If you’re in the market for a new compact luxury crossover, we suspect you’ve got the 2016 Lincoln MKC and the 2016 Volvo XC60 on your shopping list. Both are handsome high-end crossovers with manageable dimensions and several gadgets and safety features. But which one is better? Which one should you get? We’ve created a close comparison between the MKC and the XC60 to help you answer exactly those questions. But first, let’s see what’s new for the 2016 model year.
2016 Lincoln MKC Changes
The MKC is a compact luxury crossover released last year to fit below the midsize MKX in the brand’s lineup. Updates for 2016 are minor, though the SUV adds Ford’s new SYNC 3 interface for an improved infotainment experience. See all 2016 Lincoln MKC models available near you
2016 Volvo XC60 Changes
The Volvo XC60 is a compact luxury crossover designed to slot below the popular 3-row XC90, which was redesigned earlier this year. The XC60 is unchanged for the 2016 model year. See all 2016 Volvo XC60 models available near you
According to reliability experts at J.D. Power, the latest Volvo XC60 has earned below average reliability ratings. Unfortunately, the Lincoln MKC is too new for reliability ratings, and since it’s a completely new model, there’s no earlier version we can check for a guide on how it might perform. As for warranty coverage, the MKC beats out the XC60. While the Volvo offers only 4 years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage, the Lincoln touts 4 years or 50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage plus 6 years or 70,000 miles of powertrain coverage. That little leg up suggests the MKC should win this category, though we’re curious to see the J.D. Power ratings before deciding.
The XC60 offers a wide array of powertrains. Base-level front-wheel drive Drive-E models use a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that touts 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Add all-wheel drive (AWD) and you’ll get a 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder, which returns 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
For more power, drivers can upgrade to a front-wheel-drive T6 model, which touts a 302-hp turbocharged and supercharged version of the T5 Drive-E’s engine. It boasts 22 mpg city/29 mpg hwy. Finally, AWD T6 models use a 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder that makes 300 hp and returns 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.
In comparison, the MKC’s trim levels are simple. Base models use a 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which touts 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy. Drivers looking for more power can upgrade to a 285-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which comes standard with AWD and boasts 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
Although that’s a lot of numbers, the basic gist is this: Front-wheel-drive versions of the XC60 offer truly impressive fuel economy and lead the pack among compact luxury crossovers. Add all-wheel drive, however, and the MKC gains the advantage.
In government crash tests, the MKC earned four stars out of a possible five. The XC60, meanwhile, earned five stars. Although the MKC has not yet undergone all tests from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the XC60 earned that firm’s coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation.
When it comes to safety features, both models offer a wide array of equipment like a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist with a standard backup camera. We’re a little dismayed, however, that neither model has a full forward-collision braking system. The MKC offers merely a forward-collision alert system, while the Volvo’s City Safety system only works at lower speeds.
To us, the Volvo is the slight winner here. Not only does it offer more advanced forward-collision braking, but it touts better crash-test scores. We’d be more inclined to consider this category a tie if the MKC earns a Top Safety Pick+ score from the IIHS.
When it comes to technology, the MKC is the clear winner. That becomes obvious the moment you attempt to use the infotainment system in either vehicle. The MKC offers a fast-responding modern touchscreen, while the XC60’s system still doesn’t have touchscreen capabilities.
But it isn’t just the touchscreen. The MKC also offers a slew of other modern gadgets such as an automated parallel-parking system, a 14-speaker surround sound system, heated rear seats, lane-keep assist, and an available smartphone app with remote starting — none of which the Volvo offers. Technophile or not, we suspect you’ll find the MKC far more enjoyable if you want the latest features and equipment.
If you’ve followed along so far, you’ve probably realized these two models have traded advantages, with the MKC winning some categories (technology, reliability) and the XC60 winning others (fuel economy, safety). But when it comes to value, there’s no doubt the Lincoln is a better one.
The MKC starts at $34,200 with shipping, while the XC60’s base price is $37,600 — a massive $3,400 difference. Those differences remain about the same as you progress through the trim levels, as a top-level MKC starts at $41,600 compared to $44,300 for the Volvo. And we’ve already covered the fact that the Lincoln offers more technology than the Volvo, leaving it difficult to justify the XC60’s higher price.
The 2016 Volvo XC60 and the 2016 Lincoln MKC both offer a lot of benefits but we prefer the Lincoln. In categories where it falls behind the Volvo, it only does so by a hair, for example, in safety and fuel economy it’s nipping at the XC60’s heels. Otherwise, it offers some significant advantages in terms of warranty length, pricing and technology. We also happen to think the MKC rides better and we prefer its more modern styling. Though the XC60 isn’t a bad choice, the MKC is one of our favorite compact luxury crossovers.