The Lincoln MKC is the brand’s smallest vehicle, but it makes a big statement of style and power.
This compact crossover is a luxury-class workhorse with a simple, but elegant usability, although you can still hitch your weekend toy and drive off with 3,000 pounds. Inside and out it is quite Lincolnized to separate it from Ford’s global platform partner, the Escape.
The MKC is sold in three trims — Premiere, Select and Reserve — with a choice of two turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder engines and a six-speed automatic transmission. Starting prices range from $34,185 to about $45,000 for the top-line Reserve AWD.
Today’s Reserve AWD tester was $50,755, which, among the options, included the Technology package ($2,295) with driver aids. It includes active park assist (self-parking for parallel or head-in spots), adaptive cruise control with collision warning, a forward sensing system and lane-keeping system.
The base engine is a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which has fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg city, 29 highway and 23 mpg combined on 87 octane.
The tester’s uplevel, the 2.3-liter, has a hustling 285 horsepower and 305 foot-pounds of torque at 2,750 rpm for a quick launch off the line. The six-speed automatic is a proficient purveyor of power, allowing acceptable AWD fuel-economy ratings of 18 mpg city, 26 highway and 21 mpg combined on the recommended premium fuel. I averaged 21 mpg, which might seem light, but the performance is worth it.
The suspension on AWD models is upgraded with continuously controlled damping, which allows for sleek control around town (with variable stiffness to control jostling of passengers). The ride quality is less smooth at freeway speeds, though, given the fairly short wheelbase (105.9 inches). Still, the MKC makes evasive maneuvers with confidence. Braking is smooth and absolute with 13.2-inch vented front discs and 12.4-inch solid rear discs.
The cabin is well-soundproofed; the audio system has active noise cancellation. Front headroom is tall at 39.6 inches, and sightlines are good over the shoulder and front fenders. The relatively small rear window is no consequence to visibility. Plus, there is a large rearview camera with guidance lines.
The interior is well-dressed with handsome wood grain trim and rich plastics that are soft to the touch. There is smart use of transmission shift buttons to open up center floor console space and allow for a charging bin with two USB outlets and a 12-volt plug. Large, deep sliding visors have lighted mirrors.
The 10-way power adjusted front seats (heated and cooled) provide good support at the lower back and thighs. The leather is more supple and appealing than the leather provided by some import and Euro luxury brands.
Friends will take note when they walk with you to the MKC and are welcomed by the Lincoln logo that is projected onto the ground from the folded side mirrors. Also new is the SYNC 3 infotainment system with its 8-inch touchscreen and swipe and pinch features. It is actually quite simple and easy to become quite handy.
The back seat has good footroom and legroom (36.8 inches), with a few inches of seatback recline and a low center tunnel for three-across access. The middle seat is actually kind of comfortable and would be OK for a youngster.
The cargo area is wide and low and expandable by the 60/40 folding second row, which folds almost flat. Fold the seats for 5 feet of board, bike or gear storage room. Plus, there is a pair of hooks for grocery bags and a pair of storage cubbies with nets.
There are many choices in this segment, including the Acura RDX, Audi Q3 and Q5, BMW X1 and X5, Lexus NX and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
It is the attention to detail, sharp styling and quick drivability of the MKC that will bring new and younger buyers to the Lincoln brand.