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In my opinion, a 2.3 l with newer model year technology, probably 2017 and newer would be your best option, the 2.0l has had higher than average engine failure rates. The 2.3l had transmission issues but I believe they fixed it early on with a software update. If you want to be safe though a 2.3l and then take it to the dealership and have the latest pcm flash.
 

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I'm selling mine. I just bought a Tesla
I have the 2.3L engine and still some CPO left. Really nice shape.
 

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I was wondering are there any safe year models to buy?
They all have issues ranging from engine to transmission to electronics, so there's not really a "safe" year. One of the biggest issues MKCs and other Lincoln/Ford vehicles have is the second-generation 2.0L and 2.3L EcoBoost engines blowing head gaskets and allowing coolant to enter the combustion chamber and mix with the engine oil. This also applies to the 1.5L and 1.6L EcoBoost engines the company uses in other vehicles. The first-gen 2.0L and 2.3L are fairly reliable, found in 2015 and 2016 MKCs. They use the good block design. 2017-2019 MKCs have the bad second-gen block design. The issue involves the engine鈥檚 open-deck long block design. Part of the cooling jackets, designed as a large, narrow slit lying between the cylinder walls, can allow coolant to leak into the combustion chamber and be burned. Beginning around mid-2019, Ford stopped using this open-deck design between the cylinders and now uses a block design with where the slits are the size of a pinhole directed through the cooling jacket. Rather than running coolant through an unnecessarily-wide opening, the coolant travels to a much smaller spot on the cylinder head, significantly reducing the risk of coolant penetrating the head gasket and leaking into the combustion chamber. When leaking does occur, it usually is in the middle of the engine between cylinders 2 and 3 which throw misfire codes. The only way to fix the problem is to replace the entire engine. Simply removing the oil cap will tell you how badly the head gasket is blown. If it is the oil will be yucky and liquidity and look like chocolate milk. Another way to tell is if the coolant in the reservoir tank gradually decreases, though removing the oil cap is the way I like to use. YouTuber Ford Boss Me is a Ford mechanic and he talks a lot about this problem. He has several good videos.

Had I known about the head gasket issues I wouldn't have purchased my '18 MKC. No coolant has mixed with my oil but my reservoir tank has been gradually decreasing over the last year. I only have 36K miles.
 

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And then again, my '18 2.0 AWD has been flawless for well over 60k miles. Love the car!

If you can swing it, try to find a "Lincoln Certified Pre-owned" version from a Lincoln dealer. That extends the power train warranty out to 100k miles and 6 years from the original purchase date at no extra charge. That's what I did when I bought mine at 20k miles.

If the car has been solid, you can then extend the certified coverage (through Lincoln) out for another 3 years, and out to 125k miles. I plan on keeping mine, so that's what I'm likely to do. They charge $2,900 for this, and it includes suspension and electronics...almost everything on the car that isn't normal wear and tear. When you think about it, that's WAY less expensive than buying a replacement car...less than $1k/year.

The new version of the MKC (Corsair) comes in at around $50k. How much would payments be on that! Keeping my MKC (which I love) for a few more years with full coverage for $2900 seems like a good deal to me. If I didn't like the MKC, I'd never do that, but I like the car that much.

Dave O.
 
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