Replacing the MKC - Lincoln MKC Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing the MKC

This is part one of a series of posts.

Short version: While the MKC is a nice car, we're replacing it with a Buick Envision. The rest of this post is an explanation, and subsequent posts will cover our whole evaluation of the 8 cars we considered. And it's all going to be wordy, so please be kind and don't quote my entire posts.

I'm putting all this in the car lounge since it's mainly a discussion of other cars.

We tend to keep our "family" cars for a long time. "Family" car = my wifes car, and what we drive on trips long and short because she usually doesn't like "my" car. New 1984 Plymouth Voyager was the family car until around 1998, and stayed as a 3rd car until we bought a new 2001 Chrysler Town & Country. We kept that until 2008 when we moved to Florida and a smaller garage. We then had a CPO 2007 Lexus RX400h. We really liked that car, but by mid-2014 we were closing in on the end of the 100,000 mile warranty. We'd had several (covered) expensive repairs, and were ready for more feature content.

When we shopped for the Chrysler's replacement, it was nearly a clean-sheet-of-paper start. Just two requirements: Suv/Cuv because my wife prefers the higher seating position, and short enough for the garage. That gave us a big initial list, from which we only dropped ones that had terrible repair ratings in Consumer Reports. When we finally chose the Lexus my wife didn't remember that at the very beginning I'd jokingly said "We could skip all this and just buy the Lexus".

Shopping for the Lexus replacement had a lot shorter list, because we'd added new requirements: Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind spot/cross traffic detection and ventilated or cooled seats. If I recall correctly there were about 6 cars on the list, and we quickly eliminated 3 with our tailgate test. Our "comfortably fits in the garage" definition is that with the car parked forward enough to open the tailgate without hitting the closed garage door, there's enough space to walk around the front of the car. So a shorter car whose tailgate swings way out can be a no-fit. For us, it came down to the Jeep Cherokee, MKC, and Lexus NX. It wasn't even close, and we don't regret making the decision based on what was available.

But, that was then. Technology has marched on, we've come to think of the MKC as just a little too compact back-seat-wise, and the front park assist is a daily irritant. No one of those things individually would have gotten us here but they added up. We considered waiting another year, but we expect we'd hit the 50,000 mile end of warranty just about the time the '18s are being introduced. And so far, it doesn't look like there will be anything we might want to wait for.

So, we studied, we shopped, and chose to leave the MKC behind. If you'd like the gory details of our deciding if, and if so, with what, look for the next part of this post (which will be conveniently labeled Part 2). Or, if you don't care to read all that, just skip any additional parts.
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing the MKC, part 2

While we do tend to keep cars for more than a couple years, it's not because we set out to do so. I'm a car guy; within a year of any purchase I'm starting to look at what we could do in a year or two, or what we be looking at if our car got totaled. See what's interesting and all that. But an actual change needs some justification. This particular round wasn't a "we must" like getting a smaller garage or facing life after warranty and 100,000 miles. So this became a different search -- was there something out there that might be better enough to make the move?

We amended our criteria slightly. Added a little more rear seat room to the "garage fit" requirement, and the adaptive cruise had to be a full-range one. Started a new spreadsheet with numbers for our Lexus and MKC, and after a lot of poking about the intertubes added 8 candidates. (Prices shown are approximate msrp, as configured to meet our criteria.)

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, $39k
Kia Sorrento, $45k
Lexus NX, $48k
Buick Envision, $49k
Land Rover Discovery Sport, $49k
Mercedes GLC300, $55k
Cadillac XT5, $56k
Jaguar F-Pace, $56k

Porsche Macan could have made the list. We could afford it. But, the reason we could afford it is that most of our lives we've not bought things with Macan-level prices. Note the Hyundai and Kia 2016's would not be on the list, but they released the 2017's early, and they had significant tech upgrades.

I'm not sure exactly when, but somewhere in the process of building that list we mentally shifted from just reviewing possibilities to thinking seriously about getting a new car this year. I believe looking at the features available on the Discovery Sport and the Envision were the tipping point there.

A short drive to local dealers quickly eliminated the Kia and the Cadillac as being too long with the tailgate swing. That left us with 6, and interesting things on the initial spreadsheet. 3 have sliding rear seats, although we don't really see that as an advantage. All have surround view cameras. All (apparently) have rain-sensing wipers but only 3 are Florida-friendly enough to automatically turn on the headlights with wipers like the MKC does. [Digression: yes, we are perfectly capable of turning on the headlights ourselves to comply with state law and common sense, but then at the end of the drive our Lexus would Ding at us to turn them back off].

