Review: 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label AWD
Ford promises an upgraded, luxury experience with their Lincoln line of vehicles. Does the brand’s midsize SUV have the luxe details to make it compete with other offerings in its price range while being practical for everyday family use?
Under the Hood
The 2015 Lincoln MKC comes standard with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine available on FWD and AWD models. Our tester was equipped with the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost available only on AWD models. Both engines are mated to a 6-Speed Select Shift automatic transmission with paddle activation. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost produces a satisfying 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque.
The outside of the MKC has a sculpted appearance with every line and crease looking intentional. A distinctly Lincoln split-wing grille spreads across the front and blends into high beltline creases that disappear and reappear contributing an element of sportiness to the exterior. The line continues around to the rear where a sharp stripe of standard LED’s houses the rear lighting. The lines help the MKC look a little longer than it is. The rear beltline and light housing give the back end a little Range Rover Evoque flavor which something we don’t mind at all.
With all of its sophistication the MKC is never fully able to escape its lesser cousins though. Built on the Ford Global C platform, the MKC shares underpinnings with the similarly sized Ford Escape, or Kuga Depending on where you are reading this. We caught ourselves more than once watching an ad for the 2015 Ford Edge thinking we were looking at the 2015 MKC. The MKC is an outlaw biker on his first day in court. The hair is slicked down, the beard is trimmed, but underneath the new suit is the same hairy brute.
One niggling detail of the exterior proved to be a bother throughout our time with the MKC. The side view mirrors fit with the lines and the design aesthetic while looking from the outside. Trying to use them was a different experience. They seemed to be set too far back for comfortable use. Instead of glancing to the side to check them it felt as if we were looking fully to the side. It was an awkward maneuver for both testers in their vastly different driving positions. While the mirrors were placed in an odd position, they feature puddle lights which we always appreciate. These puddle lights cast a light in the shape of the Lincoln logo which left us perhaps a little more excited than we should have been.
The MKC is rife with premium, soft-touch materials that really make being inside it a pleasure; but, we have always been of the opinion luxury in an automobile requires an element of subtlety and subtlety was a bit lacking in the MKC. The Alcantara headliner is a good example. We are big fans of the suede-like material, but there was just so much of it. The entire headliner and all the pillars being lined with it were a bit much. It was like the ubiquitous gold fixtures and highly polished wood in high-end RV’s. We get it, you’re luxurious.
The center stack was a thing of beauty. It housed the expected infotainment screen, audio, and HVAC controls but also the push button controls for the electronic transmission and still managed to do so in a way that was neat and clutter free. The lack of subtlety reared its head here as well though. Temperature controls for the HVAC were housed near the bottom of the stack and were in bright, primary reds, yellows, and blues which contrasted glaringly with the distinguished grays and blacks surrounding them. While not a huge issue, they seemed to be a cheap solution from a lesser vehicle’s parts bin.
The interior of the MKC was not all bad. Seats were road trip comfortable without being too soft. The center console, owing a lot to the electronic transmission controls being mounted high on the center stack, is elegantly simple and provides a decent pair of cupholders and loads of storage. Every part of the interior that can be touched, bumped, or rested on during a drive is soft to the touch and wrapped in premium feeling material.
The MKC’s infotainment hardware consists of an 8” touchscreen in the center stack as well as an LCD driver information screen in the instrument cluster. The driver info screen can be adjusted via five way steering wheel mounted controls to show all sorts of information including diagnostics, fuel economy, and audio settings among others. CD player controls and HVAC controls are below the screen in what is a truly handsome design apart from the previously mentioned primary colors.
The infotainment system itself was as easy to use as any other Ford SYNC product we have used. Controls are intuitive and easy to activate. Ford infotainment touchscreens seem to have found an ideal balance of touchscreen sensitivity that requires an intentional touch of a button to activate it. An intentional touch of the button is required as opposed to just a light brush across the screen. This really makes a difference especially when driving across a rough stretch of road.
An additional feature we enjoyed was the THX II Certified Audio System featuring THX-distributed bass technology and 14 speaker assemblies throughout. While we didn’t really put the system through its paces, the sound was rich and provided a true surround sound experience.
Admittedly, one of us was a bit skeptical about driving what is essentially a mid-size crossover with “only” a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. Admittedly, one of us was wrong. Healthy horsepower and surprising torque gave us every bit of get-up-and-go we could expect. Steering was accurate and easy with the standard electric power assist. Braking was just as solid with a good pedal feel and just the right amount of play to make an easy driving experience.
The overall driving experience was solid as far as acceleration and handling went. While nothing dazzled, nothing really disappointed.- except the noise. Road noise from the tires left us longing for a higher profile tire and maybe a smaller wheel. We would gladly sacrifice some exterior appeal for less road noise. The MKC features Active Noise Control—very basically a “good” sound wave is produced to cancel out an unnecessary or unwanted “bad” sound wave. We didn’t notice any noise being cancelled. There was enough engine noise at highway speeds we were left wondering if the boys on the line forgot to install firewall installation.
Important Numbers for Families
- 33,100 – With a starting MSRP just over $30,000 at $33,100, the MKC is on the lower end of the luxury price tag.
- 22/27 – We got better than the EPA estimated mileage in the city and on rural roads but underachieved on the highway.
Family 5 Test
- Car Seats – You’ll be comfortable with two car seats in the back and if Grandma’s on the thin side you’ll probably be able to squeeze her between them. Truly however, the rear seats are made for two adults or two older children.
- Coffee Cups – The two front cupholders are rather unremarkable (a good thing) and extremely functional. No spills during our time in the MKC meant we were satisfied with their performance.
- Luggage – The MKC provides plenty of room for a family road trip’s worth of luggage with an area surprisingly spacious.
- Golf Clubs – Piling four adults into the MKC and fitting all their clubs in the cargo area is a perfect fit.
- Groceries – With abundant second row legroom, the MKC provides a substantial amount of space for families wishing to put a few bags behind the drivers seat without opening the cargo area. Once you’re putting bags in the cargo area, you’ll have enough space for a few months’ supply at Costco.
It seemed every aspect of the Lincoln MKC was good, and it should have been in what is the premium marque’s top of the line classification; but, there was always something that kept it from being great. The over-abundance of certain materials, the contrast of subtlety and in your face, the noise, etc. all managed to keep a really decent vehicle from achieving the perfect 10 a premium luxury automobile should earn. With an MSRP of almost 60 grand, we might just ease on down to one of the MKC’s cousins with a Ford.
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all photos courtesy of Lincoln