2015 Lincoln MKC Review

2015 Lincoln MKC - Baby crossover from Lincoln gives the establishment something to think about.


Vehicle Tested
2015 Lincoln MKC
Base Price:
As-Tested Price:
Built in Kentucky.

Reserve Equipment Group
2.3-Liter Engine
THX-Certified Audio System
19-Inch Wheels
Technology Package
Climate Package

Engine: Turbo 2.3-liter I4, 305 horsepower
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Drive Wheels: All-Wheel Drive

Lincoln's entry into the compact luxury crossover segment is called the MKC. It's a five-passenger four-door wagon that comes with front- or all-wheel drive. MKC shares its basic design with the Ford Escape and competes with vehicles like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti QX50, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Volvo XC60.

The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's also found in other Ford products. In the MKC the engine makes 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Optional is a turbocharged 2.3-lliter four that makes 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. Both engines mate to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0 comes with either front- or all-wheel drive and the 2.3 comes only with all-wheel drive. Maximum towing capacity is 3000 pounds.

Standard safety features include stability control, antilock disc brakes, rearview camera, front-seat side airbags, driver knee airbag and full-length side curtain airbags. Optional safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a forward collision warning. MyKey, which allows parents to set electronic parameters (such as maximum speed and radio volume) for specific keys, is standard.

A single model called Premiere is offered for 2015, however, there are several popular equipment groups that effectively act as trim packages and they include the Select and Reserve. Base MSRP is $33,100. Included in that price are 18-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, LED taillights, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, driver memory settings, 4-way power front passenger seat, heated front seat and leatherette upholstery and 8-inch touchscreen with the MyLincoln Touch interface, voice controls (Sync) and a nine-speaker audio system with two USB ports, an SD card reader and satellite radio.

The Select package is required with the 2.3-liter engine. It adds about $4000 to the price and includes power-folding side mirrors, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat, ambient interior lighting and a cargo cover. The Reserve includes the equipment from the Select Package, adds about $7000 to the base price and includes panoramic sunroof, hands-free power liftgate, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, navigation system and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.

Depending on configuration, additional features are also available. The Climate package comes with automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The Technology package includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning system, forward collision warning system and an automated parallel-parking system. Stand-alone options include adaptive suspension, 19- or 20-inch wheels and a 14-speaker surround-sound audio system. The MKC is built in Louisville, Kentucky, and comes with an $895 destination charge.

Get Up and Go - The standard 2.0-liter engine offers adequate performance for most drivers. Stomp the pedal from a stop and the 2.0-liter-equipped MKC will accelerate to 60 mph in about 8 seconds. That trails the class leaders a bit. For those wanting more power, the 2.3-lliter four offers plenty of pop. Its 285-horsepower shorten the trip to 60 mph to about 7 seconds, which is more than class competitive. Both engines provide good passing power and mate well to the smooth-shifting automatic transmission.

The all-wheel-drive system does not have a low-range gear and is not intended for extreme off-road use. It does a good job of apportioning power to all four wheels on slippery surfaces with only the slightest hint of front-wheel spin.

When equipped with the 2.3-liter engine the MKC is EPA rated at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Those numbers improve only slightly with the smaller 2.0-liter engine. Overall, the MKC slightly trails class leaders like the Audi A5 or Lexus NX. Thankfully, the MKC runs fine on regular-grade gasoline. Routine suburban commuting can yield as much as 26 mpg overall if you do a lot of highway driving. If your commute includes a rush-hour slog expect that number drop to about 21 mpg overall.

Behind the Wheel - Thanks to its optional adjustable suspension the MKC offers a wide ranging suspension that can be tailored to suite just about any taste. Set in comfort mode, there's plenty of bump absorption but also a fair amount of wallow and bound on bumpy roads. Switching over to sport and the suspension immediately firms up to provide a controlled and comfortable ride that's neither harsh nor upsetting.

Handling limits vary with suspension settings as well. In comfort mode, you won't want to stray too much from the straight and narrow as body lean and mushy steering rule the day. Switch back to sport and the MKC feels downright athletic when rounding corners or running through twisty roads. Regardless of suspension setting, the brakes have more than adequate stopping power and an easy-to-modulate pedal.

Thanks to lots of sound insulation and an active-noise cancellation system, Interior noise levels are among the lowest in class. There's only a hint of wind noise at highway speed and the engine never intrudes on conversation.

Behind the Wheel -
In an age when some luxury vehicles sport more buttons than the space shuttle, the MKC's interior is a model of modern simplicity. Materials are appropriate for the price, but perhaps a cut below what you might expect in an Audi or Infiniti. Still, Lincoln did an excellent job of creating an upscale and modern interior with a nice dollop of traditional bits and pieces like wood and chrome.

Drivers face two large dials and information center through a thick three-spoke steering wheel. The dials are easy to read and driver-info center is quite configurable. The center stack includes a large touch screen with the familiar four-quadrant Sync system. It's easy to use, but the touch-screen is the old style that doesn't allow for gestures like pinch-to-zoom. Below the screen are standard buttons and dials for the climate control and radio.

One unique change is the removal of the traditional shifter. Instead of a lever on the center console, the MKC is shifted (and started) by a vertical row of buttons to the left of the touch screen. It take a little getting used to, but works quite well and frees up space for a larger bin in the center console.

Front seats are traditionally cushy, but provide nice support on longer trips. Head and leg room are quite good. Outward visibility isn't great, but there are plenty of electronic countermeasures to help driver's stay on the road or back and park. The back seats are nicely appointed and fairly well cushioned but don't offer enough leg room for full-size adults, especially if the front seats are all the way back. This is common among compact crossovers and not surprising here in the MKC.

Cargo space is good and about what you'd expect for the class. That being said, don't expect the MKC to have enough room to haul a dresser or larger item. There's just not enough height. Folding the rear seats provides a flat load floor for carrying longer items. Interior storage is good and cup holders and power outlets abound.

Bottom Line -
MKC gives Lincoln a credible player in the compact luxury crossover segment. It's perhaps not as polished as some competitors, but it's also considerably less expensive - when equipped feature for feature. The available adaptive suspension is a must and thankfully it's a stand-alone option. If you are shopping in this segment, you'll want to give this baby Lincoln a spin, it's comfortable, quiet and surprisingly affordable.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.