We can see why some might dismiss the Lincoln MKC as nothing but a gussied-up Ford Escape, but we aren't among them. Though some of its mechanical bits are shared with its down-market Ford cousin, the Lincoln MKC has a personality all its own, with unique (and, in our opinion, handsome) styling and a quiet demeanor well suited to a five-seat luxury crossover SUV.
The interior is a mixed bag: Materials quality isn't up to the standards of the MKC's European rivals, something you'll note when you push the buttons that engage the transmission — they don't feel properly damped. But we like the push-button-shifter concept, which frees up space for a nice big storage bin on the center stack. The Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system is a definite plus; it uses big, easy-to-see virtual buttons and supports swipe and pinch motions, just like for a smartphone. Apple users benefit from Siri Eyes Free and Apple CarPlay technologies, and the stereo supports Android Auto as well.
Lincoln offers the MKC with a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The 2.0-liter produced 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.3-liter version (optional on all but the base-model MKC) delivers 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0 can be paired with front- or all-wheel drive, while the 2.3 is AWD only. In Edmunds testing, neither proved to be particularly quick: The 2.0-liter engine made the zero-to-60-mph run in 8.0 seconds while the 2.3 did it in 7.2. A responsive automatic transmission helps the 2.0-liter MKC feel quicker in real-world driving, and frankly we felt little seat-of-the-pants difference between the two engines. The 2.0 front-drive setup is EPA rated at 23 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway), with all-wheel-drive models rated 1-2 mpg less. We saw 25.8 mpg on our 116-mile fuel economy loop. The EPA rates the 2.3 at 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway), but our test-drive yielded an impressive 25.5 mpg.
The MKC's smooth, comfortable ride is its best feature (though backseat passengers, who enjoy less room in the MKC than in other premium-branded five-seaters, might disagree; cargo room is also tight). The MKC comes standard with an active noise-cancellation system, and the driving experience is smooth and relaxed, if not particularly engaging, even with the optional (and highly recommended) CCD adaptive suspension dampers. But the MKC's jumpy accelerator response and grabby brakes make it hard to drive smoothly around town. Although we imagine owners will eventually adjust, it's uncouth behavior for a luxury vehicle.
Lincoln sells the MKC in four versions. The basic Premiere is anything but basic, offering an array of desirable comfort and convenience features, with even more coming courtesy of the Select model. The Reserve adds most of the items that are available as options on the Select, and the Black Label is the best Lincoln has to offer, including the adaptive dampers of which we are so fond. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Lincoln MKC for you.