Vehicle Type

Ease of entry and exit, a generous and easy-to-load cargo area, flexible seating, upscale cabin provisions, overall ride comfort, and a nicely tuned blend of power and mileage.

Compact luxury crossover

History/Description

With an all-EcoBoost engine lineup, premium design, and a luxurious cabin and driving experience, the original-generation Lincoln MKC hit the road in 2014 as a compact luxury crossover offering from the American automaker.

Riding a platform shared with the Ford Escape, the MKC took things upscale with a specific array of chassis, powertrain, safety, and infotainment systems, giving shoppers affordable access to a luxury experience that wouldn’t break the bank.

Feature content included premium stereo provisions, active noise cancellation, climate-controlled seats, sunroof, adaptive suspension, drive-mode selector, a power tailgate, and more. Look for LED headlights, a full array of outward-looking safety features, and full multimedia connectivity.

Notably, MKC offered up one of the lowest entry costs in the segment, and this should translate into good value for the used vehicle shopper – provided they wind up with a copy that’s in good shape and not concealing any problems. This is where we come in. But some more information, first.

Engines/Trim

All models ran a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with a 2.0-litre, 245 horsepower unit as the base offering, and a 2.3-litre, 285 horsepower unit as the up-level option. A fully automatic all-wheel drive (AWD) system was available with both engines, and all units got a six-speed automatic transmission.

What Owners Like

Owners tend to comment positively on the MKC’s ease of entry and exit, a generous and easy-to-load cargo area, flexible seating, upscale cabin provisions, overall ride comfort, and a nicely tuned blend of power and mileage. The up-level stereo system and sunroof are feature content favourites. Many owners also advise that the AWD system is smooth, seamless, and fast-acting for all-weather confidence when used with winter tires.

What Owners Dislike

Some owners wish for a more straightforward infotainment system interface, a quieter ride on some surfaces, and a little more rear-seat headroom for taller passengers. Additionally, some owners take issue with the relative abundance of recycled Ford parts throughout the cabin, relating to the switchgear, stalks, displays, and some other controls.

Pro Tip

If this is your first foray into the luxury crossover scene, you’re best to understand the cost to replace and service various components of the MKC before purchase. In particular, note the tire and wheel size of the unit you’re considering, and determine the cost for replacement tires. Note that models with larger wheels will typically mean a bigger hit to the bank account when new tires are needed.

Be sure to budget for winter tires, too. The MKC is loaded with traction-enhancing systems to help you get around safely in the snow, but these systems only work as well as the tires mounted to the vehicle – and winter tires are the best and only way to ensure maximum performance and grip in inclement weather.

Professional cleaning and treatment of the leather seating, and professional cleaning and coating of the paint, are also advised if they’re in your budget, as these can both enhance long-term resale value by maintaining the MKC’s appearance for years to come.

The Test Drive

Check the A/C

Run the air conditioner on various temperature, fan-speed and distribution settings, confirming that cool air at the desired temperature flows fully from all selected vents in the dashboard. If one or more vents is blowing warm or hot air while the A/C system is engaged, or in instances where the air temperature is dramatically different between multiple vents in the same climate-control zone, a bad blower door or “blend door” may be to blame.

These are small flaps within the climate control system which open and close to direct air into the appropriate ducts within the system. In this and numerous other applications, blend doors may fail to operate properly, resulting in uneven air temperature distribution. As the blend doors are located deep within the climate control system, their repair or replacement can be pricey. If you suspect any trouble, have a professional investigate and determine a repair cost.

Note that bad blend doors can, in some cases, prevent the proper function of the windshield defroster system. Here’s some more reading. Also, note that a clogged cabin air filter is also a leading cause of climate control system problems, and that this is a cheap and simple fix.

Test the Sync System

The MKC’s Sync system allows for control of hundreds of functions from a central touchscreen. Some owners have reported that this system may crash, lag, bog, or outright fail – which complicates or prevents access to certain functions. In many cases, simply restarting the vehicle (and the system) fixes the problem, though recurring Sync issues may require a (free and simple) system “hard reset” to fix. If that’s not the case, ask your dealer if updated software might help. If not, the entire head unit may need to be replaced, and that’s typically expensive if it happens out of warranty. Here’s some more information. In any case, plan to give the Sync system a thorough workout before your purchase, to reveal any possibly pricey issues.

