If you’ve watched the news on American television in 2019, you have probably seen the ad above. Lincoln has a few thousand MKC crossovers to sell to make room for the new Corsair. I am here to argue that the MKC is worth a serious look if you are looking to step up to a luxury vehicle for the first time. That’s precisely what I did.
This past spring, I replaced my trusty, 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring with a 2019 Lincoln MKC 2.3T. I love it.. For such a buttoned-down, conservative-looking crossover, it has more than enough features and nice design touches to keep me happy. More important, it encourages driver focus through comfort and sound insulation. It's a tiny corner office on wheels. While small on the inside, it has some classic Lincoln mid-century modern touches, like the french stitching everywhere and the 1960s-style leather accents on the door panels. Every Lincoln model since 2014 has only built on that aesthetic. It’s a big reason why the Continental is the best sedan assembled in the US.
Let’s just straight into the pros, cons, and a summary of just how surprisingly good the MKC 2.3T is.
Overall an excellent design with great attention to detail.
Has a distinctive, American version of automotive luxury that Lincoln has brought back to the market.
A great, buttery smooth ride.
Better than expected handling.
Driving confidence through power - a free-spooling 2.3-liter turbo that Ford has almost perfected.
An outstanding THX audio system that is worth paying extra to get.
Small cargo area.
Small fuel tank - expect more frequent fill-ups.
Lacks the latest tech and some expected tech in 2019, like a front-facing camera.
Driver aids are not worth the extra cost. Some should have been standard, anyway.
Styling is too safe and conservative for younger buyers.
Steering wheel design could be better
This is a crowded market, and there aren’t many premium crossovers out there to love. But I am going to try to make the case for the MKC. It was the second model of the current Lincoln resurgence, and its first great crossover. I don’t think the first Aviator was great. And I think the first generation MKX was a sad, rebadged Ford Edge. But Lincoln finally got it right with the MKC. It also helps that they hired a new spokesman who gave us a little history lesson about Lincoln. The brand doesn’t try to be cool. It doesn’t try to run with the Germans. It’s a brand that comforts you. Lincoln makes the car that you’d agree is the most comfortable you’ve driven. This ad was an a-ha moment. Lincoln got its voice and identity back. Sure, McConaughey is talking to himself. But he’s saying what Lincoln hadn’t said since the 1980s. Uncool IS cool, and Lincoln is a great American brand.
Te MKC is not an exercise in slapping Lincoln badges on a Ford. It shares its platform with several Ford vehicles that ride on the C1 platform (C for “Compact”). They include the Ford Kuga/Escape, Focus, Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and even the Volvo V40 wagon that I love. So there is some sharing of parts and components. Notably, it has an almost stock Ford SYNC3 system and the same gauge hood, wiper and turn signal stalks as the Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ. It has the same interior door lock buttons as the previous generation Ford Explorer. And it has the same headlamp and fog lamp control panel as almost any Ford going back to the last decade. I will return to the instrument panel and gauges in a bit, but this gets the familiar Ford switchgear out of the way. Now we turn to the Lincoln gear.
The Lincoln MKZ was the first new Lincoln that put the brand on the path to regained success. It had a new design language, inside and out, and a revitalized attention to design detail. The next Lincoln to appear was the vehicle that would represent the fastest-growing segment in the industry: the luxury compact crossover. Today there are close to 50 models and variants of luxury compact crossovers for sale in the US. The MKC entered a crowded field in late 2014 that only became more crowded today. It was supposed to be a big hit. It was only a modest hit, selling between 24K and 28K units per year. Not a flop by any means.
It’s tough for both Cadillac and Lincoln to compete against Lexus and the three big German brands. But niches can be carved out in this industry. Cadillac tried the sporty, performance route. Lincoln looked to America’s past to re-capture what it calls “quiet luxury,” or American luxury.
It is tough for both Cadillac and Lincoln to compete against Lexus and the three big German brands. But niches can be carved out in this industry. Cadillac tried the sporty, performance route. Lincoln looked to America’s past to re-capture what it calls “quiet luxury,” or American luxury.
All Lincoln vehicles are available in three trim levels that emulate wine and liquor labels: Select, Reserve and Black Label.
