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2015 Lincoln MKC

This'll warm you up

Even though there’s much more to it than that, I have to admit that the new Lincoln MKC had me at “heated steering wheel.”

It was one of those cold, blustery days and I was looking so frantically for the heated seat switch that I almost didn’t hear Towne Ford/Lincoln sales consultant Ben Indelicato point out that one thing that may be even better than the butt warmer. Every car should have one.

Before we get to the actual car, let me just get this out of the way. I don’t like Lincoln’s model naming strategy. Maybe it’s me, but it doesn’t seem to make sense. Other than the huge Navigator luxury SUV, all model names consist of three letters, the first two for all being “MK.” For the life of me I can’t: a) figure out why they used MK; and b) figure out what the rest of the letters stand for—the rest being: C, for today’s test small suv; Z, for the mid-sized sedan; S for the full-sized sedan; X for the mid-sized SUV; and T for the full-sized crossover. Very random.

Anyway, the MKC, which shares a platform with the Ford Edge, seems to be just about the right size for hauling a family of four or five and their stuff in comfort and style. It’s not too big to manage around town—or in a parking lot; gas mileage isn’t so bad for an all wheel-drive vehicle of its size; and you certainly won’t mind looking out your front window and seeing it in your driveway. The MKC looks nothing like its Ford stablemate; it wears the Lincoln exterior styling cues (the grille and the rear end) very well.

Climbing in to the MKC unveils a pleasant dash layout, with the needed instruments right in front of the driver, and the audio/nav/HVAC controls in the center stack, easily accessed by both front seat occupants. The black test car with its black interior was a bit much black, but at least there was an attractive band of Rosewood (a very nice, lighter Zebrano is also available) breaks up the monotony a bit. Seating was comfortable, and head and leg room were adequate in the front. The rear seat gave me a bit of trouble in the head room department, as my six-foot frame was a tad too tall for the intruding panoramic roof. The space behind the 60/40 rear seat will hold 25.2 cu. ft. of cargo (53.1 with the rear seat folded down). A wave-your-foot tailgate opener is available.

The ride, as you’d expect in a Lincoln, is smooth and quiet. Steering response and road feel were good, and the optional 2.3L EcoBoost turbocharged direct-injection engine, pushing out 285 hp, moved it along at a good clip. (I find it hard to believe that my 1974 Ford Pinto also had a 2.3L engine and couldn’t even get out of its own way.) The MKC is EPA-rated at 18/21 mpg with the 2.3; the standard 2.0L engine is slightly better at 19/22. Both come with six-speed automatics, which operate via (I think) a puzzling system of push buttons on the dash. The way it works isn’t puzzling so much as the reason Lincoln chose this rather un-lux system.

The list of standard equipment is long, as it had better be on anything with the Lincoln logo. You can scan the entire list on the website. MKC pricing starts at $33,100 for the front wheel-drive 2.0L version. The test car was an AWD Reserve (the top trim level) model, which starts at $35,595. Options, which included (among other things): adaptive cruise control with collision warning, blind spot and lane keeping system, and active park assist (yes, it parallel parks the car for you—and will also un-park it if you’re in a tight spot!). Delivery took the bottom line to $48,270.

This is a really hot segment in the automotive industry right now, and with the MKC Lincoln seems to be back on track to claim its rightful portion of the luxury market.

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