I’ve gotta hand it to the folks over at Lincoln, as they were fashionably late to the luxury compact crossover party. Maybe they took too long getting dressed, or perhaps all the close parking spots were taken. Perhaps they meant to be late so that upon arrival, everyone would swoon over how handsome/beautiful they look and how it was worth the wait to see them. Or could it be that Mr. Southern Gentleman himself, Matthew McConaughey took too long in the shower.
Whatever the reason, they’re here now and they’ve shown up dressed to the nines and thoroughly beautiful.
The 2016 Lincoln MKC compact crossover is helping reinvent the luxury brand, which up until recently, had seemed to have lost their way amidst the other premium competitors’ offerings in different segments. The team at Lincoln must’ve taken a few cues from “The tortoise and the hare” tale as they’re giving the others a run for their money.
With the MKC, Lincoln presents a high quality, great looking vehicle full of luxurious materials that targets the affluent millennials (although with its subtle taller stance and premium positioning, it’s ideal for Gen X & Y folks as well) who want a luxury car and are looking outside of the usual suspects.
Appearance wise, I give full marks to the design team. They’ve crafted beauty, elegance, and style, paired it with athletic looks, smooth yet defined lines and top notch materials.
Kinda like pairing aged cheddar with a vintage California red wine. Or Guinness and a steak, for you non-wine drinkers out there.
Their signature split-wing grille, wrap around head and tail lights, HID headlights with LED accents and standard 18” wheels frame the MKC quite well, with their digital welcome mat (Lincoln logo projected beside the front doors from beneath the rear view mirrors offering a stylish touch.
The MKC simply has a gorgeous look from any angle and clearly fits in with its other luxury crossover brethren.
Out of the box, you’ll get a 2.0L I4 Eco-Boost engine good for 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. or torque through a six-speed automatic transmission.
If you want additional pep in your step, Lincoln offers an upgraded 2.3L I4 Eco-Boost engine with 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft. of torque via a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Both engines perform best at the recommended 93 octane rating.
To me, there’s not enough distance between the two and I imagine the majority of MKC’s on the road will be happily humming along with the smaller engine. If the 2.3L engine was the same one used in the Mustang (310 HP/320 lb-ft. of torque) then the shift may lean the other way.
Besides, the 2.0L engine produced plenty of power to move the MKC with smooth, agile (for its class) handling, responsive steering, strong acceleration, and a high overall fun to drive factor. Acceleration is fairly quick to get you on the highway and out of potentially unsafe situations.
Fuel economy for the 2.0L is 12.4 city and 9.0L highway for L/100km (the 2.3 rates as 12.8 and 9.1) but as with nearly all real-world experiences, the figures will vary. Even with the Active Grille Shutters on the MKC, I found it to be slightly heavier on fuel consumption than what the window sticker claimed.
The 59 litre fuel tank can be optimized on highway conditions and by not racing to the next red light in the city.
Throw in a superb ride quality score in drive mode and a very sporty feel in, well, Sport mode, and you’ve got the makings of a vehicle that thrives on the throttle being pushed. Yes, there are paddle shifters if you choose to do the shifting instead of the engine.
Even in city surroundings, the quiet cabin (thanks to Lincoln’s Active Noise Control technology) and higher seating position will calm your nerves when the fellow in front of you brakes for no reason, turns without his blinker, all while texting and getting mad at you.
Inside, the luxury continues with high end materials, including an available hand stitched, Wollsdorf leather steering wheel, real wood trim and remarkably comfortable Bridge of Weir Deepsoft leather seats. A 10-way power, heated driver’s seat is standard (a 10 way passenger power heated seat is standard on Select and Reserve trims) adds an overall beautiful fit and finish
On the Reserve trim, heated and cooled seats come standard.
Similarly to most five-seater vehicles, rear seating accommodates three but is truly comfortable for two. It’s not that the rear seats are overly small. Rather, being the one stuck in the middle seat is envied by no one.
Cargo space comes in at 712 litres behind the rear seats and 1,505 litres behind the front seats.
As is now the way with Lincoln, the push button shifter frees up plenty of space and is integrated nicely into the centre console. It’ll take a couple of “ghost-grabs” at an imaginary, traditional shift lever the first few times but it’s an innovative change that you’ll get used to.
The standard 8” color touch screen infotainment system (which does everything you expect from a modern luxury vehicle aside from spit out winning lottery numbers) features the much-anticipated SYNC 3 interface. And yes, the improvements are noticeable. It’s more responsive, intuitive and easier to navigate compared to the outgoing offering. The improved voice-recognition also is a welcomed change and I had no issues in the system mishearing or misidentifying what I was asking for.
The optional choice of seven different interior ambient light colors is a nice touch, along with the standard approach detection lighting from the door handles.
Tech wise, there’s a hands free-kicking motion activated lift gate system (still one of my favourite innovations) with an option for the usual safety features (blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, forward sensing system, lane keep assist, and driver alert system) and the available 14-speaker, enhanced THX II audio system will fill the cabin with all the sounds you want (and possibly drown out the sounds you don’t!) And yes, a back-up camera is standard on all trims.
Standard on the Reserve model is a huge panoramic sunroof that floods the cabin with natural light and gives the MKC a much bigger feel space-wise.
Lincoln has prepared a great alternative to what the luxury crossover market is used to in the MKC. While still in its infancy (relatively speaking, of course), their combination of standard AWD, great looks, a gorgeous and high quality interior along with a starting price just beneath $40,000 will give buyers something to strongly consider. With tech as a strong influencer, the SYNC 3 works in the MKC’s favour.
Expect to see more of this recent offering on the road over the coming months as it’s a strong alternative to enter or remain in the luxury crossover market and it’s illustrating the Lincoln brand is indeed alive and kicking.
While it’s one thing to be fashionably late, as with most things in life, timing certainly is everything.
2016 Lincoln MKC
2.0 Ecoboost AWD $39,940
Options as tested:
$ 2,200 Panoramic vista roof
$1,100 Enhanced THX II audio system
$500 Class II trailer tow package
$1,250 Select plus package
$650 Climate package with heated steering wheel
$2,860 Equipment group 200 A
$75 Premium reversible cargo mat
$100 Federal excise tax
$1,800 Destination and delivery
Total price as tested: $50,475
Yay: Premium materials, SYNC 3, great ride quality, strong fit and finish, attractive looks
Nay: Rear seats ideal for two, can be slightly heavy on fuel consumption compared to posted figures, hard fight against established competitors