Providing a first look at what could become one of the next-gen cornerstone offerings of its revitalized brand, the Lincoln MKC Concept made a most impressive debut in the Motor City. The smallest vehicle ever to wear a Lincoln Star badge, this one-off luxury crossover utility is destined to spawn a production model that will put the automaker into a new and critically important arena. It also introduces the "Lincoln Experiences" suite of technology and signature content, features the division will use throughout its future portfolio to leverage its appeal in an attempt to win over new and younger, more "progressive" buyers to the fold.

In commenting on the significance of the MKC Concept, Jim Farley, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln noted: "We are reinventing Lincoln by focusing on the largest and fastest-growing segments of the luxury market, while offering clients something different. The just-introduced MKZ re-establishes Lincoln in the largest luxury segment, and the MKC Concept highlights a key opportunity in the fastest-growing part of the luxury market."



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Based on a purpose-modified version of Ford's Global C-platform that also underpins several other Blue Oval products including the Escape and C-Max, the MKC Concept is somewhat longer, lower and wider than its closest kin, the Escape. This Lincoln variation on the theme also boasts an additional inch of wheelbase. However, the most obvious point of departure is the MKC Concept's strikingly sculpted exterior that represents what we think is the best execution to date of the new-era Lincoln design DNA. It deftly matches elegantly intriguing and trimly tailored sheetmetal with finely integrated signature cues like its well-proportioned split-wing grille and a full-width taillamp -- both of which will make it to the showroom floor. The MKC Concept further bolsters its curb appeal with a number of other notable elements, highlighted by LED lighting, a full-length fixed panoramic glass roof, large "clamshell liftgate and an aggressive 20-inch wheel/tire package.

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The inside story on the MKC Concept is equally notable and just as appealing. Fitted with four individual bucket seats and a full-length console, it's a realm clad in premium leather and embellished with chrome accents set off by unique appliqués made from layers of reconstructed natural wood infused with metallic flake that appear on the steering wheel, upper instrument panel and door panels. The MKC Concept's cleanly styled dash/console features signature pushbutton activation for the automatic transmission that helps create additional stow space along with capacitive-touch switchgear.

No word on what powertrain resides in the MKC Concept, although it's fair to conjecture a production version would get motivation from some sort of EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine - likely the 2.0-liter - and be backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. It's equally probable that, like the Escape, the volume-build Lincoln MKC would offer buyers a choice of front or all-wheel drive. Whether the hybrid package from the C-Max also finds its way into the MKC remains to be seen. So too, does the amount of real-world revamping that takes place prior to the sign-off of a production version as well as announcing its official on-sale date, which could come sometime in 2014. That said, the Lincoln MKC Concept is clearly a vehicle filled with promise, much of which looks likely to be fulfilled.


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