By on September 17, 2014

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Last year, TTAC reviewed the Lincoln MKZ, and found it wanting. Poor build quality, sub-par fuel economy and questionable value for money led me to write a review that, while accurate in its portrayal of the cars faults, went above and beyond the call of duty as far as verbal vitriol was concerned. We all know what happened next, and in the end, it was only due to an outpouring of support from the B&B that TTAC was given access to Ford’s press fleet again. Note that in that time, we didn’t once drive a Lincoln.

This week marks the first time that TTAC is back in a Lincoln since that episode. I’m driving a fully loaded 2.3L Ecoboost MKC, which is the Lincoln Motor Company’s version of the Ford Escape. My biggest bone of contention with the MKZ was that it didn’t offer anything particularly compelling that would tempt me to buy one over a Ford Fusion. The MKC doesn’t appear to have that problem. Check back next week for the full review. In the mean time, we salute the Lincoln Motor Company for putting the episode behind them and having the courage to invite us to test out their newest wares.

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84 Comments on “TTAC Salutes The Lincoln Motor Company...”


  • avatar
    hreardon

    Really looking forward to this review. Wifey likes the look of it, and I have to admit, it has caught my eye as well.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Hmmmmmmmmm 2.3 ecobost + Escape size + AWD = hammer down & haul butt.

    It will be interesting to see what you think.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      I test drove one with a sticker of nearly $49,000. Great engine, but the transmission seemed to prefer a more relaxed style of driving. Perhaps it just has to learn personal preferences – I only got to drive it on a 6-block loop.

  • avatar

    If this car is as nice as it looks, I’m going to pick one up from FoMoCredit for my girlfriend in a few years when I’m sure she gets tired of her Tribute and passes it down to her sister or whatever.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The B&B did the same regarding the blowback when you had less than stellar things to say about a pre-production Jeep Cherokee (but FCA didn’t pull the infantile stunt of blacklisting you).

    The B&B is the best. We will rip your throat out, Roadhouse style, for getting suckered into manufacturer/advertising hyperbole (“Game Changer”), yet back you up like the Athenian 300 when a company dares to penalize you for voicing criticism of their products.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    Saw one of these for the 1st time coming into work today – same color actually. Looked nice overall, but the beltline crease was a bit much for me. I think it adds a kind of “weight” to the car that it could do without.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      They’ve been puttering around in Louisville (where they’re built on the Escape’s assembly line) for a while. The first time I saw one, I thought it was some crazy new Porsche product, then it got… melty looking, the closer I got. Something was not quite right. It wasn’t until I was passing it that I realized it’s the new Lincoln Escape.

      I sort of like the front of it and the MKT, but that rear was off-putting.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Looks like a bland (and very late) entry in a bland segment. I’d best describe the styling as “anonymous small tall wagon”, and do not like that enormous liftgate seam int he back one bit. Still, I’ll try to approach the review with an open mind, but I’ll admit Lincoln has been bugging me lately with their silly gimmicks (ZOMG BIG SUNROOF + PRND BUTTONZ) and overwrought marketing (from Jimmy Fallon-as-superbowl ad ‘curator’, to obnoxious comparisons with superior cars, to now Matthew McConaughey spouting wikiquotes).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Well, it’s just a 35k to 40k better equipped Escape, no matter what anyone claims, at any rate.

      Give me 3k worth of dynomat, aftermarket leather seats covers, and some different suspension parts, and I can make a 26k Escape feel exactly like an MKC, but look better than its Lincoln platform mate.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I doubt this. And your parts budget puts the whole package around 32-33K. You still have to upgrade to the 2.3L, and I’m sure there are some other equipment upgrades as well. And you have to turn a profit. 35K for this seems very reasonable.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Disagree. This is far better looking than the Escape.

        • 0 avatar

          Lincoln did a few things to make this car look apart from the Escape. The pillars have been slightly lowered at all four corners, which makes it look less tall and narrow (like the Escape).

