If Lincoln really wants to shake things up as a luxury brand… they’re close.
Here’s the thing – I honestly had a hard time trying to nail this car down. It seriously impressed me in certain areas, and fell a little short in others. And it left me wondering – well who is this car made for? Who is the target demographic? 35 or 65?
The MKC is a solid chassis. It looks good. Let’s be honest – it looks pretty great in fact. It’s got a sexy muscle tone, and could definitely hold its own in the same valet lot with the luxury brand imports.
This Lincoln MKC runs the 2.3 EcoBoost turbo engine with turbo, direct injection, and variable cam timing. It’s a solid engine that makes good power (285hp & 305tq). To some crossover buyers, 4-cylinder may seem underwhelming on paper, but remember/notice that 4-cylinder turbos are prominent in the luxury sport-crossover segment. The turbo makes them perform well, and the 4-cylinder makes them efficient. Having said that, I think it’s time for Lincoln to come out with a performance line – similar to Cadillac’s V, BMW’s M, Lexus’s F, or Chrysler’s SRT. Something that growls on startup. The Lincoln MKC with an all-wheel-drive twin-turbo V6 would force people to notice the brand, and would shake things up for buyers in their mid 30’s-50s.
The Lincoln MKC does have all-wheel-drive (AWD) on the current model. What’s more – it has continuously controlled dampening and roll stability control. When in Sport-Mode on the MKC, the car transformed into a seriously responsive & well-handling crossover. In Sport-Mode – I would put the car up against an Audi Q5 or Lexus NX with confidence. In fact – I think it would have an edge.
In Sport-Mode – I was so impressed with the Lincoln, that I had to call my car-guy friends to talk it out. The Sport-Mode body roll & instability was nil for a crossover of it’s size & ride height. Also in Sport – the throttle response was acutely on point, and the turbo combined with all-wheel-drive & system monitoring would really pull you out of a corner. I pushed the car pretty hard, harder than most MKC buyers would ever push it… and never lost confidence in where I was going to end up. When you drive the MKC spiritedly, it transforms into a horse of a different color. It’s impressive. The question is: who really drives a crossover spiritedly? And I guess the answer is: you might, and you can.
The MKC has push-button gear selectors located on the dash for Park, Drive, Neutral, etc, which give the car a modern, cutting-edge feel. It has a huge panoramic sunroof that does an awesome job of opening up & lighting up the cabin (especially for rear seat passengers). The infotainment system is easy to use. The seat heaters & coolers are neat, but the seats themselves fall way short in my opinion. …Pretty sure they’re just black leather-wrapped Ford Escape seats.
And that’s the thing: The Ford brand is making HUGE strides in engineering & quality. They’re being taken seriously by enthusiasts nationally, and on a world-wide level. People who would’ve never been caught driving a domestic 7 years ago, are now purchasing Fords, and doing it unapologetically. Lincoln needs to follow suit – while even cranking it up a notch.
If you’re the Lincoln brand in 2015 – you need to make a car for a 35-year old, and make another car for a 65-year-old… not one car for both people. You also either need to be making cars that are better than the luxury import competition… or as good as the luxury import competition – but more affordable. Either one will raise eyebrows & get a new generation of buyers in your showrooms – better or less expensive. But right at this moment, Lincoln is kind of doing neither. They are making a damn good crossover… but when the price-point is the same or higher as the proven import luxury brands like Lexus, BMW, & Audi, I’m not sure that Lincoln is standing out enough. They need to find a way to be heard by the not-retired generations.
If Ford’s plan was to keep the Lincoln brand through the recession, & catapult it to globally respectable standards alongside Ford (and I think they can do it) – they need to do more than hire Matthew McConaughey. Literally – take a set of Lexus NX seats… and put them in the Lincoln MKC.
It’s that close.