SPECS & VER­DICT Model En­gine

Friday - - Motoring - Sixspeed auto, AWD 285bhp @ 5,500rpm 414Nm @ 2,750rpm NA NA NA It’s a fine car, the cabin is very quiet and com­fort­able Doesn’t feel spe­cial like a Lin­coln should

It’s been Lin­coln-ised, of course. John Barnes, Lin­coln’s en­gi­neer­ing su­per­vi­sor, swears the MKC has the qui­etest in­te­rior in its class – a class that, if you go by Locric­chio, in­cludes the BMWX3, the Audi Q5 and the Range Rover Evoque. Driv­ing around Santa Bar­bara, I hon­estly can’t chal­lenge his claim. It’s eerily silent in there and the seats are almost as com­fort­able as a Volvo XC90’s – there’s no higher praise than that. The Bridge ofWeir leather is un­usu­ally soft, too, thick and full; fleshy, for lack of a more Peta-friendly ad­jec­tive. But the blocky slab of plas­tic cen­tre stack in the mid­dle of the dash almost spoils it all, if it weren’t for that nat­u­ral grain wood. That said, the in­te­rior de­sign is not like a driver-ori­en­tated BMW, or a pre­ci­sion-ma­chined Audi, or glas­sand-alu­minium Evoque.

Any­way, be­sides the com­fort­able in­te­rior, of more in­ter­est to me is the first in­dus­try ap­pli­ca­tion of the Ford Mus­tang’s 2.3-litre tur­bocharged four-cylin­der pro­duc­ing 285 horse­power. That’s a lot of power – more than any of the MKC’s ri­vals of­fer in four-cylin­der trim, but more im­por­tantly it’s smoothly and silently de­liv­ered. Then there’s 414Nm of torque, mean­ing gear changes are im­per­cep­ti­ble be­cause they’re largely un­nec­es­sary. On the move this thing is so finely tuned and re­laxed, it’s hard to pin it with one de­scrip­tor. You could ac­tu­ally call it lux­u­ri­ous…

And it’s not even that the mo­tor pulls from rel­a­tively early ei­ther – max­i­mum torque twists in from 2,750rpm, but I’m cer­tain the vast majority of it is avail­able from ba­si­cally idle. The base en­gine is a 2.0-litre tur­bocharged four-pot and you re­ally can’t go much wrong with that ei­ther, be­cause it’s worth 240 horse­power and 366Nm. For some con­text that’s just as much power as you get in the Evoque, but quite a bit more torque.

Another fea­ture that stands out is the park-out as­sist tech­nol­ogy work­ing to­gether with ac­tive park as­sist to help guide driv­ers out of tight park­ing spots.

This is a fine, fine crossover, almost per­fectly suited for China’s roads. But

On the move this thing is so finely tuned and re­laxed, it’s hard to pin it with one de­scrip­tor

it’s no Lin­coln, nor is it a 1956 Con­ti­nen­tal Mark II. Yet the au­to­mo­tive land­scape can change very quickly. It isn’t that long ago when Audis were just five-cylin­der Volk­swa­gens. We can still re­mem­ber when Jaguar made a Mon­deo, when Cadil­lacs were trash and Chryslers were a punch­line. Just one great car can change ev­ery­thing.

Lin­coln doesn’t need an al­pha­bet soup of crossovers and front-wheeldrive saloons. Look at the range now – three crossovers and two saloons.

All Lin­coln needs is two cars, re­ally; a grand sa­loon and a grand coupé. It’s hon­estly not that hard. I mean, Kia’s ba­si­cally do­ing it.

This MKC is a nice car. But if this is Lin­coln’s saviour, some­one pass me a shovel. I guess I’ll start dig­ging.

MKC 2.3-litre four-cyl turbo Trans­mis­sion

Max power There’s 414Nm of torque, so gear changes are im­per­cep­ti­ble

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