5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKC was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.


The Sportage comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The MKC’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Lincoln covers the MKC. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the MKC ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The MKC was rated second in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked fifth.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 15 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Sportage SX Turbo FWD gets better fuel mileage than the MKC FWD (20 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sportage uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MKC with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping

The Sportage stops shorter than the MKC:



60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

133 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the MKC.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the MKC AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the MKC AWD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the MKC’s (34.8 feet vs. 38 feet).


The Kia Sportage may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 500 pounds less than the Lincoln MKC.

Passenger Space

The Sportage has 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom and 1.4 inches more rear legroom than the MKC.

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the MKC with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 25.2 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the MKC with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

The Sportage’s cargo area is larger than the MKC’s in almost every dimension:



Length to seat (2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width







The Sportage has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The MKC doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The MKC doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the MKC’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the MKC’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sportage will cost $525 less than the MKC over a five-year period.

The Sportage will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Sportage will retain 47.52% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the MKC only retains 45.06% to 45.58%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the MKC because typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the MKC, including $203 less for a water pump, $184 less for a muffler, $39 less for front brake pads, $12 less for a starter, $67 less for a fuel pump and $463 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Sportage will be $5405 to $7943 less than for the Lincoln MKC.


Consumer Reports? recommends the Kia Sportage, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Lincoln MKC isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage third among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The MKC isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Kia Sportage outsold the Lincoln MKC by over three to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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