Lincoln MKC

The MKC is Lincoln's first foray into the extremely popular compact luxury crossover space -- and it's a strong showing.

The MKC shares its bones with a few other Ford products, including the C-Max, Focus, and most notably, the Escape. But beyond its underpinnings, the MKC is distinctly Lincoln. The front grille calls to mind open wings, which culminate in HID headlights with LED running lights, while LED taillights highlight the back.

Two EcoBoost engines are available in the MKC, and both are turbocharged and direct-injected with twin independent variable cam timing. The 2.0L produces 240 horsepower and 270 ft-lb of torque, while the 2.3L makes an impressive 285 horsepower and 305 ft-lb. Lincoln claims the 2.3 is the most powerful gasoline engine per cylinder in the segment. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed SelectShift automatic with push-button shifting. The 2.0L is available with either a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive powertrain, while the 2.3L pairs with all-wheel drive only.

Three well-appointed MKC trims are offered: Premiere, Select and Reserve. Standard exterior features on the MKC Premiere include 18-inch painted aluminum wheels and power heated mirrors with memory and a blindspot mirror. Inside, the MKC Premiere impresses with heated front seats and a 10-way power driver's seat with memory, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, power one-touch up/down on all windows, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 9-speaker audio system with single CD and MP3 playback and a tilt/telescopic multifunction leather steering wheel with cruise and audio controls. An 8-inch LCD touchscreen and SYNC with MyLincoln Touch also feature prominently, and remote start will help on especially cold mornings.

MKC Select trim adds leather seating and a 10-way power passenger's seat, as well as ambient lighting, a universal garage door opener and turn indicators in power-folding side mirrors. The top-of-the-line Reserve trim brings with it heated and cooled front seats, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a huge panoramic sunroof with power shade, navigation with voice recognition and a power hands-free tailgate. A blind-spot information system is also standard on the Reserve, along with an embedded modem that integrates with smartphones and provides for remote locking and unlocking, remotes start and more.

Active park assist, adaptive cruise control with collision warning, a forward sensing system, and a lane keeping system are all standalone options or can be bundled in the Technology Package, while a Class II tow package and 19- or 20-inch wheels are also available on the MKC. Enhanced THX audio is another standalone option, as is navigation.

Safety is engineered into every MKC, and standard safety features include AdvanceTrac roll stability control, traction control, a rearview camera, reverse-sensing system and an SOS post-crash alert system.

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Editors' First Take

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A cacophony of sirens and honking and shouting accompanies a busy night in downtown Los Angeles. But as I slide into the 2019 Lincoln MKC, closing the door results in an immediate hush. I'm able to hold a conversation while barely speaking louder than a whisper. And man, these seats are really comfortable.

The MKC likely won't set an enthusiast's heart aflame quite like an Audi Q5 or BMW X3, but let's be honest: It really doesn't have to. Slogging through stop-and-go traffic on the 10 Freeway, heading west toward Santa Monica, it's not horsepower or torque or handling characteristics that impress me. Instead, it's the Lincoln's great forward visibility. It's the easy-to-modulate action of the throttle and brake. It's the bright Sync 3 infotainment display showing me real-time traffic information. And yes, that quiet cabin shines here, too.

Of course, that's not to say it won't get up and go when traffic finally clears. You can buy an MKC with the Ford Motor Company's ubiquitous 245-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, but my version has the optional 2.3-liter EcoBoost motor -- the same one used in the Mustang -- with a more-than-ample 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque.

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