          • 0 avatar
            Chicago Dude

            I took a photo of an Escape and MKC parked next to each other. While only being a matter of inches (or maybe less), the MKC looks lower and wider from the rear. Significantly.

      • 0 avatar
        jrasero23

        Well I disagreed with TTAC’s review of the MKZ so its funny how they are more glowing about the MKC which I feel offers the same value and features as a MKZ. I have test driven a 2013 MKZ and had a 2014 loaner for a week and never saw any of the quality issues TTAC mentioned.

        Either way a course a comment like this would come from someone like @deadweight who will bash any Lincoln review. People like DeadWeight always play the “x” car is just a gussied up “y” car but for more money. Yes a Lincoln is a dressed up Ford we get it. BUT IMO the MKZ and MKC look and even feel so much different they are worth the extra thousands of dollars. Also the service I get from Lincoln is x100 times better than going to a local Ford dealer.

        Will the MKC set the world on fire? No, but starting at $33k it’s a good entry luxury compact crossover. A course a proper MKC will really set you back $40k but so will any of the competition.

        I was at the dealer today servicing my MKZ and test drove the 2.3 MKC and was impressed. Does it have the handling of an Audi or even Acura? No, but most people will be happy with the power and comfort it provides.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Both the Acura and Audi you mention will have way better resale/residual values, way better fit/finish, and, for those who care about such things, a more prestigious badge…which the compact Lincoln Cute Ute comes within spitting distance of in terms of price (if not costing more).

          Anything remotely close to $40,000 for this is insane.

          I’d take a CR-V, if I were ever to buy any CUV (most likely not), pocket around 18k in savings, and have a dead reliable car that I can use for 10 years and then sell and get 35% of my purchase price back.

          Or I’d spend the same amount that this MKesCape costs, and get an Acura RDX FFS.

          • 0 avatar
            jrasero23

            Yes they have better residual value but by no means in my opinion a more prestigious car company. I grew up driving Hondas and Acuras and for me the RDX-MDX offers little to nothing above a C-RV or Pilot but that could be my bias. Acura out of all the car companies has lost its way the most. They used to make sporty cars filled with tech. The new RDX is just a bland CUV with no balls to appease soccer moms.

            Have you ever driven a C-RV? Probably not because then you would realize while it gets good MPG it’s very loud and unrefined and nothing at all screams luxury. And bringing it up is stupid

        • 0 avatar

          Forget about DeadWeight, he is just angry young man obsessed with resale value and ready to suffer to optimize it. He will settle over time and enjoy life unconditionally. But how do you know Audi (which model?) or even Acura (which model?) handles better than MKC? Did you compare them it is just a thumb of the rule to assume that anything handles better than Lincoln?

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            I have no cross to carry for DeadWeight, but I can honestly say that, in our last round of car shopping, the Audis (A3, A4) we drove were head and shoulders above the Fords (Fusion, Escape).

            I fully confess to knowing nothing about what FoMoCo has done to differentiate the MKC from the Escape in any meaningful fashion, but I can say we liked the Kia Sportage much more than the Escape.

          • 0 avatar
            jrasero23

            My girlfriend wants a CUV for her first car. We have test driven the RDX, MKC, Q3.

            RDX was the most bland out of them with moderate acceleration and okay handling but very toned don compared to earlier models. The Q3 by far had the best handling but didn’t have the punch the MKC had. If I personally was buying a CUV the MKC would be the choice because the 2.3 Ecoboost really delivers.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      Given what everything else in this segment looks like (X3? ugh), I think it looks great. If you don’t like the CUV look, you just aren’t going to like any CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      The MKZ is one of the only cars with a sunroof I can’t fit in. I’m close to 6’6″ with a short torso, and I fit in many cars, but the MKZ? Nope. Considering how the escape was close to catching on fire approximately 314,567 times, I don’t have much hope in the MKC.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I remember that MKZ article quite well, and it’s aftermath. I certainly had no sympathy for you.

    Dean Starkman’s book “The Watchdog that Didn’t Bark” describes two types of journalism: access and accountability. The former is about promotion, and the latter is about investigation.

