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Lincoln’s MKC crossover cleverly conceals its blue-collar Ford lineage

Recently, Lincoln has been trying to emerge from Ford’s shadow, even renaming itself the Lincoln Motor Company. Those efforts are apparent in its newsiest model, the 2015 MKC, which is set to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Introduced as a concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, the MKC is based on the blue-collar Ford Escape, but Lincoln hopes it’s added enough luxury and tech to make this new crossover a viable competitor to German standards like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

The transformation’s most apparent effect was on the exterior, which is almost identical to the Detroit concept. The MKC features many styling cues from the MKZ sedan, including the brand-signature “split-wing grille” and an (optional) panoramic glass roof. There’s also a wraparound liftgate and taillights, which help distract from the crossover’s tallness.

While the MKZ has trouble competing visually against the Ford Fusion and its Aston Martin-like face, the MKC definitely stands out from the Escape.

The MKC will come standard with Ford’s familiar 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine, which produces 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost with 275 hp and 300 lb-ft.

Front-wheel drive will be standard; all-wheel drive will be optional. The latter includes Continuously Controlled Damping, which allows drivers to select from three suspension settings (comfort, normal, sport) to suit their moods.

On the inside, Lincoln made sure not to skimp on the leather, wood, and technology.

Like the exterior, the interior appears substantially different from the Escape’s, right down to the new steering wheel Lincoln says will become a fixture on future models.

The MKC features an eight-inch center-stack touchscreen, for the Sync with MyLincoln Touch infotainment system. The system is controlled through the screen or through voice commands, but Lincoln also included some buttons. Given past customer frustration with MyLincoln Touch and MyFord Touch, this was probably a good decision.

Another, slightly creepy feature is Approach Detection. The MKC senses when its driver is approaching and illuminates “welcome mats” on the ground in front of the doors, as well as illuminating the exterior lights. Owners can also use the MyLincoln Mobile app to locate, unlock, and remotely start the car, or even program a delayed remote start.

The 2015 Lincoln MKC will debut at the 2013 LA Auto Show, which opens November 20. It’s expected to arrive in showrooms next summer.

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