Crossovers are taking over the world. I am not particularly fond of crossovers. But thanks to a gnarly parking brake on my 147,000 mile, 2000 Town Car Cartier last September, I found myself behind the wheel of one. Lincoln’s smallest CUV, the MKC, first came on the scene in 2014 as a ’15 model. So one Tuesday morning, I found myself behind the wheel of one. And…I didn’t hate it.
For all the angry old timers carping about the death of the Town Car in 2011 and that the new Continental doesn’t have suicide doors, the current crop of Henry Leland’s forebears are nice cars-particularly inside.
“That’s not a Lincoln!” is a regular cry from angry Monday morning quarterbacks on social media. “It’s just an Escape/Fusion/Taurus!” “It looks like a Kia!” “I’d never buy one!” And so on. Well, that’s all fine and good, folks. But you see, Ford Motor Company is designing cars for people to buy new. The truth of the matter is that those ticked off people MIGHT buy a modernized 1961 Continental-once it’s five years old and selling for $17K. There’s no percentage in that for Ford.
And, ya know, those Town Cars everyone uses as a gold standard were, for the most part and longer wheelbase notwithstanding, just plushed up Crown Victorias, LTDs and Grand Marquises. My old friend Dick McCarthy knew it, and he drove Town Cars for twenty-five years. It’s called platform sharing, and it isn’t anything new.
Heck, if there were social media wonks in 1956, they’d have almost certainly been equally snide: “That’s just a tarted up Fairlane! There’s no running boards like a real Lincoln! There’s no side-mounted spare tire like a real Lincoln! There’s no golf bag compartment, dagnabit! That’s what a REAL Lincoln would have!”
But I digress. The MKC is the smallest crossover in the Lincoln lineup. But hey, it’s a crossover! So it sells. Like the genuine SUV, like the original minivan before it, it’s the latest and greatest style, and new car buyers are eating it up. I don’t particularly care for them. If you want space, get a minivan. If you want comfort, get a sedan. If you want utility get a four-door long-bed pickup. But these rolling bar stools are hip, happening and what’s now, man! So Ford and all the other makers would be damfools to not offer as many as possible.
Oh, right. The car. Kinda forgot about it, heh! Well, it’s not a Town Car, and it’s not an LS460, but it isn’t meant to be. What it’s meant to be is a plush little hauler. And it is. The leather bucket seats were comfortable, and while it had a center console like 98% of all new cars, it was nice and slim, nothing like the tipped-over refrigerator that passes for a console in a new Taurus.
Visibility wasn’t bad, though there are blind spots when merging thanks to the D-pillars and large headrests on the back seat. Acceleration was brisk, though there was a slight hesitation off the line. Not sure if it was my unfamiliarity with this car and a touchy go-pedal or if it was just the four-pot getting up off its feet and stretching. UPDATE: it appears this was the start/stop ‘feature.’ Yay, technology. Yay.
Yes, the MKC is not a squared off 1982 Town Car with a landau top and coach lamps built into the B-pillar, but inside is soft leather, genuine wood, and all the usual suspects in digital entertainment.
My loaner was a 2.0T. Yes, the two-liter turbo four, which is taking over the world. I’d much prefer a V6 or V8 and no failure-prone booster under the hood, but that’s getting tougher and tougher to find in this day and age, unless you’re shopping pre-2010 motor vehicles.
For such a small mill, acceleration was brisk, With AWD, these get 19 city and 25 highway, not drastically different than my V8 Town Car. It had no trouble keeping up with traffic or passing on the highway as I drove to the office that morning. Power is 245 hp and 275 lb-ft, unless you plump for the 2.3 turbo, which bumps things to 285 and 305 respectively. Push-button transmission is standard, with said buttons to the left of the radio/GPS screen. Which frees up space for several compartments on the center console.
Of course, being the smallest Lincoln, there are compromises. I had plenty of room, but not the stretch out room I’m used to in my old car. I’ve driven both the current MKZ and Continental, and both had much more space. But those are, like, sedans and like, they’re so uncool to the urban yuppies and lease-happy suburbanites. So the MKC/MKX sell, and seem to be the most common Lincolns in traffic here-though I see a healthy helping of MKZs as well. So maybe there’s hope.
My car had the panorama roof, which definitely increased the airiness of the cabin, along with the Cappucino leather seats and trim. The pearl-white paint would pass muster in any country club. But if you feel like a rebel against the current white/gray/black flock of new leased lux cars, Lincoln has a beautiful ruby red metallic available. I don’t see it nearly enough.
27,048 were built in model year 2017, and I suspect at least 22,000 were either white, silver or black. ‘Tis the style-or so I’m told.
So, if you are browsing crossovers, or your wife is making you do so, the MKC is worth a look. Best of all, it has none of the pissed-off Nissan Murano wedges, whorls and swage lines of the Lexus RX or even uglier pissed off aardvark stylings of the Lexus NX (for nixed?). And these can be had in lightly used CPO form for a healthy percentage below a brand new one. If that trips your trigger, check one out.
As for me, I’ll keep driving my old prairie schooner and keep an eye out for a ruby red CPO Continental!
Special thanks to Strieter Lincoln of Davenport, IA for use of the vehicle. Next up: The 2018 Continental!