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July 21, 2015

2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label -- a Perfect Recovery Vehicle

2015_Lincoln_MKC-exteriorWhen Lincoln offered to loan me a Black Label MKC, I wasn’t expecting its delivery to be delayed due to an emergency case of appendicitis. Thankfully, they didn’t cancel the loan, and it became one of the things I was most looking forward to upon my discharge from the hospital.

Let’s face it: I love my little Ford Fiesta, but I didn’t think it would be very easy to get in and out of its low seat, and I wasn’t sure how easily I’d be able to shift its manual transmission, with three fresh laparoscopic incisions in my abdomen. The 2015 Lincoln MKC Black Label would be a welcome treat after three days in the hospital.

2015_Lincoln_MKC-rearviewThe second of four all-new vehicles due by 2016 to fuel the brand’s reinvention, the 2015 Lincoln MKC luxury crossover is a unique creation from the ground up and boasts an assortment of first-in-class features. The small premium utility vehicle segment is the fastest-growing part of the luxury market: The segment has grown by 25 percent since 2012 and by more than 200 percent since 2009. Lincoln says this growth is being driven by new luxury buyers who are coming into affluence, as well as by current luxury owners who are moving from larger vehicles to smaller ones as their life desires change.

Turns out, in addition to all that, the luxurious MKC was also the perfect recovery vehicle after my appendectomy.

2015_Lincoln_MKC-dashThe doctor told me it would be irresponsible to drive while taking painkillers, so I skipped my Vicodin the day I took the MKC out for a drive. Unlike my more lengthy road tests, I took the MKC to the grocery store. After all, I needed to purchase the diet of soft, bland foods -- pudding, Jello, bananas, and milk -- I was supposed to eat. (The doctor actually told me “No salads or vegetables!”) Once I slipped my aching body into the driver’s seat, I was comfortably embraced by its sumptuous heated and cooled Venetian leather seat.

The seat height was perfectly aligned with my butt, so no climbing was necessary to get into or out of the pretty little crossover. Once inside, I especially enjoyed its panoramic, all-glass Vista Roof that opened the interior to a beautiful view. (After spending the better part of my last four days in bed, it was delightful to be outside and see the sky.)

2015_Lincoln_MKC-interiorAs I pulled out of the driveway, I used the Lincoln Drive Control to switch its suspension into comfort mode for a plush ride. On another day, I might have been inclined to choose normal, or even sport mode, but on this day, I wanted to float down the road as if I were piloting a hovercraft. Its continuously controlled damping suspension constantly monitors the road and reacts (on average) within 20 milliseconds, providing a smooth ride with enhanced handling. The staples in my abdomen agreed: it was indeed a smooth ride.

I knew I would be safe in the MKC for my short outing: The MKC offers advanced technology such as collision warning with brake support, as well as a Lane-Keeping System and driver assist to help drivers avoid common accidents. The collision warning system is designed to alert the driver if it detects a potential front-end crash by issuing an audible alert in the cabin, a visual alert on the windshield, and automatically adjusts the sensitivity of its brake assist system.

The vehicle’s Lane-Keeping System uses rearview mirror-mounted cameras to identify lane markers and help drivers avoid unintentionally straying from their lane. If the system detects a driver’s alertness level dropping below a given threshold, a warning is issued via a chime and a pop-up message appears on the left-hand cluster screen.

2015_Lincoln_MKC-cargoGroceries were easily loaded into the back, thanks to a hands-free liftgate that raises with just the kick of a foot beneath the rear bumper. MKC offers 25.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 53.1 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded. My two bags of soft, bland foods seemed lonely in such a large space.

The MKC also offers a Blind Spot Information System, which continuously monitors the vehicle’s blind spots with radar sensors, and class-exclusive cross-traffic alert, which detects traffic as the vehicle backs from a parking space. The rear cross-traffic alert system was especially handy in the crowded grocery store parking lot, where my limited mobility made it difficult to move my body to better see behind me as I backed out of my parking space.

From the grocery store, I headed to the other side of town to pick up my 12-year-old son from school. As the son of an automotive journalist, he has become quite the little vehicular aficionado, so he was quick to notice the MKC’s sleek, sculpted body highlighted by a high beltline and low shoulders that create a sturdy, athletic presence.

2015_Lincoln_MKC-chroma_couture_metallicAs part of its Black Label “Indulgence” theme, my MKC test vehicle was covered in a gorgeous Chroma Couture Metallic paint, its shade a deep purple-brown. Soft and indulgent, its interior leather was called “Ganache” and reminded me of the inside of a deliciously rich dark chocolate truffle.

More than just an appearance package, Lincoln has designed its Black Label experience to represent the ultimate in luxury and comfort, creating vehicles that are centered on a curated collection of designer, interior themes that are meticulously brought to life in rare, high-end materials. Black Label shoppers are also offered a host of exclusive membership privileges and services including personal concierge shopping service that brings a mobile showroom to you, complimentary car washes and annual detailing, and a pickup and delivery service for scheduled maintenance and repairs. Learn more about Lincoln’s Black Label program at www.lincoln.com/blacklabel/

Inside the MKC, craftsmanship and high-tech combine to offer a warm, luxurious environment. A unique instrument panel showcases Lincoln’s signature push-button gear shifter, while plush leathers with French stitching and real-wood trim accentuate the MKC’s elegance and grace. A truly indulgent option on the test vehicle was the enhanced THX® II Certified Audio System which features THX-distributed bass technology and 14 right-, center- and left-slot speaker assemblies to deliver a rich, immersive surround sound experience that is said to reproduce music as it was mixed in the studio. My son selected a classical music station as our soundtrack for our ride home from school; it was an aural delight.

I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to test its park-out assist technology that day. This class-exclusive feature enhances the vehicle’s active park assist capabilities: Where active park assist helps guide drivers INTO tight parallel parking situations, park-out assist actually steers drivers OUT of tight parking spots.

2015_Lincoln_MKC-rearview2On another trip, a short night-time outing revealed another elegant feature: exclusive Approach Detection, which senses when an owner is near and responds by illuminating “welcome mats” on the ground next to both front doors. Simultaneously, headlamps, taillamps, and door handles glow with soft lighting tuned to complement the vehicle’s exterior color. Simply lovely.

Under the hood, my test MKC was equipped with the 2.3-liter Ecoboost engine boasting 285 horsepower and 305 lb.-ft. of torque, which means plenty of performance is on tap for freeway merging and passing or just plain, old spirited driving. Active Grille Shutters are designed to help improve fuel efficiency at highway speeds, producing fuel ratings of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.

My test MKC started with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $48,000, but options added another $7,905, bringing the total price up to $59,500 after destination and delivery fees. That's about $23,000 less than the gross cost of my emergency appendectomy and three-day hospital stay.


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