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Spy Shots: 2015 Lincoln MKC

Luxury version of Ford Escape moves closer to production.

by on Sep.30, 2013

A prototype Lincoln MKC caught while testing. All photos courtesy Jim Dunne /CAR SPY.

In its bid to once again be taken seriously in the luxury market, Ford Motor Co. has outlined a plan to launch four critical new models by mid-decade – with a number of other offerings to follow.

The first of those, the MKZ sedan, got off to a rocky start but is finally gaining traction – just as the spotlight shifts to the next key product in the Lincoln strategy.  We got a first look at the marque’s planned compact crossover during the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Now, TheDetroitBureau.com’s veteran spy, Jim Dunne, has captured images of the small CUV undergoing testing around Detroit.

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Due to reach market for the 2015 model-year – which means an introduction in mid-2014 – the Lincoln MKC will be based upon the same basic platform as the latest-generation Ford Escape.  And, as you might recall, Escape migrated from a traditional body-on-frame to a crossover platform when it was relaunched for the 2013 model-year.

The Escape-based MKC will retain most of the basic styling cues of the concept revealed last January.

While these images of a camouflaged prototype hold back on some key details, it’s clear that the 2015 Lincoln MKC will pick up on the new MKZ’s butterfly grille, further moving the brand away from the massive and jarring attempts to reinterpret the old waterfall grille on other recent models such as the MKT.

(Click Here to check out the new Lincoln Black Label Collection.)

The overall look, including both the headlight and taillight details, the basic silhouette, and subtly creased hood were previewed with the MKC Concept revealed last January.

While we don’t have fresh images to show of the interior, it appears Lincoln designers will tone down many of the over-the-top elements of the show car, though the look still picks up on some of the more compelling details, such as a raked center console topped by a large touchscreen display with capacitive buttons. We’ll be curious to see if the final production models is given a few more knobs or buttons, something Ford officials have promised in their effort to address complaints about the MyFord and MyLincolnTouch infotainment interfaces.

As for powertrains, expect one of the primary sources of power to be the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four rated at around 250 horsepower. Whether it will also offer any other EcoBoost packages – or a hybrid alternative, as is the case with the MKZ sedan – remains to be seen.

The 2015 Lincoln MKC will storm into a small but fast-growing niche of compact crossovers that some industry planners believe will become the fastest-growing niche in the luxury market. Among the alternatives it will face off against are the new Mercedes-Benz GLA, and possibly the production version of the Lexus LF-NX we saw in a controversial concept form at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this month.

(For more on the booming compact CUV market, Click Here.)

Among other models that Lincoln has confirmed will be coming, all-new versions of the bigger MKS sedan and the MKT crossover.  A complete remake of the full-size Navigator is also in the works.  Beyond that, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has told TheDetroitBureau.com that several other products have gotten preliminary approval. These are expected to include a new sporty luxury coupe that will share the completely new platform under development for the next-generation Ford Mustang.

(Click Herefor more on Lincoln’s plan to enter the Chinese market.)

Paul A. Eisenstein contributed to this story.

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