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by Jay Traugott
Lincoln's latest concept is a far cry from the days of big sedans, but the MKC premium small crossover may just be the shot of adrenaline the brand desperately needs.
Let's face it: Lincoln hasn't been cool since the Johnson administration. If you don't know when that was, maybe the "Mad Men" era will give you a better idea. But Lincoln is still around, and is struggling to find its place in today's luxury car market. The new MKZ with its innovative panoramic sunroof is a step in the right direction, but one model can't save a brand all by itself. In a downsizing marketplace, even a marque like Lincoln needs to go smaller. Here is its answer.
Set to debut this week at the Detroit Auto Show is the MKC, a concept for a small luxury concept based on the same platform as the Ford Escape/Kuga. But while previous Lincoln products have amounted to little more than badge engineering, the MKC seeks to step further away from its parent company with a more unique product. The striking new shape incorporates such design elements as frameless windows, a panoramic glass roof and a highly sculpted liftgate design. The front-end design is the most current and arguably best interpretation of the brand's split grille design so far.
Riding on a set of 20-inch wheels with polished chrome rims inside flared wheel arches, the overall stance is well-balanced and looks almost production ready. Things are also looking good inside, with what Lincoln describes as a "high-end bespoke design." Wrapped in leather, wood and chrome, the interior completes a package that aims to take Ford's luxury brand into Audi and BMW territory to prove that America has what it takes to rival Europe's finest. No word yet on what engine lies under the hood, but the 2.0-liter EcoBoost would do the job well as Lincoln looks likely to put the MKC concept into production in the near future.