Yesterday, The Lincoln Motor Company (as they like to be called) debuted a new crossover, the MKC. It is a striking, visually fetching crossover that makes us instantly forget about the MKX. And furthermore, I stand corrected. I stand-freaking-corrected.
That is because I’ve said time and again that Lincoln is doomed. I’ve claimed that they are a brand that is just barely holding on and that they are just going through the paces until it would be the most fiscally opportune time for Ford to close Lincoln’s old, crusty dealers. I was wrong, and on the back of the MKC, Lincoln should be alright. Here are a few reasons why.
Crossovers Sell Like Hotcakes
The crossover market is a massive one. It seems like everyone wants one, and everyone is putting a vehicle on sale in that market. Jeep is going aggressively after the crossover market with the Cherokee, and even with its polarizing appearance, Jeep will sell a ton of those things. Just based on volume alone, Lincoln should sell a bunch, and they will because…
It’s the First Lincoln to Wear Its Current Styling Well
I look at the MKT and I see a baleen whale. I look at the MKS and I see a holdover car. When I look at the MKC, I see a vehicle that finally wears the modern Lincoln styling cues well. The “wing” grille actually looks well placed and, unlike the MKZ, the proportions are fetching. This is the first truly attractive car that Lincoln has made since the Mark VIII.
It’s Not the MKZ Interior
The MKZ has an almost entirely touch-capacitive center console. Control panels that are entirely touch-sensitive are terrible. You end up accidentally turning on the hazard lights when your hand grazes by the button on the way to the nav screen. There are real buttons here, suggesting that Lincoln actually learned from the MKZ.
It’s Not Rewriting the Book — It’s Going With What Works
The notion of American luxury has been in a constant state of flux ever since it became unfavorable to own massive land barges, shod in “rich Corinthian leather.” For brands like Cadillac, it means just making European-style luxury cars, with high performance and tight suspensions. That worked for them but it won’t work for everyone.
With the MKZ, Lincoln tried to make a new kind of luxury car. It’s hard to change the game, so why fight the numbers? Luxury crossovers sell well, so Lincoln made a luxury crossover that looks like other luxury crossovers. This stuff isn’t rocket science, people.
Floaty Rides Are Part of Lincoln’s Heritage
Lincoln tried to put a real emphasis on its history in several recent ads. But the MKZ is way too off-base for that. The MKC, being a crossover will have a softer ride, and everyone knows a milky suspension is what people know Lincoln for– above anything else.
It Has the Right Powertrains
The Standard engine is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-4, capable of 240 horsepower and 270 pound feet of torque. The available engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-pot, making 275 horsepower and 300 pound feet. That solid power, and EcoBoost engines are known to deliver solid performance with respectable fuel economy. The base engine is no slouch, which is typically the main shortcoming of choosing the cheaper powerplant. No issue like that here.
People WANT To Buy American
Some lamented that the reason no one bought the MKZ was because buyers are in love with import brands. That’s not true. Import brands (for the most part) make better luxury cars. What would you rather have– an MKS or an Infiniti Q50? Exactly.
The Cadillac CTS is a prime example that when you make a good luxury sedan, people will buy it.
ANY Luxury Crossover Sells Well
This is perhaps a re-emphasizing of the fist reason, but here we go anyways. Luxury crossovers sell well, even ones that are not that great. The Cadillac SRX is not a nice car. The angles are weird, the ride is funny, and the packaging is sub-par. But you know what? The SRX has been Cadillac’s best selling car since 2010, proving once more that American buyers will buy an American crossover. And given that the Lincoln MKC looks a million times better than the SRX, this should be Lincoln’s best-selling vehicle moving forward.