My MKC is a Reserve in Ruby Red with the THX audio system upgrade, panoramic sunroof, climate package, splash guards, and an ivory interior with dark espresso walnut wood trim. The total cost with tax was $42xxx, about $8K less than what it would have cost two years earlier. Buying a vehicle at the end of its production run can save money, provided it's not a high performance vehicle or has a final special edition. Also, it is worth noting that all American-made vehicles depreciate faster than their foreign counterparts, and American manufacturers are more likely to offer discounts and incentives. I didn’t overpay for my MKC.
In Lincoln’s view, “American Luxury” starts with the details. The MKZ and MKC introduced the rear light bar to all Lincolns (I think Porsche quickly re-introduced their lightbar after seeing what Lincoln did). Inside, the MKZ and MKC have a modified version of the Ford Fusion’s interior. The instrument cluster is the same (minus an outside temperature display, which is annoying). The turn signal and wiper stalks are also the same (which I like a lot). After that, the Lincolns add all the things that differentiate the models from the Ford. They get a power-adjustable steering column, real wood trim, a unique center stack with push button gear selectors, felt-lined storage compartments, leather seating by Bridge of Weir (Scotland) with deep, soft seams (similar to the seats in Mercedes sedans today), a leather-wrapped steering wheel by Wollsdorf (Austria), leather armrests, plus french stitching on the center console (up to the part the touches the front occupant’s inside knee) and faux leather panels inside the doors with classy, asymmetrical stitching. The stitched door panels are a highlight for me. They remind me of mid-century furniture designs which Lincoln is trying to copy in future models. The 1962-64 Continental is a design and luxury triumph. Its Bridge of Weir seats, fine finishes and suicide doors makde it a mid-centry design icon, right at home in Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Palm Springs. So the MKC tips its cap to that tradition in the door panels. It’s small but I eat that up.
The interior of the MKC is a small personal sanctuary. An optional full panoramic sunroof goes a long way to brighten and open up the small space. The big reason the interior is small is because the interior walls are so thick. The doors feel heavy - think the opposite of the 4Runner and Wrangler doors, which are very light. Head to the cargo area, and you see the walls protruding into the hatch opening. Owners will appreciate the noise insulation and peace they get inside the MKC. But those thick walls cut into cargo capacity. There’s no way a golf bag could lie horizontally (still a benchmark for luxury automakers). My cargo area can barely hold two carry-on rollers, two beach chairs, some shopping totes and a deconstructed beach tent. That’s the most I carry. But at baseline, it’s small because I always have the tent and beach chairs in there year round. I’m a New Yorker. I don’t have an extra closet for summer gear.
Lack of cargo space aside, the MKC is a very pleasant vehicle to sit in. It can accommodate two adults in the back seat just fine. It has a little more legroom than a BMW 3 Series or the last generation Infiniti QX50 (a key competitor of the MKC). There’s less rear room than the similarly sized Subaru Forester and my previous car, the Hyundai Elantra Touring. Up front the MKC is a cozy, luxurious space for two. I do think the MKC is a personal luxury vehicle, best for singles or empty nesters. More on that later.
The latest episode of Regular Car Reviews takes a look at what was entry-level luxury in 1970 with the beautiful Chrysler Imperial. It was super smooth and wasn’t about hauling cargo. Mr. Regular has a great tangent about how in the 1950s and 60s, it was sexy for a white collar worker to have clean fingernails. The MKC is a clean fingernails car. It’s a high riding luxury cruiser for people, not things.
When I first saw the MKC interior (in the 2017 movie Get Out, no less), I did not like the push button gear selector at all. It’s oversized, and simply reminds me of old people. Hell, it even resembles a weekly pill organizer in a way. But once the MKC rose to the top of my list list of new car candidates, I had to try out the buttons. And they are fine. On a typical drive, I only push the buttons six times, including the push of the stop-start button, which is included in the column of big buttons. Lincoln knew owners would push a button and forget it, and they were correct. Now the shifter is a thing of the past throughout the Lincoln brand.
The buttons clean-up the space where a traditional shifter would live, but it doesn’t really add interior storage space. It just looks super clean. The cup holders are in a prominent central location and there’s a storage compartment ahead of them. That compartment would easily fit most phones when the MKC was released in 2014. But now, most phones cannot fit neatly in that compartment. So when you have a phone tethered for use with Apple Car Play or Android Auto, that phone will rest partially inside the compartiment. Pity there isn’t an alternative tethering location, like the mustang has with its center storage console. Speaking of which, the center storage console in the MKC is very deep. Well over a foot. You can hide a lot of things in there. It’s not wide enough for a laptop or tablet (a feature that Acura pushes with its MDX), but it is the biggest gadget storage location in the vehicle, and has a charge-only USB port if you don’t need to use Apple Car Play or Android Auto.
