We had a chance to get up close and personal with the new 2015 Lincoln MKC compact luxury crossover at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show and came away impressed by its styling and interior.
Lincoln is the luxury division of Ford, so the new MKC shares a few things with the Ford Escape it's based on, including a wheelbase and one of its engine options. However, one thing that's thankfully not similar is its styling. While the Escape is not a bad looking car in its own right, nothing about its appearance screams luxury. But the MKC comes with a sophisticated, attractive exterior that is distinctly Lincoln.
It looks more athletic than the Escape, with its high beltline and sharp contours on the hood. Up front is a smaller treatment of Lincoln's 'winged' grille that has been thinned slightly compared to the other cars in the lineup. We prefer this version of the grille, it's noticeable but doesn't engulf the other styling touches on the front fascia, like it does on the MKZ sedan.
Under the hood, the MKC comes with a pair of engine choices. The base engine is shared with the Escape, a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder which makes 240-hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque. Also available is an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that produces 275-hp and 300 pounds-feet of torque. Lincoln did not announce transmission options, but our best guess is that it will source the Escape's six-speed automatic which would put it on par with the rest of the segment. Front-wheel drive is standard, with an all-wheel drive system optional. Fuel economy figures were not yet released at the time of this writing, but we expect the MKC to fall close to the Escape's mid-twenties combined mpg figure.
The MKC's interior also does not disappoint. Models at the auto show had authentic wood trim in the dash and the doors, even the rear ones, which gave a nice textural contrast to the leather upholstery. Soft touch materials abound, there is cross stitching in the doors, and the rear seats are comfortable, if a little short on legroom which is something that is a widespread issue in this segment. A large, panoramic dual-pane moonroof helps to ease the feeling of stuffiness in the cabin, especially for rear seat passengers.
Lincoln vehicles have offered a version of Ford's touch based user interface called MyLincoln Touch, which suffered from the same problems — capacitive buttons instead of physical ones that didn't work as advertised. The MKC will debut Lincoln's next iteration of the system, which thankfully adds back physical toggles for the cabin temperature and volume, while keeping the connectivity and voice activation benefits of the system for smartphones and other Bluetooth equipped devices.
The MKC is a very important vehicle for Lincoln, which is in the midst of a sales slump. Offering an attractive, well-appointed vehicle in a growing segment is hopefully a great first step back for them.
Look for the 2015 MKC to hit dealerships next summer.