Luxury crossovers offer a different level of comfort and design to the very popular SUV market. But what makes them worth their steeper pricetag? The Buick Envision and the Lincoln MKC are two American luxury brands competing against their European competitors--how do they measure up against each other?
Apart from the instantly recognizable Lincoln front fascia, the 2017 Lincoln MKC has a very similar silhouette to a number of similar-sized German rivals. Unusually, the most interesting view of the MKC is from the rear, where the Lincoln's full-width taillights and the two-piece tailgate design are smoothly executed and very smart.
The Envision, built entirely in China, fits neatly into the Buick range alongside the Encore and the Enclave. Once again, there's a definite German influence in the styling, but there are a few more curved and rounded edges that are not exactly the most modern way to go. We'll give the styling nod to the Lincoln MKC.
The majority of MKC models will come with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower. Although it's considered the base engine, it's actually nearly a good a performer as the optional engine. The optional unit is a twin-scroll turbocharged 2.3-liter V-6, which puts out 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
There's a similar engine lineup in the Buick, where the base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder producing 197 horsepower and the optional unit is a 252 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo. Once again, both engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, but a notable lack of power for both Buick powerplants hands another victory to the Lincoln MKC.
Many people assume crossover SUVs are intrinsically safe due to their design, but that's not always necessarily the case. The MKC does impress based on its safety equipment, but a four-star rating from the NHTSA and no Top Safety Pick status from the IIHS is a little below par.
By way of contrast, the Buick Envision is one of the safer SUVs on the market, demonstrated by its full five-star NHTSA rating and Top Safety Pick+ status awarded by the IIHS. A clear win here then for the Buick.
The interior of the 2017 Lincoln MKC leaves you in no doubt whatsoever that this is a luxury vehicle. There's perhaps not as much passenger space in the rear as some might like, but that's more than excusable due to the styling and the quality of materials used throughout. And the available supple Bridge of Weir leather and tri-level heating and cooling add to an interior that already provides impressive levels of comfort and support in the front.
The Envision makes good use of the available space, although it is a little narrow. Despite the relative narrowness, there's no other indication this was designed and built for another market other than here in the US, even though the majority of Envisions will be sold in China. It's a nice interior, but not as luxurious as the Lincoln, so another round goes to the MKC.
The 2017 Lincoln MKC and the Buick Envision are both very good luxury compact crossovers, truth be told. But the extra expense of the Buick and a number of interior compromises when compared to the MKC make the more powerful and affordable 2017 Lincoln MKC our winner here overall.