One more element of the interior that hasn’t aged well is the steering wheel. Just as the MKC was introduced, the trend from premium automakers was to make steering wheels beefier and more racing-inspired. The stitching become more prominent and some manufacturers started to offer flat-bottom steering wheels. While flat bottoms and Alcantara polyester would be out of place in a Lincoln, the MKC and MKZ share essentially the same steering wheel as the Ford Fusion. It’s comfortable to hold at the 9 and 3 position, as well as the less othodox but very comfortable 8 and 4 position. But it is not comfortable to hold at the long-taught 10 and 2 position. There’s not enough room for the fingers to comfortably rest at 10 and 2 for long periods of time. The curvature to the horn/airbag core seems to begin too soon. I found this same issue in the previous generation Ford Explorer with its larger steering wheel. The feel of the wheel is such an important factor in liking or buying a car. Having 30% of possible hand positions not be super-comfortable is something MKC shoppers should investigate. Always spend time with the steering wheel and take not of how it is designed. In the technology section, I will detail the man buttons on the MKC steering wheel.
Aside from stepping up to the Reserve trim, the only option I'm glad I got is the THX audio system. In any car, I feel wattage is the compensation for poor acoustics. So whether it is a Rockford Fosgate system a college student has in her Mitsubishi or a Harmon/Kardon option in a Subaru or BMW, opting for the audio upgrade is always a smart choice. The THX-certified system in the MKC is outstanding, with more than enough power and clarity for the small cabin. The MKZ and MKC are the last Lincolns to include a standard CD player and that is still the superior medium for the ultimate in sound quality and loudness. The THX system (which might be made by Sony, like the system in the Explorer) sounds best when playing a Compact Disc. Sirius XM radio, as compressed and undersampled as it is, also sounds enhanced with this system.
With the Reserve trim, all interior lighting is LED, as expected. Ford delivered a nice bonus lighting feature with colored LED ambient lighting, not unlike the Mustang and Edge. There are six colors to choose from, in addition ti white. While the color doesn’t stretch to the back seat, as it does in high-end BMW models, it's a nice touch for the front passengers. It shows off the sculpted and sloping center stack, which was designed by Korean-born designer Soo Kang. It’s not a surprise that the MKC was a hit with women. The interior has an elegant flow to it, and some of that feel carries over to its replacement, the Corsair. It was pretty clear from the Corsair debut presentation in New York that the Corsair is aimed at women buyers.
Outside the MKC is more generic. It’s conservative for the times, actually. Back in the 90s when we saw sketches and design concepts for the crossovers of the 21st century, they looked wild with their egg-like profiles and huge wheels. Now those cars are on our roads, and they are kinda “meh.” The Lincoln has just a few details that give it a hint of personality. Muscular horizontal bulges over the wheel wells emphasize power and all wheel drive. They almost remind me of the Dr. Zapatinas Designs of the Alfa Romeo 156 and Subaru B9 Tribeca. The bulges don’t go out as far, but their presence is felt. The rear hatch (tailgate - as the industry calls it) is where a lot of money went into the design. It’s totally copied after Audi’s crossovers, but it’s still an impressive piece of molded aluminum with an LED light bar. Open it up, and the brake lights rise with it, just like the Audi. So supplemental lights are on the rear bumpers, as required by Federal law.
Up front is where Lincoln made the biggest improvement to the MKC. Ford didn’t have to do this, but the final model year, the 2019 MKC got the new signature Lincoln grille and front fascia. Also called the Continental grille, it adds a ton of class and distinction to the vehicle. Gone is the art deco waterfall grille and unconventional front hood seam. In is the facia seen on all Lincolns, as well as distinctive LED daytime lamps and LED fog lights. This is a huge improvement and has gotten more shoppers to look at Lincoln, including me. I would not have gotten the MKC with the old grille. As much as I liked the drivetrain and the competitive price, the old grille was a turn-off for me.
My MKC rides on fairly generic 18" partially polished star alloys. Apparently these are the wheels you get if you get the upgraded THX audio system. That suits me just fine as I not only get the upgraded audio, but I get a little more tire sidewall. The 18’s look slightly odd in wheel wells that can accommodate 22" rims, but as I'll explain later, these wheels help maintain the buttery ride.
