A modern crossover from an old-school brand

Reinventing yourself is never an easy thing to do, especially if you’re a 100-year-old car company trying to make ends meet in the new millennium. But that’s exactly what Lincoln has been doing since 2008, when the financial crises nearly put the brand on the sharper side of the chopping block. Now, Lincoln is back to making waves with a fresh lineup of luxury vehicles, hoping to shuck old associations with retirees and Wednesday night Bingo to draw in a “younger, more diverse customer.” One of the most critical models to that transformation is the MKC compact crossover, which competes against a huge diversity of rivals in the fastest-growing segment in the industry. That means it’s gotta stay fresh, and thus, Lincoln is blessing the model with new standard features and technology for the 2017 model year.

The MKC was first revealed in concept form at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, with the production model hitting dealerships a year later. Lincoln sold just over 13,000 units in 2014, plus nearly 25,000 units in 2015, making it the company’s third best-selling model at the moment. Lincoln says the MKC is “driving brand growth, particularly with women,” with female buyers contributing 59 percent of the brand’s year-over-year SUV growth last year.

Sounds like a success. But if you break it down, the MKC is essentially a more luxurious (not to mention more expensive) Ford Escape, and the small luxury SUV market is anything but merciful when it comes to weeding out the weak. Which begs the question – will the MKC have what it take to keep the ball rolling?

Continue reading to learn more about 2015 – 2017 Lincoln MKC.

  • 2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC
  • Year:
    2015- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    240 @ 5500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    270 @ 3000
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7/10

Exterior

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2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC Exterior
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2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC High Resolution Exterior
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When it comes to aesthetics, the MKC seeks to blend a muscular, bold stance with elegant refinement. The design language pulls cues originally seen in 2012 on the second-generation Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedan, and overall, it’s a welcome change from the marque’s previous styling efforts.

The production model closely mimics the original concept that debuted in 2013, with notable differences including conventional door handles, rounded exhaust tips, and updated taillight graphics. Up front, however, there’s still a split-wing grille, sharp headlights, and lower bumper light strips. In back is a similar wraparound liftgate.

While comparisons to the Ford Escape are not necessarily unfounded, I find the Lincoln MKC to be a rather good-looking crossover.

While comparisons to the Ford Escape are not necessarily unfounded, I find the Lincoln MKC to be a rather good-looking crossover. It’s sleek and uncluttered, but not overly simplistic, especially in the way the front fascia draws the eye into the high-riding flanks. In profile, the double shoulder lines that crease above the fenders visually raise the ride height, while well-sized wheels fill the corners with just enough rim and tire. In back, the broad taillight design makes the rear end appear quite wide, while the lower diffuser-esque insert and double exhaust tips reinforce the vehicle’s sporty character. I also like how the C-pillar drops into the rear hatch with a nice chunky appearance.

Exterior features include an all-glass panoramic Vista Roof, which provides skyward views for both first and second-row passengers, plus a sunshade if temperatures get too hot. There’s also something called approach lighting, whereby the ground around the front and rear doors is illuminated when the key holder gets within eight feet of the vehicle when it’s parked (the light color is customized to complement the exterior paint). The headlights, taillights, and door handles also glow to welcome the driver.

Speaking of headlights, the MKC is equipped with HID bulbs for visibility, and LEDs for accents. The side-view mirrors come with turn signals, plus an auto-folding function. Finally, buyers can choose between six different wheel options, with finishes including painted aluminum, luster nickel painted aluminum, and polished aluminum, and sizing ranging between 18- and 20-inches in diameter.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase 105.9 inches
Length 179.2 inches
Width 73.4 inches
Height 65.2 inches
Front Track 62.4 inches
Rear Track 62.5 inches

Interior

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2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC Interior
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2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC Interior
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Given Lincoln’s position as a preeminent luxury brand, it’s obvious that a good deal of effort went into creating a pleasant cabin experience. To that end, the MKC is first and foremost a comfortable place to be, but there’s also plenty of technology crammed in as well.

However, in terms of look and layout, the MKC isn’t terribly impressive. The biggest drawback has to be the lackluster center stack, which just looks boring compared to rival products hailing from Germany.

The biggest drawback has to be the lackluster center stack, which just looks boring compared to rival products hailing from Germany.

That said, there’s still plenty to boast about. There are tons of soft-touch materials everywhere, and aluminum trim comes standard. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and gets multiple thumb-operated controls. The seats are also covered in leather, with French stitching and heating for front passengers equipped as standard. Alternatively, buyers can opt for premium upholstery from the Bridge of Weir Leather Company, which comes treated by a 16-hour softening process. Real wood trim is also available. Drivers get a 10-way power adjustable seat, while dual-zone climate control is standard.

