Ford luxury brand ready to take on the Germans head-to-head

The arrival of the MKC is not a surprise. With a lacklustre lineup of vehicles on offer, Lincoln is on a push to bring four new models to market to bolster its image. The MKC is the second new car (after the new MKZ) to be added to the roster.

But, does the MKC have what it takes to compete? Or is it just another Ford in Honest Abe drag?

The good news is Lincoln’s newest offering, set for the 2015 model year, will get a full EcoBoost engine lineup, including a new potent 2.3L boosted four banger. The base 2.0L EcoBoost mill will deliver 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. If you opt for the upgraded 2.3L engine, power output jumps to 275 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.

Underneath it all, the MKC shares the same bones as the Ford Escape. However, upgrades abound inside with 14-speaker audio, luxury interior materials, and always-on OnStar-like connectivity so owners can control the MKC from their smartphones.

The Lincoln MKC will make its official debut next week at the LA Auto Show with production slated to begin during the second quarter of 2014.

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 all-new Lincoln of four as the brand reinvention continues
  • MKC will introduce the all-new 2.3-litre EcoBoost® turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 275 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque with excellent fuel economy
  • Designed with driver comforts in mind and an array of premium amenities, MKC targets a growing audience of luxury customers who demand a more personal car-buying and car-owning experience

NEW YORK – 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-litre EcoBoost® engine offers a blend of performance and fuel efficiency while its ingeniously implemented wrap-around 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 is 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 can 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, which is the fastest-growing part of the luxury market – up nearly 14 percent since 2012 and more than 130 percent since 2009 in Canada. 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, Lincoln design director. “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 and an available Panoramic Vista glass 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 and provides an open, inviting interior space. Plush leathers with French stitching, and standard 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 becomes another element of the brand’s dynamics DNA directly in contact with 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. As the cabin fills with the crystal-clear sounds the stereo delivers, MKC’s class-leading low noise, vibration and harshness levels keep road noise out.

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 an additional and easy access to control air conditioning and sound system.

Lincoln luxury meets dynamic performance

When equipped with the all-new 2.3-litre 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. In addition to increased power, the engine’s improved NVH rating provides MKC a premium and refined powertrain. Class-exclusive Active Grille Shutters help improve MKC fuel efficiency at highway speeds.

MKC comes standard with a 2.0-litre 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.

Lincoln Drive Control, standard on MKC, allows drivers to select from sport, comfort and normal drive modes to cater to their driving mood through a Continuously Controlled Damping system. CCD constantly monitors the road up to 50 times per second and adjusts the vehicle’s suspension accordingly, providing a smoother ride with improved handling.

MKC also comes standard with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and 18-inch wheels. Drivers can upgrade to 19-inch wheels for an even sportier look.

“The width of MKC’s track has been set to allow the designers the freedom to create a more-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 uses 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 alerts 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 class-exclusive park-out assist technology, a 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 5,000 virtual and real-world crash tests, MKC performed remarkably under a variety of circumstances.

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..

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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