The first 100 percent Max Wolff design is ready to roll
Ford Inside News
November 21, 2013
By: Austin Rutherford
And then there was one. The first production Lincoln vehicle designed under the reign of Max Wolff has been unveiled and we take out first look at the 2015 Lincoln MkC. The MkC is Lincoln's first trip into the compact CUV market and it looks like they brought their A-game to fight off the likes of the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes GLK.
The MkC is not only an important vehicle for Lincoln in North America, but it will also be one of the first vehicles Lincoln will launch into China late next year.
The production MkC shares most of its exterior styling with the concept that debuted earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show. The major things that did change: bigger mirrors, production-ready headlamps, and the addition of door handles. The styling note that--of course--catches your eye is the split wing grille design theme that debuted on the MkZ.
Like the concept, the the production vehicle shares Lincoln's iconic full-length taillights. These come off looking better than the MkZ's due to the rounded design. The tailgate shares the clamshell look seen on Audi's utilities. Due to the depth, Lincoln says the tailgate will be hydroformed in the construction process.
The interior of the production car looks like an exact replica of the concept's. Like the second generation MkZ, it features a push button column for P-R-N-D in exchange for a traditional gear shifter. This frees up room for cup holders and storage space, while giving more interior design flexibility.
Sitting inside the MkC, the seats are especially comfortable with their Bridge of Weir leather, which Lincoln also notes is environmentally friendly due to their use of non-chromium dyes. Back seat legroom is what you would expect in a compact CUV. There is enough room to be comfortable, but it is not expansive like that seen in the MkT.
The interior features real aluminum and soft touch surfaces galore. One of the best features in our eyes was the switch to porous wood for the MkC, a first for modern Lincoln. Instead of the shiny, glazed over wood seen in past Lincolns and other luxury vehicles, you can actually feel the gain in the wood as you pass over fingers over it.
Debuting after initial sales begin, the MkC interior will receive the Black Label design that Lincoln debuted at this year's Pebble Beach. This features different color combinations for seats to roof colors.
Seemingly one the biggest "issues" that were brought up when the MkC was first heard of during development was using the Ford Escape's platform as its basis. Well, that seems to have been put to a rest. The MkC does not feature the exact same wheelbase as the Escape, like the MkZ does with the Fusion. The MkC rides on a lengthened and widened version of the C-platform. In fact, Lincoln told us that the 22 mm widening of the platform alone cost $25 Million to engineer.
The suspension features Lincoln Drive Control, which allows the owner to change the ride and handling of the vehicle between normal, comfort and sport. Unlike some automakers, Lincoln's suspension system will stay in the choice it was left in instead of going to the default when the CUV is shut off.
One of the biggest news pieces coming from the MkC reveal was the debut of the all-new 2.3L I4 EcoBoost engine. This engine will feature at least 275 HP and 300 lb. ft. of torque. In addition to a 2.3, the MkC will also feature the 2.0 I4 EB as its base engine.
Will these be the only powertrains offered in the MkC's lifespan? Lincoln recently trademarked "Red Label" and "Green Label," which point to future performance and hybrid lines. MkC is rumored to at least have a performance version some time in the future.
Having heard massive complaints from the first generation of MyLincoln Touch, the MkC brings back buttons and knobs to the center console. The huge 8-inch screen stays and will hopefully continue to be less buggy than the earlier software.
Like the Ford Escape, the MkC features the hands-free lift gate. By simply having the key fob in your pocket and waving the foot under the bumper, the tailgate will rise allowing you to dump whatever you have in your hands.
Debuting the MkC will be Approach Detection. This is Lincoln's idea of welcoming you to your vehicle. With the key fob in your pocket, as you near the MkC, the headlights, taillights, the welcome mat featuring the Lincoln logo light up.
MyLincoln Mobile also debuts on the MkC. Using this app on your cell phone, the owner can check the fuel, tire pressure, location of the vehicle, and also remote set a time for the engine to start like an alarm.
Lastly, the MkC also features park-out assist. Like the opposite of active park assist, park-out assist will allow you to exit tight parallel parking spots without having to touch the wheel.
The Lincoln MkC is a much needed product for the brand and it should do well. Expect to see the CUV on dealer lots mid-2014 after production begins next to the Ford Escape in Louisville, Kentucky.