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2015 Lincoln MKC small SUV arrives just in time

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2015 Lincoln MKC small SUV arrives just in timeFor all the recent efforts that Ford has made to revive the Lincoln luxury brand, the results have been underwhelming to date, especially in the face of a onslaught from German and Japanese makes. Today, Lincoln revealed the first all-new model in its reinvention, the 2015 Lincoln MKC compact luxury SUV, and for the first time in many a year, Lincoln finally can say it's running with the pack.

While it will use the chassis of the Ford Escape, the MKC has enough unique bodywork to hide its lineage well. It also gets an all-new iteration of the Ford EcoBoost engine family, a 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder mill good for 275 hp and 300 ft.-lb. of torque. Lower-cost versions will offer the 2-liter EcoBoost turbo making 240 hp and 270 ft.-lbs., in either front or all-wheel-drive.

The market for compact luxury SUVs cares less about performance and more about interiors, and Lincoln's designers were apparently given free reign, from real-wood accents to a version of Ford's oft-criticized Sync in-dash control system that uses both a touchscreen and a healthy array of buttons. Other highlight options run from the panoramic sunroof to remote start via smartphone app to a "welcome mat" — a light projected on the ground near the door when the owner approaches, a trick borrowed from the Ford Mustang.

Given the boom in small luxury SUVs, and the slowness which some of its competitors have moved with their new models, Lincoln has an opportunity with the MKC — on paper at least — to attract a generation of customers who have never set foot inside a Lincoln dealership before. The test will come when the MKC hits dealerships next summer.