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Lincoln MKC concept miniaturizes luxury (pictures)

Lincoln unveiled at the 2013 Detroit auto show its MKC concept, a luxury compact SUV that signals the end of brand engineering between Lincoln and Ford.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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DETROIT--In 2009, Lincoln showed off its C concept, a look at a future compact luxury crossover. At the 2013 North American International Auto Show, four years later, the MKC concept realizes the same type of vehicle in a style that looks much closer to production. The MKC concept not only represents a new potential car for Lincoln, but also heralds its new design direction and model independence from Ford. However, this new concept bears similar lines to the Evoque, Range Rover's compact SUV using a Ford-sourced engine.
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The LED headlights may seem like a concept car touch, but the recently unveiled Lincoln MKZ production car uses them, so they would likely show up on a production MKC. The Waterfall grille is a unique design touch that Lincoln has been refining throughout a few models. On the MKC, the company seems to have hit a balanced proportion.
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With this unveiling, Lincoln offered no technical specs, but the MKC would probably get one of Ford's four-cylinder EcoBoost engines. The MKC sits on a front-wheel-drive platform, but could be offered with all-wheel drive.
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Lacking conventional handles, the doors open at the touch of buttons mounted flush with the stainless-steel window frames. Unless Lincoln gets very bold, that touch would not make it to a production vehicle.
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A rear liftgate gives the MKC crossover utility, with a cargo area behind the rear seat. Exhaust ports are neatly integrated with the rear fascia, and the taillights, running in a continuous stream across the rear of the car, are part of Lincoln's current design language.
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Like the MKZ model, the MKC concept features a glass panoramic roof.
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The MKC showcases Lincoln's new focus on luxury with white, leather-covered seats and polished metal stalks for turn signals and windshield wiper.
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The utility of the MKC is lessened somewhat by the divider running down the middle, limiting the car to four passengers.
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The MKC uses a push-button transmission, with PRNDL buttons running down the side of the center stack, near the driver. Other controls, such as the four-way buttons on each steering-wheel spoke, are similar in function to those found on current Ford vehicles. The cabin electronics features are likely to be similar to those in current Ford models.

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