Lincoln MKC (2014-present): Review, Problems, Specs

When it launched in 2014 as a 2015 model, the MKC provided the first glimpse into Lincoln's reinvention as a luxury brand, so naturally everyone was curious about it. Although the MKC uses the same platform as the Ford Escape, it manages to be more than just a posh version of an existing model from the Blue Oval's range. The well-built cabin, stylish exterior design, two powerful turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engines and an optional adjustable suspension make it different enough from the Ford Escape to justify the price premium.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Quiet, well-built cabin
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Refined ride with the optional adaptive suspension
  • Stylish design

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Unremarkable performance and handling
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Brutal brakes

Stay Away From
  • 2.3-liter model too expensive for its small power advantage
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • Ford recalled some 2015 Lincoln MKCs in January 2015 to relocate the Push-to-Start/Stop (PTS) button and reprogram the Powertrain Control Module to avoid an unintended press of the PTS switch
  • Certain 2015 Lincoln MKC vehicles were recalled in January 2015 to replace the fuel pump to prevent failure caused by improper nickel plating of components within the pump
  • On some 2015 Lincoln MKCs the Fuel Delivery Module was replaced as part of a September 2014 recall to avoid a possible crack between the filter body and the filler cap that could result in low fuel pressure
  • Certain 2015 Lincoln MKC vehicles were recalled in August 2014 to inspect the windshields for air bubbles and replacing them as necessary
Car Details
Powertrain

Lincoln offers a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that delivers 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. The only available engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost that puts out 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. Both are offered exclusively with a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and offer similar performance. The standard engine is powerful enough and responsive, with the six-speed auto doing a good job of exploiting its power (0-60 takes 7.6 seconds). In real-life, the larger engine does not feel a lot stronger (0-60 in 6.5 seconds), not to mention it burns more fuel and is more expensive to buy. In conclusion, the 2.0-liter unit is the obvious choice.


Handling

Lincoln is not a company known for building sharp-handling cars, and the MKC makes no exception. The suspension is set up for comfort, so when the road starts to wind the body rolls and leans more than you would expect. The optional adaptive suspension in "Sport" mode doesn't solve that either, so driving the MKC through turns can be quite tiring. However, the MKC's wider track and lower center of gravity mean it handles better than the Ford Escape. Furthermore, the standard Front-wheel Torque Vectoring control ensures grip remains high on any road surface. The brakes lack refinement, though.


Safety

The NHTSA assessed the Lincoln MKC and gave it an overall four-star rating – four stars for the frontal crash, five stars for the side crash, and four stars for rollover. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also submitted the MKC to a crash-test but only performed the moderate overlap front test and the side impact test. In both cases, the MKC got the maximum "Good" rating. The IIHS also rated the SUV as offering a minimum "Basic" front crash prevention systems.

Comfort

When it comes to comfort, the Lincoln MKC is one of the segment's best. Both the standard steel-spring suspension and (especially) the optional one with adaptive damping deliver a smooth, comfortable ride, soaking most road surface bumps discreetly and silently. The cabin is very silent, thanks to consistent sound insulation and Lincoln's standard active noise-cancellation system. The seats are very comfortable for long trips, but legroom is in tight supply at the rear if passengers in the front are tall. The vertical stack of buttons for the automatic transmission placed on the center console require some time to get used to, but the shift paddles are conventional stuff.


Quality

While the overall quality of the materials used inside the MKC is good, the SUV does not quite live up to the quality standards of its competitors. The cabin is let down by the Ford-spec climate control buttons, as well as the low-quality silver-painted plastic trim and transmission buttons. The wood trim is impressive, though, as is the available Bridge of Weir leather upholstery – standard equipment includes a less spectacular leatherette upholstery. The Active Noise Control system ensures passengers can carry a normal conversation at highway speeds without raising their voices.


Practicality

The MKC does not excel when it comes to interior space or cargo volume, with most of its rivals offering more room for both passengers and luggage. While the front seats offer plenty of headroom and legroom, things aren't as comfortable in the back, where space is rather tight for taller adult passengers. Trunk capacity is disappointing, with 25.2 cubic feet behind the second row and 53.1 cu-ft with the rear seat backs folded down. Competitors like the Acura RDX and Volvo XC60 offer significantly more cargo volume.


Infotainment

2016 Lincoln MKC come equipped as standard with the latest-generation SYNC 3 infotainment system which represents a welcome replacement for MyLincoln Touch that 2015 models had. SYNC 3 uses a smartphone-like interface via an 8-inch touchscreen that allows users to access vehicle functions. The new system is a clear improvement: the user interface is more attractive, easier to work with thanks to the larger virtual buttons, and response times are quicker. Obviously, there's still a learning curve for getting used to all its functions.

Efficiency

The standard 2.0-liter engine is the most economical of the range, with a combined rating of 23 mpg (20 mpg city/29 mpg highway) for the 2WD model. Opt for all-wheel drive and the figures drop to 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/26 mpg highway). The larger 2.3-liter unit is only offered with all-wheel drive, returning 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway). These fuel economy ratings are respectable compared to rival models, but efficiency would be even better if Lincoln fitted the MKC with a start/stop system.


Equipment

The 2016 Lincoln MKC is available in four trim levels: Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label. Available exclusively with the 2.0-liter engine, Premiere includes xenon headlights, LED taillights, 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a four-way power front passenger seat, heated front seats, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Tech features include the SYNC 3 interface with an 8-inch touchscreen, voice controls, a rearview camera, and a 9-speaker audio system with two USB ports and satellite radio.


Acquisition

As long as you don't cross too many options, the Lincoln MKC is great value for money. A base 2016 MKC Premiere with FWD is priced at $33,260 (excluding destination), making it about $2,000 less expensive than the base 2017 Acura RDX. Adding all-wheel drive to the 2.0-liter engine increases the MSRP to $35,755 while upgrading to the 2.3-liter engine with AWD in Select trim results in a $40,725 price tag – it undercuts the 2016 Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro by more than $2,000. In conclusion, the Lincoln MKC is a SUV for those who value comfort and refinement more than driving fun and performance.

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