2015 Lincoln MKC Makes Debut in New York

Facing a consumer market that has lately been spoiled with luxury equipment creeping into more accessible mainstream models, Lincoln has some work to do in proving it can still offer a truly premium product. The small luxury crossover market has grown a whopping 200 percent in the last five years as many customers have opted to fully load smaller vehicles, and Lincoln is hoping that it isn't too late to get a slice of that pie. The brand is in serious need of improved sales and cannot afford to stumble as it did with the launch of the MKZ.

Enter the 2015 Lincoln MKC, which will debut at a special event Wednesday in New York City. With the all-new MKC, which is based on the Ford Escape platform, Lincoln looks to attract young families that want a luxury brand without sacrificing exciting driving dynamics. It also aims to keep these customers around as part the brand's larger "new Lincoln" strategy, striving for an ambitious 60 percent lease retention rate compared to last year's dismal 23 percent.

Handsome Design
As expected, the 2015 Lincoln MKC is very similar to the concept that premiered at the Detroit auto show last January. The MKC is set to go on sale early next spring. After all that time, it makes one wonder what the hold-up has been about, since so little has ostensibly changed.

Although Lincoln has modified the roofline to less resemble that of the Range Rover Evoque, there is no doubt that the MKC's designers spent a lot of time studying the Audi Q5 -- a major competitive benchmark in this segment. Particularly in profile, the MKC dimensions unmistakably echo the squat athleticism and clean lines on the Q5, right down to the wraparound rear liftgate.

Lincoln engineers seem set on communicating a sense of horizontality, and do well at achieving a low and sporty appearance on the new MKC. The crossover's muscled shoulders, defined by a continuous line below the windows from the hood straight to the rear, combine with a bulldog-like stance to help achieve the lowered effect.

Up front the MKC's sculpted hood descends into the now familiar split-winged grille, which looks much more natural here than it does on the MKZ. Lincoln's full-width LED tail lamps are surprisingly well adapted to the small crossover -- another horizontal element that helps the luxury CUV look more sporty and car-like. The integrated wraparound liftgate manages to fit nicely with the overall design scheme, while also addressing utility needs with handsfree activation. The MKC surely looks the part, but it does not do anything particularly innovative so much it falls in line with the rest of the pack.

On the inside however, the Lincoln MKC positively challenges its German rivals. Space is aplenty. We have no problem ignoring the fussy MyLincoln Touch infotainment system, because the climate control has by a glorious stroke of reason returned to knob-and-button-based functionality. The center stack layout is neat and cohesive, using the MKZ's gearshift buttons that have been intelligently lowered toward the steering wheel for easy reach. These mounted design elements also help free up lots of space where a traditional shifter is absent, leaving room for a useful cubby that offers decent storage and smart-phone integration via USB ports.

The cabin is decked out in plush and supportive "Lincoln luxury leather," which Lincoln says will be available on all MKC trims except for the base model. Polished wood trim feels top-notch and is used sparingly enough that it adds a truly elegant refinement without overwhelming or falling prey to garishness. Lincoln expressed that there will be a concerted effort to include most upgrades into conveniently bundled packages, which will help buyers better understand pricing compared to the overwhelming list of pricey options typical from premium European brands. Specific features such as the massive panoramic sunroof will remain stand-alone options.

Lincoln engineers have also come up with a swanky approach detection system, which activates when the fob-wielding driver comes within about nine feet of the vehicle. Headlamps and door-handle pockets light up, and the vehicle projects small illuminated "welcome mats" of the brand logo on the ground next to each front door.

New Engine Lineup
The 2015 Lincoln MKC will be available with two engines, with the familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 hp and 270 lb-ft. of torque powering the base model. Front-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels are standard on the base model, but all-wheel drive and bold 19-inch wheels are optional. An optional 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is all-new, and makes an impressive 275 hp and 300 lb-ft. of torque and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

The 2.3-liter engine produces substantially more heat than the base 2.0-liter, and Lincoln engineers have made considerable upgrades to accommodate both the additional power and all-wheel drive system. The 2.3-liter 2015 Lincoln MKC boasts improved brake rotors and calipers, wider track, three-port integrated exhaust manifold, Macpherson struts in front and trailing blade suspension in the rear, and active noise cancellation. Standard on all-wheel-drive models, continuously controlled damping (CCD) allows drivers to select from sport, comfort, or normal driving modes. CCD is also available as an upgrade to front-wheel drive MKC models.

