What Is It?

The 2015 Lincoln MKC is a compact luxury crossover that's based on the Ford Escape. With styling all its own, an upscale cabin and extra power on tap, the MKC looks to be a compelling new option in this crowded segment. 

There's a long history of mainstream vehicles giving rise to entry-level luxury versions, and it's not always pleasant. The quintessential "badge job" is the Cadillac Cimarron, an ill-fated 1980s Cavalier spinoff that's still a punchline 30 years later. But we're sure the new Lincoln MKC will avoid that fate. For one thing, it's based on a very good crossover in the nimble, well-appointed Escape. But just as important, it also receives a number of meaningful upgrades that support its higher price. 

The improvements start under the hood, where the MKC sports a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that pumps out 275 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The Escape's top-shelf 2.0-liter turbo maxes out at 240 hp and 270 lb-ft, so the MKC has some added bounce in its step. But now take a step back and look at the MKC's exterior. Would you ever guess that this sleek, confident crossover was based on the Escape? We think Lincoln's design team has done a masterful job of disguising the MKC's workaday roots and presenting it as a legitimately premium product. 

Inside, the MKC continues to distinguish itself with a unique dashboard highlighted by Lincoln's unusual push-button gear selection panel (the P-R-N-D-S drive modes are accessed via buttons next to the infotainment interface). Premium materials abound, including eye-catching wood trim. On the road, the MKC benefits from exclusive adaptive dampers with three modes -- sport, normal and comfort -- to suit different driving scenarios. Safety features include active lane-keeping assist and a blind spot warning system.

How Much?

Look for official pricing info closer to the MKC's launch next year. We'll hazard a guess that Lincoln's new crossover will start under $35,000. 

When Can You Get It?

Summer 2014 

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

The current Escape is one of our favorite compact crossovers, and we've always said it feels a little fancier than the norm. Well, now there's a truly fancy Escape in town, and based on what we know so far, the 2015 Lincoln MKC looks like a serious entry-level luxury contender. 

Other Cars to Consider 

Audi Q3 -- It's not on the market yet, but it should be by the time the MKC arrives. Smaller than the Q5, the sporty Q3 is a direct MKC rival. 

BMW X1 -- The X1 will likely be cheaper than the MKC to start, but its interior isn't that nice for a BMW; this crossover is more about performance and value. 

Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class -- The refined GLK is hard to fault, and Mercedes has continually improved this C-Class-based crossover over the years. It can get pricey, though. 

Used Infiniti EX -- We have a soft spot for this V6-powered luxury hatchback on tiptoes, and with Infiniti's certified pre-owned program, you could get a nice low-mileage specimen with a warranty for a great price.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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