At this point, we've supplemented the spreadsheet with a list of each car's advantages, unique features, and perceived negatives. We're at little-things level here, such as noting that (like our old Lexus) the Buick and Mercedes center consoles open in a way that makes them a place my wife can put her purse when I'm occupying the passenger seat. I'll add our final list to the final post.

I went on a further-afield tailgate measuring trip. While the Jaguar would fit, we were considering it only if the diesel would be available, and were told we wouldn't likely be able to drive one until 2017. Salesman also make it condescendingly clear we shouldn't be comparing it to any of those lesser vehicles. We decided we are not Jaguar people, reducing the list to 5.

A couple more dealer visits (and, note, no test drives yet, we're still in the elimination round) a bit more digging to identify features in more detail, and we adjusted the list a bit. The Mercedes and the Lexus were moved out to right into a limbo area we called "We'll look closer at these if we don't like the other 3". Their lists of advantages were short, and their distance-to-dealer miles were substantial. In particular, we were surprised by how few "nice to have" features were available on the Lexus compared to most of the others. And while additional nice features were available on the Mercedes, their cost would have bumped the msrp to close to $60k.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing the MKC, part 3

So that brings us to the final round. Buick vs Hyundai vs Land Rover. With Lexus and Mercedes waiting in the wings in case the 3 contenders falter. Time for deeper in-person looks and test drives. We've seen them all once, studied their features, and have tentatively seeded them as Buick 1st, Land Rover 2nd, and Hyundai 3rd.

We've been to the local Hyundai dealer back when were shopping for the Chrysler's replacement, and for a quick look measuring the tailgate. They're nice enough people, and not high-pressure. But I've told them more than once that they ought to move the salesperson smoking area much further away from the front door. This is when we discover that the Santa Fe Sport doesn't have rain sensing wipers. They're described in the owner's manual, but top-of-the-line model available in the US doesn't have them. Huh. A couple forum posts have suggested the ventilated seats don't move a lot of air. We found the same thing.

Hyundai's longer warranty and price being $10k less than the others are powerful advantages. But the wipers and seats negated them. Sorry, Hyundai, we're done here. If this were the Olympics, you made it to 3rd place, but you're so far back we're not going to give you a bronze.

We visited two Land Rover dealers, and were impressed with both the car and dealerships. First one, we spoke with a very knowledgeable salesman. He showed me the way to find the 2017's online owner manual, and sent me a copy of the dealer bulletin detailing the 2017 changes. Second one, we spoke with a "concierge" who explained his job was to be the "car expert", discussing features and answering questions. In the final round of car buying, we pride ourselves on usually knowing more about a car than the salespersons. This guy knew his stuff. And at the end, he then gave his business card in case we more questions, and he gave of the business card for a "sales agent" if we wanted to discuss prices and buying.

As to the Land Rover test drive, well, it's like this. We live south of Orlando and east of Tampa. Well south and well east. The Orlando dealer is well over an hour away on a good day, requires either driving on a lot of I4, or longer route via a bit of I4 and around $5 of toll road. The Tampa dealer is also well over an hour away, again involving a toll road, I4 and the perpetually under construction I275. And some very heavy traffic on local streets. Neither dealer will let us have a test drive of more than 4 hours, so even if we drive home and back we'll get hardly any drive time on familiar streets. So, with the Buick already ahead on points, and knowing we can have a 24-hour test drive of it, we decided to move on to the Buick test drive and see if it can find a way to disqualify itself.
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing the MKC, part 4

We chose the MKC after taking advantage of Lincoln's "date night" 24/48 hour test drive. It turns out Buick offers a 24-hour test drive. Unlike Lincoln, it's done strictly at the dealer level instead of corporate involvement. So, we could actually have done 24-hour test drives at multiple dealers.

We have two Buick dealers nearby, one of which is also the Cadillac dealer where I bought my ELR. Since I've had a good experience with them we decided to set the test drive up with them. Dealer said "just let us know when you want to take it", so we made plans to pick it up Wednesday morning. Since we were near the dealership Tuesday afternoon, we stopped by and signed the paperwork so we wouldn't spend time on that Wednesday. Dealer offered for us to take it then instead, but our test drive plan included plans for Wednesday afternoon and evening so we declined.

Wednesday we show up as scheduled, hop in the car, and I start working my way through the sea of settings. We're just about to set off when the salesman comes running out to tell us they have just sold that one, but they have another one that just came in that we can have. Manager also apologized profusely. While this wasn't a serious problem, it was disappointing because the replacement was the lower-tier model (which does not have the cooled seats) and also had black seats -- not an ideal combination in Florida. Nevertheless, we set off on the drive.