Transmission Trouble

Some owners have reported transmission trouble, which often manifests as a hiccup or surge when upshifting between certain gears, particularly from second to third (according to owner accounts of the issue from this discussion). Owners report that Lincoln issued a Technical Service Bulletin or TSB, which helps technicians diagnose and repair this problem more quickly. Note that this issue may accompany a marked increase in fuel consumption. If the transmission in the MKC you’re considering seems to have trouble shifting smoothly and consistently, the fix may be to install new software programming into the transmission’s computer brain, or to replace the transmission torque converter. The latter is a serious job.

Note that most owners have not reported this problem, though it’s worth being aware of. If the problem isn’t apparent on your test drive but develops later, be sure to have a Lincoln service centre investigate and document your concerns, which can help speed future warranty claims, if applicable.

Check the Power Tailgate

On models with the power tailgate, be sure to open and close the tailgate several times over the course of your test drive, operating it from the buttons on the tailgate, the dashboard, and the remote keyfob. If the tailgate fails to respond, suddenly reverses direction, or fails to open or close fully, some additional investigation is required. In several cases reported here, the cause of issues was related to worn-out wiring, a bad computer control module, or a bad liftgate motor. In some cases, dealers are able to apply a software fix which reprograms the liftgate motor. As the power tailgate is controlled by a computer module that’s fully integrated with all vehicle electronics, self-diagnosis and repair of liftgate-related problems is not advised. Finally, note that a weak or dying battery may cause issues with this component as well.

Wonky GPS

If the navigation system in the MKC you’re considering seems to have trouble determining your current position, or fails to track the vehicle as it moves around, give this discussion a read. Some models may be suffering from a bad GPS module, which will need to be reprogrammed or replaced. Ask your dealer to reference Technical Service Bulletin number TSB 14-0037 for a quicker fix.

Try All Console Controls

Though reports are somewhat sporadic, a number of owners have reported failure of the console-mounted switches for the climate control, heated seats, and other functions. In most reported cases, this problem occurred early on and was easily fixed by the dealer. In any case, try all dash-mounted controls, several times, to confirm proper operation. A check of the motorized seat controls and all steering-wheel mounted controls is also advised.

Other Useful Checks

Full Undercarriage Inspection

Especially on a higher-mileage unit, a full on-the-hoist inspection by a Ford or Lincoln technician is well worth your investment of, perhaps, $100, before you buy. Sellers may be able to meet you at a dealer, or may allow you to bring the vehicle in for said inspection yourself, which likely needs to be pre-arranged. If you’re buying your used MKC from a reputable car lot, ask if staff may be available to take the vehicle in to a nearby dealer of your choice for this inspection, upon request. A Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) is cheap, quick, and amounts to your single best defence against buying a vehicle that’s concealing problems.

All of the Fluids

When was the fluid in the MKC’s AWD system last changed? The transmission fluid? The brake fluid? Coolant? We strongly advise against buying a used vehicle without full service records indicating all fluid changes are up to date. If that’s not possible, budget for a full fluid change to all of the above, as well as an oil change, tune-up, and a new air and fuel filter, just to be safe. This forms a foundation for good maintenance for your time with your new MKC, and is cheap insurance against potential problems down the line.

Ditch the Battery

Another way to fend off potential issues and headaches is to plan on replacing the factory battery, if it’s still equipped. Have a professional battery and charging system performed, especially on older and higher-mileage units. If the vehicle’s battery doesn’t pass the test with flying colours, consider replacing it, ASAP. A weak or dying battery can cause a multitude of issues across various vehicle systems, and running a sub-par battery in a modern luxury vehicle is rarely worth the headaches.

Software Updates

Computer programming and computer modules are responsible for controlling the operation of dozens of systems in the Lincoln MKC – and sometimes, the software involved can become corrupted or compromised. Talk to your dealer service department and ask if any software updates might be outstanding for the model you’re considering. If any are, arrange to have them installed as soon as possible. Software updates can improve the drivability of the vehicle, prevent dead batteries, improve fuel mileage and comfort, and more.

Recalls

With the VIN of the unit you’re considering, you can look up if any recalls apply to it using Ford’s website.

Verdict

The Lincoln MKC should provide cost-effective entry to a luxurious, all-weather ready crossover experience that seems mainly free of major or widespread issues, though a full inspection of all electronics, and a full assessment by a professional technician, is strongly advised ahead of your purchase.

Crash Test Results

IIHS: results
NHTSA: 4/5 stars