It used to be that if you wanted a luxury SUV, you had to go big. Just look at the first high-riders released by some of the major luxury automakers - Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX - and you'll see what we mean. But since 2009 the small premium crossover segment has grown a whopping 200 percent, so it's no surprise that each has followed up with smaller luxury crossovers. And this is the latest.

At the other end of the utility spectrum from the Navigator, the new Lincoln MKC is based on the Ford Escape (much as the old pseudo-premium Mercury Mariner was), but completely rebodied and luxed up to put it in another league. Although we're still not sold on Lincoln's family fascia, the grille treatment on the MKC is certainly one of the better variations on the theme to date. The Dart-like rear lights dominate the wrap-around tailgate, and the overall shape looks taut and upscale. The same can be said of the dynamically-designed interior, taking the concept revealed in Detroit earlier this year to production fairly seamlessly.

Power will come from a choice of EcoBoost four-cylinder engines with turbocharging and direct injection: a 2.0-liter with 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, or a slightly punchier new 2.3-liter with 275 hp and 300 lb-ft. Lincoln didn't disclose what transmission they'll be mated to, but did note that the MKC carries the brand's "signature" push-button gear shifter. It comes standard in front drive, but buyers who upgrade to all-wheel drive (or tick the right box) will also benefit from a new adaptive suspension Lincoln calls Continuously Controlled Damping. Other features include an approach-detection system that lights the car up and projects a Lincoln "welcome mat" on the pavement when you get close to the car, and a "bread-crumbing" feature that lets you track where your vehicle has been.

The new MKC follows the launch of the MKZ sedan as the second in a four-model product intensive that's aimed at revitalizing the Lincoln brand. Only time will tell how that works out, but we'll have more impressions in person from the floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center next week, so watch this space. In the meantime you can scope out the images in the gallery above and the videos and press release below.
2015 Lincoln MKC B-Roll
Show full PR text
All-New 2015 Lincoln MKC Provides Fresh Choice for Small Premium Utility Customers

- The Lincoln Motor Company introduces the all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility vehicle, the second of four all-new Lincoln vehicles to fuel the brand's reinvention
- MKC will introduce the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 275 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque
- Designed with driver comforts in mind and featuring an array of premium amenities, MKC targets a growing audience of luxury customers who demand a more personal car-buying and car-owning experience

The Lincoln Motor Company's reinvention takes a major step forward today with the unveiling of the all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility vehicle.

The Lincoln MKC is a unique creation from the ground up with an assortment of first-in-class features. Its all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine offers excellent performance while its ingeniously implemented wraparound liftgate is an example of masterful customer convenience.

The luxurious interior embraces driver and passengers alike, and its new and innovative technology personalizes the MKC ownership experience. Lincoln MKC follows the MKZ sedan to become the second all-new Lincoln in as many years as the brand continues its reinvention.

"Lincoln MKC is a perfect blend of inspired automotive design and dynamic driving performance in a segment that has grown in popularity in recent years," said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. "As a challenger luxury brand, entering this segment is a natural next step for us. MKC will do more than just compete – it will change the way people think about Lincoln."

Building the right vehicle at the right time

Lincoln MKC – first introduced as a concept vehicle at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit – represents a critical milestone in the company's plan to expand its lineup.

Arriving on the heels of the all-new and successful 2013 Lincoln MKZ sedan, MKC becomes the second new vehicle in the brand's plans to introduce four new luxury vehicles by 2016.

MKC gives Lincoln a compelling offering in the small premium utility vehicle segment, the fastest-growing part of the luxury market. The segment has grown by 25 percent since 2012 and by more than 200 percent since 2009. The segment growth is being driven by new luxury buyers who are coming into affluence, as well as by current luxury owners who are moving from larger vehicles to smaller ones as their life desires change.

With MKC, Lincoln continues its move toward targeting a younger, more diverse customer. The vehicle also positions Lincoln to resonate with drivers in desirable markets on the East and West coasts.

Designed to inspire inside and out

The Lincoln design team faced the dual challenge of creating a standout vehicle in a competitive field, while further refining the Lincoln design DNA that started with the 2013 MKZ. From its signature split-wing grille to its uniquely crafted, hands-free wraparound liftgate, the Lincoln DNA is evident.

"Our design team worked tirelessly to create a vehicle that attracts new customers to the brand while meeting the expectations of longtime Lincoln drivers," said Max Wolff, director, Lincoln Design. "The execution of the new liftgate is a prime example of how a premium design element can create a better customer experience."

