You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Lincoln: they don’t give up. All new for 2015, the Lincoln MKC represents yet another salvo from Ford’s luxury brand to establish presence among its more aspirational competitors. We’ve got one for a month to see what it’s all about.

The basics are as follows: the MKC is a luxury compact SUV based on the Ford Escape platform. Its starting price of $39,440 gets you a 2.0L Ecoboost (turbocharged, direct injected, variable camshaft timing) four-cylinder (I-4) engine making 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, an “intelligent” all-wheel drive system, keyless access with push-button start, HID headlights, rearview camera, Approach Detection (whereby the interior and exterior lights activate as you approach the vehicle), push-button gearshift, automatic climate control and the SYNC driver interface with “MyLincoln Touch.”

There is another engine option: the 285 hp and 305 lb-ft torque 2.3L Ecoboost I-4 that can also be found in the 2015 Ford Mustang. Along with 19-inch wheels, a panorama sunroof and a range of additional features, it increases the starting price to $49,150. This is what we’re driving, although our as-tested price of $55,920 includes the kitchen sink.

By that I mean it has the THX premium audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, folding mirrors, power steering column, heated steering wheel, a trailer hitch, park assist, adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping system, 19-inch alloy wheels, hands-free liftgate and much more.

First impressions are that the MKC is a good looking vehicle. The lines are taut and chiselled and the profile is modern and clean in the Audi Q5 vein. The signature grille that Lincoln’s been taming for a few years has evolved into a tasteful and easily recognizable “face” of the brand, and from the side and rear the vehicle looks appealing and athletic. But the Lincoln tagline, “politely progressive” seems somewhat timid to me, and like the description of the MKC by Lincoln as “blending traits of a sport crossover with a luxury sedan,” it suggests something of a vehicle (or indeed, a brand…) with an identity crisis.

That said, there is definitely a sporty exterior and an obvious level of interior refinement that is perhaps what the Lincoln marketers are getting at. There’s no crass plastering of chrome at every opportunity in the MKC.

Our exterior colour is Smoked Quartz Metallic (a type of grey, I think, which costs $600) and the interior features black leather upholstery with brushed aluminum trim. It’s a very tidy interior; minimal, even, in the European style.

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