Lincoln MKC Will Be All Ecoboost

Ford unveiled yesterday its 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility vehicle, to be powered by the choice of either a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine or the 2.0-liter EcoBoost.

According to Ford, the Lincoln MKC is a unique creation from the ground up with an assortment of first-in-class features. In the company’s own words, “its all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine offers excellent performance while its ingeniously implemented wraparound liftgate is an example of masterful customer convenience.”

First introduced as a concept vehicle at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the MKC is considered by Ford as an important step in Lincoln’s expansion. The MKC is the second vehicle in the brand’s plans to introduce four new luxury vehicles by 2016.

“Lincoln MKC is a perfect blend of inspired automotive design and dynamic driving performance in a segment that has grown in popularity in recent years,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. “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.”

Considering the small premium utility vehicle segment has grown by 25 percent since 2012 and by more than 200 percent since 2009, the MKC is an important step for the brand. Ford said the segment growth is being driven by new luxury buyers who are coming into affluence, as well as by current luxury owners who are moving from larger vehicles to smaller ones as their life desires change.

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“Our design team worked tirelessly to create a vehicle that attracts new customers to the brand while meeting the expectations of longtime Lincoln drivers,” said Max Wolff, director, Lincoln Design. “The execution of the new liftgate is a prime example of how a premium design element can create a better customer experience.”

An all-new Lincoln steering wheel debuts on MKC and will be available on all future Lincoln vehicles. This tactile leather-wrapped wheel is said to provide better feeling and control and puts the brand’s new design DNA in the driver’s hands.

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When equipped with the all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, Lincoln said the MKC will have a projected 275 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 300 pound-foot. of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data.

Active Grille Shutters are designed to help improve MKC fuel efficiency at highway speeds, but Lincoln has not yet committed to fuel consumption ratings as the final engine specs are yet to be determined.

The MKC comes standard with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine, projected to produce 240 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 270 pound-foot. of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data.

This makes Lincoln MKC an all-EcoBoost vehicle.

The MKC will come standard with front-wheel drive and 18-inch wheels; customers will be able to upgrade to Lincoln’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and 19-inch wheels.

Lincoln said its Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system also includes Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD). Drivers can use Lincoln Drive Control to select from sport, comfort and normal drive modes to cater to their driving mood. CCD constantly monitors the road; the suspension reacts on average within 20 milliseconds, providing a smooth ride with enhanced handling.

CCD will also be available in the standard front-wheel drive configuration of MKC.

The MKC will offer technology such as collision warning with brake support, a Lane-Keeping System and driver assist to help drivers avoid common accidents. Also available will be park-out assist technology, a feature that enhances the vehicle’s active park assist capabilities..

Lincoln also said the MKC will be the first Lincoln to have always-on built-in connectivity, allowing owners to utilize a smartphone app to control the vehicle. With the MyLincoln Mobile app, MKC owners will be able to start, lock, unlock and locate the vehicle, as well as schedule a remote start event for a set time.

Drivers will also be able to use the app to place a call for roadside assistance, monitor the vehicle’s fuel level, check tire pressure and battery status, and program engine start times to allow the vehicle to heat or cool to comfortable levels.

Lincoln said MKC production is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2014 at Louisville Assembly Plant in Louisville, Ky. And that vehicles are due in showrooms next summer.