Making a most impressive transition from concept vehicle to full production model, the all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC has been revealed in New York and will make its official public debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. The second all-new vehicle to be developed under Lincoln's ongoing program to recast itself as a more youthful and dynamic premium brand, this compact premium crossover SUV will go head to head with rivals like the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class when it goes on sale next summer.
Spun from FoMoCo's global C1 platform which also underpins the Ford Escape as well as the Focus and C-MAX, the new Lincoln MKC boasts its own unique sheetmetal and proportions. Wider track dimensions and shorter overhangs endow it with a more purposeful stance that's complemented by elegantly sculpted bodywork, highlighted by a strong shoulder line, flowing roof treatment with an available Panoramic Vista glass panel and a slick wraparound tailgate with hands-free power assist that was first seen on the MKC Concept. Also reprised are the same fascia treatments that match the best version to date of Lincoln's split-wing grille flanked by HID headlamps and LED running lights up front and a full-width LED taillamp in the rear.
Motivation for the new Lincoln MKC will come from two 4-cylinder engines, both featuring performance-enhancing EcoBoost technology. A capable 2.0-liter that makes 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque will be standard but the star of the show is a new 2.3-liter making its first-ever appearance that generates 275 ponies and 300 lb-ft of peak twist - each a best-in-class-per-liter figure. Part of the 2.3's extra punch comes from its unique 3-port integrated exhaust manifold cylinder head that helps enhance incoming airflow and optimizes exhaust energy pulses passed along through its twin-scroll turbocharger. Both engines are backed by a 6-speed pushbutton automatic transmission, and where the 2.0-liter MKC can be had in front-drive or all-wheel drive configurations, the 2.3-liter variants will be AWD-only. Stepping up to the more potent engine also nets enhanced cooling and braking systems plus unique performance tuning of the transmission.
The chassis of the new MKC has been tuned to take full advantage of its fun-to-drive potential. While an 18-inch wheel/tire fitment is standard, it offers both 19-inch and 20-inch upgrades and the MKC's baseline steel suspension can be upgraded to Continuously Controlled Damping, which is included on AWD models. The CCD system brings real-time optimization of the shock settings and Lincoln Drive Control that allows drivers to choose comfort/normal/sport modes at the touch of a button.
Available in Premiere, Select, Reserve and a late-arriving Black Label trim grades, the new MKC boasts a well-proportioned and meticulously finished cabin that offers an enticing mix of people-pampering design touches and state-of-the-art technology. While the base trim will be a high-quality vinyl, Lincoln expects about 90 percent of MKC buyers to opt for premium leather trappings that includes a Bridge of Weir upgrade. Real wood and metalized trim are on offer to add more charm to the mix and even the MKC's multifunction steering wheel boasts a new and more premium rim design destined to appear in future Lincoln models. The MKC's well-formed front buckets are paired with an adult-accommodating rear split-bench that offers adjustable-rake seatbacks.
Other standard/optional comfort/convenience items in this new Lincoln crossover include SYNC with MyLincoln Touch, the largest-in-class 8.0-inch color voice/touch display that also has auxiliary knobs and buttons that permit direct operation of various audio/climate control functions, a 14-speaker THX II Certified Audio System and the automaker's first application of an embedded modem. Part of the MyLincoln Mobile app, it lets the MKC interact with an owner's smartphone to allow remote vehicle locating, locking, starting and more. In addition to a full range of standard safety features that includes seven airbags and a Blind Spot Information System, the MKC will offer adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, collision warning with brake support, inflatable rear shoulder belts and a new class-exclusive park-out assist technology that mirrors the existing active park assist function but helps drivers exit rather that enter tight parallel parking spots.
Complete pricing on the entire 2015 Lincoln MKC lineup won't be released until closer to its on-sale date. However, Lincoln has confirmed that the base model will start at a very attractive $33,995.
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