    The MKZ review should be a lesson that if TTAC wants to be the go-to source for automotive accountability (much like it did during Farago’s tenure), it needs to do so with tact, because there’s an unofficial understanding that manufacturers have no incentive to provide products for you to review when you become a loose cannon.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      So, damn the manufacturers’ products with faint (false?) praise, then?

      Tony Swan, is that you?

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      If I wanted to read ass-kissing BS about turds on wheels, I could go to any newsstand. Stay the course, Derek.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        Agreed. C&D, R&T, et al., are mostly filled with ads accompanied by glowing platitudes and oh-so-gentle criticisms. I read TTAC to get, I dunno, the *truth*, rather than something that will please Ford or whomever loaned out the car.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I reread the MKZ article, and found nothing in it that would be worthy of blacklisting somebody.

      A new car shouldn’t have untrimmed plastics, a fuel door that looks like it’s ready to fall off, and a sunroof design that blocks the rear view window.

      I’ll take personality from a $1000 Buick, but if I were going to spend $50,000 on a car, it had better be perfect. Especially for a premium car.

      If Lincoln builds a bad car, they need to grow up and take responsibility for it. Blacklisting somebody for a bad review is completely unacceptable.

      I’m not sure if I’d buy a Ford product or not, but I want truthful reviews on anything. Whether you’re looking at a Mitubishi Mirage or a high-end Lincoln, I should know the truth about the car, not a well-crafted speech about why I should buy it.

      I’ll leave that type of writing to the sales brochure.

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        Do tell where exactly the giant piece of glass is supposed to go?

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          http://www.sunroofs.org/tech/lamella4.jpg

          Like that, but closer to the back.

          It’ll break someday, but most Lincoln buyers wouldn’t care. The lease will be up by that time.

          • 0 avatar
            Ion

            That looks like it will leak worse than an 80’s t-top. My stance on the roof is simple. If you don’t like it, it’s an option don’t get it. It’s like bashing a convertible in reviews because they have no trunk space and poor visibility.

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      Ford of Canada messed up big time with that MKZ. The car was obviously a mess, probably the result of being from the start of the production run. The fact that they responded with a blacklisting for THEIR mistake tells me that the best and brightest of Ford don’t work for the Canada division.

      They should have provided Derrick with an MKZ that was actually up to spec and given him an apology for sending a crap version of the vehicle to him so that he could do a proper review. Yeah, it could have been a ringer, but at least the company wouldn’t have looked moronic.

    • 0 avatar
      jrasero23

      I think the review was pretty unfair since in my experience the quality control was an isolated incidence. A course the MKZ has had some recalls which doesn’t help its reputation, but over the two years of driving a MKZ and seeing them at multiple dealers have I seen these poor quality issues. If there was an issue I am 100% positive my dealer or most dealers would fix it.

      Does the MKZ have faults? Yes. Is the MKZ the best luxury car? NO, but in no means was it as bad as the review stated it was.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Still hate the grill and naming scheme, but curious to see if the vehicle rises above those detriments.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I don’t understand the complaints about the naming scheme. A friend owns a MKZ and was going to have a “Mickey-Zee” plastichrome emblem made to replace the “MKZ”, but found a chrome Versailles emblem and glued it on. I had a Buick emblem on the trunk lid my old Altima, but I now drive a LeSabre so there was no need to keep it. You can get just about any emblem on ebay, though I think if somebody offered plastichrome Mickey-whatever emblems, they’d make some money, and Ford, er, Lincoln Motor Company might get the hint.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        A Nissan will never be worthy of Buick badges.

        Now, fake Ventiports are available for $7.99. Those you may have.

        ——————

        Common/desirable emblems are on eBay. Try finding fender emblems for a 1980s Chevy Custom Deluxe pickup, or a 1988-1992 Scottsdale.

        You’ll find tons of Silverado stuff, but none of the lower-tier stuff.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    It’s no later than Lexus’ extremely late entry which also comes from humble origins, and is certainly less ugly. From the accounts I’ve read so far, the MKC isn’t awful, but offers no compelling reason to buy it over something like a Q5 2.0T.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Price and reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      The Audi will do way, way better in resale values.