All exterior lighting, as expected at this price point, is LED. This is only my second car, but the first to have full LED lighting inside and out. We’re starting to see full LED lights for the entry level Jeeps, so it only makes sense that we should only see LEDs in the luxury segment.
This is a big area where Lincoln sold me. When I first paid serious attention to the MKC at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, I asked a Lincoln rep if the MKC had the same 2-liter EcoBoost motor and 6-speed transmission as the Ford Escape. He replied yes, but then he said I could also get the MKC with a 2.3-liter motor. Simultaneously we smiled and exclaimed, "the Mustang motor!" Well, not the same configuration. But yes, the same motor, which is made in Ford’s plant in Valencia Spain.
I like 2.3-liter turbos the most out of all four cylinder motors. The late 80s Mercedes 190E offered one. The Ford Sierra / XR4Ti also had one. 2.3 liters means you can pay the extra costs in taxes or fuel (or both) over the general global tax threshold of 2 liter displacement.
The Ford 2.3 EcoBoost, in this quietest and most tame form, generates 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. That extra torque over the standard 2-liter motor is very welcome. Acceleration is quite good - about 1.5 seconds faster to 60MPH than the personal luxury vehicle of my childhood, the BMW E30 3 Series. That is quick enough, and the Lincoln does it almost silently.
Attached to that motor is the very common GM/Ford 6-speed transmission, used in the previous generation Explorer, Edge, Escape and outgoing Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and Flex. The particular model used in the MKC is the 6F50, designed to handle up to 300 horsepower motor and capable of some towing. This drivetrain was most common in the Ford Explorer EcoBoost from the last generation.
The part-time all wheel drive (AWD) system used in also common among Fords, and made by Dana (the same company that makes solid axles for trucking as well as the Jeep Wrangler). The MKC offers a AWD torque display that shows that the vehicle spends most of its time driving the front wheels. The rear wheels kick in when slippage occurs, or when the throttle is opened from a stop or when the driver wants to pass at highway speeds. I noticed that when I accelerate past 4,000 RPM, a good amount of torque (up to 40%) is sent to the rear for a brief period of time.
Everything else mechanically is par for the course. Electric power rack and pinion steering. MacPherson struts in the front. Multi-link suspension in the rear. Disc brakes all around. That could be my old Hyundai or my dad’s Subaru. But what isn’t my Hyundai is the active dampeners. And so this is where I get to describe the ride.
Ride and Handling
The MKC has a buttery smooth ride. Once it gets up to speed (which is pretty quick) it simply does its thing and cruises while absorbing road imperfections and bumps. It’s a ride that will not tire out the driver. In Lincoln’s view, the highly cushioned ride reduces stress and delays driving fatigue. The active dampeners can be set to Comfort (soft) (not quite Town Car / bounce house, but noticeably bouncy), Normal (medium), or Sport (firm), which is more like the Audi Q5 or BMW X3. The ride is the most adjustable handling feature of the vehicle, and Lincoln has expanded that adjustability in their crossover and SUV models since.
One would expect a vehicle focused on smoothness wouldn’t have any great handling, but this is where the MKC surprises. It’s more engaging and handles better than expected. Cornering is confident. Body roll is light. The MKC feels very planted and mainly flat around corners. With the ride set to Sport, the MKC feels more like a Mazda CX-5 than a baby Ford Explorer. While the steering lacks sharpness, the electric power steering doesn’t feel too light. There’s a bit of interesting weight to it. The sharpest steering crossover I’ve driven is the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. And the lightest steering feel I’ve driven is probably the Nissan Murano and Jeep Cherokee. The MKC is like most crossovers - somewhere in the middle. But the handling is definitely closer to an Acura than a unibody Jeep or Nissan SUV.
Performance and Sport Mode
Let’s get the fuel numbers out of the way. I average a little over 26 MPG in everyday driving, which is a great mix of elevation changes, stop and go traffic and highway cruising. I do most of my driving close to sea level in the New York City and Long Island region, with occasional drives upstate and into the edge of the Appalachian mountains in western New England. I have averaged 28 MPG in warmer weather and when I get my coasting efficiency runs just right. But 26 MPG is what a responsible, conservative driver can expect in an MKC 2.3T. The fuel tank is a smaller than average 15.7 gallons, so frequent fuel stops are unavoidable no matter what your driving style. For comparison the BMW X1 fuel tank is 16.1 gallons and the Infiniti QX50 has a 16 gallon tank.
