Matthew McConaughey’s crossover of choice

Lincoln continues to fight its way back from the dead as Ford continues pouring money into its luxury brand. Its relatively new vehicle lineup is certainly helping thanks to an increased appeal to a wider, more discerning audience. One of Lincoln’s front-runners is the MKC crossover – a high-class version of the Ford Escape fitted with its own styling and unique interior. The Ford elements shine through where it counts, like the surprisingly robust 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine.

I recently spent a week with a 2016 Lincoln MKC Reserve, the next most expensive trim grade below the swanky Black Label trim. Its long list of standard equipment and well-appointed interior solidifies Lincoln has some great ingredients in this crossover cake. A quick scan of the Monroney sticker confirms that. Items like HID headlights and LED taillights, dual exhaust tips, 20-inch wheels give the MKC a class appearance while plushy leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the SNYC3 infotainment system, and metallic trim make the interior a welcoming place to ride.

Then there’s the optional 2.3-liter EcoBoost. Minus a few changes, this EcoBoost can also be found in the Ford Mustang. The turbocharged engine produces a respectable 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque in Lincoln spec, and sends power to all four wheels. Strong power and all-weather traction are trademarks of the luxury car market, but how well does the 2016 Lincoln MKC perform as a whole? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

  • 2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    Six-speed Automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    285 @ 5500
  • MPG(Cty):
    18
  • MPG(Hwy):
    26
  • Torque @ RPM:
    305 @ 2750
  • Energy:
    Direct Injection, Turbo
  • Displacement:
    2.3 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, AWD
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8/10

Video Review


Exterior

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 697926

To be truthful, I’ve never been a big fan of Lincoln’s current styling language. The winged front grille reminds me of a Baleen Whale’s bristle teeth sucking in plankton. The feeling is far less strong after living with the MKC for a week, with its front design slowing growing on me. I’ve almost come to like it. Of course, looks are subject, so everyone will have a different opinion.

The MKC’s overall design features a tall greenhouse with a sloping roof and rising beltline. This gives the crossover a tapered appearance, with lines converging at the rear. Squint, and the MKC looks like a Porsche Macan in its side profile. As mentioned, the MKC’s details help bring extra class to its appearance. The HID headlights with LED daytime running lights and rear taillights set the Lincoln apart. Well-placed bits of chrome pepper the body, including along the lower edges of the bumpers, along the roof rails, around the side windows, and along the rocker panels.

The MKC’s overall design features a tall greenhouse with a sloping roof and rising beltline. This gives the crossover a tapered appearance, with lines converging at the rear.

My tester came with the optional 20-inch wheels. Their 20-spoke design caught the eye of several onlookers who commented on their design. Wrapping the aluminum wheels are all-season tires with plenty of siping for extra grip in bad weather. Combined with the MKC’s AWD system and tall ground clearance, this Lincoln should have no problem in snow. Black trim surrounds bottom of the MKC, giving it a more rugged appearance, while helping protect the paint from chips.

All told, the 2016 MKC is an attractive crossover that has a unique personality not found elsewhere outside the Lincoln brand. It might be based on a Ford, but the MKC’s looks are all its own.

The Competition

2016 BMW X1
- image 698039
2015 Lexus NX High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 548581
2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 697926

Two of Lincoln’s hottest competitors in the compact crossover segment are the BMW X1 and Lexus NX. All three share a similar platform, being unibody crossover with a transversely mounted engine with power flowing mostly to the front wheels. As far as looks, aesthetics are subjective, so everyone is going to have a different opinion. However, The X1 wears that distinctive BMW grille and other cues that signify its German heritage. For me, the X1 is very non-offensives, at least compared to the Lincoln and Lexus. Its smooth lines and traditional shape give it mass appeal. That’s undoubtedly what BMW wants.

As for the Lexus, the NX is a complex and angular machine with a massive grille and looks to kill. Small children beware, the NX is coming. The bodywork gets even more aggressive should the F Sport package be added. The Lexus is by far the more sporty of the three – at least in the design department.

