By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
The Lincoln MKC small-luxury SUV for 2016 is the latest salvo in Lincoln’s war on mediocrity. Though it shares its underpinnings with the Ford Escape, the MKC looks and feels more substantial, and its interior amenities leave little to be desired. Two fuel-efficient turbocharged engines further the MKC’s forward-thinking attitude and help it go head-to-head with other newcomers including the Land Rover Evoque, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, as well as the already established Acura RDX and Audi Q5. Offered in a variety of trims with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive (FWD, AWD), the 2016 MKC may not be the most technologically advanced vehicle in the Lincoln fleet, but it certainly is the most youthful.
The Lincoln MKC offers features, styling and performance to play with the best in this class, while allowing you to feel good about “buying American” once again. Although a well-optioned MKC can get pricey, entry and mid-level trims remain very competitive.
Changes to the 2016 Lincoln MKC compact-luxury-crossover SUV are limited to some new colors, the addition of Sync 3 and a 3,000-pound tow rating with the 2.3-liter engine when equipped with the trailer tow package.
No matter the EcoBoost engine or drivetrain layout, Lincoln’s 2016 MKC small-luxury SUV feels solid, confident and safe. The MKC’s Ford Escape roots serve it well. With a wider track...
... and lower center of gravity, the MKC corners with all the fun of a compact sports sedan. Lincoln further improves upon the MKC’s handling with standard Front-wheel Torque Vectoring control for assured grip on any road surface. The driving experience improves even more when the MKC is equipped with the available Continuously Controlled Damping system. We found the Comfort setting too much like the old Town Car, the Sport mode a bit too harsh and Normal just about right for most daily driving conditions. Unfortunately, the MKC’s additional luxury features mean additional weight, a factor in its lackluster acceleration times. Opting for the 2.3-liter engine, however, helps keep the MKC somewhat competitive with most rivals.
CONTINUOUSLY CONTROLLED DAMPING SUSPENSION
Available as a stand-alone option across the MKC range and standard on AWD trims, the CCD teams with the Lincoln Drive Control permitting various shock settings from Comfort to Normal to Sport.
ACTIVE NOISE CONTROL
Luxury cars are supposed to be quiet, so Lincoln insures the MKC’s cabin remains hushed by way of the vehicle’s audio system. Active noise control cancels out obtrusive sound waves making Bluetooth conversations a bit easier and long road trips a little more enjoyable.
As the first vehicle from the new Lincoln Design Studio, the 2016 MKC’s well-finished cabin has a definite “class-above” character. Its dash-mounted push-button transmission controls yield additional storage space while the new MyLincoln Touch system features user-friendly knobs and buttons instead of annoying slider controls. Up front, the MKC’s power bucket seats offer laudable comfort and support. However, its fixed-position 60/40-folding rear bench is less accommodating, particularly with respect to legroom for adults. Maximum cargo space – expanding from 25.3 cubic feet to 53.1 with the seatbacks folded – falls well below its larger Acura, Audi and BMW rivals.
Aimed at younger and younger-thinking buyers, the MKC epitomizes the “New Lincoln” look from its elegant split wing grille framed by high-efficiency HID headlights to a full-width LED taillight and sophisticated wraparound rear hatch. The 2016 Lincoln MKC’s sleek profile is further enhanced by a flowing roofline, bold shoulder creases and smartly sculpted body panels. Standard across the lineup is a class-leading Approach Detection System that automatically illuminates the vehicle when its owner comes within eight feet and even includes color-keyed mini-lamps in each door pull. The Range-topping Reserve variant also features a huge 12-square-foot glass Vista Roof.
Every Lincoln MKC for 2016 comes dressed to impress. The entry-level Premiere model packs a bounty of power assists, active noise control and dual-zone climate control with Sync 3/MyLincoln Touch, and a 9-speaker audio system with SiriusXM radio. MKC Select spec replaces leather and aluminum cabin appointments with Bridge of Weir leather and premium wood, while adding ambient lighting, a 10-way-power passenger seat and auto-folding side-view mirrors. The MKC Reserve brings heated/cooled front seats, a glass panoramic Vista Roof, navigation, the MyLincoln Mobile app for always-on remote vehicle access, a hands-free power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring and a power-adjustability tilt/telescoping steering column.
Buyers can personalize the 2016 MKC small-luxury-crossover SUV with a selection of freestanding extras as well as with focused equipment packages. Highlights include Continuously Controlled Damping, all-wheel drive, a 14-speaker THX II Certified Audio system, 19- and 20-inch wheel/tire fitments, and various paint finishes. All MKC trims can be further upgraded with a Climate Package (heated steering wheel/rear seats, rain-sensing wipers, automatic high-beam headlights), and a Class II Trailer Tow Package. The Select Plus Package bundles navigation with blind-spot monitoring, and the Reserve-only Technology Package brings adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and Forward Sensing and Active Park Assist systems.
The 2016 Lincoln MKC compact-luxury SUV offers a choice of two turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder engines. The base 2.0-liter is same one used in the Ford Escape and produces an identical 240 horsepower/270 lb-ft of torque. Rated at 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, the MKC’s optional engine is the same 2.3-liter used in the
2016 Ford Mustang. Both engines are backed by a 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission that offers manual-style control via paddles mounted on the steering wheel. Although the engines boast very respectable fuel-economy figures, the MKC’s maximum tow rating – when fitted with the optional Trailer Tow Package– is 3,000 pounds, well under the Audi Q5’s class-leading 4,400-pound figure.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (FWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)
2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4
285 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 2,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (AWD)
Intent on maximizing its appeal as a conquest vehicle, Lincoln has rolled out the all-new MKC SUV with fairly aggressive pricing. A front-drive 2.0-liter MKC Premiere opens with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $34,000 – about $1,000 less than the Acura RDX. An MKC Select pops that figure by nearly $4,000 with the MKC Black Label starting close to $47,500. Adding AWD bumps the bottom line on any 2.0-liter model by about $2,500. Pricing on the MKC Select AWD with 2.3-liter engine starts around $40,500 and can top $57,000 on the fully equipped Black Label. Maxed-out SUV rivals from Audi, BMW and M-B can all top that figure by $5,000 or more, but they can also offers V6, turbodiesel and/or hybrid powertrain choices and enhanced towing capabilities. Those tangible real-world trade-offs may well impact your take on the 2016 Lincoln MKC’s perceived value and ding its resale value as well.