New & Used Lincoln MKC: In Depth
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The Lincoln MKC is a compact five-seat crossover vehicle that shares underpinnings with the Ford Escape. To distinguish it from the less expensive Ford, the new Lincoln gets its own styling, an interior complete with a pushbutton transmission, and one turbocharged engine not offered in the Escape.
With the MKC, Lincoln has its first all-new vehicle since it added the MKT for the 2010 model year. The MKC enters a very crowded segment of smaller luxury crossovers, including the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Acura RDX, among many others. You may recognize it from the much-discussed ad series featuring Lincoln pitchman Matthew McConaughey.
The MKC is at the bottom of the Lincoln totem pole, with three crossovers or SUVS sitting above it: the MKX, the MKT, and the still-named Navigator.
MORE: Read our 2015 Lincoln MKC review
The MKC's pretty exterior theme wears the latest rendition of Lincoln's split-wing grille, though the rear may be the most interesting angle, with its full-width taillamps. Lincoln's new MKX follows the MKC's lead with a very similar design that has basically just been upsized to fit its larger body.
The MKC's base powertrain is the same 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's optional in the Escape; it can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. The upgrade engine is a new 2.3-liter turbocharged in-line four with 275 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, also available with front- or all-wheel drive. This engine is also being offered in the new Ford Mustang as well as some future Ford and Lincoln products.
The MKC shares the Escape's electric power steering and its basic suspension, but the Lincoln crossover can be equipped with a set of adaptive dampers that drivers can set in comfort, sport, or normal modes for a more finely tuned ride. The MKC comes with 18-inch wheels, while 19-inchers are an option.
Inside, there's nearly the same interior space as in the snug-fitting Ford crossover--the Escape is somewhere between a Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe in wheelbase and overall length. The sensation of space is greater in the Lincoln, with its different console design. It passes on a conventional shift lever: pushbuttons located on the left side of the center stack activate the transmission, and a raft of new buttons give some easier shortcuts into its MyLincoln Touch infotainment system. Leather and wood trim are available.
Split-folding and reclining back seats are included in the MKC as well. The available power tailgate can be opened with the wave of a foot under the rear bumper.
The Escape has been a fairly good safety performer, and we expect nothing less from the MKC, since it comes with seven airbags standard, as well as stability control. Some of its advanced safety options are the same ones you'd find on the Escape, like its parking assistance system. The MKC comes standard with blind-spot monitors, which are an option on Escape, and offers a collision-warning system and a camera-based lane-keeping system. In NHTSA testing, the MKC earns four stars out of five overall, although the agency did find that a rear door unlatched and opened during side-crash testing, which does not factor into the ratings. The MKC has not yet been tested by the IIHS.
Other luxury features on the MKC include Bluetooth with audio streaming; SYNC; proximity illumination--the mirrors cast light on the ground when the car's keyfob is detected nearby; and an embedded data service (provider unknown) that links with a smartphone app to provide services like remote unlocking, fuel-level checks, and pre-setting of climate controls.
Along with the MKZ sedan and upcoming new MKX, the MKC is offered as part of Lincoln's Black Label program. For an additional $5,995, buyers get a "curated" palette of colors and trim options, using finer trimmings and offered in a handful of design themes, as well as a host of special extras, including in-home ordering and an annual detail of their vehicle.