Lincoln has jumped in head first into the most competitive segments of them all.
Originally Published November 29; updated February 13 with updated information!
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Enthusiasts living on the Internet have always gravitated towards sports cars, and cars they could aspire to own. Fun cars and cars that provide the feeling of prestige and status often end up at the top of the list, but it isn’t long until reality sets in. The automotive industry today is largely driven by sales of crossover utility vehicles – also known as today’s minivan. To new families and families looking to expand, the crossover provides a lot of the practicality and versatility people are looking for, but without the dreaded minivan look and feel. Full disclosure: I think minivans are great, and are for the most part, a better choice for family duty.
The Ford Motor Company and its luxury arm, Lincoln, haven’t been idly standing by. Lincoln specifically has jumped in head first into the most competitive segments of them all with two products: the MKC and the MKX (reviewed here). For the 2019 model year, the MKC receives a mid-model cycle refresh, with a new front end that brings its overall style towards that of the flagship Continental. Newly-shaped LED headlights and a big chrome grille are the most obvious giveaways, and the rear end get some more chrome accents to help set it apart. Additionally, in Canada, Lincoln has announced complimentary delivery and pick-up service for in-service 2018 models. This adds an extra flair of prestige and luxury to the brand, along with a huge help to clients by saving them time and effort when servicing their Lincoln vehicle.
Inside, the Ford Escape-based MKC continues with its push-button gear selector configuration (love it or hate it), and their excellent SYNC 3 infotainment interface continues to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, as standard. A full suite of active and passive safety assistance technologies are all available, as is active park assist. Powertrains are largely carry-over, with your choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines: a base 2.0L inline-four, good for 245hp, and the available 2.3L twin-scroll turborcharged inline-four, producing 285hp and a generous 305lb-ft of torque. As expected, all-wheel drive is available with either engine option.
Lincoln has embraced the seemingly younger buyer who wants the best of today’s conveniences. They’ve added the MKC to the “Black Label” collection, which provides “specially curated designer themes”, as well as “membership privileges”. The former is Lincoln’s interpretation of the arts, travel, fine food, and culture, with different interior themes and colour schemes, with some themes being a little more showy than others. The membership privileges refer to annual automotive detailing services, car washes (any time), and connections to recommended restaurants provide a Lincoln-curated “dining experience”.
If this sounds a bit like a premium credit card benefit program, you’d be right. We expect the Lincoln MKC to continue to go head-to-head with the segment heavyweights, thanks to its high-value factor and unique sense of style (read: it isn’t another silver/white/black German compact crossover). We also expect the MKC to eventually be renamed to a non-alphanumeric name, partly because of the surprise new release that I’ll talk about next.
What’s also new at the Lincoln stand at the Los Angeles Auto Show is the new Nautilus. Following Lincoln’s new trend of reverting back to non-alphanumeric names, the Nautilus continues where the MKX leaves off. Based on the midsize Ford Edge (reviewed here), the Nautilus is also another high-value luxury crossover that has more size on its side. It is powered by your choice of a turbocharged 2.0L gasoline engine, good for 245 horsepower, or a much more interesting 2.7L turbocharged V6 that produces 335 horsepower and 380lb-ft of torque. Both engines are able to send power to all four wheels through a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Nautilus shares similar styling cues to the Lincoln MKC, with new LED headlights and a big chrome “Signature” grille. Inside, there’s generous space for five, and Lincoln’s push-button gear selector makes another appearance. The more premium Nautilus offers an available 22-way (22!) “Ultra Comfort” seat, and 19-speaker Revel audio system. If it’s anything like the Revel unit in the outgoing MKX, it should be fantastic to listen to. Active and passive safety systems are expected to be on offer, as usual nowadays.
The Nautilus looks to be a handsome luxury CUV that offers more compared to some of its German competition. There’s a bit more space to stretch out, more horsepower, and the unique look inside and out. We look forward to taking a closer look at both of these important products from Lincoln in a more detailed test drive, coming soon.