TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Lincoln's sleek MKC crossover sporting edgy sheetmetal and a bold chrome grille slips smoothly through compound chicanes on New York Route 17, a narrow blacktop strip that slithers up Bear Mountain from the Hudson River Valley and serves as our curvy track to test the road-hugging manners of Lincoln's smooth-riding and easy-driving 5-door luxury crossover wagon for the compact class.
MKC for 2016 offers a choice of two powerful yet efficient EcoBoost engines with FWD (front-wheel-drive) or AWD (all-wheel-drive) traction for three amenity-loaded trim levels: Premiere / Select / Reserve.
Styling of the body appears aerodynamic yet angular with sharply creased planes and a steeply raked windshield. The tapered body is distinguished by a high beltline with the roof floating above a ring of dark privacy glass.
MKC'S blunt face forward of a stubby notched hood houses the Lincoln iconic split-wing grille and narrow corner clusters of clear-lens HID headlamps plus signature LED accent lights.
Muscular flanks show chiseled wheelwells housing large alloy rollers -- base 18-inch painted aluminum wheels capped by P235/50R18 all-season tires, up-level 19-inch premium Luster Nickel painted aluminum wheels with P235/45R19 all-season tires or top-notch 20-inch polished aluminum wheels ringed with P255/40R20 all-season tires.
Tail of the MKC bows down from the roof with a spoiler on the top edge of a clamshell 2-piece tailgate and LED taillamps drawn across the center line. Two round chrome-tip tailpipes protrude below dark fascia.
Lincoln MKC foregoes the conventional sport utility vehicle's body-on-frame structure in favor of a monocoque platform to unite chassis and body in a cohesive unit that's extremely rigid when set in motion. The FWD chassis originated with Ford's Focus compact car with modifications for the Ford Escape compact crossover.
A generous wheelbase length of 105.9 inches and a wide wheel track (62.4-inch front/62.5-inch rear) set up a long and broad foundation that contributes to MKC's stability when maneuvering on a curvy road like NY 17.
Steering is made easy due to EPAS -- electric power assist steering -- through a direct rack and pinion system.
All issues of MKC tote independent suspension components -- MacPherson struts up front with twin-tube gas-pressurized shocks and a multilink design in back with progressive-rate springs and monotube gas-pressurized shocks -- to deliver more control over the vehicle for a driver and car-smooth ride sensations for passengers.
MKC's base engine, a DOHC (dual overhead cams) 2.0-liter EcoBoost in-line-4 constructed from aluminum, brings HPDI (high-pressure direct injection) and Ford's Ti-VCT (twin independent variable camshaft timing) valvetrain technology to precisely manage engine breathing and combustion in order to maximize throttle response and performance. It produces 240 hp at 5500 rpm plus torque of 270 lb-ft at 3000 rpm through a 6-speed electronic automatic transmission with SelectShift manual control via paddles, and earns EPA fuel economy scores of 20/29 mpg city/highway for FWD and 19/26 mpg city/highway with AWD.
MKC's upgrade engine, a DOHC 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder with twin-scroll turbocharger and Ti-VCT, delivers 285 hp at 5500 rpm and 305 lb-ft of torque at 2750 rpm through a 6-speed SelectShift automatic with paddle activation. This plant operates strictly with AWD and musters EPA fuel economy figures of 18/26 mpg city/highway.
The MKC cabin layout pitches a pair of rich and luxurious bucket seats up front divided by a multi-function console and followed by a rear bench with seatback split 60/40. Leather and wood and metal line the cabin, with extensive NVH (noise/vibration/harshness) control measures plus active noise cancellation forging a library-quiet environment.
The optional Sync 3 driver connectivity system features a touch screen similar to a smartphone with easy-to-use graphic interface and voice recognition.
Other options include a panoramic glass Vista Roof and driver-assist electronic technologies like Lane-Keeping System, Collision Warning System, Active Park Assist and a Blind Spot Information System.
Lincoln's MSRP figures for MKC 2016 begin at $34,185.