      The Audi will be a reliable product (for a high end luxury car). Almost all of the problems with my Audi have been fit and finish, anyways.

      The Q5 is a much better product to my eyes. The MKC just seems to scream, “Me too! I can do that!”

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        The Q5 isn’t a “me too!’ product? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that per say, but outside of badge cred, I really don’t know that the Q5 is all that different (well, and resale).

        • 0 avatar

          There are Q5’s *everywhere* in my area. There are literally ten of them in my neighborhood. I think it’s the next popular luxury crossover, right after the ubiquitous RX.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          The Q5 has two things that Ford will never have.

          1. quattro. Everybody has an AWD system, but other than Subaru (who doesn’t even have a CUV, anymore), name an All-Wheel drive system with as muchbrand cachet as quattro.

          2. Four rings. It’s an Audi. It’ll sell.

          Audi is aclass leader. Lincoln, well,… isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            If a Forester isn’t a CUV, then pray tell, what is?

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            The Tribeca was. The Subaru Forester is CUV-like in some regards, but it’s apparantly forgettable ;)

            They’re just weird!

          • 0 avatar
            jrasero23

            1. Quattro is great buy 95% of buyers don’t actually need four wheel drive.
            2.If the Quattro or even Audi name is the reason you are buying a certain car you are a lost soul. Yes Audi’s are great cars but they lick the butts of Mercedes and BMW. Also don’t forget in the early 90’s Audi was almost dead in the USA, but also made a very strong comeback. Lincoln can do the same and I believe will do the same and it isn’t going to do it on people like you buying based on name but ones that are open minded to actually take a test drive and not read off specs or believe German automatically means better.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Noticed an MKX in the work garage this morning, and thought to myself how much worse it looked than the MKC. This is real progress, in a segment where you don’t need a low-volume RWD platform to be fully competitive. Lincoln may succeed in pulling a page from the Acura playbook and keeping itself competitive with CUVs while it figures out how to make cars again.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I thought Lincoln just showed the next-generation MKX in China. Are we getting that one here?

      The current MKX is okay, but its Edge roots are all too obvious.

      The new MKC is handsome in real life, and it doesn’t look like an Escape with a Lincoln grille.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Gaaahhhh….the naming scheme! MKC? MKZ? C for CUV? Z for zedan? So many brand do this, and if I actually saw a Lincoln or two on the road the names might stick, but several years into this I still can’t get them straight.

    Rereading your MKZ review I can understand why you wrote what you did. I can also understand why FoMoCo wouldn’t let you near another press vehicle. Them’s got a bottom line to protect. I’m sure it’s a fine line to walk between giving an honest review and protecting your ability to still review future cars.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Fords cations tainted my view on the company. I may own another used Ford someday, but I wouldn’t want to hand them money for a new one.

      They screwed up on that MKZ. Whetther it was pre-production error or whatnot, it was still a screw up that they need to be accountable for. This is as inexcusable as the Mercury Tracer review from ages ago, where Ford sent a car with seats that weren’t even the same color.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      MK to remind you of the Mark series.
      MK C for compact and CUV, I guess.
      MK T because it replaces the Town Car as the big ‘ol Lincoln.
      MK X because X sounds cool.
      MK S for sedan.
      MK Z because S and Z share a similar look (Z is S mirrored).

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Lincoln cars were the most beautiful cars in the world in the first half of the century. These days ,they are almost revolting to look at.Ford should just let the brand die .

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I had a rental Escape and aside from a thimble-sized gas tank, it was a pretty darn good SUV.

    Hopefully Lincoln can make a good car better. Although an Escape Titanium Ecoboob is an interesting value proposition compared to a Q5. The Escape, despite its outward appearnce has an ample trunk. Q5’s is petite.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I rented an Escape and loved most things about it except for the terrible torque steer and the excessive body roll. My wife *hated* that body roll.

