Lincoln hopes to undercut its competition in the increasingly crowded compact luxury crossover segment – but whether a price tag starting below $34,000 will help it gain traction against offerings from makers like BMW, Acura and Audi remains to be seen.
The Lincoln MKC is the second of four all-new models the Ford Motor Co. luxury brand has announced – with still more products under development – as part of its attempted revival. It follows the debut of the MKZ luxury sedan. But the 2015 MKC provides a significant opportunity for Lincoln to position itself in what many industry observers expect to become one of the market’s fastest-growing segments over the rest of the decade.
“As the newest entrant in small premium utility, which is the fastest-growing luxury segment, we have to offer our clients a fresh and compelling proposition,” said Matt VanDyke, director of Global Lincoln. “The Lincoln MKC offers the lowest base entry price in the segment as well as a host of first-to-segment features.”
Among the new features in the MKC, the Approach Detection system which can sense when a driver nears the vehicle, illuminating its surround lights, including those in the door handles.
The 2015 Lincoln MKC will start at $33,995 – including delivery chargers. The new 2.3-liter EcoBoost twin-turbocharged engine is an $1,140 option. All-wheel-drive and a continuously-variable suspension package will be offered as a $2,495 option. A top-of-the-line MKC Reserve model will go for $40,930.
(Compact luxury crossovers a hot – but sometimes pricey — segment. For more, Click Here.)
The 2.3-liter inline-four is the latest member of Ford’s fast-growing EcoBoost engine family and a version will be shared with the new Ford Mustang revealed last week in Detroit. In the MKC, however, it will produce 275 horsepower, 30 less than under the hood of the pony car.
Other features Ford hopes will help make the Lincoln MKC standout in its segment include a glass roof, push-button gearshift and hands-free liftgate.
(Ford plans to launch 23 new models in 2014. Click Here for the full story.)
But the once-popular Lincoln brand will have to face off against some tough competitors that include the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, as well as the Acura RDX, the closest model in price, at an MSRP of $35,415. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz continues to expand its line-up of crossover-utility vehicles, with the current low-end GLK to be followed by the new GLA model next year.
The new MKC will be built at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant alongside the more mundane Ford Escape crossover. It is expected to reach showrooms next summer. The maker hopes to avoid the production problems that plagued the launch last year of the Lincoln MKZ.
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