What: The 2015 Lincoln MKC, the brand’s first compact premium luxury crossover, is expected to infuse new energy into the brand. This is second of four vehicles over the next four years expected to jump-start the dated brand. The MKZ luxury sedan, which joined the brand this year, was the first vehicle helping to kick-start Lincoln’s product revival plan.

When: After making its world-debut on Wednesday, November 13, in New York City, the Lincoln MKC will hits the streets during the summer of 2015.

New Design: The new Lincoln MKC is based-off of the same global platform as Ford’s Escape, Ford’s C-Max, Volvo’s C30 and Volvo’s C70. Up until a few years ago, Volvo was a part of the Ford family.

Like the brand’s recently introduced MKZ sedan, the brand-new, five-passenger MKC boldly wears the Lincoln signature grille in a sleek, curvaceous package. Unlike most of today’s vehicles, the overall design and engineering theme of this baby Lincoln was heavily influenced by women. The interior of the vehicle, one of the best we’ve seen in a Lincoln to date, was designed by Soo Kang, Lincoln’s interior design chief, while the engineering team for the MKC was headed-up by Lisa Drake, the chief engineer for vehicle.

Trim Levels/Configurations:

Base
Select
Reserve
Black Label

Premium Features:

The Lincoln MKC can be outfitted with the following features, depending on trim:
•    A standard 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which is the same as  the one in the super-popular Ford Fusion; this engine produces 240 horses
•    A 2.3-liter, 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which produces a whopping 275 horses
•    Driving Configuration: A front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system
•    Driving Modes: Sport, Comfort or Normal
•    Tire size: 18-inch, 19-inch or 20-inch
•    An Approaching Detection System, which illuminates the MKC door-handles up to 9-feet away, when it senses the key fob
•    A push-button keyless starter
•    A push-button gear selector is similar to that of the new MKZ midsized luxury sedan
•    An available Panoramic (oversized) all-glass sunroof like in the MKZ
•    An available 14-speaker speaker THX audio system for the 8-inch screen which houses the MyLincoln Touch Infotainment System. The MKC will be the first vehicle in the Lincoln brand to add knobs and buttons to the MyLincoln system, since the brand’s introduction of the complex touchpad system in the MKZ.
•    A storage place for umbrellas (front door)
•    Heated/ventilated front seats; heated rear seats
•    Partially reclining rear seats
•    Standard pseudo-leather seats in the base model; high-end premium stitched leather seats are available in the premium trims
•    Real wood interior trim accents available
New Safety Tech Features:
•    A Collision Warning System with Brake Support
•    A Lane Keeping Warning System
•    A Radar Activated Adaptive Cruise Control Available
•    A Side Blind Zone Alert System Is Available
•    A Rear Cross Traffic Alert System Is Available
•    A Lane Change Alert System Is Available
•    A Driver’s Knee Airbag (Segment Exclusive)
•    An Available Park-Out Assist Technology, assist the driver out of tight spaces (Segment Exclusive)
•    An Available Automatic Parallel Parking System (Segment Exclusive)
•    A MyLincoln Mobile App allows one to use their smartphone to start, lock, unlock and locate the MKC (Segment Exclusive)
•    An available rear seat inflatable safety belt (Segment Exclusive)

Expected Price: $33,995 (plus a destination charge of $895); this is the lowest priced vehicle in the segment

How Many Available: Lincoln plans on producing around 30,000 MKCs its first year at its Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant.

Competition: Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti EX, Land rover Evoque, and Mercedes-Benz GLK

Lincoln’s Expectations And Challenges for MKC: The folks at Lincoln are counting on the new MKC, an upscale version of the Ford Escape, to help reinvent the brand. Unlike some of their past products, which share the same underpinnings, Lincoln has gone through great lengths to separate this vehicle from the Escape. In our opinion, they have. Moreover, we believe that the all-new, luxurious MKC will be the vehicle to attract a number of young, well-heeled buyers to a brand that is scrambling to define its future.

Overall Lincoln’s challenge is to make sure that they have a product line up to keep these new buyers from defecting to its competitors, which in most cases have an established product line. Cadillac, like Lincoln, its domestic competition, was in the same boat a few years ago. Cadillac is now on par to compete again with the German and Japanese luxury brands. Lincoln is yearning to be in the same ranks, moving from a second-tier luxury brand like Acura and Volvo, to a first tier luxury brand again. In fact, the Lincoln brand is expanding into China’s highly competitive luxury car market next year. By moving into China, this will truly establish Lincoln as a global luxury brand. We believe the MKC is the vehicle to help lead the way.

About The Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him at twitter/JeffCars.

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