2010 Lincoln MKT

"The MKT is fully differentiated from the Flex," claims chief engineer Ron Heiser. That's a bit of hyperbole, since they share the same platform (one which Heiser points out has superb crash performance) and basic chassis tuning. But his point is well-taken, because everything you see and touch both inside and outside the MKT - which closely hews to the MKT Concept from last year's Detroit show - has little to nothing in common with the Flex. Indeed, chief designer Gordon Platto takes visible pleasure from pointing out the MKT's features: "This is the first time we've actually fully integrated the grille from the [2007] MKR Concept. We've combined it with zero-offset bumpers for a smooth exterior. Inside, we use the same cut-and-sew leather and wood trim as in the MKS sedan, and our 'floating armrest' is also from the MKR and allows us to offer contrast-color inserts later."

When it goes on sale late this summer, the Ontario-built, glass-roofed, seven-passenger crossover will be offered in front- or all-wheel-drive guise, powered by a 267-hp, 268-lb-ft, 3.7-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed paddleshift transmission. The optional EcoBoost V-6 bumps both power and torque to about 350 and comes with standard all-wheel drive and its own 20-inch wheel design (twenties are also available with the base V-6). Thus equipped, the MKT tips the scales at a whopping 5250 pounds, but Heiser points out weight-saving measures, such as a "huge piece" of magnesium in the tailgate that saved twenty pounds and the use of cast magnesium for the superstructure that holds the radiator. Pricing hasn't been announced, but Lincoln says the $41,750 Acura MDX and the $44,325 Audi Q7 are its primary targets.

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