Patrick Rall's picture

2015 Lincoln MXC Review: Mustang Power Makes for One Incredible Luxury SUV

I recently had a chance to spend a week driving the new 2015 Lincoln MKC, a vehicle which blew me away in terms of driving excitement and a vehicle which totally changed how I look at small crossovers.

Before I get into the meat of my review of the 2015 Lincoln MKC, I want to begin by talking about the small crossover/compact SUV segment.

When I was scheduled to receive the 2015 Lincoln MKC, I really didn’t have very high expectations. Not because I have anything against the Lincoln brand, but rather because I find the small crossover/compact SUV segment to be a total bore. These vehicles cannot tow enough to matter, they are generally very slow due to the high priority of fuel economy in this segment, they are designed to put ride quality above anything else which generally kills the handling so, power aside, they are typically far from fun to drive. These vehicles are typically sold to people who wouldn’t know if a vehicle was fun to drive unless their dealership salesperson told them and because of that, the vast majority of compact SUVs are mind-numbingly boring to drive.

Granted, these are among the bestselling vehicles in America so sales numbers are clear proof that the average small crossover buyer really doesn’t care about driving dynamics or basic performance. So long as these vehicles allow soccer moms to load up their 3 screaming kids to get them to daycare, buyers really don’t worry about anything outside of every day drivability.

mkc side

So if these vehicles are selling well, who cares about driving dynamics? Well, the long term problem is that in building this segment of vehicles that lack any fun to drive factor is that while they will continue to sell among the key audience, these vehicles simply aren’t interesting to those who want to enjoy the drive. In other words, these vehicles will continue to attract the people who are already buying these models, but they fail to attract new buyers to the segment and because of that, automakers are slowly working to improve the drive quality of small SUVs and in my opinion, no vehicle in the segment personifies this move to make crossovers more clearly than the 2015 Lincoln MKC.

More importantly, the fact that the 2015 Lincoln MKC is just so good is proof that Ford Motor Company hasn’t given up on their luxury brand and the rise of Lincoln is way more than just a popular advertising campaign.

My 2015 Lincoln MKC with the 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder and the standard All-Wheel Drive system carried a starting price of $40,145 but when you add on the long list of options including the Reserve Equipment Group ($7,110), the Class 2 trailer tow package ($645), the Technology Package ($2,295), the optional 20 inch wheels ($1,145), the Climate Package ($580) and some minor options like floor mats and a rear cargo mat, the price as tested for my 2015 MKC sat at $49,545. This is a big chunk of change, but when you look at the long list of features inside, outside and under the hood – this luxury sport utility vehicle offers a great deal of bang for your buck.

The Exterior
While I like the modern exterior design language of the current Lincoln lineup, I find the new MKC to wear the “wing grille” better than any other model. The way that the wing shaped grille stretches from the middle of the vehicle out to the high tech LED trimmed headlights works very nicely with the low, wide design of the MKC. The chrome trim in the upper grille and around the fog lights contrasts nicely with the black filler in the lower front fascia, creating a look that is sporty yet clearly luxury level. The MKC face is modern, styling and pleasing from every angle while the high tech headlights provide great illumination during late night driving.

lincoln mkc front

Along the side, the 2015 Lincoln MKC is predictably low-riding, which allows for easy entry for even small kids and easier loading through the huge rear cargo door. The flat hood, steep windscreen and gently sloping roofline that meets a sharply angled back hatch gives the MKC is a slippery, sporty silhouette and the big, multi-spoke wheels do a great job of being sporty and classy.

Out back, the 2015 Lincoln MKC has a low profile spoiler hanging over the back glass, a gorgeous taillight system that spans the entire width of the hatch and a two tone lower rear fascia that houses a standard dual exhaust system – all of which continue the theme of luxury sport to perfection.

The 2015 Lincoln MKC is a luxury compact sport utility vehicle that puts heavy emphasis on both luxury and sport in a way that is hard to find in this segment, making it one of my favorite options in the class.

The Interior
While the 2015 Lincoln MKC is designed to be a proper small luxury-sport crossover, the interior is all about high tech comfort. The plush, leather wrapped front seats are heated, cooled and power controlled with deep bolsters that keep you in place during stints of hard driving, but they do so in a way that doesn’t shove into your ribs and hips like some sport-inspired seats. As expected, the leather chosen for the interior is soft to the touch and very high end looking, with black, satin silver and real wood trim meeting up with the deep brown leather coverings all working together to leave no question that this is a premium luxury vehicle. The front seat has plenty of space for even the tallest driver and passenger, and while the back seats are quite as cushioned and plush as the front seats, they still offer an impressive level of leg and head room for taller adults.

