Updated 2019 Lincoln MKC tries hard to hide its humble origins

Looking at the 2019 Lincoln MKC, you’d be hard pressed to tell it’s basically a Ford Escape underneath. But that’s the name of the game for Lincoln. The luxury brand still leans on parent company Ford’s platforms for most of its models, but tries hard to disguise that fact.

For the 2019 model year, the MKC gets a number of changes and upgrades to keep it competitive in the white-hot compact luxury segment. That starts with a revised front fascia, incorporating the same grille seen on the Lincoln MKZ and Continental sedans, and the Navigator SUV. The grille is Lincoln’s new styling calling card, but it doesn’t blend well with the rest of the MKC’s exterior.

On the inside, the MKC once again comes standard with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, but Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and onboard Wi-Fi are now standard as well. To dress up the interior, Lincoln offers three “Black Label” design packages that add higher-end materials coordinated around different themes, including “Modern Heritage,” “Indulgence,” and “Center Stage.”

Powertrain options remain unchanged. The MKC comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. But Lincoln also offers a 2.3-liter turbo four, with 285 hp and 305 lb-ft. Both engines are coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The MKC comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available.

Lincoln is trying to distinguish itself from other luxury brands by offering a higher level of customer service. A pickup-and-delivery service is standard is standard with all new Lincolns. A dealership will pick up a customer’s car for servicing and drop off a free loaner, then bring the car back to a location specified by a the customer when the work is done. This is all coordinated through the Lincoln Way app, which can also remotely lock or unlock the car, set the climate control, and start the engine.

The 2019 Lincoln MKC hits dealerships in summer 2018. We’ll find out then if a new face and some customer-service perks will be enough to keep Lincoln in the fight against the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, and Lexus NX. Pricing for the MKC will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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