In the last couple of years, the “Have faith in Lincoln restoration campaign” has been in full swing.”

Faith is a concept not exclusive to religion.

The principle of faith is to believe in things that haven’t been seen. Then there is the loss of faith. Perhaps the lack of seeing, and the abundance of waiting, left other opinions to be formed in the waiting period.

Lincoln is a brand in which many lost faith. Its association with lacklustre quality, the stigma that only individuals who are in the latter stages of life drive a Lincoln, and the fact that there is dwindling brand appeal, didn’t help its cause.

In the last couple of years, the “Have faith in Lincoln restoration campaign” has been in full swing.

With strong products, ones that appeal to both the eyes and enthusiast, they’re coming back strong. But are these traits enough to bring a younger demographic into the fold?

With the launch of its small, premium utility vehicle, the MKC, it’s certainly a huge stride in the right direction. It’s all-new for 2015 and starts at an MSRP of $39,940.

See: The 2015 Lincoln MKC on

The MKC is the first vehicle to be designed from the ground up in a dedicated Lincoln studio, and I think they’ve done a great job. From its classic and signature split wing grille, to its tight lines, to its overall form, I’m impressed.

As you slip inside its spacious and inviting interior, you’ll notice the absence of a large gear selector near the centre console. That’s because it’s integrated into the stack and you operate it via the push of a button.

While some have a very polarized opinion on this feature, I didn’t mind it at all. Yes, I reached for a gear selector that wasn’t there a few times and confused my passengers, but after a few times behind the wheel, it made sense why it was there.

The centre stack has a streamlined-nature to it. The buttons and touch screen blend effortlessly. Of course, when the touch screen is off you can see all the fingerprints but a soft cloth fixes that!

Aside from its aesthetics, the MKC does drive and handle very well. Based on the Ford Escape, this 5-passenger vehicle comes equipped with two different engines. The first is a 2.0L, EcoBoost 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s an optional 2.3L, EcoBoost 4-cylinder with a spirited 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. It’s then matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The MKC, regardless of engine choice, comes with an all-wheel drive (AWD) setup.

Whether at speed or crawling along in the city, the electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) has been calibrated to give the driver enough feedback that it doesn’t feel lazy, but has enough resistance to make the commute a pleasant one.

Combined with its suspension, which is an independent MacPherson strut-type up front and a fully independent multi-link with stabilizer bar around back, you have a recipe for an MKC that handles the turns with poise and confidence.

Estimated fuel consumption numbers come in at 12.9L/100km in the city and 9.2L/100km on the road. According to the trip computer, which I zeroed after picking the vehicle up, it said I was averaging 15.7L/100km. Yikes. I didn’t think I had that much of a lead foot, but I wasn’t driving the vehicle hard. And my daily routines consist of both city and highway driving. This figure wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped for.

Aside from not-so-amazing fuel results, I was quite happy with the MKC’s cargo capacity. With the rear seats up, you’re looking at 712L. With the rear seats folded, there’s 1,505L to work with. It’s perfect for larger items like my road bike! I didn’t even have to take the front wheel off to fit it inside. Bonus.

Then there are such features like the panoramic vista roof, the heated and cooled front seats, a THX audio system, and active park assist to make the vehicle even sweeter.

Despite the plethora of options – there were $14,230 worth, for a test price of $55,920 with the $1,750 delivery charge included – the MKC doesn’t need to be loaded with them to the max to make it a worthwhile vehicle to drive. It does have some tough competition, like the Audi Q5, Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, but it can hold its own and does a great job of ensuring a great driver’s experience.

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Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

If you want a mid-sized crossover that will stand out from the crowd, take a look at a 2015 Nissan Murano, and its new price tag!”

Crossovers are the most in demand vehicles in any market you can name…

Toyota Highlander
Nissan Murano
Mazda CX-3
Lincoln MKC

Mazda CX-3

Freshly unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Mazda CX-3 is an all-new compact (crossover) utility.

Like all the latest Mazda products it comes with that distinctive Kodo (Soul of Motion) styling theme and it’s the fifth in a series of the new-generation models to feature the full-package of Mazda’s ground-breaking Skyactiv (fuel-saving) technologies. In dealers next summer (as a 2016 model), the CX-3 is expected to become a new core vehicle in the Mazda line-up.

