By Aaron Bragman on January 12, 2013
The small crossover segment continues to grow globally, especially in the luxury segment. Ford's Lincoln brand could use a hit in any segment these days, and the Lincoln MKC concept mirrors what a production version should look like when it arrives later this year.
The MKC concept is based off the company's compact crossover platform -- the same one under the recently redesigned Ford Escape -- but this is perhaps the most successful attempt yet of Lincoln's effort to differentiate its models from the more pedestrian Ford brand. It does bear some similarities to other vehicles, but not the Escape. It looks far more like an Audi Q5 met with a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and had the Lincoln MKZ's nose grafted on it.The look works, however. Despite it not being terribly unique, it is indeed attractive. The winged Lincoln grille is flanked by some menacing LED headlamps, and there are full-width LED taillamps in the back. Just like the Q5, the MKC's rear hatch is cut into the bodysides, allowing for a smooth, uninterrupted rear with no breaks or cut lines.
Inside, Ford took the theme started by the latest MKZ sedan and adapted it for the more confined quarters of the MKC. Lincoln logos are embedded in the seat and door stitching and even the speakers' metal grilles. Unlike the MKZ, which features a continuous "flow-through" instrument panel that dips down between the front row's seats, the MKC concept has a floating center console to make room for storage cubbies and cupholders. The detail and attention to tactile luxury in the concept is encouraging, with normally mundane items like the turn-signal stalk receiving some artistic attention to create beautiful controls. The wood trim used inside is an engineered wood that's made from reclaimed materials and infused with metallic shavings. Of course, the controversial MyLincoln Touch multimedia system is along for the ride, as is a push-button shifter instead of an actual mechanical shifter.
Overall, the MKC concept looks good, and if Lincoln can deliver a production version as well done as the concept, it should appeal to buyers shopping the segment who aren't beholden to a specific brand.
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron