Detroit 2013: Lincoln MKC Concept seems anxious to Escape to dealer showrooms

As concept cars go, the Lincoln MKC Concept is pretty clearly on its way to production. Sure, it has a number of concept-only features (shaved door handles, sword-pointy sideview mirrors, one-piece seats, etc.), but you can tell that something like this will be in showrooms soon. Lincoln officials will not tell you that, but there’s no doubt in my mind–the small luxury SUV segment is simply too important. The Lexus RX (among numerous others) has had an enormous head-start in this segment that, according to Ford, has grown 200 percent in the last five years (60 percent last year alone), but Lincoln must compete for some of that huge pie if it is to remain relevant. If it stayed true to the concept, a production MKC could be quite cool.

Not surprisingly, Ford Motor Company officials didn’t mention that the concept vehicle is based on the same architecture as the new Ford Escape. Like Lincoln’s current production models, the concept does a very good job of disguising its relation to mass-market Ford products. It also carries “family touches” that mimic, for instance, the new MKZ’s swoopy dashboard and push-button shifter. The winged grille doesn’t quite look natural to me, but the car looks infinitely less whalelike than the MKT in particular.

My favorite feature was the black twenty-inch wheels, which look very cool and aren’t unfeasibly large, another good sign that a production model is surely imminent. Lincoln had also better implement cool lighting (entry, doorsills, interior) like that used in this concept; this is just another example of how Lincoln is late to the party but still has time to catch up. If they do it right.

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