Power comes from a 2.0-litre gas engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission and Mazda’s new-generation AWD system. This system employs an active torque control coupling, first used on the Mazda CX-5, plus a new and unique front wheel slip warning detection system. New technologies available include a Mazda Connect infotainment system and its (radar based) i-Activesense active safety system.

The CX-3 has an extra long hood and a flowing shape that raises at the rear to convey a look of strength and power. Large diameter wheels are pushed to the body ends and it has a long 101.2 wheelbase. The chassis employs a lightweight torsion beam rear suspension system.

Forward positioning the front wheels allows the driver extended leg room, on the inside, and space for a hinged (organ-type design) gas pedal. Seating is provided for up to five and the rear seat occupants sit a little taller than those in the front.


Lincoln MKC

Agile, athletic and fuel-efficient are not words you probably associate with Lincoln vehicles, but they can be used to describe the MKC. This all-new and attractive premium compact utility vehicle fits nicely into a revitalized Lincoln line-up that’s more in tune with today’s luxury vehicle buyer. Powered by either a 2.0-litre (10.9L/100km), or optional 2.3-litre (11.2L/100km), turbocharged four-cylinder (EcoBoost) engine, the MKC has a starting MSRP just under $40,000 and comes in three trim levels. All wheel drive is standard plus continuously controlled suspension damping, adaptive electric power-assisted steering and active (cabin) noise control are included in a group of advanced technologies called Lincoln Drive Control.

The MKC’s extra-large rear liftgate is a distinctive wraparound design that includes the full-width LED taillights. Created by using a unique hydro-forming process it gives the MKC a smooth, clean rear appearance and the wider opening provides easier access to its cargo area. A clever optional power feature also allows hands-free operation, to open or close the liftgate, by using a kicking action.


Toyota Highlander

This third generation of Toyota Highlander is sleeker, more fuel-efficient and larger, with three rows of seating, for up to eight occupants. It’s also available in four (3.5-litre) V6 engine editions plus three (V6) hybrid powertrain editions.

The fuel-frugal base LE trim ($31,975) is the only front-drive version. Limited ($45,395) is the top-line all-wheel drive edition and hybrid editions range from $44,015 to $52,990. The 3.5-litre V-6 can generate 270-horsepower and it’s mated to six-speed automatic transmission. Towing is rated at 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) and a transmission cooler is standard, however, the tow hitch, with a wiring harness, is an option.

While you gain the cool-factor of its utility, as a people-mover it can’t match the practicality of a minivan. Maximum cargo space of 2,370 litres (with second and third rows folded) isn’t close to the Toyota Sienna minivan’s 4,247 litres. Then again, Highlander has real off-road credentials. Good ground clearance, hill-decent and four-wheel-drive locking features keep Highlander in-touch with its roots.


Nissan Murano

If you want a mid-sized crossover that will stand out from the crowd, take a look at a 2015 Nissan Murano, and its new price tag! This third-generation design takes the Murano’s car-like styling to a new level in the utility segment. It’s offered in four trim levels – S ($29,998), SV, SL and Platinum and there’s a choice of front-wheel (S, SV) or all-wheel drive (SV, SL, Platinum).

The start price has been reduced by $4,500 (versus the 2014 Murano S) and prices have dropped on almost all trim levels, even though the new Murano comes with more equipment. Power comes from a 3.5-litre V6 engine connected to an Xtronic (CVT) transmission.

The 2015 Murano has reduced weight (approximately 145 pounds) versus the previous generation, low rolling resistance tires, air grille shutter, low 0.31 Cd, underbody covers that enhance underbody airflow and improvements to the Xtronic transmission.


Honda CR-V

There are many very good reasons why the Honda CR-V is Canada’s best-selling utility vehicle and it gets significant enhancements for the 2015 model year. Honda claims this is the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in its history and the changes include a new direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Although the current (2014) CR-V provides good fuel economy, the new powertrain combo is even better. When both model years are measured with the new NR CAN’s 5-cycle test method, the combined fuel savings for a front-drive 2015 edition is 1.3 L/100km and the 2015 all-wheel-drive version is 1.1 L/100km more frugal than its predecessor.

In addition to enhanced exterior and interior styling, CR-V also gets a new suite of Honda Sensing safety and driver assistive features, plus some new standard and available features. And there’s more good news, the 2015 Honda CR-V comes with a lower start manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $25,990.


Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca



Lincoln may be a little late in joining the booming compact luxury utility club, but the MKC is certainly an impressively well put-together new member and it’s priced to sell… (more…)

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