2015 Lincoln MKC
2015 Lincoln MKC. Click image to enlarge

Preview and photos by Dan Heyman

New York City, NY – A week before it’s revealed to the public at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, Lincoln invited members of the press to the Big Apple for a preview of the upcoming 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover.

It’s the second vehicle (after the 2014 MKZ) to be designed in-house by Lincoln’s all-new design studio, which was a move by parent company Ford to reestablish the relevance of the Lincoln brand.

Good timing too, as the compact crossover segment is the second-fastest growing luxury segment in North America, according to the Lincoln brass on-hand. The fastest-growing luxury niche? Well, it just so happens that is the mid-size luxury segment, MKZ territory.

I was impressed by the MKC Concept when I saw it at last year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI, but I knew then that a lot of the really space-agey stuff would get axed, namely the out-there seats with their wild headrest supports, full-length sunroof and centre console that stretched all the way to the back seats on the concept.

Turns out I was right – those features are gone, along with the concept’s striking 20-inch rims – 19s are as big as they get for production. However, the production MKC remains a good-looking crossover, if a little derivative in the styling department. It reminds me of an Audi Q5, one of a handful of cars (along with the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, Lexus RX and Acura RDX) Lincoln has in its sights. Really, though, derivative styling happens all over the car landscape these days so I’ll forgive Lincoln here as they seem to have borrowed all the right derivatives, resulting in a sharp-looking car.

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2015 Lincoln MKC. Click image to enlarge

The trademark split-wing grille first seen on the MKZ is present here, flanked on either side by nice, somewhat aggressive headlamp lenses with LED DRLs as standard.

Even from the front three-quarter angle, it’s actually the rear that draws your eye as the aggressively raked rear hatch makes for an impressive, almost sports-hatchback stance. This defining feature is made possible by an all-new hydroforming process used to shape the panels.

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2015 Lincoln MKC. Click image to enlarge

Performed by Amino here in Canada, the hydroforming process allows panels to be shaped in different ways, according to Lisa Drake, Lincoln’s chief engineer.

“You can’t make (certain panels) with a traditional stamping process,” she said. “It also provides less stress and thinning of the sheet metal.”

Inside, you’re met with a cabin that is airy and futuristic thanks to details like a button-activated six-speed automatic transmission similar to that found in the MKZ, sharp lighting, two TFT screens – one atop the centre stack, one nestled between the gauges – and an upswept dash that recalls the grille up front. For the traditionalists, a smattering of open-pore wood trims the dash and door panels.

What the MKZ does have that the MKC doesn’t, however, is an all-touch centre console. With the MKC, it is replaced by a more traditional setup with buttons and knobs for your audio, infotainment and climate control needs. It’s a good thing, too, because I found the MKZ’s setup frustrating to use and overly plasticky in appearance. The MKC’s console treatment is how it should be. Oh, and to complement the dual TFT screens, there’s also a head-up display reflected off the windshield for your trip computer and other needs.

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2015 Lincoln MKC. Click image to enlarge

Also new on the infotainment front is the removal of the subwoofer from the trunk, with bass now being channeled through the doors thanks to some new technology developed in partnership with THX, helping the MKC maintain the Lincoln standard of earning THX certification on their cars.

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