Lincoln Motor Company has been long on marketing in the past year or so, and short on what has really been needed, new product. The brand once high on the food chain, in the past decade or so has fallen to re-badge status and memories of glorified taxi-cabs.
The second of a new wave of four products aimed to curb this identity crisis made its debut today, the 2015 MKC luxury crossover. The stylish new MKC is indeed based on the Ford Escape architecture, but a nod goes to Lincoln for giving this new SUV more than just a fancy grille.
Instead, the new MKC gets entirely unique sheet-metal, and an all-new exclusive engine – at least for now. Styling overtures include a more sculpted look than Lincoln’s in the past as well as some daring treatments like a wrap-around rear lift gate.
The interior gets a healthy dose of high quality materials including standard leather hides and genuine wood trim. A host of technology of course will coddle the driver and make them well beguiled into thinking they aren’t driving at all.
A unique cabin design has a floating center console with push-button gear selector similar to that of the 2014 Lincoln MKZ. The lack of a gear lever affords a cleaner more upscale look. You will be able to option premium House of Weir leather as well to go with your highly polished wood.
In keeping with separating Lincoln from Ford vehicles, a unique steering wheel debuts on MKC and will be available on all future Lincoln vehicles. Also part and parcel to Lincoln is the THX II audio system with 14 speakers.
You of course will get SYNC with MyLincoln Touch whether you want it or not. The system is however in its latest generation which enables drivers to bypass the annoying touch screen controls with this new thing called redundant knobs and buttons.
Its competition set will include the Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX-350 on the higher end and the Acura RDX and Audi Q5 as well. This luxury compact crossover segment has become stronger with the confluence of higher gas prices and the rebounding economy.
What will set it apart from them as well as perhaps the Ford Escape is an optional 2.3 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with an expected 275 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is also expected to achieve excellent fuel economy compared to its peers.
The standard engine is a 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine with 240 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. And like most in its class the MKC will come standard with front-wheel drive. Lincoln’s “Intelligent All-Wheel Drive” will be available as well.
The upgrade to all-wheel drive includes continuously controlled damping. This allows for driver selection of sport, comfort and normal drive modes. Don’t despair if you don’t want all-wheel drive as this system is also optional with front-wheel drive.
All the rage today of course is the driver assistance systems that pretty much allow you to fall asleep behind the wheel. Thus the MKC will offer it all including collision warning with brake support, lane-keeping, and parking assist systems.
One new feature is called Approach Detection, which senses when an owner is near and responds by illuminating “welcome mats” on the ground next to both front doors. Simultaneously, headlamps, tail lamps and door handles glow with soft lighting tuned to complement the vehicle’s exterior color.
The 2015 Lincoln MKC begins production and will go on sale in summer of 2014. For a more in-depth review and photo galleries visit ActivityVehicle.com