The 2016 Lincoln MKC is a compact SUV sold by Ford’s luxury brand. Now in its second model year, the MKC offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. It’s available with two turbocharged four-cylinder engines and a special Black Label package that provides high-end luxury.
The compact luxury SUV segment is booming and the 2016 MKC gives Lincoln a competitive entry. Introduced in 2015, the five-passenger MKC has two powertrain choices and offers four equipment groups or trims: Premiere, Select, Reserve and Black Label.
For 2016, the MKC gains Lincoln’s new Sync 3 infotainment system, while Select models gain a standard power liftgate.
The Lincoln MKC advances the brand’s current design language with both its front and rear fascias. It includes a split-wing grille with wraparound headlights accented by LED lights. The lower portion of the grille is bordered by a pair of indentations housing the fog lights. A skid plate, a multi-creased hood and powerful shoulders complete the front look.
Along the sides, the 2016 MKC is marked by a sweeping roofline, a rising beltline, multiple character lines and body sculpting. Distinct alloy wheels, reflector lights and chrome embellishments are also present. At the rear, the MKC features a clamshell liftgate with an integrated spoiler, a wraparound window, oversized combination lamps connected by a single lighting assembly, reflector lights, dual exhaust tips and a skid plate.
The Lincoln MKC offers room for five, but is best suited for four. There is ample room up front, but rear legroom measures just 36.8 inches. The MKC may be best for the young family with two car seats in the rear and with the center armrest folded down. Plush bucket seats are up front and a 60-40 split-folding bench seat is in the second row.
The MKC’s cabin is open and feels more so with the available all-glass panoramic Vista Roof. Leather, soft touch materials, aluminum embellishments and genuine wood trim on the doors and instrument panel are present except in the base model.
The instrument panel features a two-gauge tachometer and speedometer layout with a digital driver’s information center that’s configurable with switches located on the face of the steering wheel. Lincoln offers an electrically controlled tilt-and-telescopic steering column and a neatly organized center stack with a new-for-2016 Sync 3 infotainment display. With the transmission buttons located on the center console, the MKC has a more open feel than some competing models.
Storage compartments with two USB ports, an auxiliary input and a 12-volt outlet split the front seats. Two cup holders are also present. In-door storage pockets are in each door.
Various package upgrades enhance the MKC’s look. Choose the Select trim and you gain upgraded leather, front seats with a greater range of adjustment and ambient lighting. A nine-speaker audio system is standard and offers clear and balanced sound. Some models offer an enhanced THX II certified audio system composed of 14 speakers, yielding a richer and fuller sound throughout the cabin. A navigation system is not available with the base Premiere model, but is optional with the Select trim and standard with the Reserve edition.
Heated and cooled front seats are standard with the Reserve package. Heated rear outboard seats are available except in the base model. The Black Label model brings in a two-tone interior and special exterior colors.
Two turbocharged engine choices are available with the 2016 Lincoln MKC. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. This model is EPA-rated at up to 20/29 mpg city/highway.
Also available is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine making 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. This model comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and is all-wheel drive only. The EPA assigns it with a 18/26 mpg city/highway rating.
All Lincoln MKC models have a 3,000-pound towing capacity when equipped with a trailer tow package.
The model as tested came equipped with the larger engine. Marketed under the EcoBoost trademark, the engines combine turbocharging with direct injection and variable valve lift technology to enhance power and conserve fuel. The engine is tuned as such to maximize power while doing an admirable job of minimizing turbo lag.
More than enough power is felt when pressing hard on the accelerator with little torque steer experienced. The MKC moves up to highway speed quickly and continues to deliver ample power in passing situations. On twisty roads, some body roll was detected. Independent front and rear suspension systems are augmented by front and rear stabilizer bars. MKC models with all-wheel drive also benefit from Lincoln’s continuously controlled damping system to maintain a confident and comfortable ride. The MKC offers three driving modes — Normal, Comfort and Sport. Its electric power-assisted steering system aids in handling responsiveness with average feedback provided. Braking is firm with roll stability control also at work to keep this SUV planted.
Current Lincoln models are saturated in technological features. Slip behind the wheel and you won’t find the transmission shifter on the column or between the seats. Instead, the MKC relies on a push-button system located on the center stack adjacent to the Sync 3 screen. More than once this writer had to remind himself of that unusual location. As odd as that placement may seem, it does the job of freeing room between the seats.
The Lincoln Sync 3 system is a welcome change, replacing the confusing and frustrating systems that have plagued Lincoln owners for these past five years. Gone are the required swipes that never seemed to work as planned. Instead, Sync 3 serves as an intuitive system with tabletlike icons for enhanced visibility and usability.
For a $2,295 upgrade, a Technology package is also available, bringing in adaptive cruise control, a forward sensing system, lane keep assist and active park assist. The latter system is one of the more innovative ones in the industry, making it easy for drivers to parallel park their SUVs with their hands off the steering wheel.
Reserve models come with a hands-free liftgate. This system operates by moving your foot underneath the rear bumper in a side-to-side motion to open the rear of the MKC.
All Lincoln MKC models come equipped with a suite of air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag. A rearview camera, a post crash alert system and tire pressure monitoring is also included. Adaptive cruise control, a forward sensing system, lane keeping assist and active park assist are incorporated as part of the optional Technology package.
In testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Lincoln MKC received Good marks in two crashworthiness categories: moderate overlap front and side testing. No other crash tests were conducted.
The base MKC outfitted with a Premiere equipment group is priced from $33,260. Two additional steps bring this model to $37,090 and $40,460 respectively. All-wheel drive adds approximately $2,500 to the base price.
A fully loaded MKC like the tested model will come in around $50,000. Well-equipped all-wheel drive models with navigation can be had for about $43,000.
The 2016 Lincoln MKC is a compelling model in a fast-growing segment. The base engine and the middle of three trims offer the best value.
For shoppers needing something larger, the new-for-2016 Lincoln MKX should be considered. Competing models to cross shop include the Lexus NX, Infiniti QX50, Audi Q3, Cadillac SRX and Volvo XC60. The Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque might also be compared.