One cool feature is the available ambient lighting system, which offers seven different interior illumination options for the cup holders, door handles, front storage pockets, and front and rear foot wells.

As you might expect, Lincoln also claims very low noise levels in the cabin. Not only are there felted wheel wells, specially laminated glass, and pedestal-style side-view mirrors to cut down on road and wind noise, but there’s also active sound cancelation. Essentially, this technology uses microphones to analyze the interior sound profile and create inverted sound waves. Emitted via the onboard stereo system, these inverted waves effectively cancel out the unwanted noise, making for a quieter ride.

Speaking of noise, the MKC uses a THX-II Certified Audio System, with 14 individual speaker assemblies and 700 watts of power. Control comes via standard voice recognition and an 8-inch touchscreen with smartphone-esque operation (pinch-to-zoom, etc.). New for 2017, Lincoln is adding support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – definitely the right move if the brand wants to be seen as an automaker of the 21st century.

There’s also available SiriusXM traffic and Travel Link services, with turn-by-turn directions, weather, gas station location and pricing, sports scores, and movie theater locations/show time listings. Opting into this feature also grants a very long six-year subscription.

Further digital amenities include the MyLincoln Mobile app, which provides features like remote door locking and unlocking, remote start, vehicle location, scheduled remote start (which gets the car warmed up and comfortable before you leave), roadside assistance, fuel level status, tire pressure status, and battery status. The app can also connect with a Lincoln support service 24/7, and locate the nearest dealer. These services are available for four years after a new vehicle purchase.

Interior Dimensions

Head Room 39.6 inches (front), 38.7 inches (rear)
Leg Room 42.8 inches (front), 36.8 inches (rear)
Hip Room 54.4 inches (front), 52.8 inches (rear)
Shoulder Room 56 inches (front), 55.3 inches (rear)
Seating Capacity 5
Passenger Volume 97.9 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume 53.1 cu. ft. (behind first row), 25.2 cu. ft. (behind second row)

Safety And Convenience

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One of the most important aspects of the modern automobile has to be its active safety technology, and as such, the MKC gets all the right bells and whistles.

First up is an available collision warning system, which can detect an imminent frontal crash and issue both verbal warning through the stereo, and a visual warning through the on-board heads-up display. If the driver doesn’t immediately respond to the warnings, the system will prime the brake sensitivity to help it stop short.

Next is available lane keep assist, which uses cameras to detect when the car is straying into an adjacent lane, then vibrates the steering wheel to alert the driver while also applying torque to the steering to get back between the lines. Meanwhile, an available blind-spot monitor will issue an audible chime and illuminate a warning light in the side-view mirror when a vehicle is detected where the driver may not see it.

There’s also a driver alertness monitor, which uses dash-mounted cameras to detect a lapse in attention

There’s also a driver alertness monitor, which uses dash-mounted cameras to detect a lapse in attention, such as from fatigue or a distraction, and will issue an audible alert.

The active park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to automatically steer the crossover in and out of tight spaces, taking control of the steering while the driver takes care of the throttle and brake. Adaptive cruise control is also offered to make long-distance travel a breeze.

For anyone tired of depressing the brake in stop-and-go traffic, there’s now an automatic hold feature, which is new for the 2017 model year. Also new is the standard hands-free power liftgate (previously optional). Just kick your foot under the rear bumper to open the hatch. Smart access and a push button starter are also standard.

Finally, there’s 911 assist at no charge, while seven standard airbags form a last line of defense.

Drivetrain

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The MKC comes with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder engine as standard, with 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. The EPA estimates fuel mileage at 20 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. Higher trim levels offer a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder, with output rated at 285 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 305 pound-feet of torque at 2,750 rpm (older models equipped with the 2.3-liter engine produce slightly less output, rated at 275 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque). Estimated fuel economy for the 2.3-liter comes in at 18 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Estimated fuel economy for the 2.3-liter comes in at 18 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Standard configurations offer FWD, while higher trim levels (including all models equipped with the 2.3-liter engine) get AWD. New for the 2017 model year is an auto start/stop feature, which comes standard on FWD models, and is an available extra for AWD models.

All configurations mate to a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.

Chassis, Suspension, And Brakes

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The Lincoln MKC is built on the Ford Global C Platform, which is the same architecture as the Ford Escape. Curb weight comes to 3,771 pounds for FWD models, and 3,952 pounds for AWD models.

Opting for AWD also gives access to continuously variable dampers, which offer three driver-selectable settings – Sport, Comfort, and Normal. These suspension components monitor road conditions and can automatically adjust in as little as 20 milliseconds.

