We spend a great deal of our drive time observing other vehicles on the road and one that has caught our eye the last year has been the Lincoln MKC. Unfortunately, we hadn?t had a chance to drive one until recently but it was worth the wait — we were impressed. The 2015 Lincoln MKC is much more than a pretty face.
The Lincoln MKC shares the same platform and mechanicals as the Ford Escape, but the MKC designers have set it far apart from its Ford counterpart with an impressive level of elegance and poise.
Size-wise, the MKC measurements fall in the middle of the pack of the other luxury crossovers like the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. This is a great-looking group of crossovers and the 2015 Lincoln MKC fits right in.
Introduced in 2013 as Lincoln?s second new vehicle in the brand?s plan to introduce four new luxury vehicles by 2016, the MKC follows recent Lincoln DNA mapping starting with a signature split-wing grille, tightly sculptured body and wraparound liftgate with full-width tail lights.
Inside the MKC shines with luxurious soft touch appointments and stylish d?cor. Lincoln designers even added some interesting touches like a row of large buttons for the start/stop and transmission controls along the left side of the center stack. The controls also include real knobs and dials for some functions like audio volume and tuning. The controls have a luxury feel that make easier operation than the touch controls many manufacturers are using.
Soft leather with French stitching and real wood trim contribute to the MKCs opulence. Seating is for five, but the rear seat is cozy and the optional panoramic glass Vista Roof? and sloping roofline make the space best suited for shorter passengers. Lincoln shoppers wanting more passenger space may want to consider the larger MKX or Navigator instead. We think of the MKC as more a personal luxury vehicle best suited for a couple with occasional rear seat passengers.
Cargo space is quite generous, however, with 53.1 cubic feet behind the rear seat. We were able to load the luggage for three good size and one lightweight adults coming from a week?s cruise in the back. When the demand calls for more, the space expands to 97.9 cubic feet with the rear seatback folded.
The MKC is loaded with thoughtful new technologies that add to the luxury experience. For example, the Approach Detection system senses the owner is getting close to the vehicle and turns on soft lighting inside and outside the vehicle. Lincoln welcome mats are projected on the ground below both front doors, the door-handle pockets glow, front and rear LED accent lights go on, the push-button start button pulsates and the door panels light up.
Models with the optional ($2,235) Technology Package get adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, a forward sensing system and active park assist. The active park assist helps the driver locate a suitable parallel parking spot and then steers the vehicle into the space with the driver managing the shifter, throttle and brake. This latest system also helps the driver get out of tight parking spaces.
A ?must have? option for us is the Select Plus Package ($1,100) which adds the navigation system with voice activation and the BLIS? Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert which is invaluable when backing out of a crowded parking lot space.
The MKC is the first Lincoln to have always-on built-in connectivity which works with an app on the owner?s smart phone. The MyLincoln Mobile? app allows the owner to start, lock, unlock and locate the vehicle. The app also allows the owner to check the vehicle?s fuel level, call roadside assistance or start the vehicle at a set time to heat or cool it to a set temperature.
A 240-hp, 2.0-liter EcoBoost? four-cylinder engine is the standard power for the 2015 Lincoln MKC. Our test vehicle had the optional ($1,140) 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Rated at 285 horsepower the larger engine is capable of a 6.6-second 0 to 60 mph run and it gets an EPA fuel economy rating of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. We actually averaged 21.4 mpg in mostly highway driving with four adults and a full load of luggage. We expected the extra weight might dampen performance and handling, but it maintained good acceleration merging into fast-moving traffic. When fully loaded the handling stayed sharp and well-controlled even at fast freeway speeds.
Both engines are attached to a six-speed SelectShift? automatic transmission and they have steering wheel mounted shift paddles for those of us who want more control. The suspension is MacPherson struts in the front and multi-link in the rear. The steering is electric power assist and the brakes are four-wheel disc.
The 2.0-liter engine is available with front- or optional all-wheel drive ($2,495) while the 2.3 EcoBoost engine is only available with Lincoln?s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. The AWD upgrades to 19-inch wheels and tires and includes a continuously controlled damping (CCD) system called Lincoln Drive Control. This system allows the driver to select the type of driving conditions ? Sport, Comfort or Normal. It constantly monitors the road surfaces and readjusts the suspension on average within 20 milliseconds to produce a smooth ride and more stable handling. The CCD is also available as a stand-alone option ($650) on the front drive model.
The 2015 Lincoln MKC is available in three trim levels (Premier, Select and Reserve) and with a choice of three powertrains (2.0 EcoBoost with FWD, 2.0 EcoBoost AWD and 2.3 EcoBoost with AWD). The Premier trim is not available with the 2.3 EcoBoost.
Pricing ranges from $33,995, including the destination charge for the Premier 2.0 EcoBoost FWD up to $44,565 for the Reserve 2.3 EcoBoost. A Reserve 2.3 with all the available options is priced at nearly $50,000.
We were very impressed by the Lincoln MKC. It has great styling, very good performance and it appears to be very well built. It should be well positioned to compete favorably in a very tough category of luxury crossovers. It definitely deserves a ?must drive? for any shopper considering a personal size luxury crossover.