BMW X1 Lexus NX Lincoln MKC
Wheelbase (Inches) 108.7 104.7 105.9
Length (Inches) 175.4 182.3 179.2
Width (Inches) 71.7 73.6 73.4
Height (Inches) 62.9 64.8 65.2

Interior

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Interior
- image 697939

Once inside, passengers are greeted with a leather-lined cabin with metallic accents an roomy accommodations. This two-row crossover is plenty spacious for four full-size adults over a long day’s drive. Comfort is good too, with the seats being rather supportive yet padded. A 10-way power driver’s seat with a power-operated steering column with tilt and telescope gives the chauffeur a nice place to work. Memory functions allow multiple drivers to save their preferred seat settings.

This Lincoln isn’t like other rebadged vehicles trying to pass off as a luxury model. It features its own unique dash design completely separate from the Ford Escape. The swooping design features a center stack that floats over the lower console. The unconventional design puts the HVAC and radio controls very close at hand, even with an elbow still resting on the center armrest. It makes for a comfortable experience.

It features its own unique dash design completely separate from the Ford Escape. The swooping design features a center stack that floats over the lower console.

In addition to the uniquely shaped dash, the MKC has an unconventional gear shifter. Lincoln has pulled from the past, employing an old-school, push-button selector for the transmission. The typical PRND positions are vertically oriented on individual buttons, along with an S button for sport mode. The system takes some getting used to, but works fine nonetheless.

Rear passengers enjoy plenty of legroom, headroom, and hiproom. Separate HVAC vents keep temperatures in check, and the reclining seatbacks allow for a more relaxed ride. When it comes to hauling cargo, the 60/40-split bench folds flat, revealing 53.1 cubic feet of space. With the seats upright, the MKC still offers 25.2 cubic feet of room in the rear compartment.

The Competition

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Interior
- image 632446
2015 Lexus NX
- image 698040
2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Interior
- image 697938

Climb inside the X1 and the BMW flare continues uninterrupted. The styling language, materials, switchgear, and infotainment are all typical BMW. That’s fine, as most folks generally like the digs within modern Bimmers. Burled wood, rich leathers, and a more traditional gauge cluster all abound. Room for five is available, though four fits more comfortably. The 60/40-split rear bench also folds flat for more storage space, just like every other crossover on the market.

Inside the Lexus, the same sharp angles and crisp lines can be seen throughout the cabin. Contrast stitching is found on the leather-covered dash, on the steering wheel, and on the deeply bolstered seats. Again, the NX is by far the sportiest of the bunch. Functionally, the Lexus offers plenty of room for four, and intuitive controls for the driver. Rear space is a bit compromised due to the sloping roofline, but most folks moving up from a sedan will find the cargo space ample.

BMW X1 Lexus NX Lincoln MKC
Headroom, front/rear (inches) 41.9 38.2/38.1 39.6/38.7
Legroom, front/rear (inches) 40.4 / 37.0 42.8/36.1 42.8/36.8
Shoulder room, front/rear (inches) 55.6 / 55.2 57.3/55.3 56.0/55.3
Cargo capacity (cu ft) 58.7 54.6 53.1

Drivetrain

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 697937

The MKC is offered with two engine choices. Lower trim levels come standard with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. It makes a decent 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The upper trim levels, like my Reserve model, come with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost. It’s similar to the turbocharged four-cylinder found elsewhere in the Ford lineup, including the Mustang. In this application, it generates a respectable 285 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 305 pound-feet of torque at 2,750 rpm.

That represents a 20-horse deficit from the Mustang’s EcoBoost, but the MKC comes with five more pound-feet of torque. The result is a 0-to-60 mph time only one second behind the much-lighter Mustang. Yes, the MKC with its AWD and 4,000-pound curb weight still hits 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. Impressive.