I drove to a friend's house and after we picked him up my wife took the wheel. She's never been a fan of the MKC's gas pedal or brakes, considering them both too touchy. I must admit I'd not realized *how* much she disliked them, but got the message after she referred to them as "normal" over and over in the Buick. On the test drive, we stopped at another Buick dealer to look at a color we hadn't seen, did some expressway driving, etc. We went to a museum where she volunteers so she could drive her usual route home. We tried out the garage space, and really enjoyed pulling in without the MKC's annoying beeps. Actually, though, I think the purchase decision happened back about the 3rd time she used the brakes.

You can tell it's a GM car, though. I think every GM car designer spends their entire life someplace where heavy clouds always block the sun. I say this because the Envision is another car with way too many shiny reflective surfaces. It's got very glossy fake wood on the dash, and when the sun's angle is just right it glints off the chrome fake hood louvers (a.k.a. Buick portholes).

The next (and last) post in this series will be our final advantages/disadvantages list.
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing the MKC, part 5

This is our final advantages/disadvantages list.

Note this does not include anything all have, including Full-range adaptive cruise, blind spot detection, surround vision. And note that this is advantages/disadvantages as we see them your viewpoint may vary.

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (39)
$10,000 less than others
60/60 warranty
fuel: regular
sliding rear seat
blind spot addl warning with turn signal
"front solar glass"
no front park sensors (good)
! oil change interval 5000
! NO rain sensing wipers
nearby dealers

Buick Envision (49)
fuel: prem recommended not required
sliding rear seat
cooled seats
headlights with wipers
park sensors can buzz seat instead of beep
blind spot + closing vehicle warning & turn signal warning
outside mirrors auto-dimming
passive locking
may be purse friendly
rear seat climate control
hud standard; not usable with polarized sunglasses
detailed tire pressure monitor
nearby dealers

Land Rover Discovery Sport (49)
sliding rear seat
cooled seats
headlights with wipers
blind spot closing vehicle warning
infrared reflective windshield
traffic sign recognition

Lexus NX (48)
! NO gesture tailgate on 2016
hybrid option
hud standard; usable?

Mercedes GLC300 (56)
blind spot addl warning with turn signal
hard button park sensor shutoff
may be purse friendly
likely high residual value
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 01:14 PM
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New 2016 Buick Envision SUV Proves Disappointing
Compact crossover falls short of sport and luxury—regardless of where it is built or developed

By Tom Mutchler
Last updated: June 22, 2016
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Most window stickers give a long list of features, detailing tangible mechanical basics such as airbags or wheels. Instead, the 2016 Buick Envision's list of standard equipment starts out with "Design and Engineering Led By Buick in the United States of America." This seems curious; a BMW's sticker doesn't proclaim that it is "German-designed."

So why is Buick, a traditionally all-American brand known for selling velour-lined sedans to modest family doctors and country lawyers, pushing the Envision's origin story? Turns out this new-to-America upscale compact SUV is built in China with 85% Chinese parts. More Envisions will be sold in China—where it has been on sale for well over a year—than here.

But regardless of where the 2016 Buick Envision was brought up, our first impressions show that it needs more time in finishing school.

That's troubling, because here in the States, Buick really needs the Envision to fill a gaping hole in their SUV lineup between the tiny Encore and near-enormous Enclave. Nearly every other luxury brand sells a compact upscale SUV, making this a very competitive segment. The best-performers combine nimble handling with a luxurious interior and versatile accommodations for people and cargo.

2016 Buick Envision
All 2016 Buick Envisions come with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Buick would love for you to compare the Envision to the Audi Q5. They should be careful what they wish for. The 2016 Buick Envision just can't match the driving dynamics of the German competition—including the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC—never mind the more plebeian Ford Edge. Despite compact dimensions, the Envision drives like a larger SUV, and that isn't meant as a compliment. Steering is slow and the Buick doesn't care to be rushed. The brake pedal also lacks bite, hurting confidence.

This is disappointing, given that our 2016 Buick Envision Premium is the version with the most potential. It has a 252-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, GM's touted HiPer strut front suspension, and all-wheel drive. Power is no problem, but the six-speed automatic sometimes shifts with a bump, posing no match for the smoother eight- or nine-speed gearboxes found in some rivals. A start/stop system saves fuel by shutting off the engine at intersections.

Maybe you don't care about tackling a twisty road in your luxury SUV, but would rather soak in a quiet interior and a cushy ride. The Envision only meets you halfway here. Engine noise is well stifled; road noise is kept at bay. Wind noise, however, already appears at around 50 mph, rushing around the windshield pillar. While the ride seems soft and supple at first, bumps manage to punch through, disrupting the cabin's calm.