mkc front seats

The centerpiece of the 2015 Lincoln MKC cabin is the high end infotainment system that allows you full control of the sound system, the HVAC system including the front seats, the navigation software and the hands-free phone system – all with the big, bright touch screen mounted high on the dash. Those drivers who prefer the feel of a traditional button or knob can use the controls on the steering wheel or the small panel below the touch screen to adjust the navigation and the sound system, while almost every aspect of the climate control system can be adjusted via a panel at the bottom of the center stack. This layout provides all of the high tech touch controls that you could ask for, while allowing those who are less enthusiastic about touch-sensitive controls can still use more familiar buttons and knobs. As has been the case with every other modern Ford Motor Company vehicle I’ve tested, I really enjoyed the MyFord Touch system so when combined with the roomy seating spaces and the comfortable seats, there really isn’t much to ask for between the doors of the Lincoln MKC.

mkc dash

As one last key feature, the 2015 Lincoln MKC has a gorgeous sunroof design that has a normal retracting panel over the front seats and a huge glass roof treatment that extends back over the rear passengers. Ford does glass roof designs very well, and the new MKC makes great use of the long roofline in a way that few other automakers can get right.

mkc sunroof

The 2015 Lincoln MKC interior is all about luxury, with all of the high tech amenities that you get in the larger, more expensive Lincoln models and a shocking amount of seating space making this a cabin that you are certain to love whether you are a single 30 year old guy or a married 40 year old woman with two kids. It is family friendly, but well enough appointed to satisfy even the pickiest luxury vehicle shopper who is looking to impress friends and coworkers with a great looking, roomy compact SUV.

The Drive
As good looking and well appointed as the 2015 Lincoln MKC is inside and out, aesthetics are the least important part of this equation. There are plenty of vehicles in this segment that look good on the outside while offering plenty of interior space and interior gadgetry, but the MKC offers something that the competition does not – it is a whole lot of fun to drive.

mkc driving rear

The heart of this 2015 Lincoln MKC is the same 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder that motivates the 2015 Ford Mustang and the spirit of the pony car is quickly felt when you first pull the MKC onto the road. Packing 285 horsepower and 305lb-ft of torque, this efficient little engine makes the MKC surprisingly quick from a stop and when cruising on the open road, putting the accelerator to the floor with get this small luxury crossover up past the speed limit in a big hurry. While you can definitely feel the rush of the turbocharger’s boost levels, there is very little low end “lag”, so those who aren’t familiar with turbocharging likely won’t notice anything outside of the fact that the MKC offers very solid acceleration in any situation. Whether launching hard from a stop or looking to blast around slower moving traffic on the highway, the 2.3L EcoBoost engine is always ready and willing to put the hustle down in the new MKC. Unlike most vehicles in this class which will begrudgingly move out in a hurry, the MKC will satisfy your need for speed better than any vehicle that I’ve test in this segment.

Of course, not every driver or luxury SUV buyer cares about 0-60 or midrange acceleration, so those people will be happy to hear that the 2015 Lincoln MKC is able to offer excellent acceleration without killing fuel economy. The EPA expects that the MKC with the 2.3L EcoBoost engine and the standard all wheel drive system will hit 18mpg around town, 26 on the highway and 21 combined – numbers which I was able to confirm even though I drove the MKC fairly hard. Under normal driving circumstances with a 50/50 mix of highway driving and city driving, I was able to reach a combined figure of 20.9mpg while highway numbers tended to hover closer to 28mpg during longer all-highway drives.

mkc driving front

In terms of driving dynamics, the Lincoln MKC is a luxury crossover so I expected a very smooth ride and it delivered that with flying colors, but what really blew my mind was how well the MKC handled in both tight quarters through more technical, twisty stretches at lower speeds and at higher speeds out on the open road. This little Lincoln maintains the ride quality that you would expect from a luxury brand vehicle, but unlike so many other vehicles in this segment, the MKC is ton of fun to drive.

The Lincoln MKC offers the comfortable, luxury level ride that is required from a vehicle in this segment, but where other small luxury crossovers achieve a smooth ride through numbing down the chassis and steering as much as possible – the MKC brings driving dynamics to the table that are hard to find from any small crossover/SUV. The 2.3L EcoBoost engine makes the MKC surprisingly quick in any setting while the chassis, suspension and steering systems combine to create a perfect mix of ride comfort and handling performance.

mkc rear low

Whether you are driving to work in thick traffic or soaring along a wide open stretch of highway, the Lincoln MKC is a great “driver’s car” for those who love to drive.

The Final Word
If you want a roomy little luxury SUV that will get you to and from work in the worst conditions with all of the modern amenities inside without compromising fun to drive factor, the Lincoln MKC with the 2.3L EcoBoost is the absolute best vehicle I have driven that checks all of those boxes. The MKC looks great on the outside, it is plush, comfortable and roomy on the inside and the suspension, steering and EcoBoost engine all work together to make this the most entertaining small SUV I’ve driven.

If you are in the market for a small SUV and you enjoy a spirited drive – make sure that you spend time in the 2015 Lincoln MKC with the 2.3L EcoBoost engine and there is a good chance that you will end up with this compact luxury SUV in your garage.


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