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 697936
The upper trim levels, like my Reserve model, come with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost. It’s similar to the turbocharged four-cylinder found elsewhere in the Ford lineup, including the Mustang.

The all-aluminum engine is transversely mounted inside the engine bay and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters offer manual shifting and Sport mode keeps the engine revs high while holding gears longer. The MKC’s AWD system primarily sends power to the front wheels, but will divert power rearward when extra traction is needed.

The EPA rates the 2016 MKC with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost at 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. That’s respectable for a heavy crossover with AWD and a turbo.

The Competition

It’s hard to believe BMW is building vehicles with transversely mounted engines and FWD. Get past the shock, and the X1 offers 228 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque via a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo with direct injection. The all-aluminum engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and a manual shifting function. FWD comes standard in the sDrive28i. Opt for the xDrive28i, and AWD comes standard.

In the Lexus camp, the NX offers two drivetrain choices: the NX300h hybrid and the NX200t gasoline turbo-four. Obviously for this comparison, we’ll stick with the NX200t. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with Lexus’ first stab at a turbocharger. The all-aluminum mill is good for 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a six-speed automatic before it goes to the front wheels or to all four, when the optional AWD is ordered. Though the F Sport model looks meaner, only the suspension tuning, bodywork, and interior receive updates; the 2.0-liter remains untouched.

BMW X1 sDrive28i Lexus NX200t Lincoln MKC 2.0 Lincoln MKC 2.3
Engine 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder 2.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline 4-cylinder 2.0L GTDI I-4 2.3L GTDI I-4
Horsepower 228 HP @ 5,000–6,000 RPM 235 HP @ 4,800-5,600 RPM 240 HP @ 5,500 RPM 285 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,500 RPM 258 LB-FT @ 1,650-4,000 RPM 270 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM 305 LB-FT @ 2,750 RPM
Transmission 8-speed STEPTRONIC Automatic 6-speed Multi-Mode Automatic 6-Speed SelectShift automatic 6-Speed SelectShift automatic
0-60 mph (seconds) 6.6 seconds 7.0 seconds 7.2 seconds 6.5 seconds
Top Speed 131 mph 124 mph 130 mph 130 mph
Fuel consumption city/highway/combined 23/32/26 22/28/24 21/28/23 18/26/21
Weight 3,543 Lbs 3,940 Lbs 3,823 Lbs 3,997 Lbs

Driving Impressions

Behind the wheel, the MKC feels tall thanks to its chair-like seating position and expansive greenhouse. The sloping hood allows for a wide view of the road, while big side mirrors give great visibility to the rear. Blind Spot Monitoring further helps with lane-change maneuvers. Despite its small size, the rear window provides plenty of viewing area. The wiper covers a huge portion of the glass, allowing it to remain clean from dust, water, or snow.

The MKC is a comfortable crossover that’s easy to drive, easy to get into and out of, and easy to live with.

The MKC’s steering does feel a bit artificial, mostly because it is. It’s an electric power-assisted steering rack. Still, on-center feel is free of play. The wheel tightens up when entering a corner, allowing for a bit more feedback. Throttle and braking responses are smooth, translating into a butter-soft transition from accelerating to slowing.

The MKC has what Lincoln calls its Continuously Controlled Damping. The suspension system monitors the road for imperfections, taking readings 23 times every millisecond. It adjusts the suspension to keep a smooth ride, without feeling floaty or bouncy. The drive can choose between three drive modes – Normal, Comfort, and Sport – allowing the ride to be tailored. The drive modes also change the steering weight, with Sport obviously offering the tightest, most direct feel.

All told, the MKC is a comfortable crossover that’s easy to drive, easy to get into and out of, and easy to live with. Just don’t expect to drive it hard around a corner or blaze down the Rubicon trail.

