other drive reviews here!Road Test Review - 2015 Lincoln MKC AWD with Ken Glassman
2015 Lincoln MKC