In normal driving mode (D), the MKC is very buttoned down. RPMs tend to hang at 2500 at cruising or 3500 and 4500 when accelerating. And that’s pretty much the MKC power band - between 2500 and 4500 RPM. That’s where peak torque lives. If you want peak torque to be accompanied by peak horsepower, you have to increase the RPMs, and that’s where sport modes (S) comes into play.
When I first used sport mode, I thought it was more like performance theater. The transmission holds each gear a little longer. That causes the motor to rev higher. But aside from slightly better handling, all I felt was that I was unnecessarily consuming more fuel. Also, Ford knows how to make a Sport mode more fun. Put a Mustang with a digital gauge cluster in sport mode, and you see an animation and a lot of displays turn red. Do that in the new Lincoln Corsair, and you see a high resolution animation through the steering wheel. But in the MKC, sport mode is indicated by a thin reddish pink line around the gauges and an equally feeble "sport" indicator in the driver's display. I remember the 2011 Lexus CT250h having a stronger, full red color and a more dramatic color and gauge switch.
The MKC has one major odd feature, and that is the damper settings can be programmed for each driving mode, normal (D) and Sport (S). So if you wanted an oddball setting of firm suspension in D and soft, bouncy suspension in S, you could. But the default is medium dampening in D and firm in S.
The MKC has small plastic shift paddles, just like several other Ford models on this global compact platform. The only practical use for them is the downshift paddle (the left one). You you need to make a quicker pass on the highway, kicking down to fifth gear can help. But at baseline the transmission wants to upshift to sixth gear over 40MPH. Add the fact that Sport mode improves shifting anyway, and the paddles are simply not necessary. this isn't a performance crossover, and the software is going to override your gear selection within seconds regardless.
So if you want firmer handling and more revs, simply press the S gear selector. That’s easy and you can do it while in-motion.
Technology Driver Aids and Safety
The MKC falls short here - so much so I think the Tech Package package can be skipped without regret. This is because by almost all accounts, the adaptive cruise control in the MKC is not reliable nor very accurate. It’s not lose to one of my favorite systems, Subaru EyeSight, which is so simple and reliable, my elderly parents use it with confidence. My MKC doesn’t have the Tech Package. That package includes automatic brake assist, adaptive cruise control, and my favorite feature, the driver alertness reminder. It’s the same Driver Alert Control (DAC) feature that was developed by Volvo in 2007 when Ford still owned them. If you drive for a long, uninterrupted time, or if your steering inputs seem abnormal to the system, a coffee icon appears in the gauge cluster, reminding you to take a break. I would have loved this feature be standard in the MKC. But we have computers in our pockets now, and they have timer apps. Better still, when running Apple Car Play or Android Auto, a push of the voice command button on the steering wheel can set up a reminder to take a break. That’s what I do when I drive between New York and New England. I ask the Android Assistant to remind me to take a break in two hours.
I do like the overall look of the Ford Fusion gauge cluster in the MKC. I actually don’t want a high definition computer screen through my steering wheel. I need crisp information, and being a luxury car, I want it to look good. When I first drove a BMW, it was a base E46. I liked what I saw through the steering wheel. I saw a sporty gauge cluster, uniformly lit and in a sans serif font. Having just gotten into Swiss watches, I thought that BMW was appealing to the same clientele. The MKC instrument panel is a high contrast mix of white LED-lit numerals against matte black with a medium resolution LED display in the middle. The numerals are physical and sit in dials that have some dept, like a chronograph watch. The needles are digital. The fuel gauge and distance until empty always appears in the center of the speedometer dial. The display in the tachometer dial can show real-time torque levels to all four wheels (AWD model), fuel economy for the current trip, or the current fuel economy (which can be reset any time). It’s simple. And yet it is so much more than what I had in my Elantra ten years ago.
