The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2015 Lincoln MKC Windy City Review By Larry Nutson


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

2015 Lincoln MKC Formidable

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel


Thirty-five or so years ago, mention Lincoln in a conversation about cars and other L-words came to mind. Lincoln. Luxurious. Long.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The 1979 Lincoln Continental was 233 inches long, that’s about 6 inches shy of 20 feet. Just think about that parking challenge. And luxury meant having features like power windows, air conditioning, plush and cushy seats and a soft boulevard ride.

Fast-forward to today and we have a very different set of design features that define luxury in a car. Long is long gone. Luxury now comes in smaller packages. And now a car is not the only luxury vehicle type. You can buy luxury trucks and luxury SUVs.

In April more trucks were sold than cars, outselling 54 percent to 46 percent. In the Lincoln brand, the 2015 Lincoln MKC, a compact crossover SUV, is selling as fast as it is produced.

The 2015 Lincoln MKC is an all-new luxury crossover. It’s loaded with standard equipment and luxury features. MKC is based on the Ford Escape but looks very different. MKC will go head-to-head with many international nameplate crossovers, not that Lincoln isn’t international. Lincoln has an ever-growing presence in the China market.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The MKC is 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.

The MKC has been on the market since last summer and is priced very favorably starting at $33,995 equipped with the standard with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which produces 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm.

The MKC comes standard with front-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels. Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and 19-inch wheels is offered for enhanced cornering and handling and an even sportier look. Of course, AWD helps to get through the snow, too.

Premium, Select and Reserve equipment groups are available that take pricing up to $44,565. Also available is an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine rated at 285 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 305 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm.

EPA test fuel economy ratings for the 2.0-L engine FWD MKC are 23 combined mpg, with 20 city mpg and 29 highway mpg. On the AWD 2.3-L engine MKC, EPA test ratings are 21 mpg combined, with 18 city mpg and 26 highway mpg.

MKC uses class-exclusive Active Grille Shutters that are designed to help improve fuel efficiency at highway speeds.

You will note that today’s luxury is powered by smaller displacement engines, and not big monster V8s. My MKC drive with 285HP at my beck and call did not disappoint. The engine is responsive, quiet, has plenty of torque, and provided very good acceleration and highway merging and passing.

The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system also includes continuously controlled damping (CCD). The Drive Control lets you select from sport, comfort and normal drive modes to cater to your driving desires. 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.

As I said previously, long is long gone. The MKC is 179.2 inches long; that’s about four and a half feet shorter than the 1979 Lincoln. MKC seats five and holds 25.2 cuft of cargo behind the rear seat. Or, fold the rear seat flat and cargo volume more than doubles to 53.1 cuft. And, Lincoln MKC can tow up to 3000 lbs.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

As for luxury features, the power windows I mentioned above come on virtually every vehicle today. MKC luxury includes a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, power-fold outside mirrors that wait for you to get in the car before they unfold again, and a hands-free power rear liftgate that gives access to the rear cargo area with the kick of a foot below the rear bumper, among others.

The MKC’s short outside length certainly helps make it big-city friendly. A common big-city problem is the proverbial need to parallel park. MKC has active park assist that uses sensors to locate a suitable parallel parking space, then assumes the steering responsibilities to help guide the vehicle into the curbside space. Active park assist is enhanced by the addition of park out assist, and uses ultrasonic sensors to help ease getting in and out of tight parallel-parking spaces.

I tried the active park feature on a couple occasion and it certainly is very slick and works great. You just sit behind the wheel, with hands off, and it does its thing and steers the MKC telling you when to apply the brakes. And, park out assist is very handy when someone comes along after you have parked and jams you in.

MKC offers additional advanced technology including collision warning with brake support, a Lane-Keeping System and driver assist, and a blind spot information system.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

On the inside plush leathers with French stitching, and available Bridge of Weir leather and real-wood trim accentuate the MKC. The steering wheel, debuted on the MKC, features a highly tactile leather-wrap that provides better feeling and control.
PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Ingress and egress is very easy. The seats are comfortable and provide good support. The high seating position of an SUV affords good outward sight lines. The interior noise level is quite low allowing for easy conversation even with rear seat passengers.

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. Fourteen speakers! Luxury once was an additional speaker in the rear along with the one in the dash! SYNC with MyLincoln Touch enables drivers to personalize their 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.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2015 Lincoln MKC offers a wide array of features and equipment. You can get more information, detailed specifications and view all the standard features as well as options on the entire 2015 Lincoln MKC model line just a mouse click away at www.lincoln.com.

If you would like to compare the 2015 Lincoln MKC to other compact luxury SUVs, you can do that right here on www.theautochannel.com.

On the market today, the true luxury brands that have a long history and heritage are limited to Lincoln, Cadillac, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Yes there are other new-comers, relatively speaking. But remember, Lincoln is the car of Presidents.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy