A pleasant mix of comfort, convenience and luxury decked out with striking lines and synched with impressive, responsive technology — that’s the name of new crossover game from Lincoln. Alvin Thomas figures out the handsome transformations.
Buying a car is a huge investment: Both you and I know we’re losing money every minute the car is out of the showroom and, over time, we’ll be spending more money to maintain it. Yet we purchase them.
A couple of decades ago, if someone went up to potential buyers and asked them to invest in an SUV, they would most likely end the conversation in fits of laughter.
But we’ve evolved since then: Today, it’s normal to buy an SUV, and it’s only customary to buy one that comes with a swanky badge. Undoubtedly, the Lincoln MKC fits into a breed of vehicles that is now loved and adored by car buyers across the globe.
And somehow, somewhere, in between my long test-drive, even I grew to like it – but I couldn’t quite figure out why.
Taking it from the top, the MKC easily slots itself into a category of handsome SUVs. It’s as striking to look at as a Porsche Macan or even a Mercedes-Benz GLC, but with its busy front bumper, strong character lines on the bonnet, sharp LED-accented headlamps and split-wing grille, the MKC easily takes the cake.
The design is rather adventurous compared with German vehicles in its class. The side profile is quite neat, with only a bold line splitting from the headlamps and running across the length of the SUV.
The one piece light bar that completes the tailgate gives it a look that’s nothing but conspicuous. The dual exhaust pipes and the “MKC” and “AWD” badges round off the exterior of the vehicle.
Underneath the chunky hood lies a small 2.0-litre in-line four cylinder engine. It’s been forcefully induced using what seems to be a high-pressure turbocharger. The outcome of this marriage is an impressive 240hp and 366Nm of torque.
When left in the ‘Normal’ driving setting, the car plods along, but things tend to take a turn for the better when you switch the button-operated six-speed automatic transmission into ‘Sport’ mode.
This lets the transmission to hold the gears, and furthermore, allows the engine to rev freely to about 5500rpm, wherein power is eked out. The torque kicks in at about 3000rpm, which is a touch on par with vehicles with forced induction.
The torque is delivered linearly at first but it will shun you to the back of the seats when the revs hit the sweet spot (torque band). And surprisingly, the engine sounds good when you smash the pedal to the… err… mat.
The wind noise is kept to a minimum too.
Thanks to the all-wheel-drive drivetrain, there’s no torque steer or understeer when you accelerate quickly. The torque is split between each four wheels effortlessly. There’s even a meter in the digital instrument cluster that will show you where the torque is sent. I urge you not to use it as a conversation piece when carpooling.
The 19-inch alloys wrapped by 245/45 Michelin Latitude rubber complement the AWD system to provide more grip. It’s easily the best-handling American crossover I’ve tested in a long time.
As is the case with most cars of today, there’s not much feel from the light electric steering and the pedals. But it’s just a matter of getting used to the initial switch. Albeit, I must point out that the brakes on my MKC were well-weighted and precise.
The ergonomics of the crossover is another factor that sets it apart from its competitors. While the GLC and the Macan opt for a subtle interior, the MKC goes all aboard, with a slanted dashboard, button-operated gears, a functional 8-inch-wide touchscreen with SYNC3 and a dual-display digital instrument cluster.
While all of this can upset Lincoln’s usual buying audience, it must be noted that the learning curve for these toys is short. The new SYNC3 interface is easily the best I’ve tested and is incredibly responsive to touches.
The steering is thick-rimmed and chunky, with buttons to operate in-car functions. As is the norm, you will get paddle-shifters too; not that you require them in day-to-day driving. What’s impressive is that Lincoln equips the MKC with a panoramic sunroof (though, it’s not the large one-piece glass panel that you can get with the MKZ).
The cabin is rather compact, with just enough space for four adults and one child. The head and knee room up front is in plentiful, although head space is a bit limited in the rear. Those of you wanting more room can upgrade to the posher MKX, if needed.
On the plus side, the seats are downright comfortable and extremely supportive – even in the rear. You can also meddle with the seat’s positions in the rear. Up front, the adjustable lumbar is supportive and the fixed bolstering isn’t intrusive.
The ride is smooth at all times and its 632kms of cruising range on a single tank makes it perfect for long trips to, say, Dubai. There’s decent boot space (713.5 litres) with all the seats in its upright position, which is great for storing two large bags and a couple of smaller ones.
The MKC may have entered the playing arena with the disadvantage of arriving late. But I’ll tell you this: It plays so hard that it leaves its competitors gasping hard for breath. In short: The Lincoln takes all the pluses of cars from its competitors and wraps them in a rather stylish-looking shell. And that alone is enough to keep its well-heeled customers chuffed.