MKC presents a sleek, sculpted body that helps it stand out among peers. Its high beltline and low shoulders create a sturdy, athletic presence, while features such as soft exterior lighting, pedestal side-view mirrors and an available panoramic, all-glass Vista Roof® give the vehicle a luxurious, sophisticated personality.

The unique design also carries through to the interior, where craftsmanship and high-tech combine to offer a warm, luxurious environment. An architecturally unique instrument panel showcases Lincoln's signature push-button gear shifter, which provides an open, inviting interior space. Plush leathers with French stitching, and available Bridge of Weir leather and real wood trim accentuate MKC's elegance and grace.

"We gave attention to every detail to convey a stylish, fashion-oriented vehicle," said Soo Kang, Lincoln interior design chief. "Our use of colors, materials, stitching – every detail was considered to create an overall luxurious experience."

To be more consistent with the Lincoln driving experience, an all-new Lincoln steering wheel debuts on MKC and will be available on all future Lincoln vehicles. This highly tactile leather-wrapped wheel provides better feeling and control and puts the brand's new design DNA in the driver's hands.

The enhanced THX® II Certified Audio System, an industry-first featuring THX-distributed bass technology and 14 right-, center- and left-slot speaker assemblies, is available. The state-of-the-art audio system delivers a rich, immersive surround sound experience that reproduces music as it was mixed in the studio.

SYNC® with MyLincoln Touch™ enables drivers to personalize MKC by using voice-activated commands or simple touch controls on the class-exclusive 8-inch touch screen. Knobs and buttons on the center console provide additional and easy access to control the air conditioning and sound system.

Lincoln luxury meets dynamic performance

When equipped with the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, MKC offers a projected 275 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 300 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data. Class-exclusive Active Grille Shutters are designed to help improve MKC fuel efficiency at highway speeds.

MKC comes standard with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine, projected to produce 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data. This makes Lincoln MKC an all-EcoBoost vehicle.

MKC comes standard with front-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels. Drivers can upgrade to Lincoln's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and 19-inch wheels for enhanced cornering and handling and an even sportier look.

The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system also includes Continuously Controlled Damping. Drivers can use Lincoln Drive Control to select from sport, comfort and normal drive modes to cater to their driving mood. CCD constantly monitors the road; the suspension reacts on average within 20 milliseconds, providing a smooth ride with enhanced handling.

CCD also is available in the standard front-wheel drive configuration of MKC.

"The width of MKC's track has been set to allow the designers the freedom to create a planted stance for the vehicle, and it provided engineers the opportunity to minimize body roll and give the vehicle a more sporty feel," said Lisa Drake, MKC chief engineer.

Technology provides protection, confidence

MKC offers advanced technology such as collision warning with brake support, a Lane-Keeping System and driver assist to help drivers avoid common accidents. The collision warning system is designed to alert the driver if it detects a potential front-end crash. The system issues an audible alert in the cabin, a visual alert on the windshield and automatic brake assist sensitivity.

MKC introduces available park-out assist technology, a class-exclusive feature that enhances the vehicle's active park assist capabilities. Where active park assist helps guide drivers into tight parallel parking situations, park-out assist steers drivers out of tight parking spots.

The vehicle's Lane-Keeping System uses rearview mirror-mounted cameras to identify lane markers and help drivers avoid unintentionally straying from their lane. Dashboard-mounted cameras monitor driver alertness. If the system detects a driver's alertness level dropping below a given threshold, a warning is issued via a chime and a pop-up message appears on the left-hand cluster screen.

MKC also offers a Blind Spot Information System, which continuously monitors the vehicle's blind spots with radar sensors, and class-exclusive cross-traffic alert, which detects traffic as the vehicle backs from a parking space.

Driver confidence and safety is furthered by the inclusion of seven standard airbags, including a class-exclusive driver's knee airbag. In preparing MKC for the road, the vehicle was subjected to 5,000 virtual and real-world crash tests and a variety of conditions.

Experience Lincoln's uniquely warm reception

MKC will greet owners with exclusive 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, taillamps and door handles glow with soft lighting tuned to complement the vehicle's exterior color.

MKC will be the first Lincoln to have always-on built-in connectivity, allowing owners to utilize a smartphone app to control the vehicle. With the MyLincoln Mobile™ app, MKC owners can start, lock, unlock and locate the vehicle, as well as schedule a remote start event for a set time.

Drivers also can use the app to place a call for roadside assistance, monitor the vehicle's fuel level, check tire pressure and battery status, and program engine start times to allow the vehicle to heat or cool to comfortable levels.