2016 Buick Envision interior.
While stylish, the interior of the 2016 Buick Envision had low-mounted air vents that freeze your arms, and lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
On first sighting, the Envision's interior looks inviting and plush. A big panel of glossy wood trim dominates the dashboard, along with stitched accents. The IntelliLink infotainment system has a big touch screen and easy-to-use graphics, although unlike most GM cars, it lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Again, the frustration is in the details. Mounted underneath an overhanging dashboard ledge, the too-low center dash vents freeze your elbows but leave the upper cabin stuffy. Hard plastic covers the lower dashboard, and there are some evident rough edges. And while the rear seat has plenty of leg and knee room, headroom with the optional panoramic moonroof is so tight, an average-height man sitting in back will find his head firmly pushing into the ceiling.

Buick is rolling out the Envision in a phased launch. All 2016 Envisions will be Premium trim with the turbo engine and all-wheel drive. Standard equipment is generous, including leather, a Bose stereo, heated front and rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. Even more impressive, advanced safety equipment including blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning is standard; automatic emergency braking is optional.

That changes for 2017, which introduces more modest versions. Front-wheel drive becomes standard, with all-wheel drive optional. The base engine becomes a non-turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a milquetoast engine familiar from the previous-generation Chevrolet Malibu. Lower-level trim lines mean that the advanced safety equipment remains exclusive to the turbocharged Premium trim.

2016 Buick Envision
The 2016 Buick Envision's swoopy, aerodynamic styling limits second-row headroom even for average adults.
One of the effects of this broader lineup is to lower the base price. Our Envision Premium with the optional moonroof, navigation, and Saffron red paint came to a whopping $45,380. That's easily $5,000 less than similarly-equipped German rivals—but this car isn't even remotely in the same league. We just don't see any compelling reason to choose the Envision over the aforementioned Ford Edge, the Kia Sorento, or the Nissan Murano. A super-loaded Edge Titanium costs less and is roomier, far more athletic, and quieter. The Murano is plusher inside and a Sorento packs a third-row seat into a tidy package.

Overall, we find the Envision to be a diversion from GM's recent run of successful designs. The rewarding overall competence of the Chevrolet Impala, Silverado, and Cruze, or the dynamic excellence of the latest Corvette, Camaro, and Cadillac CT6 are absent here. That's a shame, given how many good SUVs—luxury-branded or not—fight to win buyers' dollars.

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post #7 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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We read that article, and a couple other less-than-favorable ones. Someone will probably say "defensive much?" but here are a couple of our observations:

"Buick would love for you to compare the Envision to the Audi Q5. They should be careful what they wish for. "
I think they are wishing you compare feature content, where BMW and Audi come up short.

"Despite compact dimensions, the Envision drives like a larger SUV, and that isn't meant as a compliment."
We think it's quite a compliment. We were shopping for a comfortable car.

"Wind noise, however, already appears at around 50 mph, rushing around the windshield pillar. "
At 75 mph, we could easily converse with a passenger in the back seat.

"Mounted underneath an overhanging dashboard ledge, the too-low center dash vents freeze your elbows but leave the upper cabin stuffy."
This is true, if you point the vents at your elbows.

"headroom with the optional panoramic moonroof is so tight, an average-height man sitting in back will find his head firmly pushing into the ceiling."
Our taller-than-average friend's head didn't.

"...That's easily $5,000 less than similarly-equipped German rivals"
I'm not sure how he gets that result. We're buying a Premium II with the Driver Confidence package to get ACC. msrp is 49,070. A Mercedes GLC with enough matching equipment to meet our basic requirements is around $56k, and it still doesn't have things our Envision will have. Audi and BMW can't be similarly equipped at all.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 02:49 PM
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Not sure if it is mentioned above but this is where the Buick Envision is made - SAIC GM Dong Yue Foundry, Yantai, Shandong (China)... I would be very leery of that alone.
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Platinum White - Wht Sands/Espresso
Reserve 300 AWD
2.3 Ecoboost
Sync 3
20" Wheels
Technology Package
Climate Package
All Weather Floor Mats
Premium Reversible Cargo Mat
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-18-2016, 04:53 PM
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Turns out this new-to-America upscale compact SUV is built in China with 85% Chinese parts. More Envisions will be sold in China—where it has been on sale for well over a year—than here.

2015 MKC AWD / 2.0L Reserve Package
Ruby Red Exterior /White Sands Interior
Build Date: 15/03/15
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-19-2016, 08:38 PM
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Just leased An MKC yesterday. I looked at the Envision also. When I discovered that you could not override the start/stop feature that ended it for me! I don't care for that feature at all, but no override, COME ON! Same problem with the new Cadillac XT5. I ordered the MKC with the 2.3 turbo since it comes with NO start/stop.
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