The technology hub in the MKC is Ford SYNC 3. I have used all versions of SYNC, and I think SYNC 3 is the first version to be reliable, practical, and invaluable. It’s also very secure, requiring an extra step when pairing with phones. SYNC 3 is not flashy. It has a flat color scheme and user interface. In a car, this is fine. I’ll take boring and reliable over a sexy system that can’t run Android Auto (I’m talking to you, BMW). Now I do have some gripes. Ford should have put an outside temperature display in the gauge cluster, as the only way to see the outside temperature is in SYNC. This means if you have Apple Car Play or Android Running, you won’t see the outside temperature and you’ll have to ask your phone to tell it to you. The only other gripe I have is the heated steering wheel can only be activated while using SYNC. There are buttons for all climate functions except for the heated steering wheel. I’m almost certain future versions of SYNC will let you turn that one with a voice command. It would have been nice to have it activated with a button on the steering wheel. As I said - 12 buttons and two D pads are on that steering wheel, and some are only used in setting up driver preferences.
So let’s say you skip the Tech Package and settle for regular cruise control. It doesn’t reduce the number of buttons on the steering wheel. Let’s take a look at these 12 buttons (21 if you include the D pads up top!).
It’s a lot of buttons. My favorite cruise control switch was the stalk design that Toyota and Subaru used to have. Simply push in and push down to activate cruise control. Even Subaru’s controls today are simpler than the six button setup used by Ford and Lincoln through 2019. Ford has simplified it a bit in 2020, but what we see in the Lincoln MKC is the end of a cuttered era. There are three rocker switches that act like six buttons. One turns the cruise control on and off. Another resumes or cancels the previously speed. And a third both sets and adjusts the speed. It’s all very busy. Through practice, I have learned to stick to the “left, outside” buttons to get things activated. And of course it has to be complicated so the sequence of button presses starts with the bottom left. So first press On and then run your finger or thumb to the left outside button above it maked “set.” The buttons are small and don’t illuminate well at night, so this older driver has to do it all by feel. Fortunately, I don’t have to use cruise control much as I spend half my time in the New York region in heavy traffic or at stoplights, and I seldom use cruise control at night. But I wanted to point this out as another example of how the MKC steering wheel could be better.
On the right lower quadrant of the steering wheel are three identical pairs of buttons to pick up phone calls, control the audio volume and initiate voice commands. These buttons are far easier to find by feel and there’s no worry over whether pushing the wrong button will cause me to rear-end someone.
The voice command button on the steering wheel is the biggest tech feature in the MKC. While the Germans and even Hyundai have gone far beyond voice commands in 2019, this is still a very useful feature. Press the voice command button while running regular Ford Sync 3 and you have several navigation, radio, music, text messaging and phone commands available. Press the button while tethered to a phone and you instantly have access to Siri or Android Assistant. That greatly expands what you can do, including more advanced speech-to-text for sending and responding to messages, managing Google maps with your voice, launching music services and podcasts, or asking your phone to set reminders (as mentioned above for driver alertness). Time to destination and weather are also available via voice command to your Apple or Android phone, and I expect abilities and commands to expand each year. It’s here that the MKC can keep up with the times, so long as Apple and Android continue supporting SYNC 3.
The MKC was the first Lincoln to offer an always on, always connected wireless modem (which I think is still the technical term). This allows owners to see the location of their MKC, lock and unlock the doors, start and stop the motor and view the current odometer, fuel level and motor oil life using the Lincoln Way app (same as the Ford Pass app). That same always-on cellular connectivity gives owners the option to subscribe to a wireless data plan (provided by AT&T) to activate a Wi-Fi network in the cabin. The SYNC 3 system can also download OS updates if the vehicle is near a wireless network (like a house, a Starbucks or other public wireless network).
The MKC and MKZ we're also the first Lincolns to feature active noise cancelation technology in the cabin. It uses the 9-speaker audio system to suppress noise. I can't judge how good it is because it cannot be turned off. But Lincoln says it is on, and it works. I do have to stress that the cabin is super quiet. 30 years ago the quietest new auto interior was the Lexus LS400. With the MKC I bought a quieter cabin for about the s
The MKC even has some unique Ford tech from the 1980s and 90s. It has the famous Ford keyless entry keypad, called SecuriCode, on the driver’s side door - a fantastic feature that incredibly debuted in the fall of 1980 on premium Ford and Lincoln models. And it has MyKey programmability, an interesting and also annoying feature in which you can turn one of your keyfobs into a designated ‘teen driver’ or other unreliable driver key. A MyKey can limit the vehicle's top speed, alert the driver when he exceeds a preset speed, activate a constant fasten seatbelt chime, block Sirius XM channels that feature profanity, and prevent any driving safety system from being disengaged, such as stability control. It can even alert the driver of a low fuel level miles sooner than usual.
