The 2017 Lincoln MKC and the Lexus NX are two very distinctive luxury compact crossovers, both only on the market for a few years. So, let's take a look at them in a head-to-head comparison to see which one is more deserving of your closer attention.
From the side, the MKC could easily be mistaken for an Audi Q5 or a similar-sized model from a number of other luxury manufacturers, but that's not the case when viewed from the front or the back. There's a very signature Lincoln look to the front fascia, and the back is particularly intriguing thanks to its full-width taillights and two-piece tailgate design that have been very smoothly executed.
A striking blend of sharp creases, pointed shapes, and the almost fastback shape make the Lexus NX a crossover utility vehicle that's unlike almost anything else on the market, apart from the larger Lexus RX. It's a stunning design, but it certainly isn't for everyone, so the less polarizing nature of the Lincoln gives first blood here to the MKC.
The MKC comes in Premiere, Select, Reserve, and Black Label trim levels, and even the entry level Premiere's standard equipment is step above most other luxury segment rivals. Standard features include power adjustable heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, remote start, active noise cancellation, MyKey, a nine-speaker audio system with satellite radio, HID headlamps, reverse sensors, 18-inch alloy wheels and plenty more.
Standard features in the base Lexus NX 200t include: heated side mirrors, LED illuminated door handles, keyless ignition, 17-inch 10-spoke alloys and most of the other features we'd consider essential at this level. It's a close race here, but it does appear Lexus wants you to pay extra for some things Lincoln gives standard, so this is another round for the MKC.
Two engines are available in the 2017 Lincoln MKC, and they're both pretty good. The standard unit is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that develops 240 horsepower, while the optional unit is a 2.3-liter twin-scroll turbo offering a very healthy 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque, and all models come with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The standard engine in the Lexus is also a 2.0-liter turbo-four, which is four horsepower down on its Lincoln equivalent at 235 horsepower. Where these two really differ is the alternative powerplant, which in the case of the Lexus is a 194 horsepower hybrid system in NX 300h models. It's fuel-efficient but pricey, and it's still not as powerful as either engine in the Lincoln.
The EPA fuel-economy figures for the Lincoln MKC are pretty impressive, with 2.0-liter EcoBoost models with front-wheel drive getting as good as 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.
A front-wheel drive NX 200t is rated by the EPA at 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined, which is already enough to give the Lexus a win over the Lincoln here. However, things get even better with the NX 300h and its hybrid system, which is rated as good as 35 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined with front-wheel drive.
The Lexus NX is an excellent luxury compact crossover, but it does cost a lot of money for a car without one of the most prestigious luxury badges and its styling is very much love-or-hate. Though the 2017 Lincoln MKC doesn't have a hybrid option, this luxury American crossover is better than the NX in nearly every other way and as it costs a little less too. Your best bet is to go with the Lincoln MKC.