While it might have taken luxury automakers a few years to get on board, there are no shortage of luxury compact crossovers now. While a lot of attention inevitably goes towards the usual German suspects, the 2017 Lincoln MKC and the Acura RDX offer a refreshingly different slant on the compact crossover, so let's see how they measure up against each other.
If there's one thing that immediately sets these two luxury crossovers apart from their German peers, it's their look. Instead of that somewhat cookie cutter and distinctly uninspiring styling that's still coming out of Europe, the 2017 Lincoln MKC has a style all of its own. The side profile of the Lincoln MKC is pretty par for the course, but the distinct styling of the front and rear really make this one stand out from the crowd.
The Acura RDX also breaks away from the pack with its styling, but while the front is undoubtedly quite distinct, it's also a little awkward and looks like a combination of ideas brought together from various Japanese models. The combination of LEDs that now make up the headlights are quite innovative and impressive, but otherwise the Lincoln MKC is distinctive in a more aesthetically pleasing way than the Acura.
Even though the 2017 Lincoln MKC falls under the compact banner, it can't get away with being cramped and impractical. Roomy in the front, the MKC offers plenty of padding and soft touch materials everywhere you look in the cabin. We'd prefer if there was a smidge more passenger room in the back, but this is a compact crossover so it's unfair to expect it to have the dimensions and room of a midsize or full-size SUV.
The interior of the Acura RDX is just as high quality and stylish as the Lincoln MKC, although the Acura perhaps leans a little more towards the sporty side of things. Once again, things are a bit tight for rear-seat passengers, but the dimensions are a little more generous in the RDX. The differences in leg and head room aren't huge by any means, but the overall story is told by the Acura's extra 5 cubic feet of passenger volume compared to the Lincoln MKC. For a small amount of extra passsenger room, the RDX gets the narrow win here.
The 2017 Lincoln MKC is available in four different trim levels: Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label. Everything you could ask for is in there somewhere, but the Premiere's standard features and equipment puts most of its rivals to shame. Standard features on the MKC's base model include: power adjustable heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, remote start, active noise cancellation, MyKey, a nine-speaker audio system and plenty more.
Trim levels are far more complicated with the RDX, where base, Technology, or Advance models are just the starting point of the configuration process. The base model does get dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless ignition, ambient lighting, a seven-speaker sound system and Bluetooth hands-free calling, but to get more advanced features normally expected at this level means upgrading to the next trim. You can have just about any feature you want in both vehicles, but you certainly get more for less with the 2017 Lincoln MKC.
You can opt for two different engines in your Lincoln MKC, a 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter inline-fours developing 240 and 285 horsepower respectively. The 2.0-liter with front-wheel drive delivers best fuel-efficiency figures of 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.
The Acura RDX offers something most compact crossovers don't, which is a 3.5-liter V-6 developing 279 horsepower. That's all well and good, but we like options and better city fuel economy, which the Acura sacrifices on the altar of the single option V-6.
If you're looking at these two vehicles, you're likely looking fort something a little different from your luxury compact crossover. Both the 2017 Lincoln MKC and the Acura RDX deliver on that promise, but the MKC is clearly the better vehicle overall with a more attractive and more efficient vehicle that offers a better value for your money.