2015 Lincoln MKC

2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3 AWD Review

It's more than just a fancy Escape.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: April 17th, 2015

Lincoln is in the midst of reinventing itself. For a while now, the brand has stood as little more than a manufacturer of fancy Fords, and that's been a big shadow to step out of. Now, though, with the all-new MKC, Lincoln's done more than create a fancified Escape; the MKC is a unique Lincoln product that is capable of going toe-to-toe with the likes of the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. It's not perfect, but considering that the market is simultaneously downsizing and moving from cars to crossovers, the MKC stands ready to bite into some traditionally German market share.

  • Interior

    The Escape and the MKC look nothing alike on the inside, and that's very good when you're trying not to sell the MKC as a tarted-up Ford. The touchscreen panel is flanked by the transmission controls (more on those later), and underneath is a set of nicely-arranged switches and knobs in a very American red, white, and blue motif. There are Lincoln cues all over; if you look at the front HVAC vents, their shapes resemble the front fascia, which is a cute touch.

    Lincoln also made sure to ditch most of the Escape's interior materials; gone is the hard plastic, replaced with leather and softer plastic that are far more premium to the touch. The gauges were also swapped out for a half-screen, half-gauge concoction that once again feels rather extravagant. It allows you to access a wide variety of options and data for all sorts of reasons; you can do everything from adjust the drive mode to monitor instantaneous fuel economy, all without taking your hands off the wheel.

    The MKC also features additional sound-deadening, which did not go unnoticed. The car is quiet; it's not a Lexus level of whisper-quiet operation, but it's got the majority of the competition beat in this department. Road noise stays outside, where it belongs.

    From the outside, the MKC's sharp windshield rake gives the car a nice, aggressive silhouette. From the inside, all it does is reflect dashboard elements into your field of vision any time the sun appears.

  • Exterior

    The MKC is easily the sharpest-looking Lincoln currently on sale. Unless you possess a strong knowledge of cars, it's hard to tell that the MKC is in any way based off the Escape; if anything, its rear hatch shape and overall silhouette are far closer to the Audi Q5 than anything else, foreign or domestic. That said, the hatch does have a bit of a low overhang, so watch your head if you have to load a large item.

    The Lincoln-family wing-looking front fascia is executed well in the MKC; in fact, it's got the best family face of the whole lineup. Specific details like thin-LED arrays front and rear, give the MKC a truly premium feel. Its approach lighting feels positively fancy; as you approach the car, the LED DRLs and puddle lights (which create a Lincoln logo on the ground) exude the kind of late-night opulence we've come to expect from most modern luxury vehicles.

  • On the Road

    The standard MKC comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 good for 240 horsepower. Our MKC came with the optional engine, which is a 285-horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged I-4 that sees double duty in the Mustang EcoBoost. The 40-horsepower bump is apparent, even if the rest of the engine isn't; the 2.3 operates rather quietly in the MKC, all part of the "luxury" shtick. It's a good thing that the motor is quiet; when we did hear it, it wasn't emitting a note worth writing home about.

    But if you're looking for canyon-carving precision to go with that Mustang motor, perhaps you're better off with the Mustang itself. The MKC does handle well when put into Sport mode, but the adjustable suspension remains on the wallowing side of sharpness. We found our best experiences in Comfort mode, when everything smoothed out and the MKC damn near drove like it was floating on a cloud. It did feel a little like an older body-on-frame SUV at that point, but a super-soft suspension setting will always confer those driving dynamics. Even when you're in Comfort, the MKC's six-speed automatic will get the car going in a hurry if you stab the gas.

    So, while there's plenty of Boost from the EcoBoost, we had a harder time finding that Eco. The MKC isn't class-leading with its fuel economy (18 city / 26 highway with the 2.3 and AWD), but nonetheless, we had a hard time achieving the numbers put forth on paper; our city driving returned a number closer to 15 or 16 mpg.

    If you're looking for a comfortable, luxurious compact crossover with driving dynamics indicative of the luxury side of things, the MKC is a tough act to beat; its German compatriots err on the side of stiff.

  • Final Thoughts

    Clearly, the MKC has a lot going for it. It's comfortable, it's attractive, and it's quiet. It's also affordable, starting out just above $30,000. However, you need to exercise caution when building your own; there are plenty of options, many of which will have you wondering just how much you're actually going to spend. Equipment Group 102A (read the specs below for more details) costs almost $7,000 on its own. Our test-spec MKC came in at a somewhat surprising $49,265. Want to guess where Lincoln came up with this pricing structure? We'll give you one guess: It starts with a "G" and ends with "ermany."

    Regardless, the MKC is ready to compete with the best of what's already on offer. Soon, we'll have a new Mercedes GLK-Class (which will be called the GLC), and the X3 is also due for a refresh. The MKC's in for a fight in the coming years, but we think it's ready to weather the storm.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive

    Power Output: 285 horsepower / 305 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 18 city / 26 highway

    Base Price: $35,595

    As Tested: $49,265 (incl. $895 destination)

    Available Features:

    Equipment Group 102A: Leather-trimmed heated and ventilated front seats, Lincoln-specific steering wheel with real leather, 10-way power front passenger seat, ambient lighting, auto-dimming and auto-folding side-view mirror with LED turn signal indicators, daytime running lamps, panoramic moonroof, navigation, hands-free liftgate, blind-spot monitor, power tilt/telescope steering column, 18-inch aluminum wheels, embedded modem

    Technology Package: Active park assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist

    Climate Package: Heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, auto high beams, rain-sensing wipers

    Select Plus Package: Navigation, blind-spot monitor

    Individual Options: Power liftgate, panoramic moonroof, THX premium audio, front ventilated seats

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