Ever since making its debut in 2014, Lincoln’s smallest SUV has been a success — but some would argue that wasn’t just because it was a decent model in its own right but also due in part to the sheer popularity of the segment it was operating in. Customers may still be blindly buying any old thing in this class but the revised 2019 MKC gives them more of a reason to put a deposit down for this, what with its extra driver assist safety technology and more standard connectivity features. Heck, it might just attract more buyers with that excellent nose job alone.

It isn’t all-new but the front and rear refresh is significant enough for its European and Japanese rivals to sit up and take notice. The horizontal-slat “wing” grille has been traded for one that appears to have been borrowed from the Navigator. It makes a bold statement and helps the MKC look appropriately upscale. In fact, the fascia now resembles the stylish Continental quite a bit — and it certainly does not look like it’s been grafted on. The bulbous rear makes do with similarly styled taillights but there’s a new horizontal chrome strip above the license plate which adds a touch of class and new wheel options are available for 2019 too. Remember, this is based on the less-expensive Ford Escape, but you wouldn’t have guessed as Lincoln’s done a fine job concealing the MKC’s roots — however, the profile blows its cover. It serves as a reminder that this is a dressed up version of the cheaper cousin but the theatrical light show prevents this from leaving a sour taste; approach the MKC in the dark and it fires up its lower front lights, taillights, and luminous welcome mats that quietly appear on the ground. Who doesn’t love a good gimmick?

 

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Photos: Antonin Kelian Kallouche

As for the interior — replete with plush leather and decadent open-pore wood trim — it is bathed with natural light thanks to the panoramic roof and feels far roomier because of it. And, with the need for constant connectivity today, it’s loaded with tech and packs standard Sync 3 with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility which enables passengers to manage audio, phone, navigation and more from the vehicle touchscreen or steering wheel-mounted controls. Slide into the cabin and you are met with an immediate hush; the active noise control reduces unwanted sounds making it a serene place to be (you can hold conversations at highway speeds without having to raise your voice) and the 12-way power-adjustable front seats (heated and cooled) are very comfortable. Outward visibility is good too and you are aided by a plethora of driver assist systems including lane-keeping alert and blind spot information with cross-traffic alert. It also features active park assist, plus pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection which is good, but what’s not so good is the engine start and transmission buttons; they’re stacked to the left of the infotainment system and are a tad quirky to operate but with time I guess owners would grow used to that. The boot has a cargo capacity measuring 712 litres with the seats up but drop the second row and this grows to 1,505 litres. What’s more, you can access the area via the foot-operated power liftgate which comes in very useful when you have your hands full.

 

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Photos: Antonin Kelian Kallouche

Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder motor and it produces 245 horsepower and 366Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic which directs the power to the front wheels (all-wheel drive variants are also available) the Ecoboost motor has been designed to be exhilarating but, it is also pretty fuel-efficient too as it sips back just 9.9-litres per 100km. Since fuel prices dropped this month, you may be more interested in performance and with the Lincoln Drive Control allowing you to select the type of ride and performance you want, I highly recommend you opt for Sport. This improves the response of the throttle and sharpens up the transmission too making the MKC more enjoyable to drive. Even on bumpy surfaces, it remains smooth thanks to the adaptive suspension which adjusts the dampers to the road conditions by using an array of sensors to constantly calibrate the chassis. It also packs torque vectoring control and advancetrac with roll stability control.

 From its newfound style and flair to the comfortable cabin loaded with tech and kit, the MKC is a compact, premium SUV that is well worth considering.