It has been a long time since I have driven a Lincoln, and to be honest I haven't really missed the brand. Lincoln has been trying to reinvent themselves for the past few years, after Ford Motor Company did some major restructuring and Lincoln was kind of left to die a slow painful death.
But the new models are making some progress in the market, using the global Ford platforms that are now a pretty darn good base, so Lincoln is trying to be relevant once again -- somewhat akin to what GM is doing with Buick.
What I have this week is the Lincoln MKC, their compact crossover based on the Ford Escape platform. So yes, it's basically an Escape with some luxury trimmings but despite that there certainly is relevance here.
First impressions of the Lincoln MKC are great – I immediately noticed the smoothness and quietness on the highway and was surprised. The base 2.0L Ecoboost engine is used in my tester; this engine is only available in the top trim Escape, and the Lincoln also offers an options 2.3L Ecoboost if you crave more power.
My tester is not fully loaded apparently, the obvious omission being that 2.3-litre engine, but it is no stripper model either. Navigation, THX sound system, panoramic moonroof, radar cruise, heated and cooled front seats with heated rear seats, towing package (1590 kg/3,500 lb), blind spot detection and more are included, so it has a lot of features, but the price reflects it at over $54,000.
Pricing: 2016 Lincoln MKC
Base Price: $39,940
Options: Reserve equipment group $7,960; White Platinum $700; Tech package $2,250; Tow package $500, THX Sound $1,100
A/C Tax: $100
Price as Tested: $54,350
As one would expect from a luxury manufacturer, the interior of the MKC is a nice place to be. Yes, even if this vehicle is based off of a more pedestrian entry level compact crossover, Lincoln has done a great job of making the MKC more upscale and worthy of the luxury brand name.
The wood accents and aluminum trim pieces give the door panels and dash a clean and sophisticated look, while the two tone interior with the dark brown seating and light tan door panels really add to the luxurious feel.
For front occupants, interior space is slightly larger than the Escape as the centre console shifter has been replaced with a push button system mounted high on the dash. Great for when you are in a hurry as well – hit the brakes, come to a stop and just hit the engine stop button and exit the car. It will automatically shift itself into park.
The headlights are also automatic, including automatic high beam, a superb invention that cancels and re-enables the high beam automatically as needed. That said, I wasn't super impressed tonight with the headlights, high or low beam -- but dark rainy weather is never great for visibility, so I'll check back on that tomorrow.
Cargo space is pretty good. Curling season has started and my curling broom fit with no issues, a true sign of a great cargo space, andthe rear seats also fold 60/40 if needed. Rear legroom is a little on the tight side, even for someone short like myself, but it is on par with the compact class of crossovers.
The 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine in the MKC outputs plenty of power for the size of the vehicle, 240-horsepower and 270lb/ft of torque propel the MKC effortlessly around town and on the highway. The six-speed selectshift automatic transmission is actually very smooth and responsive -- unlike the controversy surround the "powershift" transmission, which is Ford's dual-clutch setup, this transmission is the regular six-speed automatic with a fancy name.
On the highway the engine is quiet and this translates into a very quiet cabin with no road noise and very little wind noise even today when hit with crazy hurricane remnant winds. The suspension is improved over that in the Escape as well. The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system includes continuously controlled damping that is driver adjustable for comfort.
The ride is supple yet controlled, I'm pleasantly surprised with the ride quality compared to many crossovers that have harsh rides the crash and bang. I'm actually looking forward to taking a road trip into Quebec's pothole ridden roads this weekend with MKC.
Visibility is great in all forward directions, but the small rear window makes backing up without the backup camera a dangerous affair if there are any small kids or animals around. But the vehicle is equipped with both front and rear parking sensors that warn you audibly if you aren't looking.
Of course on the road the technologies included such as blind spot warning and lane departure warnings make driving in traffic easier and less tiring if you learn to trust the technologies. Disclaimer: You should still be using your eyes and mirrors to drive!
I really liked the Lincoln MKC during the week I had it. It was quiet and comfortable and I was coddled very well on my trip to Montreal and back. Found a few new features as well, including lane departure assist and driver alert detection. Although I'm not sure exactly how the driver alert system works but it seemed to want me to stop for a coffee every hour and a half of driving.
I wasn't very impressed by the fuel economy though, I averaged 10.6L/100km during my regular weekly commute, I assumed incorrectly that the vehicle took premium fuel -- turns out that it runs fine on regular so that saved me a few dollars for the highway trip.
After my trip to and from Montreal, about six hours of straight highway driving the average did drop to 9.8L/100km which is more respectable but not really all that great, I've seen that figure from larger vehicles on straight highway runs.