The Takeaway
Lincoln faces significant obstacles, notably within its own ranks. Ford profits have surged amidst improved sales and increasing popularity of the Titanium premium trim level, and Lincoln knows that this legitimately challenges its own raison d'etre. Most U.S. consumers can perceive that Lincoln lacks its own brand cachet, and see no reason to pony up the extra cash when the Ford division offers what amounts to the same product at a better value.

"As a challenger luxury brand, entering this segment is a natural next step for us. MKC will do more than just compete -- it will change the way people think about Lincoln," says Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford and Lincoln global marketing, sales and service.

Lincoln expects the MKC to be the major sales mover in their new model lineup, which it hopes will generate enough momentum and revenue so it can offer a legitimate future flagship sedan. We're skeptical about this reasoning, because historically companies have solved this problem the other way around, investing in a flagship vehicle to restore brand prestige and letting that be the seed sown for the future. For the object lesson here, look at how the R8 helped turn Audi into a legitimate premium nameplate in the mid-2000s. Pricing for the 2015 Lincoln MKC is not yet available, but we'll be sure to report back once more information arises.

It will be interesting to see if the pricing with common features hurts sales.  You would want the stronger engine or else it is just a pretty Escape.  The engine is $1140 extra on top of the mid or top level vehicle with AWD.  That is 37k or 40k plus $2400 for AWD and the engine upgrade.  That runs $40, 500 for the mid-level or $43,500 for the top level.  Then you may want to add the Tech package for another $2200.
The Acura RDX top of the line version with Awd IS $40,515 but does not include Blind Sport detection, lane keeping technology, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, or LED headlights.  These features may be available for the 2015 model for an extra $3-5k.
It appears the Acura and Lincoln will have a similar MSRP with all the bells and whistles.  I think it is a mistake by Lincoln since the brand has struggled to get younger buyers. To achieve this they should be about $2k-3k cheaper than the RDX.  This way you can try and step up current Escape owners into the Linclon.  With the top of the line MKC running around 47k the buyer may even cross shop the Lexus RX 350.which would be a few thousand more but is a bigger vehicle.  I also priced out an Audi Q5 3.0T and it was only a few thousand more for a comparably equipped vehicle.
So if someone is prepared to spend $47k for this vehicle they may be willing to spend $50-$53k for other existing well respected luxury vehicles in the same class.
Maybe Lincoln will offer incentives like .9% financing or $1000-2000 cash back to new purchasers that will help make the pricing more competitive.
Manny Gutierrez
They need to change thos ugly grills. Car looks ugly!!!
Audi's cars are excellent, but hardly bullet-proof, and are costly to buy, maintain, and repair... as we've learned from owning one. If Lincoln's Q5 look-alike is well done, and costs less to own and maintain, I'd rather put our money, next time, towards an American company's bottom line.
Audi makes great cars, but are something less than bullet-proof, and are expensive to repair & maintain... as we've learned from owning one. If Lincoln's Q5 look-alike is of good or better reliability than Audi's and costs less to buy & maintain, I'd rather put my money, next time, into an American company's bottom line.
It looks good, but they should have tried harder to work on the profile. It just doesn't look any more premium than the Ford Escape from the side.
GP Vignesh
this car model same ford eco sport model
Stephen Swarts
MK is for Mark.
Scott Brennan
Looks like all the others on the market
The first thing I noticed was the profile and stance was all Q5. This is the first application of the new grill that I think it looks good on. I have to say that this is a very attractive package. I like it. BUT, to sway people who would buy the Q5, it has to not only be as good and stylish as the Q5, but it also has to be less expensive. My opinion is that Lincoln can't just jump in and demand a premium price for it's products at this time. They have to build the customer base. And getting people into the seats of their products is going to be achieved by being as good as the competition, but also being less expensive. 
Sylvain Raymond
The 1961 Lincoln Continental is one of the 10 best car ever produced...
A Velintino Spykerman
Frank Samara
It doesn't look all that difference from their last dressed-up Edge. Cadillac kicks their ass styling-wise.
Sylvain Raymond
How about making it worth it? Are Americans so stupid they can no longer produce a decent luxury car or two????
