Cars.com's team of editors at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show were convinced Lincoln's compact luxury SUV, the MKC, had the right attitude to jump into the extremely competitive segment with a full head of steam; we unanimously named it a "Winner" in our auto show postmortem.
2013 L.A. Auto Show: Luxury Car Winners and Losers
Fast-forward a few months and I'm driving preproduction versions of the MKC in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area. Lincoln chose a peculiar selection of pavement for the introductory drive, consisting of high-speed canyon roads with countless tight turns, dips and elevation changes. It's the kind of road motorcycles and sports cars call home, but not small SUVs. Did I mention this is a Lincoln? A brand that doesn't have the most sporting reputation.
My chariot for most of the test was a loaded MKC with the optional and more-powerful turbocharged 285-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which comes standard with all-wheel drive. Perhaps the biggest surprise from this first romp in the MKC is that it's not at all out of place being ferociously driven through winding California roads.