Written by: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography by: Sammy Chan
Ahh, the Lincoln MKC. The new kid on the block. Dressed in dark blue overalls, wearing a big backpack and grippy sneakers, this Lincoln is ready for school. The MKC is the automaker's first entry into the luxury compact crossover segment, a market niche that has taken enormous popularity over the past couple years. We ourselves love them. The spacious trunk, road clearance, higher driving position, all-wheel drive and meaty engines. It's hard to go wrong, but the MKC goes up against some bold competition. The BMW X3, the Range Rover Evoque, and the Cadillac SRX have all dominated the segment since their introduction, with newer offerings like the Lexus NX and BMW X4 just starting to make their mark as hot commodities. Now is the perfect time for Lincoln to show off their new crossover offspring, but the MKC is going to need more than just a preppy outfit and a big backpack to take down the titans. But hey, Matthew McConaughey was a good start.
One of the best things about the MKC is how well it deviates away from the structure and foundation it's based upon, the Ford Escape. Not that the Escape was a bad car, it's a solid SUV on its own. But I believe the MKC looks ten times better and wears Lincoln's signature front wing grille more elegantly than all the other vehicles in the lineup.
There are some areas like the A-pillar and side fenders that may remind you of the Blue Oval, but the styling has changed drastically enough to persuade me into thinking the MKC is an entirely new vehicle. The rear is a bit of a hit-or-miss with the audience. Cyclops, unibrow, squinty Asian eyes - I've heard it all. The radically new wrap-around taillights show some resemblance to its big brother hearse, the MKT, and I've started to grow fond of it. I think it looks wonderful, especially when lit up at night.
The first time you approach the MKC, it might look a little, well, short. Almost sedan-short due to the curvature of the front hood and the roof's gradual slope recline. But that would be mean of us to judge the MKC by its height. Even though the MKC is 21mm shorter than its fellow X3 classmate, it's actually 5mm taller than the Honda CRV - doesn't look like it does it?
The interior widens the DNA gap with the Escape, featuring Lincoln's retro-style vertical push-button gear selector that consequently frees up storage space in the center console. Instead of a rod-like gear shifter to change between PRNDS, there are now buttons allocated for each, including the engine-start button. There's actually a little story about that last one. Lincoln's 2014 models actually had the engine-start button placed at the top of the stack rather than the bottom, but for 2015 it seems they've swapped it around. Because these buttons are within such close proximity to the driver and to the infotainment touchscreen, some MKC drivers have reported hitting the engine-start button by accident and as a result, turned their MKC into a rolling pile of dead weight on the highway. Luckily there have been no reports of crashes, and Lincoln has addressed and fixed the problem. Shoulda keep it at the top!
The rest of the cabin utilizes a mix of soft leather and plastic materials. It's certainly not Range Rover quality, but the textures and panels feel well-crafted and durable. The seats are average and somewhat comfortable. The side bolstering is decent, but you sit very low in the MKC and makes it feel like a very short car, cocooned and distanced from the outside. The rear seats are also a bit tight, lacking headroom and legroom when sitting behind a 6-foot adult. You will fit, but it'll be very snug and confined.
That overgrown-chin center console layout has been much improved and simplified over Lincoln's 2014 models. Lincoln previously utilized an appalling finger-sliding mechanism to control everything from the volume to the climate, something that Cadillac currently uses for their CUE infotainment system. We really didn't like it. It was messy, inaccurate, and difficult to use. For 2015 though, Lincoln has listened to customer feedback (hooray!) and brought back hard buttons and dials.
The touchscreen is also surprisingly responsive. There is a slight learning curve to navigate within the four-corner menus, but it is quite intuitive and easy to use without a centralized rotary dial. The driver's instrument panel is clear and loaded with high-definition displays. From there you can access safety tech options, views of the AWD system and how much power is being delivered to the front and rear wheels.
There was a boatload of technology loaded onto our MKC. The Technology Package ($2250) adds on Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning, Forward Sensing System, and a Lane Keeping System. Other options included was a hands-free liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, ambient lighting, and an Enhanced THX audio sound system ($995) with 14 speakers rating at 700 watts. The MKC also has one of the best rear view cameras in the business. The display is huge and the detail picked up by the camera in low-light areas is very impressive.
Buyers get a choice of two powerplants under the hood: a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine worthy of 240 hp and 270 lb-ft. torque, and a bigger 2.3-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder (the same one found in the new Mustang) that delivers 285 hp and 305 lb-ft. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission - a bit primitive in this day in age - and all-wheel drive comes standard for us Canadians.
Our tester was fitted with the more potent 2.3-litre engine, and at first I thought, wow 305 lb-ft. of torque? Nice! I then proceeded to floor the gas pedal and... nothing. Silence, followed by a gradual burst of automotive adrenaline. Turbo lag? Yeah, but that's inevitable. The real problem was the sleepy transmission. It changes gears way too slowly and hinders an otherwise impressive engine. The MKC is only as strong as its weakest link, and would highly benefit from smoother gear changes and more cogs in the box. It would also help the fuel economy as well, an area where we averaged 12.9 L/100km. But one advantage the MKC has over the X3, Evoque, and NX is that it only requires regular 87-octane fuel, not premium.
Yet, I feel like this engine and AWD setup shouldn't be scrutinized with performance in mind. My gut is telling me that the MKC was designed to cater towards buyers that want a luxurious and comfortable experience rather than a sporty and stimulating one. And when you put performance aside, you will notice that the MKC genuinely delivers a very limo-worthy ride. The cabin is quiet, the steering has good feel, and the suspension is soft and absorbent.
Is the MKC is biting off more than it can chew? I don't think so. It's got the looks, the luxury, the comfort, a worthy engine and standard all-wheel drive. But where it falls short is with the cramped back seats and a smooth transmission to tie the knot together. All that technology is offered at good value, but the MKC doesn't provide enough to stand above the luxury crossover competition. Instead, the MKC blends in with the other crossover kids at school, but hey, since when was that a bad thing?
型号 Model: 2015 Lincoln MKC 2.3L AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Smoked Quartz ($700)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $48,650
試車售價 Price as Tested: $54,570
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,690
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,552 / 2,135 / 1,657
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,798
引擎 Engine: 2.3L EcoBoost I-4
最大馬力 Horsepower: 285 hp @ 5,500 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 305 lb.-ft. @ 2,750 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-Speed SelectShift automatic transmission
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: Independent MacPherson strut-type with stabilizer bar
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Fully independent multi-link with stabilizer bar, progressive rate springs
煞制-前後 Brakes: Power 4-wheel disc with anti-Lock Braking System and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway)- L/100 km: 12.9 / 9.2
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 245/45R19