Prices

There are currently three trim levels available, including the Premiere, Select, and Reserve, starting at $33,260 for the Premiere, $37,090 for the Select, and $40,460 for the Reserve.

Exact numbers for the 2017 model year have yet to be released as of this writing, but I expect roughly the same figures as before.

Competition

Audi Q3

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The Q3 compact crossover has been in production since 2011, but it took Audi four years to bring it to the U.S. When it arrived, it came with an exterior styling update, including sharper edges and a more aggressive front bumper, plus the latest infotainment gear for the cabin. Engine options are limited to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas unit, while foreign markets get a few others to pick from. Pricing starts at $33,700.

Read the full review here.

BMW X1

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
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Originally introduced in 2009, BMW dropped a second generation for the X1 just last year. Updates include a fresh exterior, a new interior design, and a bigger cargo area. Like the Audi, several powerplant options are offered overseas, but here in the U.S., BMW’s compact crossover is limited to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Pricing starts at $34,800.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

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If you take a step back, the MKC looks like a real boon for Lincoln. Not only is it part of the highly lucrative luxury segment, but it’s scooping up sales in the fastest-growing segment in the world.

That should make it a home run, right?

Probably. So far, Lincoln’s MKC is performing quite well, offering all the goodies buyers demand, plus an attractive, well-priced package. But even though it was released just a few years ago, Lincoln would be wise to offer the next-gen model with some really heavy artillery. Cutting-edge autonomous technology, more engine options, and a new automatic transmission would fit the bill, not to mention a strong emphasis on meeting the demands of the Chinese market.

For now, however, Lincoln should be happy to be bringing the fight to the Germans, and anyone looking for a premium compact crossover should definitely give the MKC a drive.

  • Leave it
    • Heavy competition coming from Europe
    • Lackluster interior design
    • Hard to shake old associations

Update History

Updated 12/16/2013: Lincoln announced today prices for the 2015 MKC crossover that goes on sale early next year in three trim levels. Prices will start from $33,995. Click past the jump for the full details on the prices.

Updated 01/21/2014: Lincoln put online a configurator for those of you interested in creating the MKC of your dreams. So, go online, play a little bit with the colors and the interior options and you will make an idea on how to customize the MKC.

Updated 05/15/2015: Lincoln unveiled a very cool commercial for the 2015 MKC featuring Samuel Page. Called "Dream Ride", the new commercial presents an immersive and interactive journey with the new Lincoln MKC. Enjoy!

Press Release

The Lincoln Motor Company’s reinvention takes a major step forward today with the unveiling of the all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility vehicle.

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The Lincoln MKC is a unique creation from the ground up with an assortment of first-in-class features. Its all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine offers excellent performance while its ingeniously implemented wraparound liftgate is an example of masterful customer convenience.

The luxurious interior embraces driver and passengers alike, and its new and innovative technology personalizes the MKC ownership experience. Lincoln MKC follows the MKZ sedan to become the second all-new Lincoln in as many years as the brand continues its reinvention.

“Lincoln MKC is a perfect blend of inspired automotive design and dynamic driving performance in a segment that has grown in popularity in recent years,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. “As a challenger luxury brand, entering this segment is a natural next step for us. MKC will do more than just compete – it will change the way people think about Lincoln.”

Building the right vehicle at the right time

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Lincoln MKC – first introduced as a concept vehicle at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit – represents a critical milestone in the company’s plan to expand its lineup.

Arriving on the heels of the all-new and successful 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan, MKC becomes the second new vehicle in the brand’s plans to introduce four new luxury vehicles by 2016.

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 customer. The vehicle also positions Lincoln to resonate with drivers in desirable markets on the East and West coasts.

Designed to inspire inside and out

The Lincoln design team faced the dual challenge of creating a standout vehicle in a competitive field, while further refining the Lincoln design DNA that started with the 2013 MKZ. From its signature split-wing grille to its uniquely crafted, hands-free wraparound liftgate, the Lincoln DNA is evident.

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“Our design team worked tirelessly to create a vehicle that attracts new customers to the brand while meeting the expectations of longtime Lincoln drivers,” said Max Wolff, director, Lincoln Design. “The execution of the new liftgate is a prime example of how a premium design element can create a better customer experience.”

MKC presents a sleek, sculpted body that helps it stand out among peers. Its high beltline and low shoulders create a sturdy, athletic presence, while features such as soft exterior lighting, pedestal side-view mirrors and an available panoramic, all-glass Vista Roof® give the vehicle a luxurious, sophisticated personality.

