Curves Ahead

The stylists at Ford finally woke up and smelled the espresso, and are maximizing the possibilities lurking within its luxury wing, Lincoln. With the new compact, runabout Lincoln MKC, the brand has a model one can recommend without reservations.

You might snicker over the TV ads featuring Matthew McConaughey, but they’ve led to a 25 percent sales jump. The handsome MKC, the first shot at what will be a complete redesign of the marque, provides a lot of help. It’s solid, luxurious and ready to rock.

Gripping the leather-wrapped steering wheel from the cushiony cloud of “Bridge of Weir” leather in the front seat, the driver gets the full, sumptuous treatment. The rear seats are more spare, and the cargo area is not designed for hauling the hockey team, but if more space is needed, go up a size to the MKX. You may want to wait for the redesign, though, which is scheduled to launch in late summer.

With its 106-inch wheelbase, the MKC puts down a much shorter footprint than many of its big-lug rivals, and that translates into an authentically sporty SUV that’s just fun for jumping into and tearing off someplace. Richard Spelling at Stamford Ford Lincoln credits the torque-vectoring controls for giving such decisive steering control to the driver. “It’s a game-changer,” he says. “Here you have got something that people love to drive.”

The basic front-wheel-drive version is priced in the mid-$30,000 range, but I would recommend our tester’s specs with the bigger, Mustang-derived turbo four and all-wheel-drive. Several weeks after I gave the test car back to Lincoln, I found myself missing it. Then I saw a couple sitting in an MKC and asked their opinion. “We go through a lot of cars,” they sighed. Then they brightened. “But this thing makes us feel like teenagers!”

Price (as tested): $49,865
Drivetrain: 2.3-liter, turbocharged, 285-hp, all-wheel drive
EPA Mileage Ratings: 18 city/26 highway



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