Pricing

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 697928

As of this writing, Lincoln has already began selling the 2017 model of the MKC. Its website lists the “base” model, the Premiere at $32,880. That comes with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 18-inch wheels, and most of the features you’d expect from a luxury brand. Hopping up to the Select gets you a different set of 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, power-folding side mirrors, and that same 2.0-liter – all for $35,880

Hitting the top of the range is the MKC Black Label. For $45,635, it boasts the 2.3-liter EcoBoost, unique badging, 19-inch wheels, Venetian leather seats, an Alcantara headliner and pillars, and a host of “member privileges” within Lincoln’s concierge service. It includes a Black Label Experience Liaison that guides you through the buying and dealership process, a “mobile showroom” that comes to your location, complimentary car washes and annual detailing, along with an extended warranty to four years and 50,000 miles.

My tester slots between the Select trim and the Black Label. Called the Reserve, it brings a panoramic sunroof, voice-activated navigation, heated and cooled front seats, Blind Spot Monitoring with cross-traffic alert, 18-inch wheels, and several other features. The starting price for the Reserve trim is $39,645.

Optionally, my tester came with tons of additional items. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost at $1,140; the upgraded audio system at $995; the 20-inch wheels for $1,145; and the climate package which adds the heated steering wheel and rear outboard seats, auto high beam headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a windshield wiper de-icer. Lastly, the Technology package was added for $2,295. That includes Adaptive cruise control with forward collision warnging and brake support, active park assist, forward sensing system, lane-keeping system, and an auto start-stop system for the EcoBoost engine.

All told, my tester cost $50,200, which includes Lincoln’s $925 destination and delivery fee.

Competition

Audi Q3

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3
- image 688449

The compact luxury crossover market is a competitive place these days and a new batch of rivals appear almost every year. The Audi Q3 came to U.S. shored for the first time in 2015 after a long tour in other markets. The Q3 brings all the goodness Audi is known for, including the big grille, quality interior, and a turbocharged engine with quattro AWD. Interestingly enough, the Audi isn’t the fastest nor the best handling of the bunch, but it does offer a certain level of polish not found elsewhere.

The Q3 comes to U.S. shores with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making a meger 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic does the shifting while power flows to the front wheels. Optional yet obligatory is Audi’s quattro AWD system that engages the rear axle when traction is an issue.

Pricing for the 2016 Audi Q3 starts around $32,000. Check all the boxes, and the Q3 can jump by $10,000.

Read more about the Audi Q3 here.

Range Rover Evoque

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque High Resolution Exterior
- image 618397

For those with a bit more cash, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a good option that also brings a respectable level of off-road capability. What’s more, perhaps no other brand in this comparison conjures up prestigious impressions of wealth. BMWs are far too common now; Lexus is tied to Toyota; and Lincoln is still rebuilding its image. That aside, the Evoque is a funky crossover with room for four (or five in an pinch) and a weekend’s worth of luggage. Plus for those who want an open-air driving experience, the Evoque is also offered in a convertible form – the only one in its class. There’s also a two-door coupe version, as well.

Regardless of body style, power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo making 240 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic sends power to the transfer case, which delivers power to whichever axle needs more torque for traction. Under normal conditions, the front wheels receive the most.

Pricing for the Evoque start at $41,800. Getting the coupe will send the price to $45,700, while getting the convertible will cost $52,000. As for the four-door model, it comes in various trims, the most expensive being the Autobiography. It costs major cash, starting at $62,500 before options, fees, taxes, and other things.

Find out more about the Range Rover Evoque here.

Conclusion

2016 Lincoln MKC – Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 697920

The 2016 Lincoln MKC might not be the most popular crossover on the streets, but it offers a comfortable cabin with all the standard convenience features found in modern vehicles. Its 2.3-liter EcoBoost provides a respectable amount of power and its AWD system gives it plenty of grip in all driving conditions. On paper, the MKC is a great buy. Personally, I did find the interior to have some low-quality plastics and the price is a bit steep. Nevertheless, the compact Lincoln is a strong contender in this class.

Let us know what you think about the 2016 Lincoln MKC in the comments below!

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