Review: 2019 Lincoln MKC Reserve
Quiet luxury for the city.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Good: Subtle but impactful exterior design updates give the MKC a more refined look, with available open-pore wood being the ideal finishing touch.
- What’s Bad: The vertical button shifter remains awkward; the price, too.
We’re not supposed to pick favourites around here, but I’ve always had a bit of an unlikely affection for the Lincoln MKC.
Years ago, right after it was released, it was my travel companion on a rare child-free weekend to an IndyCar race in Ohio. I sat next to it with friends around a campfire and slept in its diminutive back seat. This was back when the engine start-stop was at the bottom of the vertically stacked button shifter, causing some owners to accidentally shut their engines off while rolling and triggering a highly publicized recall.
I made it back to Toronto scot-free. Those were good times. What can I say? I’ve always had a soft spot for an underdog.
The Lincoln Corsair will get its debut at the New York International Auto Show later this month, which means we’ll soon say goodbye to the MKC, at least in name. How much of the current car will remain is yet to be seen. (Early-release images look remarkably similar to the 2019 MKC, but it’s best not to make assumptions.)
In the meantime, here’s a look at the final model year that will bear the alphabet-soup moniker and all of the good and bad that comes with it: Muted, Kinetic, yet Costly.
Serene Looks and Behaviours
For 2019, the MKC drops the split-wing grille and moves to the current Lincoln signature design with a notch etched in below the crest. This is a small but important difference that gives the car an entirely different walk-up feel that’s stately and refined – and, based on the preview images, one that will continue into the Corsair. Updated LED headlamps and additional chrome highlights on the tailgate complete the subtle massaging.
The car now looks on the outside closer to how it feels on the inside: quiet and serene thanks to active noise control and an acoustic windshield and front door glass, and with composed dynamics that don’t ask a great deal of effort from the driver. It has a natural and relaxed composure with steering that offers feedback without being onerous, and it’s flat and composed even on rougher roads thanks to the standard adaptive suspension.
Power in Excess
The Reserve tester shown here is fitted with the optional 2.3-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine – in a certain other related brand, it goes by the name EcoBoost – that’s rated on paper at 285 hp and 305 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,750 rpm. It needs to be noted that those figures are with 93 octane fuel, though, which means that filling up with something lower will net you reduced real-world figures but still high relative to its competition, the Cadillac XT4, which comes in at 237 hp and 258 lb.-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic transmission – and I’ll confess that I never did get used to shifting by button. It’s an act that feels as though it should carry more gravitas.
For the way I drive, this powertrain equates to repeated and expensive trips to the pumps: expensive because I averaged 13.2 L/100 km, just over the Natural Resources Canada city rating of 13.1 – though I did do a lot of city driving and made liberal use of sport mode to enjoy its extra vigour – and repeated because the fuel tank is undersized for the vehicle. Its 60-litre capacity, at my rate of usage, nets a range of just over 450 km. That would get you from Toronto to Ottawa, one-way – which doesn’t seem horrible on its face, but an awful lot of cars get you further.
Two Trims in Canada
While it’s perhaps surprising since we tend to enjoy smaller vehicles in Canada, we don’t have as wide a selection of grades in the MKC as our southerly neighbours do. Here, there are but two: the entry-level Select, and the more expensive Reserve grade.
Both come with the good bits: the optional 2.3-litre turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, the adaptive suspension (considered essential for northern roads by Lincoln of Canada, it seems, and it’s hard to disagree), leather upholstery, open-pore wood grain inserts, heated front seats, a power liftgate, and the Sync3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other features. A Class II towing package increases the tow rating to 3,000 lbs. (1,361 kg.) with the 2.3-litre engine and adds trailer sway control.
Beyond that, it’s fair to think of the Select grade as being more individually customizable and the Reserve grade a more all-in proposition. There are some features offered on Reserve that aren’t available on Select, mainly the 19- or 20-inch wheels and the options included in the Technology Package: active park assist, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, forward sensing, and lane keeping.
With a lot of those features equipped, though, this MKC Reserve tester pushes close to $60,000 – and if I’m being objective, there’s still a little too much Ford left in this car to justify spending that much. The wood is lovely, but there’s still a lot of black plastic on the dashboard, a mass of buttons and different-coloured lights in the centre stack, two different shades of chrome, and a minor fit and finish inconsistency around the passenger door handle.
If you’re looking for a quiet and refined luxury crossover for the city and you don’t need a laundry list of options, there might be a well-priced MKC that will work for you. If you find your wants pushing the pricing into the higher end, casting your net wider produces a plethora of options.
But if the Corsair brings some changes in just the right places, it could change the story very shortly. Watch this space.
2019 Lincoln MKC Reserve
BODY STYLE: Subcompact crossover
CONFIGURATION: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
ENGINE: 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder (optional); 285 hp, 305 lb-ft of torque at 2,750 rpm (with 93 octane fuel)
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY: (Premium Gasoline in L/100km) 13.1 city/9.5 hwy/11.5 combined
PRICE: $58,570 as tested, including freight and PDI
WEBSITE: MKC Reserve