2015 Lincoln MKC at a glance
BODY STYLE: compact luxury crossover SUV.
DRIVE METHOD: front engine, all-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder (240 hp, 270 lb/ft of torque); 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine (285 hp, 305 lb/ft of torque) with six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.
CARGO CAPACITY: 712 litres behind second row, 1,505 litres with second-row seats folded.
TOW RATING: 907 kg (1,995 lb).
FUEL ECONOMY: 2.0-litre EcoBoost 12.4L/100 km city, 9.0 hwy; 2.3-litre EcoBoost 12.9/9.2 L/100 km city/hwy.
PRICE: $39,940-$49,650. As tested $55,920 including $1,750 freight and delivery charge.
2015 Lincoln MKC joins the compact luxury SUV segment
From a design standpoint, Lincoln appears to have hit a home run with its new compact crossover SUV, the 2015 Lincoln MKC.
A five-passenger premium utility vehicle that has its origins with the Ford Escape, the MKC is the second of four all-new Lincoln vehicles due by 2016.
Built in Kentucky, the MKC is destined for worldwide consumption and it is the first vehicle designed from the ground up in a dedicated Lincoln Design Studio. It joins the MKZ sedan as the first Lincoln vehicles to go on sale in China as the brand makes its debut there.
To my eye this is the most stylish Lincoln in the lineup. It is both sporty and refined and when dressed in Ruby Red Metallic paint as in our test vehicle, it is striking from any angle.
It is sleek and sculpted with an almost coupe-like look from a side angle. It has a high beltline and low shoulders, producing a planted, athletic stance.
The split-wing grille is a Lincoln signature design cue. At the back are LED taillights that go the full width of the rear hatch, creating an interesting look at night.
Lincoln needed a vehicle like this as it attempts to regain market share that has been lost over the years thanks to mediocre products that failed to resonate with consumers. Where the brand once was the epitome of luxury in North America, it has lost its way over the years and become an also-ran in the market.
While Cadillac has vaulted back to respectability with exciting new designs that have appealed to a younger demographic, Lincoln has struggled as import sedans and SUVs have taken an ever-larger share of the luxury pie.
However, Ford has vowed to fight the fight with Lincoln, and the MKZ sedan and now the MKC SUV are the first of a new breed of vehicles that Ford hopes will turn the fortunes around.
Starting at $39,940 in Canada, the?2015 Lincoln MKC?is powered by a pair of EcoBoost engines ? a standard 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 240 hp and 270 lb/ft of torque or an available 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine making 285 hp and 305 lb/ft of torque. Canadian models are sold only with all-wheel drive.
The latter is the newest engine in the EcoBoost lineup. Ford says it was specifically designed for higher performance and uses a twin-scroll turbocharger and a three-port integrated exhaust manifold cylinder head in part to create the extra power.
Our tester had the new engine and was loaded to the hilt with $14,230 worth of options, taking the as tested price to $55,920 when you add in the $1,750 delivery charge.
That?s a lot of cash for a compact crossover, but when you look at the competition at the luxury end of the scale (Cadillac SRX, Audi Q5, Acura RDX, BMW X3, and others), it?s in the right ballpark.
Base vehicles get what is called the Premiere Equipment Group, while the Select Equipment Group ($2,260) adds ambient lighting, 10-way power front passenger seat, a wood trim package, LED turn signal indicators on auto-folding side mirrors, tonneau cover and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Our Reserve Equipment Group ($7,760) had all of the above plus panoramic vista roof with power shade, hands free liftgate, power tilt/telescoping steering column, heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats, voice activated navigation system, heated steering wheel and auto high beams.
We also had the Technology Package ($2,250) that includes a parking assist system, adaptive cruise control, a forward sensing system and lane keeping system.
Our vehicle also had what is called an EcoBoost package ($1,959) that includes 19-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels with 245/45R19 tires. A fabulous upgraded audio system ($995) rounded out the option list.
Inside, the cabin is stylish and finished in top-grade materials with attractive use of wood accents. The Bridge of Weir premium leather upholstery is soft and plush and the driver?s seat is nice and cushy, perfect for my plus-size derriere.
With all the power settings, it was no trouble getting just the right driving position. In back, there is seating for three passengers, although it is a bit cramped unless the front seats are moved to a more forward position.
There?s no shift lever, just a row of vertical push buttons on the left side of the centre stack. And for once, I don?t have any major complaints about Ford?s Sync system in this application.
Maybe it?s just me and I?m finally catching on. In fact, the?2015 Lincoln MKC?is loaded with all the techno goodies one could imagine, particularly when you check off the Technology Package on the order sheet.
All in all, this is a very nice cabin, up there with the best in the entry-luxury SUV class.
The new 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine that will also appear on the 2015 Mustang has lots of pep. It is mated with a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, providing more than enough power for any driving situation. Like most crossovers, the MKC is an easy vehicle to drive, more like car than a truck.
Fuel economy wise, the 2.3-litre engine is rated at 12.9L/100 km in the city and 9.2 on the highway. I averaged about 10.4 L/100 km, with most of my driving on the highway. Not great numbers and if fuel economy is a top concern, you?ll have to take it easy on the throttle and dial up Comfort or Normal mode instead of Sport in the Lincoln Drive Control settings.
So does this stylish new Lincoln have what it takes to help bring the brand back to its former glory here in North America?
Only time will tell, but from reaction I got during my week behind the wheel, it seems to resonate with a younger demographic, a definite plus when you look at the average age of today?s Lincoln drivers.
And being a global model, it may be just what the doctor ordered for Lincoln?s entry into the exploding Chinese market.