Test Drive: 2016 Lincoln MKC

2015LincolnMKC_03_HRWe first took note of the Lincoln MKC when it debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show a few years ago. Among all of the pomp and circumstance, concept cars and real-world debuts, the luxury compact crossover from Lincoln really caught our eye. The brand has seen some low times in the luxury market, but the MKC and other new offerings cement Lincoln’s place as a legitimate luxury contender, particularly with the introduction of the Lincoln Black Label models, available locally exclusively at Sanderson Lincoln.

From the beginning, we were impressed by the MKC, Lincoln’s entry into the small luxury crossover market, which has seen 200 percent growth over the past five years. MKC is built on the same underpinnings as Ford Escape, itself a great vehicle, but bears no resemblance to its sibling. Indeed, MKC is upscale all the way. It’s athletic, with a muscular stance, yet elegant in its execution. Beautiful from every angle, the wraparound liftgate is a most impressive design feature. The design eliminates the traditional lines and joints from the rear of the vehicle, creating not only an attractive view, but a larger opening into the cargo area. Full-length LED taillamps complete the fluid look.

15LincolnMKC_12_HRThe impeccable design character carries into the interior, a lush, tactile, high-tech environment that exudes luxury. Over miles of driving, the seats are among the most comfortable we’ve experienced. Available Bridge of Weir leather and real wood trim up the elegance and sophistication. And, a Sanderson Black Label Concierge can help you choose a theme that best suits your sensibilities: The clean, high-contrast elegance of Modern Heritage; the luxurious, calm, cream and tan Oasis; rich chocolate Indulgence; or the fashionable Center Stage with Jet Black leather accented by Foxfire Red Alcantara. All employ the finest materials and amenities.

Importantly, the interior is not only beautiful, but exceedingly intuitive and functional as well. The push-button shifter takes a little getting used to, but allows for a more open feel to the cockpit. And while the beltline is high, contributing to the eye-catching stance, visibility isn’t compromised at all.

So, MKC is gorgeous — and who isn’t attracted to a great body — but with vehicles as in life, while looks grab your attention, personality and character keep you coming back. And MKC has both, in spades. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 240-horsepower EcoBoost engine, but is available with a larger 2.3-liter, with 285-horsepower. The power from the smaller engine will be adequate for most drivers, and MKC is positively refined, yet enjoyable to drive. Even in comfort mode, the steering is responsive and not too soft, eschewing the “floating” nature usually associated with Lincoln vehicles, in favor of a more connected driving experience. Shift to sport mode for a noticeably more dynamic ride.

It’s got beauty and brawn, but what about brains? Yes, MKC is the whole package. Intelligent features like Approach Detection will make you feel welcome, illuminating “welcome mats” on the ground next to the front doors, and emitting a soft glow to complement the exterior color when it senses your approach. Very gentlemanly. The optional hands-free liftgate opens with the kick of a foot under the rear bumper when you’re weighed down with packages. Active park assist will steer you into and out of tight parking spots, and other safety features will keep you in your lane, alert you to vehicles in your blind spot, and help avoid impending collisions.

16_MKC_Rsrv_EbonyLeatherCntrStck_HRWith the MyLincoln Mobile app, when the MKC is equipped with the embedded modem, you can program engine start times, find your MKC in a parking lot, and monitor things like fuel level, tire pressure and battery life. The latest generation of SYNC allows you to interact with some of your favorite apps, including Pandora, Spotify, Glympse, and more. And the hands-free voice control system is rich and easy to use, recognizing a multitude of commands.

By now, everyone is familiar with the MKC advertisements featuring Matthew McConaughey as the spokesman. It’s an apt pairing of a handsome, charismatic actor with a vehicle boasting the same qualities. With the new MKC, Lincoln returns as a legitimate player in the luxury market. And while Matthew McConaughey won’t personally deliver your MKC, the experts at Sanderson Lincoln can help match you with your perfect ride.

With a starting price of $33,260, Lincoln is hoping to attract first-time luxury customers. A desirably equipped or Black Label MKC will more reasonably have a price tag in the mid-$40k range, with options.


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