Cars.com's team of editors at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show were convinced Lincoln's compact luxury SUV, the MKC, had the right attitude to jump into the extremely competitive segment with a full head of steam; we unanimously named it a "Winner" in our auto show postmortem.
Fast-forward a few months and I'm driving preproduction versions of the MKC in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area. Lincoln chose a peculiar selection of pavement for the introductory drive, consisting of high-speed canyon roads with countless tight turns, dips and elevation changes. It's the kind of road motorcycles and sports cars call home, but not small SUVs. Did I mention this is a Lincoln? A brand that doesn't have the most sporting reputation.
My chariot for most of the test was a loaded MKC with the optional and more-powerful turbocharged 285-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which comes standard with all-wheel drive. Perhaps the biggest surprise from this first romp in the MKC is that it's not at all out of place being ferociously driven through winding California roads.
Most people who see Lincoln's new compact crossover think that it could be a hit for the ailing luxury brand, but many also agree that it all depends on the MKC's price. Well that piece of the puzzle just fell into place. When the 2015 MKC goes on sale in the summer, it'll start at $33,995, including destination.
The brand's first premium compact crossover will be available in three trim levels: Premiere, Select and Reserve. The base price applies to the Premiere version, and its turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost powertrain. The 240-horsepower 2.0-liter is also standard on the Select ($37,225) and Reserve ($40,930) versions, but the 275-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost is available on both as a $1,140 option. A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission; front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available across the model lineup for $2,495.
Ford luxury division's entry into the bustling compact crossover segment, the 2015 Lincoln MKC, debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as a concept and now comes to us in very much the same production-ready package at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. Slotting in size below the MKX, exterior styling cues include a winged grille, sculpted body, LED-accented headlamps and full-width LED taillamps with wrap-around liftgate. Inside are a panoramic sunroof, leather seats with French stitching and real wood trim, as well as an 8-inch touch-screen that uses Ford's Sync with MyLincoln Touch.
Under the hood is a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 250 horsepower or an available turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that makes 275 hp. The MKC is available with standard front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. Check out the gallery below; photos by Cars.com's Evan Sears.
Lincoln's new compact crossover, the 2015 MKC, looks like it could be a hit for a brand that desperately needs one, says Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays. Although the MKC shares its platform with the Ford Escape, it's more upscale in every way.
The MKC's prominent, winged grille and plenty of chrome trim give it an upscale air on the exterior; inside, cabin quality is a high point, Mays says, and the MKC has plenty of creature comforts that luxury shoppers demand. Check out the video for more.
Competes with: Audi Q5, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
Looks like: An almost exact copy of the Detroit auto show's MKC concept
Drivetrain: Standard 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or an optional 275-hp, turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Hits dealerships: Summer 2014
Ford's premium brand is entering the luxury compact crossover fray with the 2015 Lincoln MKC. The concept version debuted at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the production version will meet the public at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
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