2015 Lincoln MKC
The newest target for the crossover craze is small luxury utilities. Auto makers can’t seem to bring them to the market fast enough to satisfy a public hungry for luxury in a small yet versatile package. The most recent brand to plunge into the mix is Lincoln, with the compact MKC. Let’s see if this latest Lincoln can help the brand “escape” their current also-ran status and head back to prominence.
With their last few all-new vehicle launches, Lincoln has made a big deal about that particular model being the one to reverse a decline in sales and image. Well indeed, things are finally starting to look up this year on both counts and their latest, this 2015 MKC will certainly help further the cause.
This compact, premium utility is without a doubt the right vehicle at the right time; as small luxury utes are springing up everywhere, and people are just as eagerly snatching them up. And it doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to discover that being incredibly quiet and ultra-comfortable were clear priorities in this design. Long distance cruising is where the MKC’s ride really shines.
Lincoln Drive Control includes Continuously Controlled Damping and the usual Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes to tailor your driving experience. Perhaps surprisingly, handling is on par with its primary European rivals, yet the ride remains smooth and controlled no matter the drive mode setting.
It’s all turbo-4, all the time, under the hood of the MKC. You choose whether you want the boost coming from the Escape’s 240-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost or a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost that outputs 285-horsepower and 305 lb-ft. of torque.
We spent all of our early drive time around Santa Barbara, California in a 2.3 and found it to be super torque-y feeling and spirited around town. But once the roads got more interesting, it and the 6-speed automatic transmission didn’t always seem to be on the same page, as there was occasional hunting for gears and power. All-wheel-drive is standard with the 2.3 and available on the 2.0. Torque Vectoring Control is standard on all.
Lincoln didn’t release a 0-60 time, but the 2.3 should just best the Escape 2.0s 7.0-seconds. Towing capacity is actually greater with the 2.0-liter, but at 3,000-pounds it’s still rated 500-pounds less than in the Escape.
Like the MKZ sedan, the trans is controlled by push buttons on the dash. It works fine, unless you’re in a hurry doing 3-point turns, as there is some lag time between Drive and Reverse.
It’s lux to the max inside, as most materials are both good to look at and touch. With the possible exception of the center stack, where function appears to overcome form. But kudos to Lincoln for actually adding buttons and knobs to the Sync with MyLincoln Touch interface.
Front seats are large and comfortable and just about every current tech feature you can think of is available. Rear seats are equally comfortable and the space is pretty roomy for a compact. As for storage, cargo volume is also less than the Escape at 25.2 cubic-ft. behind the 2nd row, expanding to 53.1 cubic-ft with the standard 60/40 split-folding seat backs lowered.
Wow factor features include an epic panorama Vista Roof, and approach detection with cool but gimmicky welcome mat lighting.
The same can be said about the highly sculpted exterior. It looks cool and very athletic, yet also a little attention-seeking.
The MKC obviously shares the Ford Escape’s chassis, but body panels are more smooth and classy than edgy. Upper bodylines are reminiscent of the Hyundai Santa Fe. Out back, the full width tail lights and unique wraparound lift gate give the appearance of a road-going, art deco toaster.
The retro split winged grille is back, and here less objectionable, though none of our crew appreciated the tired 90’s gray cladding that encircles the MKC.
Taking self-parking to the next level is Park Out Assist which helps guide the driver out of tight parallel parking situations.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.3 are 18-City, 26-Highway, and 21-Combined with Regular gas. Making the Energy Impact Score very much average for all vehicles at 15.7-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 7.0-tons.
Base pricing of $33,995 is probably the best news yet, as that is significantly less than most rivals. But stepping up to the 2.3-liter requires a more considerable investment. Technically, it’s only about 11-hundred dollars more, but as for now, Lincoln requires you to also step up to Select trim, which brings your total to $40,860.
And that’s where things get muddled for the entire small luxury crossover segment. When you hit that 40K mark, there are quite a few larger options out there. Still, among its smallish peers, the 2015 Lincoln MKC stacks up well as it is a very nimble, well-crafted piece. And, it will certainly do its part on putting the Lincoln brand back on track.