The unique design also carries through to the interior, where craftsmanship and high-tech combine to offer a warm, luxurious environment. An architecturally unique instrument panel showcases Lincoln’s signature push-button gear shifter, which provides an open, inviting interior space. Plush leathers with French stitching, and available Bridge of Weir leather and real wood trim accentuate MKC’s elegance and grace.

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“We gave attention to every detail to convey a stylish, fashion-oriented vehicle,” said Soo Kang, Lincoln interior design chief. “Our use of colors, materials, stitching – every detail was considered to create an overall luxurious experience.”

To be more consistent with the Lincoln driving experience, an all-new Lincoln steering wheel debuts on MKC and will be available on all future Lincoln vehicles. This highly tactile leather-wrapped wheel provides better feeling and control and puts the brand’s new design DNA in the driver’s hands.

The enhanced THX® II Certified Audio System, an industry-first featuring THX-distributed bass technology and 14 right-, center- and left-slot speaker assemblies, is available. The state-of-the-art audio system delivers a rich, immersive surround sound experience that reproduces music as it was mixed in the studio.

SYNC® with MyLincoln Touch™ enables drivers to personalize MKC by using voice-activated commands or simple touch controls on the class-exclusive 8-inch touch screen. Knobs and buttons on the center console provide additional and easy access to control the air conditioning and sound system.

Lincoln luxury meets dynamic performance

When equipped with the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, MKC offers a projected 275 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 300 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data. Class-exclusive Active Grille Shutters are designed to help improve MKC fuel efficiency at highway speeds.

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MKC comes standard with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine, projected to produce 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data. This makes Lincoln MKC an all-EcoBoost vehicle.

MKC comes standard with front-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels. Drivers can upgrade to Lincoln’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and 19-inch wheels for enhanced cornering and handling and an even sportier look.

The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system also includes Continuously Controlled Damping. Drivers can use Lincoln Drive Control to select from sport, comfort and normal drive modes to cater to their driving mood. CCD constantly monitors the road; the suspension reacts on average within 20 milliseconds, providing a smooth ride with enhanced handling.

CCD also is available in the standard front-wheel drive configuration of MKC.

“The width of MKC’s track has been set to allow the designers the freedom to create a planted stance for the vehicle, and it provided engineers the opportunity to minimize body roll and give the vehicle a more sporty feel,” said Lisa Drake, MKC chief engineer.

Technology provides protection, confidence

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MKC offers advanced technology such as collision warning with brake support, a Lane-Keeping System and driver assist to help drivers avoid common accidents. The collision warning system is designed to alert the driver if it detects a potential front-end crash. The system issues an audible alert in the cabin, a visual alert on the windshield and automatic brake assist sensitivity.

MKC introduces available park-out assist technology, a class-exclusive feature that enhances the vehicle’s active park assist capabilities. Where active park assist helps guide drivers into tight parallel parking situations, park-out assist steers drivers out of tight parking spots.

The vehicle’s Lane-Keeping System uses rearview mirror-mounted cameras to identify lane markers and help drivers avoid unintentionally straying from their lane. Dashboard-mounted cameras monitor driver alertness. If the system detects a driver’s alertness level dropping below a given threshold, a warning is issued via a chime and a pop-up message appears on the left-hand cluster screen.

MKC also offers a Blind Spot Information System, which continuously monitors the vehicle’s blind spots with radar sensors, and class-exclusive cross-traffic alert, which detects traffic as the vehicle backs from a parking space.

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Driver confidence and safety is furthered by the inclusion of seven standard airbags, including a class-exclusive driver’s knee airbag. In preparing MKC for the road, the vehicle was subjected to 5,000 virtual and real-world crash tests and a variety of conditions.

Experience Lincoln’s uniquely warm reception

MKC will greet owners with exclusive Approach Detection, which senses when an owner is near and responds by illuminating “welcome mats” on the ground next to both front doors. Simultaneously, headlamps, taillamps and door handles glow with soft lighting tuned to complement the vehicle’s exterior color.

MKC will be the first Lincoln to have always-on built-in connectivity, allowing owners to utilize a smartphone app to control the vehicle. With the MyLincoln Mobile™ app, MKC owners can start, lock, unlock and locate the vehicle, as well as schedule a remote start event for a set time.

Drivers also can use the app to place a call for roadside assistance, monitor the vehicle’s fuel level, check tire pressure and battery status, and program engine start times to allow the vehicle to heat or cool to comfortable levels.

Lincoln MKC production is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2014 at Louisville Assembly Plant in Louisville, Ky. Vehicles are due in showrooms next summer.

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