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.
- 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.