- Horsepower: 285
- Engine: 2.3-liter
- Torque: 305 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds est.
- EPA: 18 mpg city/ 26 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 7.0 tons/yr
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
It’s An SUV On A Track, Deal With It
When we started testing cars 43-years ago, hot rod SUVs like this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT were not on our radar. Back in those days, utility vehicles were trucks and Porsches were cars. But times have changed, and the only place to make sense of it all is at a racetrack, so hop in and join us for some high-performance haulin’.
Now, most would say the high-performance SUV is a relatively new phenomenon, but we’ve been testing them for over 30-years now, going back to the GMC Typhoon. If you don’t remember that one, we’d suggest Googling it, purely for the nostalgia of it, as this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is on a totally different level.
This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car… ah la the 911.
Starting with the Coupe version of Porsche’s largest SUV, which benefits from a mid-cycle styling refresh for ’24, the Turbo GT adds a carbon-fiber roof, big wing with side planes, rear diffuser, and a sport exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.
Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control is also included, making body-roll almost non-existent; and with the help of a new two-valve air suspension setup it was all traction all the time through the high-speed turns of Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Though unlike last gen, if you’re aggressive enough with the throttle, you can get the rear to step out on you a little. Rear-axle steering is also included and the best praise we could heap on steering feel and feedback through corners is that it feels like a Porsche.
Tires are also wider than before: 315/35 Pirelli P Zeros in back, mounted on 22-inch GT Design wheels. The brakes behind are comprised of enormous carbon-ceramic composite discs with monster yellow calipers…
…and they truly were impressive on track, hauling this 5,000-pound, luxury-minded performance utility down from triple-digit speeds lap after lap without wavering.
This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car... ah la the 911.
Equally impressive is the powerplant that initiates those high speeds, Porsche’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which cranks out 19 horsepower over last year for a total of 650; torque output remains the same, at 626 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic trans, which helps the Turbo GT get up to speed in a hurry; 3.1-seconds to 60, to be exact. That’s a couple of tenths slower than the first-gen Turbo GT we tested 2 years ago, but we’ll chalk that up to testing that one on a well-prepped drag strip versus this trip down Roebling Road’s slippery front straightaway on a 40-degree day. And it gained time back quickly, as our 11.3-second quarter-mile time was only a tenth slower, finishing at 124 mph.
Other notable changes for ’24 include a new dash and control layout for the interior. The highlight is a new 12.6-inch curved digital gauge display; it’s joined by a central touchscreen that sits higher up and is nestled into the dash more than before.
No more actual shifter in the console, as it’s been replaced with Porsche’s toggle switch gear sector which resides on the dash to the left of the touchscreen. That means a new console layout with additional storage space and new controls. While none of that helps lower lap times, it all provides a much more useful and better overall environment than before, for that time spent behind the wheel commuting or just sitting in traffic.
Front and rear seats are comfortable yet sporty feeling; and while it does do a lot of SUV-like things pretty well, the coupe body shape does limit rear cargo capacity to 20.3 cubic feet, expanding to 52.4 with rear seatbacks folded; and the central-mounted exhaust does negate adding a tow hitch.
No matter how you look at it, the Cayenne Turbo GT is an insane vehicle, but it also comes with an insane price tag, starting at $197,950. So essentially, that’s six-figures worth of high-performance hardware jammed into an already impressively capable standard Cayenne… an SUV made much better with comprehensive updates front to back for all ’24 Porsche Cayennes.
It easily remains the standard bearer for luxury-minded utility vehicles, evidenced by recently earning our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Luxury Utility. But it’s this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that really impresses the most as the ultimate track-focused SUV money can buy. You may not need it, but you know you want it!
- Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
- Horsepower: 650
- 0-60 mph: 3.1-seconds
- Starting Price: $197,950
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 625 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 11.3-seconds at 124 mph