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2015 Lincoln MKC: Real-World Review

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2014

The 2015 Lincoln MKC is the latest entrant into the popular compact luxury crossover segment -- one that's filled with a series of excellent rivals, including the Acura RDX, the Audi Q5, the BMW X3, the Infiniti QX50, the Mercedes-Benz GLK and the Volvo XC60. So how does the all-new Lincoln stack up against its established competition? We spent a week behind the wheel to find out.

Relaxed and Comfortable

Few cars have inspired as many opinions in our office as the Lincoln MKC has, and in this case, nearly all of those opinions were positive. In fact, we found the MKC to be truly impressive in a variety of ways, including its ride comfort, equipment, powertrains, and interior and exterior design.

Starting with the ride, virtually everyone on our staff agreed that the MKC is one of the most comfortable cars in the segment -- if not the most comfortable. The result is that the MKC isn't as sporty as some rivals, offering quick steering but suspension that's too soft to be especially enjoyable in tight turns. To us, that's OK: While some companies, such as BMW and Audi, pursue SUV shoppers interested in a sporty vehicle, others automakers chase buyers who would rather have a comfortable, more relaxed crossover. That's a good description of the Lincoln MKC.

Still, the MKC isn't without performance. The 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder is smooth, quiet and refined. It's surprisingly quick, boasting a muscular 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is reasonable, too: Though it's offered only with all-wheel drive (AWD), the 2.3-liter engine returns 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. That figure increases if you choose the MKC's base-level 240-hp 2.0-liter engine, which offers up to 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with AWD.

Great Interior and Exterior

Most of our staffers were taken with the MKC's styling -- both inside and out. Our site editor, Brian, called the interior "great," noting that he was "impressed and a little surprised" with Lincoln's effort. Brian also noted that the leather is "super soft," comparing it favorably with Lexus's excellent upholstery. Other staffers agreed, especially noting the exceptional interior design and the comfortable seats.

Exterior styling also received high praise. While Lincoln's recently released MKZ sedan has split opinions with its dramatic styling, the MKC seems to have things down perfectly. One staffer called it "extremely attractive," while another noted that it offers "great exterior styling." The distinctive taillight bar across the rear liftgate helps it especially stand out.

Drawbacks?

Of course, no car is perfect -- and that includes the MKC. Most of our staffers complained about rear-seat comfort, noting that it's "fine for kids" but that it just doesn't offer enough legroom for adults. To be fair, that's a common complaint with SUVs in this size class.

Another complaint: S mode. This is a sport button you can press to get a little more enjoyment out of the MKC, and it seems to tighten the suspension and boost acceleration. Though S mode works well, it holds the SUV's gears for too long, which is a drawback for around-town cruising.

The only other major issue with our MKC was pricing. Yes, it's true that the MKC starts at a reasonable $34,000 with shipping -- far below such rivals as the Audi Q5, which starts around $38,000; the Mercedes-Benz GLK, which starts from $39,000; and even the Acura RDX, which starts at $36,000. But our test car was nowhere near that mark, coming fully equipped with a $47,000 price tag. That's an eye-popping figure, one that's simply too much for a car like this. Yes, the MKC is great, but at nearly $50,000, we'd probably move up a size class to get a larger SUV with a more useful back seat.

Our Take

We've spent a lot of time discussing it, and we think that the 2015 Lincoln MKC is undoubtedly one of the best compact luxury crossovers on the market. Hands-down, we find it better than the RDX and the GLK -- its closest competitors. It offers more equipment, a better interior and more comfort. While we wish we could change a few things about the MKC, that's true for virtually every vehicle we test. In this case, none of the flaws are important enough for us to walk away from the car.

Our advice: Don't go crazy with the options like in our test car, and you can find a well-equipped, comfortable MKC with a lot of cutting-edge technology for a reasonable $40,000 with shipping. It's an impressive price for an impressive car.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Lincoln MKC: Real-World Review - Autotrader