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Detroit show: Lincoln creates a compact SUV

Small star: The MKC is Lincoln’s first small vehicle and is the second model after MKZ to bear the brand’s new design language created by Australian Max Wolff.

MKC crossover concept heralds next chapter in Lincoln luxury marque’s reinvention


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15 Jan 2013

FORD’S luxury brand Lincoln has unveiled an all-new compact SUV as part of its reinvention as a more dynamic and engaging marque that appeals to a broad cross-section of car buyers.

Based on Ford Motor Company’s global C-segment platform, which also underpins the Ford Focus small car and Escape/Kuga SUV, the MKC has emerged 12 months after Australian chief designer Max Wolff revealed Lincoln’s first brand-redefining new model, the MKZ mid-sized luxury sedan.

The MKZ was presented at last year’s Detroit motor show as a production-oriented concept and is now entering showrooms in North America, with a rollout in China commencing next year.

The MKC will follow the same route, with a presentation in final production trim expected at the New York auto show later in the year before sales commence early in 2014.

Ford management confirmed in Detroit that the concept – Lincoln’s first small vehicle – signals its entry into the US luxury-car market’s fastest-growing segment, with the model standing well above Blue Oval-badged offerings with “signature content” and a “suite of technology” (dubbed the “Lincoln Experiences”).

These include a push-button automatic gearshift on the dash (as seen on MKZ), programmable ride control, personalised lighting and still-to-specified “customisable functions that are unique for each client”.

No powertrain details and few specifications have been divulged, but the company has confirmed the vehicle is built on a 2717mm wheelbase and measures 4550mm long, 2032mm wide and 1607mm high, providing a slightly bigger footprint than the Range Rover Evoque – one of its key rivals, along with the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and others.

Under the dedicated Lincoln design team led by Mr Wolff, which also includes another Australian, interior design manager Peter Jones, the MKC sets out to blend beauty and elegance with the muscularity expected of a recreational vehicle.

It features a new interpretation of the brand’s trademark split-wing grille, LED lights, a heavily sculpted bonnet, frameless windows, sleek roofline (with full-length fixed panoramic glass roof), prominent character line at the shoulders, bulging wheelarches housing 20-inch wheels with polished chrome rims, and, at the back end, a clamshell tailgate and signature full-width tail-lights.

The four-seat interior aims to impart a feeling of “visual width” and openness with architectural instrument-panel graphics and flowing centre console design.

Premium leather and high-grade surfaces are used throughout, along with restrained use of wood and metallic trim, air vents reminiscent of the radiator grille design, and various points where the Lincoln Star is stitched in.

The company confirmed that this is the second of four all-new vehicles to come from Lincoln over a four-year period, with the remaining two to be also targeted at “the highest-growth segments”. A larger SUV is a sure bet.

“We are reinventing Lincoln by focusing on the largest and fastest-growing segments of the luxury market, while offering clients something different,” said Lincoln brand chief and Ford executive vice-president of global marketing, sales and service, Jim Farley.

“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.”

Mr Farley said the MKC was “designed to strike a perfect balance between warm, inviting comfort and the engaging and superb dynamic qualities of performance, ride, handling and braking”.

“This balance is focused toward a new luxury automotive client emerging in the marketplace – someone who recognises a great vehicle and demands a balance between all-out performance and comfort.”

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