Sylvain Raymond
Still looks like an Oldsmobile...
What surprises me the most is that there is more of a distinction between this and the Ford vehicle it is based off of. And, from other reports I have heard, this Lincoln is using REAL wood! That's the first time I've heard real wood being used in a Lincoln since what, the 1960's?I hope this helps Lincoln because it would be great to see the brand to finally get ahold of itself, and to tell Ford to shove it where the sun doesn't shine. 
Andy Swanson
True, and it's just as bad there too.
Marlon Cambay
Kenneth Herbert
To everyone complaining that this isn't what Lincoln needs, remember that the Cayenne basically prints money for Porsche. In that same way, this is EXACTLY what Lincoln needs. Lincoln needs something that sells, and a well-executed CUV can sell by the droves. Time (and sales) will tell if this is their ticket out of purgatory.
David Charles DuBois
Look at Cadillac! Everyone's doing it!
David Charles DuBois
Looks like everything else!
Thomas Voelker
It would be a price I am unwilling to pay.
Aditya Shukla
Copy of benz
Andy Swanson
Can't Lincoln come up with a name??? MK-Something is really lame, especially since they have a plethora of cool names from the past.
Matt Simmons
Lincoln has a pulse after all.
Lee Klein
It's very nice. And so long overdue. Time will tell if they offered this new model too late to save the brand. Let's hope they offer better materials than in the MKZ. It would be nice for Lincoln to survive.
Jose M. Rivera
Lincoln is a brand with lots of name recognition. It's unfortunate that it has been starved from unique, fresh products. However, I am glad to see Ford finally giving this brand what it desperately deserve. This vehicle looks very promising.
David Pettit
The shape looks very much like the Audi Q3 or Q5.
Jeffrey McCollum
Looser styling
Robert Whittington
Just an overglorified escape for the wino's!!!!!
Brandt Love
Looks just like all the other Fords do... Oops, I meant Lincoln. Kill the brand already and give it a rest.
Freddy Kyngofpop Burris
Lincoln has BEEN dead, idk why they continue wasting money here. Should've been gone around 2001
M Rick Richards
Sadly so...
Starting price is listed on the Lincoln web site - $33k for the base 2.0L FWD model. That puts it a couple of grand above a loaded Titanium Escape. So for everyone crying "I won't pay $10k or $15k more..." you really need to get a clue. The MKZ was halfway through development when Ford set up the dedicated design studio for Lincoln. So the MKC is their first shot at making a truly unique vehicle off of a Ford platform. And sorry, but many Audi's are just "tarted up" VW's. Same with Lexus and Infiniti. I think Lincoln did a great job here. Besides looking nothing like the Escape inside or out, it offers many things you cannot get on the Escape. The 2.3L engine; adjustable AWD and suspension systems; high end materials inside; an App that communicates with a built in modem. They have moved this into another league and built a competitive compact luxury crossover. I hope it does well.
Andrew Luptak
Great, another re-badged Ford. The Lincoln design cues work well with it though. Not really what Lincoln needs, but I'm sure it's what the dealers asked for. What's in a name? MKC, MKZ,MKS? Ford would impress me more with Lincoln if they broke the alphabet soup model names and went with real names again.
Ryan Merkl
I think people would much rather get the BMW X3
Hugh Cooper
the escape is ugly, so this the good looking design it should have been. now, how bout a good looking coup or something from lincoln.
Mike Ashley
Guys, the Ford Edge (not the Escape which is obviously smaller) and the MKC share the same platform. This isn't on first look, a huge departure or groundbreaking design-wise. It's nice looking, but nothing special on first glance.
Fonzo Ro Ma
Does resurgence mean go out of business?
Chey Martineau
It looks nice, but I don't want to pay $10,000 extra for a tarted-up Ford Escape. LMFAO!
Clark Feller
nice looking car..
Mike Goetz
Yup, looks like another tarted-up ford.
Hammad Masood
I think Lincoln MKC and ford edge shares same power train
Robert May
Oh, hello rebadged ford escape
Rob Vance
Let's see how many "looks like a ...." comments this post will generate.
Brian Davis
Zio Hachi RoKu
Looks totally like Kia Sportage
M Rick Richards
I'm a Lincoln guy, and this isn't the answer.
David Charles DuBois
@OfMyOwnAccord Lincoln is Ford!
David Charles DuBois
@Kenneth Herbert I actually like the way it looks! Compared to the other current Lincoln vehicles, the MKC looks softer and abit more sophisticated. I would consider one. I drive a 2012 Chevy Equinox and it's crap! Chevy won't/ can't fix it..too many items to list here. Hope to see the MKC soon!
@Mike Ashley The Edge and MKX share a platform.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles