Lincoln is updating the vehicle that it says draws the most customers from rival brands in hopes of further accelerating growth in a stalling luxury market.
The freshened 2019 MKC compact crossover features new infotainment and safety technology and the mesh grille found on Lincoln's newest products, including the Continental and MKZ sedans and the Navigator SUV. The 2019 MKC is due in showrooms next summer.
Even as overall U.S. sales of luxury cars and light trucks are roughly flat through October, Lincoln deliveries have edged up 2.4 percent and MKC sales are up 8.7 percent to 22,507. The MKC is also Lincoln's best-seller in China, a market it expects eventually will surpass the United States in overall volume.
Since the MKC's introduction in 2014, Lincoln executives say almost half of the crossover's sales have come from customers switching from other brands.
"We recognize it takes a lot to attract a buyer from other luxury competitors, but the Lincoln MKC has that kind of appeal and we believe that the new MKC will capture even more luxury clients," Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra said in a statement.
The crossover will be formally introduced next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Besides the change to the front end, the 2019 MKC undergoes a few other exterior tweaks, including new colors, wheel choices, LED lights and chrome accents on the back end.
Inside, the crossover will offer Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It will also add driver-assist features including precollision assist with pedestrian detection with automatic braking. Active park assist, lane-keeping alert and blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert can be added as options.
Ford will also offer three new Black Label trim options.
The 2019 MKC will carry over the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and twin-scroll turbocharged 2.3-liter engine available on the current model. The 2.0-liter makes 245 hp and 275 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.3-liter makes 285 hp and 305 pound-feet of torque.
Each powertrain comes in a two- or all-wheel-drive option.
The MKC is included in Lincoln's pickup and delivery service, which is standard on all models. It can be accessed through the Lincoln Way app, which also allows customers to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle.