Chicago Auto Show Blog

Lincoln wants to "C" you in dealerships this summer

Posted by: Mark Bilek

Ford Motor Company is hoping to grow the Lincoln brand with a product renaissance. This past year, Lincoln introduced the all-new MKZ premium midsize sedan and this summer dealers will get compact crossover called the MKC. After that come two additional products within a year, likely redesigns of the MKS and MKX.

But more than new products, Lincoln hopes to re-capture the brand's luxury allure that set the nameplate apart over its nearly 100-year history. That effort started with the striking redesign of the MKZ, a vehicle that sports provocative styling inside and out. This summer that effort continues when Lincoln's first-ever compact crossover hits dealerships.


The MKC shares some components and chassis with the Ford Escape, but styling and interior design are pure Lincoln. In addition the Lincoln sports extra sound-deadening material and additional safety and technology features.  In addition to sharing the 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine, the MKC also gets its own top-spec engine. Available will be a 2.3-liter Ecoboost with at least 275 horsepower.

Recently, Lincoln hosted an event with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center on Michigan Avenue. The point of co-hosting with the CSO was to show the relationship between fine music and art in Lincoln's design phillosophy. Lincoln Interior Design Chief Soo Kang joined Vanessa Moss, vice president for orchestra and building operations and James Smeiser, CSO musician, to discuss the interplay between music and design.


Soo Kang, a native of South Korea and classically trained harpist, has spent nearly 30 years with Ford Motor Company design, cutting her teeth on the first-generation Ford Fusion. In the MKC, Kang strove to create a clean, spacious vehicle with a spirited, daring presence. Featuring luxury trappings like Bridge of Weir leather-trimmed seats, open-pore wood trim and Wollsdorf leather-wrapped steering wheel, the upscale interior attempts to merge technology and quality materials.

Kang also stressed that, "sometimes less is more," a sediment echoed by Smeiser. Design, like music, features dramatic crescendos, but those must be offset by subtle and understated treatments said Kang.  In the MKC you can see this influence in the dramatically styled center stack and instrument cluster, both counterbalanced by the sweeping dash top and open center console, which is made possible by Lincoln's signature push-button shifter.


MKC competitors will include the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Buick Encore, Cadillac SRX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and new Porsche Macan. That's a tough crowd. Given initial impressions, the MKC has the design elegance and mechanical chops to compete toe-to-toe for luxury-minded small crossover shoppers. Pricing is expected to be extremely competitive with the MKC starting as low as $33,100. Could the MKC be the breakout vehicle Lincoln is looking for?

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