Lincoln Black Label MKC
High Lux Driving & Dining
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Upscale consumers considering a small Sport Utility Vehicle may disparage them as plebeian runabouts that lack the luxury features of the Jaguar or Lexus in the four car home garage.
But what if you could buy one without ever setting foot inside a showroom or the exclusive customer lounge? What if they picked the car up for service, left you a loaner, and then tickled your taste buds with a tie in to the nation’s top chiefs?
The Lincoln MKC Black Label Edition does all that and more as Ford’s long neglected luxury brand starts playing a more intense game of hardball with its competitors.
“Black Label,” the vehicle and not the scotch, offers a buying experience that is, well, different. A representative will come to your home or office with a full presentation and a catalog full of interior materials in various themes to make the vehicle your own.
Once a purchase is made, the car can be delivered to your home, again without going to that “tacky” dealership. A 4 year, 50,000 maintenance plan includes unlimited car washes and once-a-year interior detailing. They will pick up the car at your choice of locations, leave a loaner, and return your wheels once the work is complete.
There are four trim models to choose from – Oasis, Indulgence, Center Stage, and Modern Heritage. The test vehicle was Modern Heritage with smart looking wood, the headliner was made of Alcantara, the seats were trimmed in Venetian Leather, as well as being heated and cooled, and we should not forget the “Lincoln Welcome/Farewell Elements.”
Out on the road, the Black Label was as smooth and pleasing as the more liquid variety. It was as quiet as an Irish pub six hours after closing and the multi-adjustable seats made for a most comfortable day long drive.
Handling was on the American soft side, but most likely in line with those who are looking seriously at the Lincoln brand and not expecting handling that matches that of an Audi or BMW.
And how many of them offer access to the “Culinary Collection? That consists of a “… curated list of restaurants from coast to coast with noted chefs” and a complimentary dinner for two at one of them.
Your trip to dining excellence will be powered by an $1,100 extra 2.3-liter turbocharged four cranking out 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque tied to a six speed automatic that comes only with All Wheel Drive.
The MKC is rated at 18 to 26 mpg for a combined 21 if any of that matters in this class of vehicle. The turbo delivered enough power to meet the demands of most Lincoln owners. The fuel tank is on the small side so look for plenty of stretch breaks on trips.
Extras on the test MKC included $395 for an enhanced audio system, $2,235 for the Technology Package with all the expected safety features, $995 for 20” aluminum wheels, and $530 for a Climate Package.
The base price of the test vehicle was a hefty $48,525 and with the above options and delivery it carried an MSRP of $55,365 (Gulp.)
I also test drove one of the less expensive models without the Black Label that carried a base price of a more reasonable $35,595. But it also had $12,280 worth of options including the above mentioned 2.3 liter turbo engine, the Technology and Climate packages and upscale audio system that took the MSRP with delivery to $48,770.
It too was serene on the interstates, comfortable, and if you can live without the very luxurious interior and a fancy dinner out, it is a better buy. The ride was neither too firm nor too soft in both MKC’s.
On the downside for both was tight second row seating for taller passengers and a touch screen that could be frustrating to use. Cargo space at 53 cubic feet fell a bit behind the competition.
All of which brings us back to price. If all this sounds like a lot of dough for a small SUV, you should know that bottom-of-the-line models can be had for a 2016 starting price is $33,260 with zero options, however they might be hard to find.