Lincoln MKC production is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2014 at Louisville Assembly Plant in Louisville, Ky. Vehicles are due in showrooms next summer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 200 Comments
      Karl Henry
      • 1 Year Ago
      Welcome back Lincoln Motor Company! I knew you could do it despite all the naysayers. Very nice work. Get the pricing right and you will not have the capacity to build enough. Long live American luxury! Dare I say this could be the renaissance of the American cars and design. Cadillac started this current drive and sure enough Lincoln is on it's way. Good luck Lincoln!
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      So for everyone posting that they "can't take Lincoln seriously until they offer a RWD sport sedan" does that mean you now all take BMW and Mercedes less seriously because they are now offering FWD cars and SUVs? I agree that it would be great for Lincoln to offer some RWD vehicles. But their plan - like it or not - is to do FWD/AWD based vehicles. For now. Which is pretty much the path Audi went on as they clawed their way up to top tier status. Will Lincoln be able to do that or will they stay more entry luxury like Volvo and Acura? Time will tell. For now, it looks like they have built a great compact luxury crossover.
        Cruising
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        You can add the Cadillac XTS to that list also, its FWD/AWD but it's proper big traditional Cadillac luxury dare I say more traditional then the CTS/ATS.
        GFB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Actually, the market may take Mercedes and BMW less seriously because they make FWD cars. BMW has taken many hits for their various X-model and GT model SUVs in case you haven't noticed. BMW has Mini as a downmarket brand but is now on the slippery slope of badge-engineering with its upcoming Mini/1-series platform. How are owners of $100K -plus Benzes going to feel when they see suburban teenagers tooling around in their under $30K CLAs? Here goes the old Audi myth again. When VW bought Audi, VW was still hooked on air-cooled, rear-engine, RWD cars. It was Audi that saved VW's bacon by developing (in defiance of VW's mandate - VW bought Audi from Daimler for its manufacturing capacity) the FWD Audi 80 based on earlier NSU architecture. VW then wised up and started producing FWD cars. Repeat after me children; Audi has never been badge-engineered VWs. VWs have always used hand-me-down Audi engineering and Audis have always been FWD. So yes, Lincoln needs cars that are differentiated from Ford cars. Something as simple as an S550-based 4-door sports sedan would have done the trick but Ford nixed the idea. This MKC looks like a winner for Lincoln but it is a truck. Porsche has proved that badge-engineering can work in the truck market by dressing up the VW Tuareg as the Porsche Cayenne but cars are a different animal. The MKC may stay the execution of Lincoln but without cars to sell other than hand-me-up Ford clones, Lincoln as a brand is doomed.
          john96xlt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GFB
          You apparently didn't research the vehicle. There is more than just a different engine option in the MKC. It has a wider track, lower stance, and the assembly line of the factory itself had to be modified for the MKC to be able to roll down it. If they were exactly the same, that wouldn't have been necessary. What is your point about the MKZ/Fusion and MKC/Escape being built on the same assembly lines? Nobody is denying that the cars are related to each other, building them on the same line makes sense.
          john96xlt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GFB
          Please note: Platform sharing and "badge engineering" are NOT the same things. Badge engineering is simply gluing a different badge on the EXACT SAME car. Platform sharing is just what it sounds like, the same platform but markedly different bodies/interiors/powertrains. The MKC is not "badge engineered".
          GFB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @GFB
          There is a thin line between badge-emgineering and platform-sharing and you're stretching beyond recognition the meaning of the words, "EXACT SAME." Different body panels and a few cosmetic interior pieces do not add up to different cars. Pontiac/Olds/Plymouth/Mercury suffered from this problem Lincoln finally got its own engineering and design teams only about two years ago. Before then Fords and Lincolns were designed and engineered by the same personnel. Lincoln still doesn't have its own management or its own bottom line as a separate business unit. The MKZ and the Fusion are built on the same production line in Mexico. The MKC and the Escape will be built on the same assembly line in Louisville, KY. The MKC may get an engine option and perhaps adaptive shocks that are not offered on the Escape but everyone knows they are the same under the skin. MyFord/MyLincoln don't even pretend to be differentiated. This kind of minor surgery may work for trucks but luxury car buyers are not happy buying expensive clones of mainstream cars. That's my main point. Don't nitpick. Address that.
      montoym
      • 1 Year Ago
      I spotted several of these as test mules travelling with a couple of Mustang mules as well back in August. I was driving back to Denver from Telluride and they were travelling along US 50. I passed them up several times, took lots of pictures and they even pulled up at a gas station I had stopped at outside of Salida. Looks pretty much like what they are, a Lincolnified Escape. I was much more interested in the Mustangs, but all of these vehicles were still pretty heavily camo'd. Still neat to see though, I've never seen that many mules travelling together.
      leo
      • 1 Year Ago
