The Lincoln MKC is back for 2019 with a facelift, new safety features and some exclusive perks for those who spring for the top-line Black Label edition.
Beyond the premium leather, unique styling cues and cool color combinations (more on that later), Black Label buyers get four years or 50,000 miles of free maintenance. Lincoln will even pick up and deliver the car for routine service. Buyers also get free car washes whenever and one detailing per year.
There's also concierge services - book a restaurant from the car - and one free year of CLEAR, the travel service that gets you through security more swiftly at airports and stadiums.
MKC's old split-wing grille has been replaced this year with a broad rectangle of chrome mesh centered by the Lincoln star. With redesigned LED headlights, the new MKC now is more aligned with the future look of all Lincolns.
Ironically, Lincoln's future plans may not include the MKC, which debuted in 2015. Reports are that a replacement may be coming in 2020, something called the Corsair. Stay tuned on that one.
Meanwhile, the MKC forges ahead admirably as a luxury crossover, with a steady and comfortable highway ride. On the twisty roads, it won't be confused with European foes like Audi's Q5 and Jaguar's I-Pace, but it is agile and well controlled on corners. An adaptive damping suspension finds and tames the road's imperfections in the Comfort mode.
Switch to Sport and the suspension stiffens considerably, making the ride more harsh. Best to keep it in the Normal mode, especially since you must wade through the instrument menu options to get to the three drive modes.
Returning is the 2.3-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine that makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. The run to 60 mph is moderately impressive at 6.9 seconds which, by the way, is equivalent to the base 2.0-liter turbo found on lower trims. A 6-speed transmission sends power to all four wheels as needed - AWD is standard on the Black Label.
Few will be towing with the MKC but it's capable of pulling 3,000 pounds. Fuel economy is in the middle of the class at 18 mpg city, 25 highway for a combined figure of 20.
At night, occupants are greeted with "welcome mat" lights, a classy touch and helpful to avoid puddles or other surprises. Inside, the MKC Black Label is filled with high-end materials and high-tech features. Black Labels are treated to one of three designer schemes: white leather and Argento wood, brown leather and Ziricote wood, or black leather with Alcantara seat inserts. The headliner is done in Alcantara.
Seats are supportive and ventilated and offer 12-way power adjustments with lumbar. But head room and leg room are tight in the rear and not a good place for adults on a trip. The sloping dual-pane glass sunroof is partly to blame.
Cargo space lags among foes but is adequate for most weekend needs: 25 cubic feet with rear seats up, 53 cubes with them folded down. That's good for a couple of suitcases or a week's worth of groceries. A hands-free liftgate makes loading easier.
Technology is headlined by Lincoln's easy-to-use Sync3 infotainment system. The system is intuitive and responds quickly to inputs. MKC also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot and an available 14-speaker THX premium audio system.
A vertical stack of buttons for gear selection sits alongside the center stack. While that's not ordinarily a problem, this one is rather close to the windshield wiper stalk. Twice in one day the wipers were inadvertently flipped on - once the front, once the rear.
New for 2019 are collision avoidance features: Along with adaptive cruise control, MKC has forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. And, an active park system can steer MKC into a parallel parking space with some input from the driver.
If you're looking for a comfortable ride and a high-quality cabin, MKC gets it done nicely. If you need to carry four adults or dream of a more energetic ride, maybe you'll want to wait and see what this so-called Corsair brings to the driveway.
2019 Lincoln MKC Black Label
MSRP: $57,480 (Includes technology package, $2,495)
What's all the excitement about? The exclusive MKC includes membership privileges, like free maintenance, travel and dining perks
Powertrain: 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine standard; all-wheel-drive standard; 6-speed transmission
How's the performance? 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds; ultra-comfortable highway ride
What about fuel economy? EPA-rated at 18 mpg city, 25 highway (20 combined)