Tom Crosby: 2015 Lincoln MKC compact SUV has sleek, sculpted look

Tom Crosby

Tom Crosby

Lincoln models can be an alphabet study. The newest is the 2015 MKC compact SUV (or crossover) with a unique look outside, luxury inside and the measured performance you expect from Ford’s upscale brand. (Other Lincolns are MKS, MKT, MKX and MKZ).

Our test-drive was the all-wheel drive version with Ford’s more powerful new 2.3-liter engine and a plethora of standard and optional safety features that show Lincoln (and Ford) are in the hunt when it comes to producing automated vehicles designed to let drivers sit rather than grip the steering wheel.

The future will improve lane correction, which sometimes veered across dotted lines in our test drive and has been cited by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety as not reducing crashes despite increased installation in upscale vehicles. Proven safety aids, such as adaptive cruise control, active park assist and forward sensing system with brake assist were included with the Technology option ($2,235) and there are warnings to rest when a driver has been behind the wheel too long or driving erratically.

The EcoBoost engine was another option ($1,140) adding impressive acceleration, especially using steering wheel mounted manual paddles. The Equipment Group package ($6,935) included navigation voice recognition, blind spot detection, sunroof and heated/cooled seats. Atop 19-inch wheels ($395), drive mode choices were comfort – and the quiet ride is plush on major highways – normal for most roads, and sport, which provided some road feedback. Handling was average, with some lean in tight turns, somewhat mitigated with active suspension damping.

The look is sleek, sculpted and sophisticated with a rising beltline and split-wing iconic Lincoln grille. Inside, posh two-tone leather with French stitching is everywhere, accented by real wood inlays. Gauges and the 8-inch dashboard screen are legible and informative. Push buttons shift gears left of the screen. Dozens of driver preferences can be programmed using steering wheel buttons. The voice recognition system understood most commands without repeating, reducing the need to use MyLincolnTouch on the graphically clear on-screen quadrant choices. Smartphones can link up apps, manipulate door locks, check vehicle diagnostics and start remotely. Rear seats are adequate for smaller adults and when folded flat, cargo space is average. At night, Lincoln logo puddle and interior lights illuminate upon approach. The rear liftgate opens with an under bumper sweep of the foot and there is a spare tire. Government and insurance crash test results were mixed.

LIKES: Ride, luxury, info screen, power, settings
DISLIKE: Lane correction, need for options
BOTTOM LINE: Great for family with young kids and long trips

FACT FILE
2015 LINCOLN MKC AWD
Base price w/destination fee $35,595 ($48,770 as tested)
Curb weight 3,963 lbs
Wheelbase 105.9 inches
Length 179.2 inches
Width 73.4 inches
Engine specs 2.3-liter, 4-cyclinder w/turbo EcoBoost
Horsepower 285 hp at 5,500 rpm
Torque 305 ft.-lbs. at 2,750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic w/manual paddles
EPA Rating 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway
Range 15.5-gallon tank, regular unleaded
Performance 0-60 in about 7 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.

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