At the 2018 New York International Auto Show this week, General Motors’ premium Cadillac brand introduced the all-new Cadillac XT4: a small luxury crossover that sits somewhere between the compact and subcompact size classes. It will go on sale this fall, wearing a price tag just a few hundred less than the ATS compact car, and marking Cadillac’s first foray into the small-crossover market – a market that Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand has competed in since 2015 with the MKC.
Considering that the two models will compete pretty directly with one another, we felt it might be prudent to compare the two side-by-side, and determine just how much of a threat the Cadillac XT4 might pose to the Lincoln MKC.
With regard to the powertrain, the XT4 and MKC are remarkably alike, both offering a turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-four petrol engine and front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available as an option. The Lincoln MKC’s powerplant produces up to 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft, to the Cadillac’s 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft, but in the Cadillac, the turbo-four is mated to a 9-speed automatic, versus the Lincoln’s 6-speed auto. We’ll give that point to the Cadillac.
But the Lincoln MKC has an ace up its sleeve: an available 2.3L turbo-four, capable of up to 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft. So far, GM’s premium brand has only announced the 2.0L option, so that’s a decisive win for the Lincoln.
Both the Cadillac XT4 and Lincoln MKC offer similar interior and exterior appointments, as well, each riding on a standard set of 18-inch aluminum wheels, with larger wheels available on some models (19-inchers on the Lincoln, 20-inchers on the Cadillac). Both ship with 8-inch infotainment touchscreens, as well, the MKC’s loaded with the latest version of Ford’s SYNC system, and the XT4 loaded with CUE (Cadillac User Experience).
On the (rather subjective) matter of interior aesthetics, the Cadillac XT4 wins by virtue of its cleaner, simpler, more horizontally-oriented dash layout and its actual, physical gear-selector; drivers of the MKC must switch between Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive through a disappointing lineup of buttons. However, there’s a caveat: we don’t yet know which small, low-priced luxury crossover features better materials and switchgear. We’ll have to sit in each before we can determine a winner there.
At 53.1 ft3 with the middle-row seats folded down, the Lincoln MKC offers slightly more cargo area than the Cadillac XT4 (48.9 ft3).
Finally, on the all-important matter of price, the Lincoln MKC enjoys a definitive advantage worth – literally – thousands of dollars. The 2018 Lincoln MKC starts at $33,355 before destination, where the 2019 Cadillac XT4 will have a base price of $35,790. That couple-grand price difference is just enough to cover the MKC’s $2,410 all-wheel-drive option, in which case: why wouldn’t you opt for an AWD MKC over a FWD XT4?
Order banks for the all-new, 2019 Cadillac XT4 are open now, with deliveries slated to begin this fall, but we don’t expect the Lincoln MKC to remain a sitting duck for long. The compact crossover is due for a refresh soon, and beyond introducing the Lincoln brand’s handsome new corporate grille, that update should bring with it a handful of new features, including the “Lincoln Co-Pilot360” suite of driver-assist features.
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