      they even fixed the interior by adding the knobs and buttons for the daily functions on the fly. i like it and the front end is finally looking good (even better than the MKX's) they did great and i hope the MKX gets updated
      Kimura
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks good, quite close the concept. One major chance is the center stack, which unlike the concept and MyFord/Lincoln Touch units sees a re return of physical knobs and buttons. Viva la revolution!
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      Side-by-side, the new Nissan Rogue looks just as "luxurious" inside and out. More and more people are fine with cheaper alternatives because those cheaper alternatives keep getting nicer. Not sure where this Lincoln will grab its sales from because the competition is getting fiercer.
      tiguan2.0
      • 1 Year Ago
      So THAT is what the Audi Q5 looks like with a Baleen Whale Mouth added.
        ferps
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tiguan2.0
        Wow. I was going to post exactly this.
        Enginman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tiguan2.0
        Beats the hell out of that snotty Audi hog nose. And it actually has a pedigree. It is a riff on the original split grill on the 39 Continental.
      cpmanx
      • 1 Year Ago
      This has "hit" written all over it. Power of the 2.3 EcoBoost beats that of the sales-leading Acura RDX, and every aspect of the MKC differs from the Escape: not just the sheet metal and interior, but also width, hatch design, suspension tuning, brakes, active noise cancellation. If Lincoln can sell 20K of these a year (as the IHS marking folks think it can), that should take Lincoln sales up a good 20-30%. The MKC also makes me optimistic about the upcoming MKX; if it similarly has a completely distinct design and its own engine option, that will go a long way toward giving Lincoln a real Lexus RX competitor. Then onto the redesigned MKS and--let's hope--a performance MKR coupe based on the S550 platform.
        piggybox
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        It all depends on how this Lincoln will be priced. If it's priced against RDX, then it will definitely grab a big share from RDX. If it's priced against Q5, then we have to check it with a higher standard.
        johnb
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        great post. I was thinking similarly about the Acura RDX/This. Also, a RWD based on the S550 would do wonders for the Lincoln image.
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cpmanx
        Base price starts at $33,000. Note that the RDX starts at $34K, Q5 starts at $35K.
      Black Dyanmite
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not too good. Not too bad. Right on the cutting edge of.....mediocre! BD
        merlot066
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        So where does the RX350 slot in your all-knowing automotive opinion?
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Black Dyanmite
        hey BD. what happened to your other account?
      AntBee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lincoln, Get.Your.Own.Stuff! Stop with the Ford badge-engineering and stop with the FWD and stop with the "Ecoboost" nonsense. Go back to your V8s, V6s and RWD. Make the world another Town Car, Continental and Mark "X." If Cadillac can break from the GM mold, then so can you from the Ford mold! What are you afraid of? Going on your own may seem scary at first, but do it, take a risk. If you fail, then Ford can just pick you back up again, or maybe not. Maybe it's just not your time to shine any more if that were to happen.
        the.fog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AntBee
        Nothing about this is badge engineered (Unless you consider platform sharing badge engineering)
          Justin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @the.fog
          Isn't putting a new skin on an existing vehicle the definition of badge engineering? I don't think they get an exemption just because they went a lot farther than most badge jobs. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, this is a great looking vehicle.
          Lachmund
          • 1 Year Ago
          @the.fog
          no. badge engeneering is, as the word implies, putting a new badge on something otherwise pretty similar. what is bad in sharing components unless noone notices and it helds speed up development and perhaps lower the price?! please explain!
        john96xlt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AntBee
        Evidently you don't know what "badge-engineering" really is, because this most certainly is not.
        Darren Tate
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AntBee
        Badge engineering and platform sharing are NOT. THE. SAME. THING! Get a clue.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        bullitt2605
        • 1 Year Ago
        Ok snoop doggy poop.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bullitt2605
          [blocked]
        Jesus!
        • 1 Year Ago
        I would hate to think as intelligent as God made us, one would think speaking like someone who has no clue of the english language is cool. Seriously son, stay in school and speak like a normal human being. You will go much further in life.
        bullitt2605
        • 1 Year Ago
        No it's not if fits you perfectly.
        bullitt2605
        • 1 Year Ago
        I think the 8" gold medallion and bike chain he has around his neck hit him in the head to many times when he as playing a dancing game on his Xbox.
      omgcool
      • 1 Year Ago
      While I won't take Lincoln seriously in the luxury sedan department until they have RWD offerings, this looks like a genuinely nice vehicle, and I could see it doing quite well. And I hope it does--I want a reason to be hopeful for Lincoln's return.
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