      I’m hoping that the MKC addresses both those issues, because this vehicle hits the sweet spot for size, price and appointments. They had better because the 2.0 Ecoboost in the Escape was a wild animal. I can only imagine how bad it could be with the 2.3.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    How do you know you weren’t given a one-off press prepared vehicle?

  • avatar
    koshchei

    Not. A. Lincoln.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I guess I wasn’t paying attention, and consequently missed all the brouhaha. Black-balled by an OEM for an opinion? Then does it follow that an envelope with cash is forthcoming for a positive rim-job of model X? Let’s face it – even fans of the marque, like me, going on 40 years of driving and buying, have seen nothing in the current line-up that even mildly interests me. Maybe that’s a good thing? But I don’t hear you youngsters singing their praises, either. Across the aisle, at Cadillac, I recently drove the little one, and I was amazed. So, obviously, it is possible to build an American car with simultaneous appeal to a 60-something and a 20-something, as one was being delivered while I was there. I read in Automotive News that their sales have declined, but our local dealer had the best Cadillac month this year since 1995. Time to have Lincoln raise its game, too. Give an old man a reason to buy one more new car.

  • avatar
    Ion

    It’s funny I saw an MKC on the road and wondered why TTAC hadn’t reviewed it. Then I remembered the MKZ review. I thought the gass door criticism was warranted. The part about the OPTIONAL glass roof and the rest of the bashing in the following days, not so much. The article about the rear glass really stood out. Nobody did any research for that. If they did they would have noticed plenty of other manufactures use the same floating technique for their rear glass.

  • avatar

    I saw one of these out in the wild for the first time last Friday. It looked pretty sweet…and easily fits in with the European gliteratti. True, it cribbed quite a bit of the Q5’s styling, but I doubt that too many people will care or even notice. I think Lincoln hit the desires of their target market perfectly with this one. Let’s hope that the redesigned MKX follows this car’s recipe.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    My family drove Mark Whatever/Thunderbirds and LTDs/Town Cars while I was growing up. No one was dumb enough for the F-150/Blackwood fiasco. The real question is: This or a Escape Platinum? I live and work in DC; either one will get door dings and bumber scrapes.

  • avatar

    I wish they relocated the blinkers, which are ridiculously low in the Escape.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Just another Lincoln article. This has to be the only website that cares about the brand, and there aren’t many humans roaming the planet who care either.

    Lincoln and brown diesel manual tranny wagons, the two least interesting types of vehicles extant. And I have only slightly more interest in trucks, but have to admit they’re popular. Which doesn’t make them interesting.

  • avatar

    I remember the original MKZ review. It was full of childish complains with some agenda behind it, like reviewer was angry at something that day for, or he just got defective car. I prefer more professionally written balanced articles or at least having some some kind of humor but not anger. It is not as if I like MKZ, I prefer Fusion over MKZ in fact. But it is not as bad as is was was presented by reviewer. It is frustrating that Lincoln does not stand for anything particular just want to compete with dead walking brand like Acura. Reaction from Lincoln was kind of childish too. There are lot of nasty articles on the Internet – who cares. If I feel that some writing is not truthful or is a propaganda piece I just click Close or Back button and forget it right away and go to the next thing. In this age you cannot dwell on thing you just have to go to the next thing since. I cannot even read long news paper articles any more. I skip all propaganda and agenda related paragraphs or if it is all it has move quickly to different site where the same information is presented in unbiased and concise manner.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Since the Escape is a decent vehicle, the MKC will have those characteristics at least. But will the extra cash give the buyer any added value, or just the JC Whitney treatment?
    At the very least, it will need a suspension upgrade to deal with the added grunt of the big turbo.

  • avatar
    Loki

    “2.3L Ecoboost MKC, which is the Lincoln Motor Company’s version of the Ford Escape.”

    Please stop. This is not badge engineering, this is not a new “version”. This is a new vehicle based on the C-car platform shared by C-Max, Focus, and Escape. Sure it looks similar in shape to an Escape, but so does every C-Car Crossover. It’s like saying that the Ford Edge is a new “version” of the Ford Fusion.

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