You will, of course, remember the Lincoln Motor Company. Purchased by Henry Ford early in the last century, it was intended to provide an outlet for those Ford customers with higher aspirations and/or credit limit. And if those customers didn’t materialize, you could at least count on a bootlegger (or three) to populate the showroom. Later in that same century, a Lincoln convertible played a not-insignificant role in the assassination of JFK. More on that, of course, later this month; today we’ll focus on today’s formal announcement of Lincoln’s new compact sport utility, the Lincoln MKC.
As the second all-new vehicle (of a planned four) to ‘fuel’ Lincoln’s reinvention, the Lincoln MKC takes a well-established formula, i.e., new sheetmetal and features built atop an existing platform, to create new showroom energy and – not incidentally – more OEM profit. Acura has done it with its CR-V-based RDX, Cadillac does it with an SRX based on Chevy’s Equinox, and Audi continues to do it with a Golf-based TT. In fact, Lincoln’s first ‘all-new’ entry in this upcoming quartet was its MKZ, a midsize 4-door using the new Fusion as its base.
Given that the press announcement describes the MKC as a “unique creation from the ground up”, we’re guessing Lincoln’s PR department has never seen Ford’s Escape. (Lincoln will get its own unique platform about the time the next white guy is elected president.) And while coming to the premium utility segment somewhat late, pulling the trigger on the MKC is no less strategic. With consumers back in showrooms and consumer credit returning to F&I offices, manufacturers can’t build upmarket SUVs fast enough. Combine a high hip point, distinctive sheetmetal and the latest in comfort/convenience features and you have built yourself – at least figuratively – a stairway to heaven.
Beyond its new sheetmetal, which continues those stylistic themes already evident on the MKZ, the MKC will boast an all-new 2.3 liter EcoBoost powertrain. With 275 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, Lincoln’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system comes highly recommended. Standard spec is a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four connected to the front wheels only. And – we’re told – the width of the MKC track has been set to allow designers the “freedom to create a planted stance for the vehicle and…minimize body roll and give the vehicle a more sporty feel.” The quote is from Lisa Drake, MKC’s chief engineer and – presumably – one who knows a ‘sporty feel’ when she feels one.
With Ford’s new Escape enjoying well-deserved kudos from both the media and buying public, there’s little reason to think this new MKC – if priced correctly – should stumble. We personally like the look, and will – without hesitation – look forward to the feel. Built in Louisville, Kentucky, the MKC should hit Lincoln showrooms next summer.