That’s about it for driver aids and technology. As for safety, the MKC has what we expect from cars costing $20,000 less, which is full disc brakes with ABS, stability control, traction control, a multitude of airbags, and a “good” moderate overlap front and side crash tests rating from the IIHS. That puts the 2019 MKC just a notch under the IIHS Top Safety pick threshold, which was won by the very similar 2019 Ford Edge.
Part of what puts a vehicle in the luxury class today is theater. In addition to all the exterior and interior features mentioned above, the Lincoln MKC has the welcoming and hospitality features that are expected in luxury vehicles today. Lincoln calls it the “Lincoln Embrace.” It’s mainly show, but you have to expect something more when choosing a Lincoln over a Ford. Different badging and finer leather seats don’t cut it anymore. So following what I believe was Mercedes in the early 2000s, todays Lincolns turn on the daytime running lights, some rear LED lights, and the door handle and puddle lights once the key holder is within 3 meters of the vehicle. Some interior lights also illuminate before the key holder enters the vehicle. And the side view mirrors are auto-folding when the motor is started and stopped. These are all luxury car essentials, but it took Lincoln until this decade to roll them out across their range.
Who Is It For?
This is the question that Jason Torchinsky asked when he reviewed the MKC in early 2015. One would think that a compact luxury crossover would appeal to affluent families with one child. But that is not the case there. Auto journalists and attentive shoppers can detect that a difference of a couple of inches in either the exterior or interior can put a vehicle in a different class. Take the MKC's interior room. It is similar to the previous generation Audi Q3 and Infiniti QX50, which are on the small side. But measure it outside, and it’s larger than those vehicles. On the outside, the MKC is about the same size as the previous generation BMW X3 and Subaru Forester. Lincoln set up the MKC to compete against the larger BMW X3 and Audi Q5. But step inside and it is clear that it is cozy like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1. So the interior and exterior dimensions are not fully in-step with its European competition.
Torchinsky noticed this as well in his review and was a little perplexed. He thinks the cozy interior came down to chunky experior proportions and the aforementioned thick interior walls. In his press event drive review, Andrew P. Collins noted that a lot of work went into balancing light and space in the cabin. The raked windscreen and sloping center stack are great for the passengers up front, but it might be a factor in reducing cargo space in the rear.
MKC gives Lincoln a compelling offering in the small premium utility vehicle segment, the fastest-growing part of the luxury market. The segment has grown by 25 percent since 2012 and by more than 200 percent since 2009. The segment growth is being driven by new luxury buyers who are coming into affluence, as well as by current luxury owners who are moving from larger vehicles to smaller ones as their life desires change.
With MKC, Lincoln continues its move toward targeting a younger, more diverse customers. The vehicle also positions Lincoln to resonate with drivers in desirable markets on the East and West coasts.
Automotive press releases will never ceases to impress me with their verbal gymnastics. That is a lot of words describing two different types of affluent, urban customers (and those urban centers are called Southern California and New York). One type of customer is the older professional couple - the affluent empty nesters - who want a smaller vehicle overall but also a more comfortable ride height. The other type of customer is younger, and childless. These are affluent singles and couples who want to reward themselves with their first luxury vehicle. And while Lincoln dances around this, I think they are correct. The MKC appeals to both younger and older childless couples who are ready to break into the $40,000-$50,000 new car price range. Lincoln is a very popular ‘first luxury car’’ brand, and that helps explain their popularity with families that don’t come from money, including the children of immigrants, single women and black customers.
The MKC is a personal luxury vehicle for someone who isn't irked by the lack of a big cargo hold. It wouldn't handle a trip to IKEA very well (my Hyundai wagon, which had a deeper cargo area fared a lot better at). The MKC is not for heavy lifters. It's just as Mr. Regular said today. Lincolns are for the 'clean fingernails' crowd.
Like my Hyundai Elantra Touring review ten years ago, I have written another long review of a car I own. I love my MKC. A lot of thought and research went into my choice, and it's the car I hope to own for the next ten years. It's worth a serious look as Lincoln looks to sell off the remaining new models.
Are you single? Do you need a new daily driver? Do you have a new car budget of $45,000. Do you not care about German automotive brands? The MKC might be the dream car you've been overlooking for months.