2015 Lincoln MKC (© Perry Stern)Click to enlarge picture

The 2015 MKC premium crossover is the second new Lincoln since the rebirth of the luxury brand.

The Lincoln nameplate has been around for almost 100 years, but it's been a few scant years since its rebirth as the Lincoln Motor Company. Four new vehicles were promised at the introduction of the new brand. The MKZ luxury sedan went on sale first, and this year the second new model arrives: a premium small crossover called MKC.

Entering one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. auto market, the MKC will go head-to-head with offerings from Europe such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK. Add the domestic Cadillac SRX and the MKC has its work cut out for it.

But Lincoln has a few tricks up its sleeve with some cool, useful technology, as well as a great-driving chassis and plenty of luxury features. It may be a bit of an underdog in its market segment, but the MKC certainly shouldn't be counted out.

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Model lineup
The 2015 Lincoln MKC has two engine options, two drivetrain choices and three trim levels. Prices can range from a Premiere front-wheel-drive version at $33,995 to a fully loaded all-wheel-drive Reserve trim for around $50,000.

The Premiere is the base-level MKC, but it is still well equipped, as is expected of a Lincoln. Standard features include power heated front seats, Sync with MyLincoln Touch on an 8-inch LCD display screen, a premium audio system with nine speakers, active noise control, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

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Upgrading to the Select level starts at $37,225 and adds Bridge of Weir soft leather trim, 10-way power driver and passenger seats, ambient lighting and 18-inch Luster-Nickel painted aluminum wheels. For and additional $1,000, GPS navigation can be added, as well as a blind-spot information system.

Starting at $40,930, the top-level Reserve trim adds heated and cooled front seats, a sunroof, GPS navigation, hands-free liftgate activation, a blind-spot information system and 18-inch polished aluminum wheels.

Front-wheel drive is standard, and AWD is available for an additional $2,495. A larger 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine is available on the Select or Reserve AWD trims for a reasonable $1,140.

Other available features include adaptive cruise control, active park assist, heated rear seats, enhanced THX II audio system and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.

Under the hood
The MKC is available with two engine options, both utilizing Ford's innovative EcoBoost technology.

Standard on all MKCs is the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder unit that puts out 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter engine is rated at 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway for front-wheel drive, 19/26 mpg for all-wheel drive.

The 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine is all-new for Ford, and the MKC is the first use of this rather powerful 4-cylinder powerplant. The larger engine produces 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque at a low 2750 rpm. Fuel economy numbers are surprisingly similar to the 2.0-liter engine: 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway. The 2.3-liter engine is only available on AWD versions of the MKC.

Both engines are teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission.